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When new magazine log onto Zoom for a video call with Mario Falcone, not only are they greeted by the reality star, but his adorable son Parker joins too.
The tot, who will turn two in November, is full of beans, even though Mario tells new they’ve had a busy day of fun while his mum, beauty salon owner Becky Meisner, 31, is at work.
“I’ve got Parker all day on Thursdays, so we’ve been swimming already and now he won’t nap,” Mario explains.
When Parker leaves to play with his toys, the former TOWIE star fills new in on the ups and downs of fatherhood – and it isn’t all fun and games!
“It’s a bit stressful at the moment,” Mario reveals. “Parker won’t sleep – he’s going through a bit of a regression. We had a rough night with him last night, so we’re very tired today.”
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When new last spoke to the Essex boy and his fiancée Becky in October, the couple were busy planning their dream wedding, which was due to take place on the Amalfi Coast in Italy in May. But sadly, due to the pandemic, they were forced to postpone their nuptials until next year.
Here, Mario, 32, tells new about rearranging their big day, swapping his partying lifestyle for daddy duties and whether we’ll see him in TOWIE again…
We’re sorry to hear you had to postpone your wedding, Mario. How did you feel about that?
It was OK. Obviously, people are going through much harder stuff than having to rearrange a wedding. People are losing their jobs, not being able to pay their rent – there are so many other things that are worse in this situation than our wedding. We had that in mind, so it wasn’t the end of the world. It was upsetting, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s just a day.
Have you been able to rearrange everything?
Yes, it’s all rearranged for next year. It hasn’t been a problem – the hotel was really good, everything has been fine. I think a lot of places were expecting people to just ask for refunds, but we didn’t. Times are hard, the economy is so damaged by the pandemic, so we just asked them to transfer it to next year, for the dates we requested, so we didn’t lose any money.
That’s good. Were you hesitant to book new dates in case things flare up again?
I’ve never really lived my life as a pessimist, I’ve always been an optimist. I’d rather arrange it and then it has to be rearranged again, as opposed to not arranging it and then it gets booked up and we’ve got to wait another year.
That makes sense. Has the wedding being postponed affected your plans to start trying for another child?
Yes! We said we’d start trying pretty much immediately after the wedding, but now we’ve got to wait until next year. We’ve spoken about having another child, but obviously you don’t get pregnant straight away – it can take months of trying. We don’t want to cancel another wedding next year because of being pregnant again, like we did the first one. It has pushed back our plans by a year, but we’re just enjoying Parker for another year on his own, and I think he’ll be more helpful when it comes to baby number two.
Were you tempted to start trying for a baby during lockdown?
It’s the last thing on our minds – it’s so intense now with Parker. We always used to say it’ll be amazing when he learns to walk. But it’s so much harder – you have to keep an eye on him all the time. The stage he’s in now, he is hard work. He’s amazing, but it’s hard. I couldn’t even imagine having another child right now. We’re nowhere near that.
How would Parker feel about having to share your attention with another child?
When my friends’ babies come over, and my nieces and nephews, Parker’s really good at sharing. He isn’t really too bothered about having my attention – he’s quite a loving child, so he’ll be fine. He’ll be about three and a half, four, by the time the next one comes, so that’ll be a good age, because he’ll be helpful. If we did have another child, I’d make sure I made time for Parker. We go to see Spurs, we do things like swimming, and I’d still do that with him so he still feels special and knows we care.
Did lockdown give you a chance to spend more time together as a family?
We always used to say we wanted more time with Parker, just the three of us. I’d be in meetings and Becky would be at work, so we only really had Sundays, so we’ve been blessed with this time together. We’ll never get to have what we’ve just had, so we appreciate that more.
When we spoke to you and Becky in October, Becky mentioned she hadn’t had a night away from Parker yet. Has that changed?
We sort of realised in lockdown that we give so much of ourselves to being parents to Parker that we don’t really make enough time for each other. You almost feel bad if you go out and do stuff just the two of you – you feel like you should do everything as a family. It’s one thing we said we’re going to start doing, even if it’s just a date night. My parents have offered to take care of Parker. It’s on the agenda, but at the moment, it’s just hard.
How would you feel about leaving him?
We’ll both be fine. We’re ready for it – for a date night or going for a few drinks. Apart from his sleep, Parker’s pretty good. We’d only go somewhere down the road anyway, so if he was a problem, we could shoot back. We’re both ready for some “us” time.
Did your relationship with Becky change after you had Parker?
The first six months as a parent is the biggest test of your relationship, in my opinion. A lot of people think you have a child and it will bring you closer and it will be happy families, but it really isn’t. It pushed me and Becky to the brink, to be honest. Every day for the first six months of Parker being here we thought we were going to kill each other. You’re so tired, you’re adapting so much to something you’ve never experienced before, so in that first part, we could have broken up. She would admit that, too.
How did you overcome that?
When you get through that, you become stronger and you respect each other a lot more. I know she wants to be at home with Parker, but she also wants to be an independent woman and wants to work, and I respect that, which makes me adore her even more. At the same time, she knows I’m at home looking after our son while putting a roof over our heads, so that makes her respect me. It’s those little things that make you respect each other.
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Do you ever miss your pre-fatherhood days, when you were partying and doing PAs?
I don’t miss it at all! I wouldn’t be able to do it now. I hammered it so much when I was younger and we were doing the PAs and going out and getting drunk. Even now, when I go for a few beers with the boys, the next day I just can’t handle it. It takes three or four days to recover. I used to be out two nights on the bounce. Now, not a chance.
Well, you’ve got responsibilities now…
Exactly! We go to bed at nine, because we don’t know what time Parker is going to get up. If he gets up at three, we’ve had about six hours. If I go out the night before and I’ve got Parker the next day, it’s hard enough being sober with a full night’s sleep, let alone hungover with minimal sleep. Your whole mindset changes when you become a parent.
For sure! You moved into your new home in Essex last year. Have you completely settled in now?
Yeah, lockdown made us fall in love with the house a bit more. There are a few things we want to change and that will start happening soon. It’s a lovely home. We can see ourselves staying here for baby number two.
Would you like to stay in Essex in the long run?
It’s a tough one. Becky’s businesses are in Brentwood and Wickford, so we’ve sort of had to be here. But if the situation changes in the future, we’ll see. I like the thought of having a big house in the middle of nowhere – that’s what I would want. But we’ll see what happens in the future. It’s not a set thing for us to stay in Essex, I don’t think Essex is “the only way” any more!
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We see what you did there! Would you ever consider a return to TOWIE?
I’ve spoken to the producers, so we’ll see what happens. We’ve had the conversation, but nothing is set in stone yet. If the circumstances are right and it feels right, then yeah, I’d love to go back. Obviously my life is so different now to when I was on the show, so it would be nice to show the transition.
Would Becky and Parker join you on the show?
I’d like Parker to come on, because he’s such an achievement from where I was on the show and the way I was. As for Becky, she’s never wanted to be involved in this world – it’s just not who she is or what she’s about, so I don’t think she would. I mentioned it to her the other day and she was a bit like, “Hmm, not really. I just want to focus on work at the moment.” And I was like, “OK, fair enough.” But yeah, maybe Parker… if they can afford him!
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