Tag: author

December Chat with a Dad: Ben of Goodbye Pert Breasts

Ben Wakeling, Dad and author behind the popular blog Goodbye Pert Breasts: Diary of a Newborn Dad to which he turned into a bestselling book of the same title not to mention the many books he penned after as well.  Yes, I too wonder where he gets the time to write all those in spite having three kids and a regular job!  Pure genius that’s what!  Read on to find out how he does it all.

Tell us something about yourself and your little ones.

I’m a dad of three – two boys and a girl who already has me wrapped around her little finger! I’m 31, which is perhaps on the younger age range for most dads with three children; I was changing nappies and wiping sick off my arm with a handful of wet wipes whilst most other people my age were out clubbing! But I’m going by the life begins at 40 rule, and if I get to 40 and life doesn’t begin there’s going to be trouble.

Seriously, though, it was always our intention to have children young. When the children are old enough to be a bit more independent we wanted to still be young and agile enough to have a life of our own. We might just have to take some Tena pads with us wherever we’re going!

My two boys are Isaac (8) and Noah (5). They’re like chalk and cheese: Isaac is intelligent, loves history and is a complete nerd. Noah isn’t the sharpest knife in the box but has so much energy and charisma he’ll always land on his feet whatever he does. Jemima is just 3 but she already knows how to get me to do whatever she wants! She’s hilarious and is such a daddy’s girl.

What were your little ones birth stories like?

They were all pretty straightforward, but that’s just coming from me – I didn’t do any of the work! I was a bit useless during the first birth: I felt a bit helpless and at one point broke a Digestive into quarters and put them on the pillow next to my wife’s face so she could just turn her head and eat a bit when she wanted. She told me afterwards it was the dumbest, most irritating thing I’ve ever done.

Thankfully there were no scare stories. Isaac and Noah were both delivered using just a TENS machine as pain relief. By the time Jemima came around my wife had decided that she wanted to take everything the NHS had to offer, so she had an epidural. Apparently, it was brilliant!

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

That it would turn you completely soft. I’ve never been a particularly manly man, but before having kids I’d rarely cry. Now, though, I start blubbing at those charity adverts with the sad donkeys.

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

I have a standard 9-5 day job, so it’s fairly easy to split my time. I do have to work most evenings, but I’ll wait until the kids have gone to bed. If I do have to work overtime I’ll make sure I get into the office early instead of staying late – I hate getting home after the kids have gone to sleep, and they’ve not seen me all day.

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

Now my children are a little older we’re finding that we have a bit more time to ourselves – they are happy to stay overnight at their grandparents’, and so whilst we don’t take the mick we do try and have a few evenings a month to ourselves. But often there’s no need to make grand gestures to have date nights; it’s not all about candlelit dinners and romantic meals. A date night can be as simple as watching a good film with a bottle of wine in those few minutes when all three children are asleep!

Any favourite anecdotes of your little ones?

It’s weird – my kids make me laugh every day but it’s difficult to bring a particular story to mind! There was one time when Noah tried to take himself to the toilet to do a poo but ended up making a huge mess – I even found a couple of turds in the bath!

Perhaps not the most endearing story…but like I say, all of the kids do or say daft and hilarious things every day. They’re exhausting, but there’s never a dull moment!

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

Watching the kids grow up has been amazing, and now they’re all old enough for us to have little conversations. They ask some weird and wonderful questions (how much water does an ant need to take a bath in?), and it’s fun to try and figure out the answer. When they laugh, I laugh, no matter how bad a day I’ve had. There’s not many people who can do that.

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

The lack of freedom is something which took a lot of adjusting to. I can handle the lack of sleep, and we’re scraping by with the financial squeeze that children bring, but now and again the inability to do something as straightforward as nip to the pub on a nice evening can become quite frustrating. Instead I just drink at home – once the children are asleep, of course!

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

No. It sounds awful, but as much as I love being a dad, I’m not cut out for full-time parenting. I love my children; but they can be exhausting and stressful, and I just don’t have the patience to keep up with them. Some Sunday evenings after a loud, raucous weekend I find myself longing for the peace and quiet of my office! I think there’s a lot of pressure on parents to pretend like they live in some kind of blissful existence where their wonderful children are a constant blessing, but it’s often just not the case.

Best Advice you’ve ever received about Fatherhood?

Don’t be afraid to give yourself a bit of time every now and then. Parenting is an all-consuming, often exhausting task, and being immersed in the parenting business 24/7 can end up having negative effects, I think: you become stressed, frustrated, and as a result your parenting suffers. So, even if it’s just a case of walking the long way home if you have to nip out to the shops just so you have an extra few minutes to enjoy a bit of quiet, that’s okay – whether you’re a mum or a dad.

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

It sounds cliché, but I’d tell them to take a step back every now and then and take it all in. It seems like yesterday that I was holding my eldest for the first time. He’s 8 now, and I don’t know where the time has gone!

Thank you so much Ben!

And if you’ve missed last month’s chat with a mum, click here to have a read.

And here for a catch-up on past Chats with Mums and Dads.

April Chat with a Dad: Scott of Snoozing on the Sofa

It may be April Fool’s today, but there’s definitely nothing foolish about self-published author, Scott Nagele and Dad behind the blog  Snoozing on the Sofa.  If you haven’t discovered his blog yet, this is a good introduction, think of it as snippets, the kind of writing to expect and if you’re one of his many followers, you might just get to know him a little bit more though this month’s Chat with a Dad.

Tell us something about yourself and your little ones.

I got into this baby-making biz late. I was over 40 when my first son was born. Now, I have three sons, and I’m still over 40, only slightly more so. If you want to start a family at such an advanced age, you should find a mate half your age. Just kidding, my wife is not half my age (anymore).

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My boys are six, almost three, and almost one. They show no regard for my old age and climb up and down me as if I were a teenager. Since they regularly stomp on parts of me that make me squeal a prepubescent high note, you can understand their confusion.

What were your little ones birth stories like?

I’ve blogged about them all, but to summarize: the first one almost put me in the hospital. True, we were already in the hospital, but there was no bed for me. There should have been, as seeing my wife get hooked up for the epidural made my legs awfully wobbly.

The second time, most of the frightening stuff happened before we even got to the hospital, including my wife attempting to exit the car in the midst of a busy intersection because she needed fresh air, RIGHT NOW!

By the third one, we were finally learning how to do this thing. Nobody swooned and nobody became a menace to oncoming traffic, so it goes down as our best effort.

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

The tips are horrible. I have become the head waiter for the family, not only serving meals, but also fetching juice from the fridge, rushing for a napkin before it’s too late, replacing all the utensils that have been dropped on the floor, bringing a snack, bringing a different snack for the kid who didn’t get to pick the first one, cleaning away dirty dishes before the baby pulls them down, and a host of other errand-boy tasks. Occasionally, my generous customers will treat me to a thank you. But I’m always welcome to pick at a cold dinner in between assignments.

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

That’s easy. I don’t. I work a full time job. My wife has a part time job where she picks up floating shifts. Day care for two, sometimes three, children costs more than her job is worth. So when she gets a shift, I stay home with the kids. I use vacation time or make it up evenings and weekends, so I’m either at work or with my kids most of the time. Both get plenty of me, so I don’t bother about balance.

How do you manage childfree time with your wife? Do you have date-nights?

That’s funny. Since our first child was born, I think I’ve had exactly two childfree moments with my wife, and they both resulted in other kids, so we try and stay away from that now.

We don’t have regular date nights. We have no relatives near us, so most babysitting costs us. We usually just take the boys to the restaurant with us and let the nice people at the next table help us babysit. It’s cheaper for us and gives our new acquaintances a more fulfilling dining experience.

Any favourite anecdotes of your little ones?

Of course, but I’ve already blogged the best of them. The little items that have escaped mention on the blog are things like a few years ago when my oldest wanted to go to the movies to see Diarrhea of a Wimpy Kid.

What is it about fatherhood you love?

There are so many things, but one of my favorites is the sound of my boys’ laughter. I love it when I make them laugh and I love it when they make each other laugh. It’s also great when they make me laugh. They have some pretty good jokes for young pups.

They have some bad jokes too, and sometimes it’s difficult not to laugh at these as well. I do my best to resist this temptation because one of a father’s primary duties is to dissuade his children from the path that leads to third-rate humor.

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

The thing that annoys me most is probably not having time to tackle routine tasks in anything like a prompt manner. It’s hard to mow the lawn when you are alone with a two-year-old and an infant. My wife and I both have to be home for this kind of work to get done, and then we have to compete for time to do our work. Imagine: a competition to see who gets to do chores! Forget about date nights; I need a babysitter so I can shovel the sidewalk.

I also don’t like having to hide all of my best sweets until after the kids are asleep. I’m too old to be eating cupcakes at all hours of the night.

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

I already do this part time, and that’s plenty. Maybe when the baby is a little older I’d be more willing, but merely keeping track of the whereabouts of an active crawler for eight hours straight saps all my strength. Plus, there aren’t many daytime sports on TV during the week.

When they are all old enough to be away at school all day, I would definitely reconsider my answer.

Best Advice you’ve ever received about Fatherhood?

“Let them eat cake!” Okay, so she wasn’t necessarily talking about parenthood specifically, but it’s still useful fathering advice on many different levels.

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

If you’re going to nap on the couch, lie on your stomach or wear a cup.

OR

Don’t waste more than 10 seconds searching for a pair of matching baby socks.

Thank you so much Scott!

Now if you’ve liked what you’ve read here, head over to Snoozing on the sofa for more of Scott’s ramblings on fatherhood.

He also has another blog where he talks more about his work as a writer and other non-parenthood related topics.

And of course, click here if you’ve missed last month’s chat with a mum.

March Chat with a Mum: Reneé of Mummy Tries

I can’t believe it’s March already, spring is definitely just around the corner.  It’s unbelievable that winter is finally almost over – thank goodness for that!

Here at Chats with Mums, I’m excited to introduce to you guys (for those who haven’t heard or read her blog yet), the lovely woman behind the blog Mummy Tries … she really does (love her blog name!), if that alone doesn’t get you hooked, I don’t know what will 😉 … So without further ado, sit back, preferably with a cup of tea or coffee, come and have a read:

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

I’m Reneé, wife to Andy and mummy to Polly (5), Clara (3) and Freddy (1). I’m also a blogger, part time PA, real food lover/wannabe chef and published author of self-help book Become the Best You.

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What was your children’s birth story like?

Polly’s birth was pretty horrendous it has to be said. We wanted a natural home birth, but it didn’t work out that way. After five days in early labour and 12 hours in established labour she got stuck and we were blue lighted to the hospital. She was delivered a few hours later by forceps, and I ended up with thirty odd stitches. I was so in love with her and glad she was here at last that it didn’t strike me until much later how awful her birth was. Hats off to the amazing home birth midwife who faught the hospital to ensure I received an epidural once we arrived, even though I was 9cm dilated! It allowed me enough respite to be able to push for two hours. Without it I’m convinced I would have had an emergency c-section.

Second time around I fared up much better, and Clara was delivered naturally in the midwife led birthing unit at our local hospital after a 12 hour labour. Although I still had to push for an hour and a half. Freddy came into the world within three hours of arriving at the birthing centre, and after just 20 minutes of pushing. My husband joked that it was a shame we were stopping at three because I’d got so good at giving birth!

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

In my humble opinion absolutely nothing can prepare a woman for motherhood. I had a lot of friends who had babies already when I was pregnant with Polly, and I’d worked out a lot of things I wanted to do and didn’t want to do with her. I had a great first time experience but once Clara came along life became much more challenging, and some things that worked with one child just didn’t work with two. This intensified again when Freddy came along. I don’t have a set formula or rule book. I just take each day as it comes and always try my very best. It’s all anyone can do really.

How do you manage your “me-time”?

When the girls were little we’d take annual leave from work, send them to nursery, and have nice lunches, spa days, watch a film. Do all the things it becomes impossible to do once you have kids and no babysitters on hand. I’ve not had much in the way of me time since having Freddy, but that will change now that he’s one and not quite so attached to the boob.

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Last year I had two little snippets of me time: my hubby watched the kids while I had a colonic hydrotherapy treatment (not everyone’s idea of fun!), and I also had a fab long lunch with one of my besties just before Xmas. Hubby and I have been talking about a spa weekend at some point this year, and leaving the kids with his parents overnight for the first time ever.

Do you have a favourite anecdote of your little ones?

During Xmas 2013 Clara, who wasn’t quite two at the time, referred to it as ‘pippis’, and as you can imagine that got quite a few chuckles over the festive season. Mine are still a bit small to have funny stories to embarrass them with when they’re teenagers, but I’m sure there will be a fair few by then.

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What is it about Motherhood you absolutely love about?

I love the fact that my husband and I have created a family. I’m completely estranged from my side, and we have physical distance separating us from hubby’s side. The five of us will always have each other though, and that is a pretty amazing thing.

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

I really dislike it when pushy parents make everything a competition, as it takes all the fun out of childhood. It can be quite inescapable once they start school, but I try and avoid it as much as I can.

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

Our days are really varied to be honest. They’re a mixture of school, nursery, two days of work which is mostly from home but sometimes entails going into the office in London. Mornings can be quite hectic in our house, but we have been working hard to stop shouting, and eradicate negative parenting behaviours though, which makes them less stressful than they used to be.

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There’s always lots to do in the kitchen throughout the day, as we eat a diet consisting entirely of natural foods. This means I have to be organised, as there’s never the option to just open a packet or jar of something for a quick bite. It’s great though, because the girls already know where their food comes from, as they see real food all the time and are often involved in the preparation of it.

I’ve just got myself on Instagram, so tend to share bits about the kids and food throughout the day. My blogging time is while Freddy is having his last feed after the girls go to bed.

Best advice you’ve ever received about Motherhood?

Expect one hideous day per week at least. My friend had a baby the year I was pregnant first time round, and passed on this gem. I remember holding on tight to those words in the early days and not feeling so bad about the tough ones.

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

My advice would be don’t compare your kids to anyone else’s, and don’t compare siblings to each other. We are all different and this includes children. People should be treated according to their own individual personalities.

How do you manage your time between work and your little ones?

I’m fortunate that I only work two days a week, and have a flexible working arrangement in place enabling me to work from home mostly. I travel into London once a month for an office day, and they can get rather hairy! Working from home means I don’t have to worry about the stress and additional time constraints commuting adds to the mix. Things might change in the future, but for now it’s an ideal solution.

Thank you so much Reneé!

Click here to view her blog.

and of course, don’t forget to follow her tweets,

Lastly, click here to purchase her book! 🙂

For those of you who have missed February’s Chat with a Dad, do head over and have a read.