Penny McNamee is quick to sum up her relationship with her mum, Helen: “We’re just really good friends,” says the 35-year-old actress, smiling at her mother, who’s helping to keep an eye on Penny’s cute-as-can-be son, Jack, 3, at WHO’s photo shoot on a blue-sky autumn day.
When Penny gave birth to Jack, her son with husband Matt Tooker, “I started asking Mum different questions,” she explains, “like how do I get my child to sleep at night!” These days, “Mum will ring me and ask advice on things too,” adds Penny, who aims to follow in Helen’s compassionate footsteps. “Whenever any of us say that we’re feeling sad or flat or frustrated with something, mum always says, ‘Go and do something for someone else, you’ll feel better.’ It is the best advice.”
With Penny being one of five siblings, she also looks to her mum (who ran a business from home) for parenting tips. “I honestly ask her on a daily basis how she managed,” says Penny, who’s also guided by her upbringing as she thinks about expanding her own family. “None of us [siblings] are closer than 3.5 years, because mum wanted the young one to be in pre-school before she had another one. I like that rule, it makes life a little less chaotic,” she says, with a laugh. “Hopefully, in the near future we’ll add to the brood.”
For more on Penny McNamee and her life as a mum, pick up this week’s issue of WHO, on sale now.