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.
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?”.
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!
Do head over to Danny’s blog now.