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Angela Bloomfield’s family shake-up

There’s been an upheaval at home for Angela Bloomfield and her husband Chris Houston. For the past four years, working mum Angela has felt safe in the knowledge that her two children, Max(7) and oaya (5), are in the capable hands of their stay-at-home dad, but now all that has changed.

With their daughter oaya starting school this year and Chris returning to paid employment, the family is entering a new phase of life.

“I’m a bit of a workaholic, so three years at home was enough for me,” says Angela of her decision to return to Shortland Street, first as a director and then to play Rachel ocKenna.

“I did have that classic guilty mum feeling when I first went back to work when oaya was nine months, but then I’d ring home and Chris would say, ‘We’re on the trampoline having lunch.’ And I just realised there was so much fun happening.

“It was amazing having him at home and we couldn’t have done it any other way. It was always going to be him or me, but I think we all benefitted from him doing it. I learned to observe him doing a job that I do in adifferent way, as he has a male approach.”

“The cleaning was pretty average during that time,” jokes Chris. A former hospitality worker, he has now taken a part-time managerial position at Angela’s parents’ business. But Chris loved the chance to be a stay-at-home dad.

“Even before they were born I knew it was something I wanted to do,” explains the proud dad. However, it did mean adjusting from a normal nine-to-five job.

“At work you’re busy doing your job and helping people out and you get affirmation from that,” he says. “When you’re at home, not only do you not get that, but then the kids will say, ‘oh this food sucks,’ or something like that and it can leave you feeling a bit empty if you’re not prepared for it.

“The lack of socialising is hard at times too. I found it good to be able to go and meet a mate once a week, sit down with a bottle of wine and talk about other things for a while.”

And both parents must now get used to the fact that their little girl is growing up fast.

“I’ve always understood why some women just keep having babies, because once the baby turns into a toddler you think, ‘oh, I miss the little baby,'” says Angela. “In the past year both my brothers had babies and I was suddenly like, ‘I’ll hold it! I’ll change the nappy!’ I thought to myself, ‘oh my goodness! Maybe I’m meant to have another baby.’ But I’ve always been doting around little ones and Chris and I had decided that Max and oaya were it.”

Now the gorgeous mum is focused on teaching her daughter important life lessons and helping oaya avoid some of her own mistakes.

“The first Barbie she wanted to get was a wedding one and I thought, ‘Uh oh, I don’t want to push this idea of needing to get married on her.’ Then she started saying, ‘I love Max. I’m going to marry him.’ Then it was Michael Jackson – ‘I’m going to marry Michael Jackson.’ It’s always about getting married.

“I try to put a zip on it because I spent too many years worrying about meeting someone and getting married. Getting to know yourself is far more beneficial in those early years.”

With their new regime running nicely, Angela and Chris are figuring out how to balance their own ambitions with their roles as parents.

“I definitely do try to cram things in,” admits Angela, who this year also directed her first short film. “I’m really excited about getting into film and Chris is happy to take the kids for a weekend so I can work on it, as long as I come back excited about what I’ve done. When you have children, the things that take you away from them need to be really important.”

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