Category: Little Chats

December Chat with a Dad: Alan of OMG It’s a Girl!

Tell us something about yourself (your blog) and your little ones.

I was born to Irish parents in England. Abandoned by my mother and then put into an orphanage and adopted by Americans. I now live in Ireland with my very long suffering girlfriend, two stepsons, my own son and daughter.

When not on twitter I’m full time carer to my autistic stepson.

I started the blog http://omgitsagirl.WordPress.com when I found out that the fourth child was going to be a girl. I envisioned it as a humorous look at living with a girl in a house of boys. So far the only real difference is there is PINK everywhere!

What were their birth stories like?

Not being with Mrs OMG for the births of the first two I can only say what I know about their births. The eldest stepson was an emergency section, by all accounts it wasn’t the most pleasant of births. Stepson #2 was 6 weeks premature. My first ever experience of childbirth was Buddy’s birth. It took all of 29 minutes from the midwife breaking the back waters to him being born! Curiosity got the better of me and I had to peek at the business and once the head was out. Mrs OMG took a seizure and things went a bit mental. I got queasy and sick, therefore missing the rest of the birth!

Little Miss OMG was an entirely different story! She took hours to arrive!! I’m not sure how many lives I got through on Candy Crush. The epidural meant there was no seizure this time and at 6.44 pm on the 9th of Feb last year my perfect little girl was born.

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What you wish you knew about being a Dad before becoming one?

There is nothing that can prepare you for what life with a baby you helped create is like. Having lived with the stepsons who were four and nearly three when I moved in with their mother I thought a baby would be a breeze. How wrong was I!

How do you balance your time between work/blogging and fatherhood?

Really badly!! Even with two of us at home full time. (Mrs OMG has epilepsy) It seems I never have enough time. Between normal household duties, taxi between sports and school and a very active toddler there’s just about time for coffee! It’s the blogging that suffers. There’s also my habit of breaking uninsured mobile phones! As this is my only way of blogging it slows things down.

Any favourite anecdotes of your kids?

Oh there are so many! I’m such a bad parent! Buddy will do something that I should give out to him for but I end up laughing.

This one time at band camp, (well Lidl really) a recently toilet trained Buddy announced he needed a wee. I told him to go round the side of the shop. He ran out the in door. I wasn’t quick enough and they closed on me. As I hurried round to the exit I looked out the window and saw Buddy peeing against the shop window!

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

Everything! But if you insist on one thing it’s watching them in those moments they learn something new for the first time. Even better if it’s something they’ve struggled with.

If there is anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

I’d love to be able to go for a wee or a shower on my own again! Buddy was obsessed with the shower! He was about 2 1/2 and happily playing so I told Mrs OMG I was gonna sneak off for a shower. I nearly had a heart attack when I finished washing shampoo off of my hair and found a naked Buddy had joined me!

If you were given a chance to be a stay-at-home dad, would you take it?

Technically I am a SAHD. Back in 2008 I was a supervisor on the night shift for one of the largest bookmakers. Mrs OMG had a tough pregnancy with Buddy. She was taking lots of seizures, had to go for injections to stop early labour and eventually be glued. This coincided with Stepson #2 Autisim diagnosis. I was taking more and more time off work so in the end made the decision to leave work and stay at home as full time carer.

I do miss work and certainly miss the money, but I’ve seen every milestone. First steps, first words, school sports days and concerts, not forgetting parents evenings and extra curricular activities like football matches.

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Best Advice you’ve received about Fatherhood?

The best piece of advise I was given surprisingly came from my mother. When Buddy was 2 he was running around a restaurant one lunchtime. I was getting noticeably fraught as he wouldn’t sit down. My mother said “Relax”

If you can give yourself advice before becoming a Dad, what would it be?

Enjoy every moment. They are only small for a short time.

THANK YOU SO MUCH ALAN! 

Do head over to Alan’s blog.  You can also stay connected with him through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, G+ and Pinterest.

And click here if you haven’t read last month’s Chat with a Mum.

November Chat with a Mum: Prabs of Absolutely Prabulous

Tell us something about yourself, your little ones and your blog.

Oh my goodness where do I start? I’m a day dreamer and have an ability to misplace (and generally do stupid things with) my keys that I challenge anyone to match. I’m a lifelong music obsessive (I think I’d rather go 7 days without water than music), huge film fan, beach lover (after being a hardened city girl pre kids) and born again runner (hilariously I’ve actually won my age category at a gruelling race which was possibly the biggest surprise in life given how I wanted to rip my own ears off whenever anyone mentioned running most of my life). I’m very ranty, too sweary and way too reactive in general (but hopefully the fact I’m also very friendly and will talk to anyone makes up for some of that). I can’t imagine a life without tea and toast although have amazingly curbed my cake addiction. I’m quite partial to my kids (girl of 12, boy of almost 10 and girl of almost 7) who are ridiculously well-behaved (to the point where they don’t provide much comedy material because there’s not much drama or bad behaviour…yet I still manage to yell at them almost every day. And I quite like my husband whom I met when I lived in Paris (although incredibly our parents actually only live ten minutes from each other). I started the blog partly so that I could use my language degree for something other than yelling ‘I don’t have a butler to switch the lights off after you’ 20 times a day and mainly so I had a legitimate excuse to show off my legendary talent for sarcasm. I’ve been blogging for three years and am in mild shock about how utterly clueless I still am about so much of it.

What were your children’s birth stories like?

At the risk of incurring wrath, I was totally terrified at the thought of natural birth (had been all my life) partly because of the pain but also as I had a very real fear of the baby being strangled by the cord (I think it may be because of it happening to an aunt when I was young). I was actually relieved when I was told at a 37 week scan that baby number 1 had to be a c-section although sadly it was because she was dangerously underweight, not thriving and breach. At that point I didn’t realise how much worse it can be when they take the baby out too early. It was 5pm, I had to be back in the next day and had barely bought anything as I was very superstitious about buying too many things for the baby before its birth and the last three weeks of kids-free coupledom were no longer to be! She came out super tiny and with the cord around her neck three times…

The next two were also breach and also had the cord around the neck. All three were c-sections. I probably would have had VBac for my son and younger daughter if we were still in the UK but Malta is c-section mad and the doctors wouldn’t hear of Vbac. Apart from the pain and longer recovery (and the attractive ‘shelf’ I now have on my tummy), frankly I believe in ‘better the devil you know’. All three births had their element of ‘drama’ (my second was born in the most hideous old-fashioned hospital that closed down months later and my third was born in the new hospital that opened afterwards which had fantastic facilities but racist nurses!!) The main thing is they got here safe and sound and I’m very blessed to have three utter angels.

What you wish you knew about being a mother, before becoming one?

To be honest, I never obsessed over this. Yes becoming a mum is obviously a total life-changing event but I was very involved in raising my siblings (very common in Indian culture) and did the whole nappy changing/weaning/everything duties when I was young so the practical side didn’t faze me once I became a mum. The rest of it…well, life is all about stages so I don’t feel it’s necessary to know much beforehand as long as you’ve done NCT classes and paid attention to what your pregnancy books say (and then take all of that with a pinch of salt and just wing it!). The rest of it, you’re going to learn anyway and the discovery/surprises are part of the parenting journey so I wouldn’t have wanted to know much beforehand even if I’d had a crystal ball.

How do you manage your “me” time?

Well I’ve always made sure I have it! We went out right from when our first was a few weeks old and I’m probably the only mum I know who didn’t cry the day her child started nursery. So I must admit the mummy guilt posts that crop up on linkies go over my head if I’m brutally honest as I just don’t think it’s healthy to spend your entire time with your kids. I was so happy to get some time on my own when my eldest started nursery and my son went from the age of five months as I needed a mental break to go for a coffee, do the shopping etc. My kids napped for years (not in one stretch ha ha…I mean they had daytime naps til the first two were about five!) because I needed that period during the day that was just for me to nap/watch some trashy TV. It’s not easy living somewhere with no family network or domestic help so admittedly I’m with my kids a lot but they’re at school during the day and are now old enough to stay home alone while I go for a run etc. so it’s all good.

Do you have any favorite anecdote of your little ones?

I know I’ll think of a whole bunch after this post gets published but can’t think of anything great right now! I can recall coming down one morning to find my eldest (then 18 months) on the kitchen floor covered from head to toe in rice krispies with the empty packet in her hand yet still maintaining she ‘didn’t do it’. My youngest is the one who comes out with randomness such as “My favourite part of the day was finding mice hair on the beach” (yeeeucch) or “Mum your eyeballs are so sparkly”. Lastly, I remember my brother picking hubby and me up from the airport and explaining how the kids had been while we’d been away for my 40th. There was loads to report on our eldest…but it took just a few seconds to describe our son: “As for D…well there is no problem that a banana can’t fix with that kid.”

What is it about motherhood you absolutely love?

I’m so bad at answering questions like this. That does NOT mean I don’t love my kids! I’m someone who always wanted three kids, got her three kids, does a lot for them (as is my duty) and never take for granted how lucky I was to have conceived first time around for all three with no heartache (apart from having a miscarriage with the very first) despite only getting started in my mid thirties. I love my kids to bits but for me motherhood is just a part of life so I’d have to say I absolutely love specific aspects of my kids as opposed to motherhood itself if that make sense? It’s the little moments: my 12 year old coming up to me and telling me I’m amazing or expressing admiration for a singer from the 70’s (take that Bieber!), my son who isn’t very tactile surprising me with a thank you hug and my youngest for just being so mellow and gentle and good natured.

On the other hand, if there is anything about motherhood you dislike what would it be?

The pressure to do and achieve pinterest perfect birthdays, Christmases, Halloweens etc. Most of my bug bears are about the issues society creates re parenting rather than motherhood: sexual images and messages in entertainment/music/beauty industry not to mention the device/iPad obsessed culture that makes it hard to raise kids to read books and be creative without resorting to a screen. And endlessly repeating myself because good as they are, they seem to be totally deaf the first time I ask them to do something.

What’s a typical day like for you and your children?

Well Monday to Friday is school routine and all that is involved in that. We’re lucky to live right near the beach so if we’re not up to our ears in homework and I’m not snowed under with the blog, we head there. Weekends are relaxed; they let me lie in and are very low key in terms of needing entertaining as they play with each other and are as happy staying home as they are heading out for a hike or to see friends.

Best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood/parenthood?

I don’t think I’ve ever received any personally. I’m the eldest of four so there were no older siblings and anyway I was very resistant to advice as it tended to be offered by overbearing relatives who I didn’t feel were great role models. This doesn’t really answer the question but two things come to mind: One is the famous line by Jackie Kennedy Onassis “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.” and a conversation with my brother (14 years my junior) one time when I mentioned how I didn’t want my kids to have the childhood I had. (My parents did their best by us in many ways of course but ultimately they weren’t around much as they worked long hours running a shop plus other factors.) He looked straight at me and said “You have nothing to worry about; your kids are not having the childhood you had. It’s such a privilege spending time with you seeing the mother that you are.” I’ll never forget that.

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If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming one, what would it be?

“Prabs, for pity’s sake woman, lighten up and don’t give them a hard time about the smallest things.”

One of the best things I’ve ever read about motherhood though came a few days ago from the wonderful astute Dawn of Rhyming with Wine who commented on an honest rather emotional piece I wrote for my eldest’s 12th birthday:

“Giving birth doesn’t automatically put us on a path to sainthood, it just makes us feel that we want to be so much more than we can realistically expect to be for our children. The fact that you care enough to want those things makes you the best mother in the world”

It just blew me away.

How do you manage your time, blogging/workwise and time with your family and other activities?

Well I’ve written extensively about my struggle with this on the blog actually! I came back from my blog break determined to make some changes as I couldn’t make it all work. It’s now 1.30 am so I don’t think my resolution to keep a sensible blog schedule worked. I try to get the main bulk of it done 9 til 1 three days during the week so that I can get dinner on before fetching the kids but it rarely happens. I’m trying not to blog on weekends but I do work most evenings and I hardly ever stop at 1pm during the week. The house is the thing that suffers.

Thank you so much Prabs!

You can stay in touch with her on  Facebook, Twitter and Instragram and of course do head over her blog for more of her “Prabulousness”.

And don’t forget to click here if you’ve missed last month’s Chat with a Dad.

October Chat with a Dad: Simon of Man VS Pink

Tell us something about yourself (your blog) and your little one.

I’m a stay-at-home dad to a 4-year-old girl. I’ve been home with her since she was 6- months old when her mother returned to work. I mainly blog about gender stereotypes in relation to girls. As a Star Wars & superhero fan-dad, I was frustrated at how all merchandise was being overtly categorised & labelled for boys. I wanted to call this out, as well as demonstrating how girls such as my daughter engaged with these characters and stories too. I also blog about being a stay-at-home dad, as fathers also fall prey to lazy gender stereotypes.

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What was her birth story like?

The birth went well – my wife’s waters broke in middle of night, but she waited until morning when I woke to tell me and go to hospital. Our daughter was born about 12 hours later. My wife’s comment after giving birth was “Well, that was easier than I thought it was going to be…”

Post-Birth, my wife had very high blood pressure, so I took daughter home a couple of nights to give wife a chance to sleep and help bring it down. After 5 nights both were home, but less than 24 hours later my wife was rushed to hospital with complications related to her blood pressure. It was a horribly unreal experience as my wife was in a great deal of pain – we went to hospital separately, and let’s just say I was more than half expecting to be told my wife had died. Thankfully that wasn’t the case

But my wife did stay in hospital for anther week and I took our baby mosts nights. Memories of that time are bittersweet – while the stress and upheaval of what my wife was going through was awful, in hindsight there was another aspect – I had an intense period of one-on-one bonding with our baby. Perhaps that was a key moment in subsequent decision to become a stay-at-home dad?

Eventually, all came good and my wife was back home. One thing we decided on was to give up on breastfeeding, as it removed an element of stress that helped bring her blood pressure down.

What you wish you knew about being a Dad before becoming one?


I guess one thing, which has partly motivated my blogging, is my assumptions about girls – I’m embarrassed to say I assumed they were pre-disposed to like pink, princesses, etc. I’m not sure when this opinion changed, but reading the likes of Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein (a book I highly recommend to anyone having/with a daughter) made me question that in a positive way.

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How do you balance your time between work/blogging and fatherhood?


In the early days, I would blog at weekends. I would be craving time to myself after a long week home with our child and blogging was something I did for me. The luxury of having an idea and being able to follow it through to the end was immensely satisfying after a week of half finished tasks. When she started at pre-school, then nursery, this became another important blogging time. My daughter has just started school, so that has freed up a lot of time for me blog and pursue more writing gigs. I’m also an early riser – anything past 5am is a lie in!

Any favourite anecdotes of your kid?


I shared one recently on the blog. Our daughter gets quizzed a lot by men (dads) when wearing superhero or Star Wars stuff – I think these men don’t believe a girl really can be into this stuff. It’s known as the Fake Geek Girl syndrome. Anyway, she was dressed as Rey from The Force Awakens and a guy started quizzing her about her lightsaber – but she answered every question he threw at her including how they’re built, what powers them, etc. The guy was pretty shocked she knew so much.

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What is it about fatherhood you love about?


It’s hard to pin it down. I love helping her grow. I love introducing her to new ideas and experiences. I love cuddles with her. I love what she teaches me. Being a father is something I have wanted to be for as long as I can remember, and I love being one.

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If there is anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?


The main thing I dislike about fatherhood is the way it is perceived by many. I think there is often a default in parenting to the mother. In fact, often the term parenthood and motherhood are used interchangeably. But many aspects of what people perceive as the preserve of motherhood are important aspects of my parenting and that of many other fathers.

 Best Advice you’ve received about Fatherhood?

To be honest, I can’t think of any.

If you can give yourself advice before becoming a Dad, what would it be?

Don’t worry. You’ll get better at it.

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Thank you so much Simon!

If you haven’t visited Man VS Pink, please do so now.  And you can also stay in touch with more of his musing through FB, Twitter and Instagram.

Have you read last month’s chat with a mum yet?  Do check her out here.

September Chat with a Mum: Laura of Five Little Doves

Laura of Five Little Doves Blog

Tell us something about yourself, your little ones and your blog.

My name is Laura, I’m a 36 year old Mum of five, married to Gareth and together we live in Lancashire. I am a stay at home Mum to Lewis, 12, from my first marriage, Eva 4, Megan 3 and Harrison 2. My second son Joseph would have been 10 this July but was sadly stillborn in 2006. He is a huge part of our family and we feel his absence daily.

I started my blog last year during a time when I was struggling with ongoing health issues, battling fibromyalgia, ME, and undergoing neurological investigations that were, quite frankly, terrifying for my family and I. I felt that I needed something else to focus on, something to keep my mind ticking over, and writing has always been therapeutic for me, something I enjoy and in some ways, the only thing that, other than being a Mother, has ever come naturally to me.

What were your children’s birth stories like?

In a word – FAST!! Lewis was born very quickly, just eleven minutes of established labour, and for a first labour, I realise that I was very lucky!  Joseph was an induction and a long, gruelling, emotional one at that, but again, when I got to four centimetres he was born in just a couple of minutes. Eva, Megan and Harry were induced at 35 weeks due to being such high risk pregnancies and with all three, once I reached four centimetres they were born in under two minutes. Megan developed an infection at birth and was in NICU for the first two weeks and again, Harry needed resuscitating at birth and spent two long weeks, very poorly in NICU.

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What you wish you knew about being a mother, before becoming one?

That it is the hardest job in the whole world, one which will push you to your limits, test your patience and your sanity. That there will be days when you feel you are failing, that you aren’t the parent you had hoped you would be, when as much as you love your children, you would give just about anything for ONE moment to yourself before you lose the plot entirely. But despite all that, no matter how bad things get or how hard the struggle, it will absolutely be worth it.

Mum and her two daughters.

How do you manage your “me” time?

Me time?? Remind me what that is again? I don’t think I’ve had a moment to myself since 2012! Having three under three was a huge shock to the system and now I consider myself lucky if I get to shower in peace, let alone use the toilet.

I do try to claw back some me time back when the children are in bed, working on my blog, writing, reading, watching trashy reality TV and eating way too much chocolate.

Do you have any favorite anecdote of your little ones?

Far too many to tell you about but one that happened most recently, during a disastrous shopping trip with the three youngest, was Megan pointing over at a rather large gentleman and shouting, “He’s got a big fat tummy like daddy pig!!”. Definitely a ground swallow me up kind of moment!

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What is it about motherhood you absolutely love about?

Gosh what a difficult question, and one which I could answer in a million different ways. I think my favourite thing is when the children are all together, with their little heads bowed over a game or a book, when they are snuggled up on the couch with their bodies touching, holding hands, sharing a kiss or a cuddle. It’s those moments when I look over, or I spot them from a distance, and I can’t quite believe that they are all mine. After everything we went through, all those losses and all of that sadness, to know that they are all mine, that we have the family we never dared to dream of, that has got to be the thing I love the most.

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On the other hand, if there is anything about motherhood you dislike what would it be?

Absolutely!! The sleep deprivation, the screeching, the incessant whining, the days when they just don’t listen to a single word I say? The mountains of laundry that they relentlessly produce, crayon marks on my walls, the fact that it’s a military operation just to leave the house most days.

What’s a typical day like for you and your child?

In short, hard work!! Four children was never going to be easy, but three children in three consecutive years sometimes feels impossible! We try very hard to stick to a routine as that makes life much easier, but anything can throw it, a late night, a cancellation, a last minute change of plans. We do playgroups twice a week, the girls have nursery three times a week and in between we try and get out as much as possible if the weather is fine, if not we stay home and bake, play dress up and watch Frozen back to back, whatever it takes to get through the day. When I’m not refereeing another argument or being forced to sing my part of the Anna-Elsa duet, I try to keep on top of the housework, taxi Lewis to and from the many places he needs to be, and fit in coffee and cake with friends whenever possible!

Siblings playing dress-upBest advice you’ve ever received about motherhood/parenthood?

Nobody cares but you. It’s my favourite saying and something I remind myself of often. When the kids are playing up in public and I’m dying of shame inside, when my house is a complete bomb site and I’m cowering at the door, mortified that someone will step foot into the aftermath of a day without cleaning, I remind myself that nobody cares but me. Everyone is far too busy going about their own lives, and dealing with their own kids, to notice that my hair is un-brushed, that my kids have bean juice down their t-shirts or my carpets haven’t seen a hoover all week.

If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming one, what would it be?

Trust your instinct. With my first I was so concerned with doing everything “right”. I read every book, every baby manual, hung on every word the Health Visitor spouted, and I actually ended up with severe post natal depression because of the pressure I put on myself. I wish I had known that my gut instinct was right, that nobody knew my child in the same way that I did, that the best thing I could do was simply go with the flow and find our own path, one that was best for the two of us.

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How do you manage your time, blogging and time with your family and other activities?

I try to blog when the kids are in bed, or on the rare occasion when I finally get an hour to myself. I struggle with the hypocrisy of palming off the kids so I can write about being a parent, I would much rather spend my time being a parent than writing about it. During the times when I feel that blogging is taking away from that, I take my foot of the pedal a little, sit back, re-assess my priorities and remind myself that as a stay at home Mum, the children will always come first. In that way, as much as I love to write, it is still very much a hobby.

Gaz and I spend very little time together on our own as a couple, something which we constantly promise to make more of an effort with, but in all honesty we are usually too tired, or too skint, when the opportunity arises! We tend to save up our babysitting offers for occasions we really don’t want to miss such as weddings, birthdays and anniversaries and remind ourselves that one day, when the children are grown, we will have all the time in the world!

unnamed (8)Thank you so much Laura!

For more of Laura’s stories, do head over to her blog and don’t forget to connect with her too over at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

And click here if you’ve missed last month’s Chat with a Dad.

August Chat with a Dad: Pete of M & M’s Daddy

Tell us something about yourself (your blog) and your little ones.

Well I began my blog a couple of years ago because emotionally I had reached a point where I needed an outlet for my grief after I lost my wife Mair to cancer when our son Merlin was ten weeks old and our daughter Martha was three and a half. I had (I thought) coped well for the first 2 years but a move from the house we shared and her second anniversary opened the floodgates so to speak.

I wanted to shed some light on what grief is like for a young dad bringing up children but also how the joy they bring in itself creates a balance.

People be it friends, family or otherwise were seeing a happy, smiling active person but underneath it I was curled up in a ball, in the corner of a room crying out for my wife to be back.

Martha is now seven (going on 17) and Merlin is about to turn four and they are a joy. Funny, cheeky, mad, full of personality and performance.

They have more activities than I can keep track of. We love our rugby. Martha has long since chosen to support Wales because that’s who mummy shouted for. Merlin, has of his own volition, chosen Ireland which I’m very happy about. We have the perfect Celtic balance. The girls (one in spirit) are Wales and the boys are Ireland

What were their birth stories like?

Ha ha ha – Martha was our first and I guess, as is often the case with the first, she arrived late but not before putting my wife through 6 days of labour. We had a home birth planned and my wife went into slow labour on the Monday evening…..which continued until the Saturday. I have funny images of my wife walking around the communal garden at the back of our terrace with me following her around carrying the oxygen for when the contractions came. Martha was as stubborn then as she is now at 7 and just wouldn’t turn enough so in the end we had to go to hospital and the bumpy ambulance ride was enough. She arrived very promptly and then we were back home again.

Merlin was very different because of what surrounded the entire pregnancy experience due to my wife’s cancer diagnosis.

She was induced in hospital to minimise the gap between chemotherapy but that said, the experience was a warm and wonderful one nonetheless. He arrived at exactly 8pm just as the midwife had predicted a few hours before. Both healthy, happy babies

What you wish you knew about being a Dad before becoming one?

Hmmm it’s a tricky question because my experiences of fatherhood have been of two extremes. The first, like any new dad, of the huge change it brings to your life, how identity changes, priorities change for good, for the better.

The second though is the loneliness, the isolation, the sadness of doing it on your own on a permanent basis. I know there are loads of single parents out there just like me and we do an awesome job be us male of female. Those moments when I cuddled our 10 week old, feeding him placing him in his moses basket, knowing that my wife would never again be there to do it too were heart-breaking in the extreme

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How do you balance your time between work/blogging and fatherhood?

I am very fortunate in that because I work from home I am able to get a great balance between the children, work and blogging. I’m not a prolific blogger by any means. Mine is more a case of when my head/emotions begin to spill over and I get a thought in my head and just start to type and before I know it theres 1,500/2,000 words down in front of me. It’s just how my head works.

What is great is that if the children have an activity or a club or sports or an assembly I can just be there 9/10 times and I love the joy on their faces when they see me there with the other parents, or being able to join in. Its something I am very grateful for and I think it gives me balance too because the nature of what I am talking about, what I am hearing and seeing in my work with Mummy’s Star is understandably emotionally difficult at times.

Any favourite anecdotes of your kids?

Merlin was being a bit whiny one afternoon in the car and I just said “Oh come on Merls, stop being such a whingebag”

Martha for some reason then responded to him with “Yes Merlin, stop whinging! Do you want to be put in the washing machine!”

I really should have said something responsible at this point in response to what Martha had just said but I just couldn’t stop laughing

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

I love seeing the interaction between my children, how they develop their own personalities, how what I teach them helps them develop.

Above all though I love the bond that the three of us have.

The loss of my wife has changed us all forever. I had 10 years, Martha had 3.5 years and Merlin had 10 weeks. But we bonded together to help us get through it together. Yes many people will say, but what understanding will he have with being so young when she died. He has what is explained to him. He has what he sees about her, the images of her. Martha has many memories.

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Yes there are times when we share the loss and the hurt it causes us and we’ve cried together but there is also the joy knowing how proud my wife will be of them and how they know now when they achieve something that she is incredibly proud.

There are things in life that are simply unmistakable and one of those are when a parent personality shows through in a child. I know when I see my wife in my children. Martha much more so than Merlin but he definitely has her influence too and it is so heartwarming to see and feel.

If there is anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

Doing it alone!

Don’t get me wrong, I have long since got used to it as it’s nearly 4 years since I lost my wife but each day nonetheless has heartbreak at some point. When you are happily married or in a relationship you look forward to bring your children up and watching them develop together. There are days when the kids are doing something funny and I want to shout “Mair, come here and watch this” and then there is that realisation that she can’t because she’s no longer here physically.

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Those conversations that you can’t have like “Oh she’s getting that from you” or “he looks just like you when he does that” Words can’t express how painful that feels like.

If you were given a chance to be a stay-at-home dad, would you take it?

A few years ago I would have said no because I found that the balance of parenting and going to a workplace ensured that I retained my individuality. That I was Pete, who is also a proud Dad, rather than a Dad who is also an individual called Pete if that makes sense

However because of how our life has changed against our will over the last few years I guess I now effectively am a stay at home dad to a large extent, and knowing the balance it gives me which I talked about earlier, then yes I think I’d have taken it

Best Advice you’ve received about Fatherhood?

I don’t think I ever really got advice about fatherhood because amongst our circle of friends we were probably the first to have a child.

If I were giving advice to someone about fatherhood/parenthood the thing I would say is don’t let it stop you doing anything. Yes children change your life, yes things need a bit more planning than when it was just two of you but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still do the things you did before (with a few exceptions).

I like to think that my children get to see and experience a wide range of things because I do what I want to do as much as I always have and the kids have learnt to love those things too as well as the things they enjoy

I find my children very intuitive in the sense that they know its tough without mum around for them and for me but they see what gives me peace and that peace is rather infectious

They are becoming more rounded as individuals

You can be as impromptu with children as you were without. We regularly have no plans during a half term/holiday period then within an hour. We’ve chucked a load of stuff in the car and disappeared somewhere for the day, for a night, a couple of nights, whatever

If you can give yourself advice before becoming a Dad, what would it be?

 

Enjoy the first 12 months. Yes you feel wrecked, yes you can both be at the end of your tether at times but don’t wish it away because its actually gone in an instant. Get out and do things, get the fresh air. Like I said above, do things you enjoy as well as baby

Thank you so much Pete!

Do check out his blog, you can also follow him over on FB and twitter.

And it would be lovely if you could also support Mummy’s Star, a charity founded by Pete in memory of his beloved wife.  It is the only UK charity that is dedicated in helping women and their families affected by cancer during pregnancy shortly after a birth.  Do drop by.

Click here if you’ve missed last month’s Chat with a Mum.

July Chat with a Mum: Charly of PODcast

Tell us something about yourself, your little one and your blog (age & sex).

Hi I’m Charly! I’m a business owner, blogger and photographer with 20 years experience in the marketing industry. Having spent many years working in London marketing agencies, largely at Marketing Director or New Business Director level, I set up my own business in 2012. While the focus initially was marketing and new business strategy, these days more of my time is spent helping agencies and brands with their content marketing. It’s a nice position to be in, knowing the industry and being a blogger!

Charly Dove - PODcast photo of Charly

Most people know me as Editor of multi-award nominated parent and lifestyle blog PODcast which has been around for four years now. I’m also Editor of family/adventure travel blog POD Travels, which launched in 2015, and Editor of the BritMums Photo Round-up. The Doves are a family of three living in Surrey – there’s myself, daughter ‘POD’, who was born on Christmas Day 2010, and husband Jonathan (aka ‘the POD Father’).

Charly Dove - PODcast 6 (1) What was your child’s birth story like?

It started well! As a ‘geriatric mother’ (their words not mine!), the consultant insisted POD to be born before her Christmas Day due date. While my contractions started an hour after securing a bed at the hospital, POD had other ideas taking a further 72 hours to arrive amid complications. The Salvation Army, who could be heard singing ‘Good King Wenceslas’ from outside the delivery suite, marked POD’s arrival. Having had regular scans from 5 weeks through to 38 weeks, with a detailed look at her brain and heart cavities in-between, we were relieved she was born healthy. When the midwife asked what we were going to call her, we both said ‘Poppy’ at exactly the same time and without hesitation. So Poppy she became.

What do you wish you knew about being a mother, before becoming one?

Oh gosh many things from those hazy days of being a first time parent! I remember having an endless list of questions like why doesn’t she nap, why does she cluster feed and why does she always spill up! Looking back we were pretty much winging it while ‘on the job’ and trying to figure out what makes a good parent. If I had my time again, I’d want someone to sit me down and tell me what brilliant fun kids are. We had POD late in life and I’d change that in an instant if I could turn back the clock.

Charly Dove - PODcast

How do you manage your “me” time?

Parenting, working and blogging leaves little “me time” per say but I love the great outdoors. Grabbing my camera and blowing away the cobwebs for a couple of hours works wonders. I love breathing in the fresh country air and capturing what’s around me without a care in the world. It’s a great way to gain some headspace although a massage or a facial wouldn’t go amiss either!

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Do you have any favorite anecdote of your little one?

There’s a huge selection to choose from but slamming her bedroom door while shouting “you’re an old man and I don’t like you” at the POD Father has to be up there. She was three so I’m sure we have many more gems like that to come!

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What is it about motherhood you absolutely love about?

POD’s a little adventurer and adores exploring. I love the expression on her face when she discovers something new, her excitable nature and her limitless imagination. Her enthusiasm and boundless energy are totally infectious. I’m totally biased but she’s one amazing human.

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On the other hand, if there is anything about motherhood you dislike what would it be?

We had a period where POD refused to sleep, coming downstairs umpteen times a night until 10pm, sometimes even later. She’d appear in our bed in the early hours then refuse to get up in the morning because she was so tired. It continued for six months but thankfully we found a solution by changing her routine and putting boundaries in place.

What’s a typical day like for you and your child?

During the week, it’s very much about keeping to a routine before and after school. POD has after school club until 6pm most days with the middle of the week reserved for her swimming lesson. She recently completed the six-week #TennisForKids course with the LTA too which was great. Saturdays mornings are normally fairly busy as she has gymnastics followed by Stagecoach – both of which she loves. POD has bags of energy so a day without activities, outdoor fun or a play date usually results in her going stir crazy! We do have quiet days though too with colouring, arts/crafts or cooking on the agenda. She also loves Netflix and would quite happily watch all day given half a chance!

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Best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood/parenthood?

Make time for each other every day – chat, laugh and try not to take yourself too seriously.

If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming one, what would it be?

Take on board all the advice you’re given but don’t forget what works for one child might not apply to another. Always trust your instincts, you know your child better than anyone else.

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How do you manage your time, blogging/workwise and time with your family and other activities?

Paid work always comes first so the majority of my blog content is written in the evening and occasionally before the working day. Weekends are reserved for family time whether it’s heading somewhere locally or travelling further afield. I’m used to working in a high-pressured environment with many balls in the air – inevitably things don’t always go to plan! Blogging has enabled me to explore my creativity and work on projects that may have otherwise passed me by. I truly value the community spirit and I’m a firm believer that you should always stay true to yourself regardless of what you do.

Thank you so much Charly!

You can find Charly on: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Visit PODcast and POD Travels.

Click here if you’ve missed last month’s Chat with a Dad.

June Chat with a Dad: Grant of Looking for the Postman

Tell us something about yourself, your blog and your little ones:

Historically, I’ve been involved mostly with the music industry. I worked with bands and artists doing remixes. I also worth with MTV, New Line Cinema, Electronic Arts and toured / DJ’d with countless bands. I still dabble with music, writing original tunes and soundtracks for short film.
In recent years, I started blogging. Initially, it was observations about online competitions. It eventually expanded into a blog on family life, told with tongue firmly in cheek. If you’re looking for advice on how to be a better person while nurturing your family, then I’m probably not the best place to visit. If, however, you are interested in humorous views on things that Dads encounter on a daily basis, you should drop by.

My family blog pieces are inspired by my Mrs, Emma, and our combined total of four kids. Rachel (my step-daughter) is about to turn 18. Jack is 13 and lives with his mum. Jenny & Eve are 4 and 3 and could power a blog by themselves with their antics.

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What were their birth stories like?

I’ve written in depth about the births of Jenny, Eve & Jack. (Given that Rachel was born eleven years before I knew Emma, it would have been extremely awkward if I had been there!)

 Jack was born C-section. He went breach at the last possible moment and has been just as contrary for his entire life!

 Jenny went back-to-back and the docs were hanging around with an emergency C-section kit but didn’t get to use it. Emma got two horrible cuts and out she came.

Eve was trouble. Emma’s waters broke after 30 weeks. She was hospitalised because of risk of infection, but managed to hold on for another 5 weeks. Trooper. Eve was 5lb 5oz and wouldn’t eat. She dropped down to 5lbs and went to a specialised ward before she changed her mind and decided to eat after all. She was a long baby. Purple and not an ounce of fat on her.

What you wish about being a dad before becoming one?

I wish I’d been better with money before I had kids. I also wish I had learned about woodworking and suchlike so I could have made things for my kids – cots, beds etc. I didn’t appreciate things like that when I was young. Nevermind. There’s still time to make them things as they grow up!

How do you manage your time between work, blogging and fatherhood?

I try my best to write blog posts when the kids aren’t there. I’ve got to be in a particular mood to write. When I get into the zone, I can write quickly, but that level of concentration just isn’t possible with the kids around, nor is it fair to expect them to be quiet so I can blog!

How do you manage child-free time with your wife/partner?  Do you have date nights?

We cook for each other all the time. We do try, on a Saturday, to wait until the kids have gone to bed and then we cook something special. Even better is a date night where we go out for a meal. It’s all about sharing good food with the person you love!

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Any favourite anecdotes of your kids?

Jenny’s comments have me in stitches. She just waffles on and comes out with gems. Age 3, when talking about her little sister, she said “Eve is just an egg with shoes on”. When she saw a black and white cow, she described it as a “horse panda”.

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What is it about fatherhood you love about?

The best things about fatherhood are the relationships you develop. Watching my kids grow, and sharing that with my wife. Experiencing things through their eyes and watching as they discover new experiences. I spent almost all my time at Disneyland Paris watching my kids, wide-eyed, and loving it.

If there’s anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

I dislike:
- being woken during the night.
- when the kids finish their dinner and it’s something I like so I can’t have the leftovers.
- arguments & having to put a child on the naughty spot.
- when a child hurts themselves, falls or cries.
- discovering that one of the girls has shoved nappy pants in with the laundry but only after its been through the wash and exploded.
- nits.

If you were given the chance to be a stay-at-home dad, would you take it?

Yes! I’ve been self-employed and worked from home before. If I could be a combination of a self-employed writer / composed and stay at home dad, then that would suit me perfectly.

Best advice you’ve received about fatherhood?

Not advice, per se, but I do take inspiration from other parents. Everybody remembers their own parents and makes their own judgements on what they remember. So, there’ll be things you want to retain from your own parents and some things you want to do differently.
 Out with that, my role model would be Emma’s father, Ray. He’s so patient with the children, self-less and generous. He just immediately says ‘yes’ whenever anything is asked of him and always says the right thing.

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If you could give yourself advice before becoming a dad, what would it be?

Advice?
 Um, don’t worry about your kid’s behaviour too much. At a young age, everything is a phase.
 Be patient. If something is stressing you out, that’s your reaction to a situation. Since the reaction is yours, you can control it. Take a moment, a deep breath and then re-evaluate. 
Remember that your kids only get one childhood. Do everything to make it the best that you can.

Thank you so much Grant!

If you enjoyed getting to know more about the dad behind the blog Looking for the Postman, do check out his blog for more of his musings.

You can also follow him over at Facebook, twitter, G+ and Youtube

And if you’ve missed last month’s chat wit a mum, do come and have a read.

May Chat with a Mum: Tamsin of Chasing Esme

I admit I only feature bloggers whom I really read and follow over at Chats with Mums and Dads, so when the lovely Tamsin of Chasing Esme got in touch early this year, it was actually refreshing to say yes!  After all, I’ve never featured a young mum before (no offence meant to the past chats with mums, and it’s stimulating to hear the fresh voice of a young mum compared to ehem a mum in her 40s like me 😉  And like I keep saying, I do love discovering new bloggers especially when they turn out to be a wonderful read.

Grab a coffee or tea, and let’s find out more about this lovely young mum:

Tell us something about yourself and your family.

My name is Tamsin Mathias, and I’m a 20-year-old mum of one, living in sunny Pembrokeshire in West Wales.

By day, I work as a journalist for a newspaper entitled The Pembrokeshire Herald, and a news reader for a radio station called Herald Radio. By night, I’m a lifestyle blogger for Chasing Esme!

I’m the other half of a punk-rocker called Al, who is lead singer and guitarist in Trunk Shot, and we’re lucky enough to have a beautiful 1-year-old daughter called Esme, who is the inspiration for my blog and many other things!

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What was your birth story like?

I ran into some complications near the end of my pregnancy after having none at all. My due date was February 1, 2015, and that night I started having Braxton Hicks. I thought I was going into labour, but as morning came the contractions went away.

This repeated for two more nights, and I realised that my waters had started leaking. After contacting the midwife, I was booked in to be checked over at the hospital.

It was confirmed that my waters were leaking, and I was booked to be induced at 8am on Thursday, February 5. However, Esme had other plans, and at 2am, my waters broke. I felt, and I swear I heard, a definite ‘pop’. After running to the toilet, I realised there was meconium in my waters (baby’s first poo).

I didn’t realise that your waters leaked continuously, so when we arrived at the hospital, I walked around with Al, stopping after a few paces due to contractions, leaving behind me a little yellow trail of amniotic fluid. I felt like Hansel and Grettel!

After writing in my birth plan I wanted gas and air and pethidine only, I demanded an epidural at 3cm dilated. I managed to get a few hours kip during labour, and gave birth to my beautiful brown-eyed girl at 17.44 on February 5, 2015.

What do you wish you knew about being a mother before becoming one?

I wish someone had told me all of the grotty things that happen once baby arrives rather than sugar coating it. Not with the baby, but with your own body.

For starters, I didn’t realise that your belly didn’t go back right away. People had told me that I’d “snap right back”, and that they managed to give birth and “skip out of the hospital in my size 8 jeans.” I thought this would be possible for me, so felt a real shock when I looked down and saw what looked like a sagging, deflated balloon.

I wish that someone had told me how sore you would be “down there.” It felt like I was sitting on shards of glass every time my behind touched any kind of surface, and I was devastated at what I saw when I took a look with a mirror!

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In terms of babies, I wish someone had told me that sometimes they just like to cry all day, whether they’ve been fed, changed and winded or not!

How do you manage your “me” time?

I’m very lucky to have such a wonderful mother-in-law called Nanny Jill, who looks after Esme in the day. Esme also stays at Nanny Jill’s every Wednesday night, so that Al and I can have a bit of time away from parenting, and more time spent playing on the PS4 together.

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Normally, Esme goes to bed between 7pm and 8pm, so we manage to watch a few episodes of our favourite TV shows, topped off with playing either Grand Theft Auto V or Destiny: The Taken King on PS4!

Do you have a favourite anecdote of your children?

We realised when Esme was born that she was tongue tied, and after much research, decided to get it snipped when she was two weeks old.

A few seconds and it was over. Esme handled it extremely well, whereas I found it difficult not to shed a tear!

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After the procedure we were put into a side room, and had to stay for half an hour to give her a bottle to make sure she was feeding okay. As I was feeding her, I noticed she was damp. Now, I have no idea when this happened, because she seemed to be clean one minute and filthy the next, but she was plastered in muck from her waist down.

But it wasn’t everywhere, it was in splodges! A bit on a toe, some on a knee, and absolutely filling the nappy she had on.

I thought I’d better tackle it quickly, however I hadn’t packed a spare change of clothes. I undressed her, and stared at her for about 30 seconds in utter shock, because I had no idea where to start! In the end, I armed myself with a load of baby wipes and went for it.

Al drove off to Tesco (which is quite a way from the hospital) to buy her some new clothes, while I tried to clean up the never ending stink coming from Esme!

It wasn’t very funny at the time, but now I look back and giggle at my naive self. Who travells 45 minutes away with a baby and doesn’t bring everything except the kitchen sink?

What it is about motherhood that you absolutely love?

Feeling loved! Esme brings with her huge amounts of cuddles, kisses and laughter, and she brings me so much joy! I love being part of a family and watching her play with Al. She’s a complete Daddy’s girl!

al and es

She learns something new every day, and never fails to make me laugh. She makes me proud to be her mum.

On the other hand, is there anything about motherhood you dislike?

Judgy people! I don’t understand why mums like to judge other mums. I don’t always dress Esme in what’s deemed to be girly clothes, mainly because I’m not girly, and I like to dress her like me!

Esme’s typical outfit is jeans, paired with either a superhero top, a Thomas and Friends t-shirt or something to do with music. Someone had the cheek to say that if I’d had a boy, I would be looking at dresses.

It’s not just clothes – people will judge you on just about anything.

What’s a typical day like for you and your little one?

If it’s a weekday, we’ll all be up and out of bed around 7am and out the door for 8am. I’ll drop Al off to work before continuing on to Nanny Jill’s house, where Esme will have her breakfast while I get ready for work.

I’ll be off out the door for 9am, and I won’t see her again until 5.30pm.

However, if it’s the weekend, we’ll be up around 7am as usual, and have breakfast for around 8.30am, followed by a bath, bottle and morning nap. She normally sleeps for around 45 minutes, and depending on the weather, we’ll either have a lazy day playing with her favourite bear, or we’ll go out to visit family members (with bear in tow).

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood?

When I started weaning Esme, I was told: “Watch the baby, not the clock.” I was always worried about how much Esme should be eating, and was concerned that it was taking a long time to get food down her.

However, after lots of patience and persistence, Esme gobbled down her food! I stopped looking at how long it took to feed her, and instead looked to her to tell me whether she wanted more or had had enough.

If you could give yourself advice about becoming a mother, what would it be?

It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to feel like things are all a bit much and that you’re struggling, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help.

There will be bad days, and there will be good. And, there will be days where you feel so happy that you could burst. Parenting is a fantastic experience, even if we do put ourselves through hell! We need to remember to look after ourselves, as well as our little ones.

It’s easy to forget about yourself when all you can think about is your little bundle of joy!

How do you manage your time, blogging/workwise and time with your family and other activities as well?

I’m not quite sure! Most of my blogging is done very late at night, leading into the early hours of the morning, whilst sat on the sofa in the living room. I should probably invest in a desk or something.

Family time is mostly had on the weekends. I don’t think that Esme misses out at all, because she stays with family 24/7! Any activities we do, such as going to the beach or the park is done on a Saturday or Sunday, weather permitting!

Thank  you so much Tamsin!

Do check out this young mum’s blog.

You can also connect with her over at twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

And if you haven’t had the chance to read last month’s chat with a dad, come and have a read here.

April Chat with a Dad: Danny of Danny UK, the Bearded Blogger

I have been following Danny’s blog for some time now but have only sort of gotten to know him since joining the blogger groups on Facebook and I must say he truly is a genuinely nice guy, especially since he has kindly answered and helped with some technical questions about blogging.  And no, I’m not writing this all down just because it’s April Fools Day, definitely not a prank! 😉

So come and have read and find out more about the dad behind the blog, Danny UK, the Bearded Blogger.

Tell us something about yourself (your blog) and your little ones.

Me?  I’m a dad-of-four living in Essex in love with a mum-of-tea living on the Wirral.  The blog? It’s been around in various forms since 2004, so this is the 12th year in a row that I have blogged.  My kids?  Well my four were born in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006 whereas the stepkids were born in 2005 and 2007. They all get on better than they could do, and each of them make me smile in many different ways.  I’m lucky to have such a great family.

 DannyUK kids and step kids

What were their birth stories like?

Well I can’t speak about the stepkids as I wasn’t there, for obvious reasons.  My kids were all planned C-Section due to complications that my (now ex-) wife, Mel, suffered with a previous birth and ultimately lost a baby aged just a few days old.  That means that I’ve never done the whole “in labour” thing, and never had to rush to hospital with the risk of getting amniotic fluid on the car upholstery!  All four of our births were fairly simple affairs.  We rolled up to the hospital on a Wednesday morning at around 6.30am and got booked in.  Three of the kids were delivered before 10am and one was delivered in the afternoon after being bumped down the list by more urgent cases.  There was never any of the normal stress associated with birth as the doctors and nurses were keen to keep a close eye on Mel due to the previous birth issues, and that was the case with all four kids.

What you wish you knew about being a Dad before becoming one?

I wish I had realised how kids can affect a relationship.  I think that I was so worried about trying to be a good dad that it never occurred to me that each baby added an extra weight to us.  All I remember from the early years is a constant blur of being on the go, whether that was with the kids or it was trying to bring in enough money to pay the bills.

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

It’s far easier now that Mel and I are divorced, and now that the kids are getting older, unfortunately.  The kids stay with me every other weekend, though they are at an age when all they really want is someone to taxi them about more than to sit down and play games which was the case a few years back.  I have always worked during the week, and historically have had jobs that finish past 8pm.  That fits in well these days with the kids as I don’t have them during the week, so I can work as late as I need to.

How do you manage child-free time with your wife/partner? Do you have date-nights?

When I was married to their mum, we didn’t get any child-free time together.  The closest we ever got was time alone when Mel would take the kids somewhere on a Saturday morning and I would return the favour the following day.  Finding someone to babysit four kids is incredibly hard. These days we are both loved up with other people, and because we have the kids on different days, we both get to spend time alone with our other halves.  As I said above, having kids put such a strain on us as a couple just through sheer circumstance that I’m surprised we lasted as long as we did.  Bizarrely, though, I wouldn’t change any of it for anything.

Any favourite anecdotes of your kids?

Loads!  But when I get asked, can I ever remember any?  Of course not!  There was the time when we were potty-training middle daughter and couldn’t figure out why she had green poo… until we noticed a missing green crayon and traces of it in her mouth where she’d eaten it.  There was another time that our youngest daughter, still in infants, declared that she wanted to be a cat when she grew up.  Even in recent years we’ve had conversations from the kids that have included phrases like “why are they called buildings when the actual building work has finished?  Shouldn’t they be called ‘builts’ instead?” and “If Cinderalla’s slipper fitted on her foot so perfectly that the prince was able to find her by that method, why did it slip off of her foot in the first place?”.

DannyUK kids

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

I love that my kids make me proud.  I think that is probably a fairly egotistical answer, but they are remarkably well-adjusted and polite kids considering they come from a broken home.  I love the fact that I can see elements of me in them; the way they act, or the way that they approach certain things.  Being a parent is probably the hardest job in the world, and it brings with it a whole world of hurt, worry and problems.  But by God it’s great too.

If there is anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

I hate the stereotypes that mothers are more natural parents than dads, but I can’t say that it effects me much.  If there is one thing that I really dislike about being a dad, it’s the worry that comes with it.  We live in a – frankly – shitty world, and though I’m confident that I can take care of myself, I have to trust that my kids will get through life unscathed as I can’t live their lives for them.  I don’t think it’s coincidental that since becoming a dad I have tended to steer away from watching the news.

If you were given a chance to be a stay-at-home dad, would you take it?

Back in the day, yes.  When the kids were babies and toddlers, and I was involved in their day-to-day lives by virtue of living with them, I’d have loved it.  It was never, ever a financially viable option though.  Leaving Mel was the hardest thing I have ever done.  Not because of the trauma of separation and divorce, but because I went from seeing and being with the kids every day to spending time with them just once a week.  It was heartbreaking.  It was difficult.  But over time, you adjust.  These days, many years down the line, I’m sadly not used to having them full time.  I’m not sure I’d cope as easily as I did back in the day.

Best advice you’ve received about Fatherhood? 

I grew up without a father figure in my life, so I never really had anyone passing down fatherly advice.  I tend to look back on how my friend’s dad treated us all growing up.  I spent so much time at their house in my teens that I was virtually an honorary member of their family, and I always remember his dad being warm and friendly.  Always welcoming, and always there to drive us all about whenever we needed it.  As he says even today, he would rather know we were safe than to not bother and risk something happening.

If you can give yourself advice before becoming a Dad, what would it be? 

Relax. You will take to fatherhood without a problem. You’ll learn that there are bigger worries than holding a baby or changing a nappy.  You might want to start saving some money, though…

Thank you so much Danny!

And if you’ve missed last month’s Chat with a mum, you can have a read here.  As for past chats, feel free to have little peek over here.

Do head over to Danny’s blog now.

You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, G+, and Pinterest.

March Chat with a Mum: Fiona of Coombe Mill

If you are a UK Parent Blogger, chances are you’ve already heard of Fiona of Coombe Mill. Apart from running the lovely must-visit self-catering cottages specifically made for families in Cornwall, she also writes about country living in her blog and hosts the famous #countrykids linky which I’m a follower of.  Grab a cup of tea or coffee you lovely folks, and get to know the lovely woman behind Coombe Mill:

Tell us something about yourself and your children (age & sex)

Hi I’m Fiona, married to Nick, or Farmer Nick as all the children here on holiday call him. I’m a full time Mum to our 6 children, working full time at our holiday business and squeezing a little blogging and social media into my spare time, that’s a lot of full time jobs in one but thankfully I thrive on very little sleep. My children are all coming up to birthdays but are currently 17, 15, 13 and 11, the 11 being my triplets. Only the youngest (by minutes) is a girl so she and I are rather outnumbered in our household.

Family Team from Daily Mail

What were your children’s birth stories like?

I can sum my birth stories up as long, boring and conventional right up to the triplets. Each was 48 hours of hell as far as I’m concerned but reading the stories of others I know I was actually very lucky and felt right as rein straight after giving birth. I even took the older children to a 2 year olds birthday party in the afternoon after giving birth to my 3rd in the morning, so yes I was lucky. The triplets on the other hand were a pain free c section; though I still remember lying there watching the reflection in the rim of the ceiling mirror and seeing a distorted view of what was happening inside me the other side of the curtain! I was kept in with them for 3 weeks as they were born at 33 weeks and only tiny. It was only when I came home and had to instantly be on hand for the older children and the business I realised what a rest hospital was! Poor Farmer Nick had been amazing back home on his own with the other 3 children and the business in that time and having to furnish our first Scandinavian lodge alone; it still has a very minimalistic male touch to it! As for the next 2 years with 6 children under 6 and the business, I have only limited memory; survival of each day was my only goal!

KF2-2002

KF2-2002

What you wish you knew about being a mother before becoming one?

Oh everything! I didn’t even know how to change a nappy, I was as clueless as anyone could be and I wish I had put my first down more, sterilized everything less, and accepted every offer of help I turned down. I wised up with subsequent children. I think the triplets almost brought themselves up and I never sterilized a thing, they were my most healthy babies!

How do you manage your “me” time?

I’m addicted to fresh air and exercise. I can’t manage as much as a day indoors. I sneak an hour mid day most days to go for a run, cycle or swim or surf, often with a friend or with one of my teens if it’s after school or just on my own to think. It is one of the biggest benefits of working from home, having the freedom to take a break when I feel I need one. When the children were tiny I’d wheel the pram round my running route.

Do you have any favorite anecdote of your children?

Oh plenty, but I think the thing I find most amusing and annoying is never knowing ‘who did it’. Whatever the misdemeanor it is always “I didn’t do it” I” I saw ….” I”I wasn’t there” finding out who broke something or ate something I was saving etc is impossible, they cover for each other no matter what and Nick and I don’t stand a chance. I think it is probably a big family thing.

What is it about motherhood you absolutely love about?

I cherish the sense of belonging to a big family and of loving and being loved. The family bond is so very important to me.

On the other hand, if there is anything about motherhood you dislike about what would it be?

My biggest dislike is the 11 – 13 age when the children go through puberty, the mood swings and aggression is tough and for a while I feel I’m losing them, I now know it is a phase and to just love them and give them the space they need and they come back to you, the things they say along this journey can be hurtful but they don’t mean it. Fear not if you’ve not yet reached this stage, they don’t all go through it in such an obvious way but at least half of mine have and the triplets are right in it now. Like the terrible twos, there are of course lovely days too at this stage, it is just an emotional roller coaster.

What’s a typical day like for you and your kids?

Our days change throughout the year with the changing needs of the business, all the kids have jobs around the farm on different days though it is fair to say they do enjoy time off in the holidays except our busy Saturday changeover when they are all needed.

KF2-2002

KF2-2002

Best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood/parenthood?

Be consistent, make rules you can stick to and follow them through.

If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming one, what would it be?

Use your intuition, do what feels right, take advice from others but don’t feel bound to anyone else’s word, every child and parent are different and there is no one rule that fits all; do what works for you and your child.

How do you manage your time, blogging/workwise and time with your family and other activities as well?

The age old work life balance! We have family time over dinner every night, meals often take an hour now as with teenagers there is plenty of humour, banter and debates that take place around our dining table, and this is our daily family catch up time. In summer family trips out are much harder as changeover and business needs take over, however we try for a family outing on a Sunday between the animal feeding and even train rides then in the winter close down period we value our weekends together. My blogging time is either mid week while the kids are at school and the guests out for the day or late in the evening as I’m a bit of a night owl.

Thank you so much Fiona!  

And if you’re planning to visit North Cornwall over the Easter break and looking for a place to stay with your family, why not stay at Coombe Mill?  It’s nothing like your usual holiday self-catering cottages – it’s a working farm and Fiona and her lovely family have fun  activities planned for your little ones that will surely make your holiday even more special. 

Click here to visit Fiona’s blog and if you haven’t read last month’s chat with a Dad, do have a read here

Cuddle Fairy