Tag: fatherhood

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.

2015-03-24_20-30-50

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.

img_20150503_130244006

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.

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.

venice-beach

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.

palisades

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.

vai-star-wars-portrait-featured

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.

santa-monica-pier

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.

palisades-2

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.

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

IMAG1999

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.

134 (1)

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.

IMAG1904

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.

Being a Dad is … (A Belated Father’s Day Post)

… wearing your daughter’s straw hat (hoping by doing this, it goes back in shape again) while busy with marking, (because it was squashed when one of her friends came over for a play date).

The same hat you bought for her because it reminded you of the one you got her in France when we went on holiday there a couple of years ago, which we probably ended up leaving behind in a cab in Manila last year.

The little things count too …

Here’s wishing a belated happy Father’s Day to all Dads all over including my husband and dad too.

And also to the men who are like dads to others as well, since we all know having the same DNA doesn’t automatically make you a dad, when you already are in their hearts as well as yours.

 Hope you all lovely folks had a good one!

Ours was spent getting drenched in the rain, and getting disappointed because of a cancelled school talent show where T was supposed to play the cello with her music class.

How was yours?

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.

dsd-04

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!

11703296_10203207191339884_8426174138229633756_o

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”.

11221420_10203076119503170_3222206582352052819_o

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.

dsd-03

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.

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.

February Chat with a Dad: Jason of One Good Dad

I don’t recall how long I’ve been following Jason, but it’s been awhile now.  Blogs like his is one of the reasons why I haven’t given up doing Chats with Mums and Dads.  It’s great to discover new ones, especially one this good and definitely worth sharing  One Good Dad to the whole of blogosphere, if not the world.  Read and find out why: 

Right off the bat, let me state I am answering these questions on extremely little sleep. My wife is preparing for trial right now (she’s an attorney), which means she has long hours at work, during which I take care of everything at home. Along with the tiredness, I have a bad cold and a shoulder injury. One more thing, to my own fault, I went to a Muse concert last night, which has added to my exhausted state. So I might nod off, babble incoherently, or break out into Uprising. Anyway, let’s get into the questions:

Tell us something about yourself and your little ones:

I moved to New York City along with my wife 14 years ago with a huge dream in mind – to be an actor in NYC. My wife also was enrolled in law school. Because I needed a flexible schedule for auditioning, I picked up one retail job after another. After 2 years of living in the Big Apple, my wife gave me some news that changed our world. We were going to be parents. Our son was born between her second and third year of law school and I jumped all in into the world of Fatherhood. The only thing was, I was clueless about kids. I had never been around babies and kids. In fact, I abhorred boogers, snot, and the other bodily functions that accompany children. A new dream of becoming a great dad grew in my heart, and as my wife’s stomach grew, I impatiently awaited his arrival. Once he arrived, my old world disappeared and a new, wide-open one began. When my wife graduated law school, we decided that since she had the more promising career, I would stay home with the kids. We have added 3 more kids to our family since number one arrived and I love this role I play every day.

Little 1

My blog initially was meant to be an acting and playwriting marketing tool, which is why I chose the URL, TheJasonGreene.com. Every time I wrote though, only stories about being a stay-at-home dad poured onto the screen. After about a year of blogging, I added the URL, OneGoodDad.com, with the tag line, “One of Many.” My blog originally covered my life, but it has grown to include travel, social issues, and whatever else is keeping me from getting a good night’s rest. As if I needed more reasons.

What were your little ones birth stories like?

Like I said, we have 4 kids and each birth was a different story. For number one, I couldn’t believe I was a part of this huge, historical moment. At least it felt that way to me. Other babies’ cries filled the hallways and sounds of mothers yelling echoed from one room to the next, but my mind relayed to me that our little family was the only one to go through such a momentous occasion. We were prepared for labor and delivery, but I was not ready to see my wife in so much pain. Watching my son come into the world wasn’t a problem for me. Witnessing my wife painfully become a mother was. And she did it three more times!

Kids 3 and 4 shared similar birthing stories. Number 3 however made me feel like I was a pro at the delivery scene. At one point I even joked to the doctor, “I’ve got this.” Also, my jokes during all 4 labors were not always welcome.

My second child had a different birth story. My daughter arrived prematurely and her lungs weren’t strong enough for her to breathe on her own. She stayed in the NICU for 8 days, while my wife slept on a cot in the hospital and pumped because she couldn’t breast feed with all the tubes and wires that flowed into and out of our baby’s body. It was also hard for me to run back and forth from the house to the hospital while taking care of the little one at home. It was a tough time, but she made it through. All of us did.

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

Learning in the moment helped me to become a better parent, so I’m glad I understood so little about parenting. I wouldn’t change what I did and didn’t know before holding my child for the first time. I was certain my sleeping patterns would suck, so I wasn’t shocked about walking through life with blood shot eyes.

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

Since I’m a stay-at-home dad and a dad blogger, my kids are my job. But at the same time, I do need time for myself to write or simply take a break. We have great neighbors who help me and are available to watch my kids almost any time I need time off. And my kids love them like family, so that makes things easier. We started homeschooling last year, so I’m still trying to figure the balance out. Finding time to write blog posts and sponsored content is increasingly difficult. I’ll need to get back to you on this question after mastering time. It’s doubtful that’ll happen.

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

It’s funny, because child-free time with my wife is sporadic. We’ll go through months where we go out monthly, then for whatever reason, our date nights are spent watching Jessica Jones on Netflix after the kids are asleep. My oldest son is at an age where he can babysit the other two kids for a short period of time with help from our neighbors. That short period of time is enough for my wife and I to grab a bite to eat or a beer at the local bar. My wife and I realized we are happier when date nights are regularly scheduled.

Any favourite anecdotes of your little ones?

My three older kids and I went into Manhattan one morning to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. On the way home, my daughter looked by a tree and found a $20 bill. She picked it up and we looked to see if anyone was searching for dropped cash. Nobody claimed it so she pocketed the money. As we climbed down the stairs to the subway, my daughter daydreamed about all the things she would buy with the money. She brought up buying a doll, or candy, or putting it towards money she earned to buy something even bigger. While on the subway, a man with a deformed arm walked through the door. He cried out that he had no money and no home and needed money to buy something to eat. Without hesitation, my daughter reached into her pocket and handed the man the $20. The man thanked her for her sweetness and walked away, as tears of pride welled up inside my own eyes. My daughter looked up at me and said, “I did nothing for that money and he did nothing for his arm.” At that moment not only did a burst of love explode from my heart, but I realized that I’m doing okay at this parenting thing.

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

I love being a dad. It is the reason I was placed on this earth. I have the possibility to make the world a better place by raising great kids. And I can help change the face of manhood. I love my kids and to be around them as much as I do is a privilege. To watch them grow from diapers to iPads is really cool. I get to be a first-hand witness in watching someone grow up and leap from one stage to the next.

Little 3

Photo credit here (same with featured image).

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

The biggest problem in my daily life is the lack of privacy. I can’t tell you when the last time was I had an uninterrupted bathroom break. Within seconds of walking to the toilet, an impatient knock occurs or small fingers slide under the door. On occasion, I can even see an eye peering through the keyhole. I am so conditioned to locking the bathroom door that I even lock the door when I am staying in a hotel alone.

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

I have been a stay-at-home dad for over 10 years now and I’ve seen a huge leap in society’s belief that fathers are as capable parents as mothers. You see less and less commercials portraying the bumbling dad stereotype. The increase in the number of stay-at-home dads had a hand in changing the image. I’m proud to be a part of this new face of manhood.

I used to hate the looks I would receive at a party when meeting someone and mentioning I was an at-home dad. Sometimes the looks would be one of sympathy, and other times they would discredit my status of manliness. I don’t care about the looks anymore. The most important thing to me is how I’m doing as a dad and a husband.

Best advice you’ve ever received about Fatherhood?

I have a quote from Jim Higley from BobbleheadDad.com. While at a Dad 2.o Summit, he said, “Be the parent that your kids need you to be.” I changed “parent” to “dad.” Each kid is different and requires a different way of parenting. There are plenty of great parenting books out there, but the best way to learn how to be a parent is to jump right in. Learn by watching and raising your children. Each one of my kids needs a different way of parenting. So, like Jim said, I try to be the dad they need me to be.

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

If I were going to jump in a time machine and give advice to myself about becoming a dad, I would actually focus more of my advice on being a husband. I liked learning to be a dad on the fly and it helped me become a better father. The advice I would give myself would be to go out with my wife more before the kids come. To enjoy one another’s company more and share more memories. Once children come into the picture, the dynamics of the marriage change. Much of the discussion between my wife and I center around our children. In the years leading up to the birth of our children, I wish had we focused on strengthening our bond together and less on ourselves.

Facebook: One Good Dad
Twitter: @TheJasonGreene
Instagram: @TheJasonGreene
Pinterest: One Good Dad

Thank you so much Jason!

Do head over to One Good Dad for more of his heartwarming stories of fatherhood.

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

And there’s even more of them here.

Cuddle Fairy

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.

October Chat with a Dad: Richard of Living in the Langhe

I’ve been following Richard’s renovating stories of an old farmhouse in the relatively unknown, yet beautiful area of Italy called the Langhe, for over a year now on his blog aptly called Living in the Langhe.

Today, the house and all the rooms are beautifully done and finished.  But before we mention more about the house, let’s find out that other if not, more important part of his life right now… What its like to be a dad.

Tell us something about yourself and your little one.

I’m a renovating, writing, photographing father of a 20-month-old Italian called Bee. My wife and I moved from Bristol to Barolo, in north-west Italy, about three years ago and not long after that our little bundle of energy was born. Despite strictly being just a quarter Italian, she is by far the most Italian of all of us; she can destroy a plate of pasta in seconds, is already a hugely irresponsible driver (she crashes her wheelie toys into everything) and she is forever waving her hands around while shouting incomprehensibly. We speak English to her but everyone else speaks to her in Italian, which seems to have resulted in her speaking a kind of Japanese-Italian hybrid language.

Bee me sunglasses

What was your little one’s birth story like?

It was an exciting time… I probably wouldn’t have had much of an idea what was going on had it been happening in the UK, but in Italy I was completely lost and of no use at all. My lasting memory of the whole experience is standing in the delivery room filling out form after form while my wife lay on the other side of the room screaming. You’ve got to love Italian bureaucracy!

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

I wish I’d known quite how many forms I’d have to fill in. Seriously, at one-day old, does she really need a tax number?

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

I don’t have to balance work and fatherhood in a traditional sense as we’re living a slightly strange life right now. We’ve just finished renovating a large farmhouse in the vineyards and we’re now starting to rent it out as a holiday villa. There were times during the renovation where I hardly saw her, but I always knew that it was only for a short time as we were working to a deadline, trying to get it ready for this summer. Also, if I really wanted to, I could just down tools, walk next door and hang out with her. That said, it was great sometimes to be able to say I was really busy and sneak away to leave my wife dealing with the fallout of some huge disaster like the entire banana being finished.

House side mountain view small

These days, I’m still working on the house a bit and also starting on marketing. I’m always at home though, which means I get to spend as much time with her as I want.

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

Living away from family in a country where babysitters don’t really exist (they do exist but they don’t work evenings, weekends or any other times when you might actually need them), date nights are tricky. They usually consist of takeaway pizza and a film while Bee sleeps upstairs. That said, I was never that good at dates pre-Bee either so maybe she just provides me with a great excuse to be lazy.

Any favourite anecdotes of your little one?

Bee Otto railings

We have a dog, Otto. He and Bee have something of a love-hate relationship… she loves him to bits, she’s forever chasing him around trying to cuddle and kiss him. He hates her. Unless of course, she’s holding food, in which case the love is briefly reciprocated, at least until he manages to make of with her food. Her love isn’t limited to Otto though, whenever she see’s another dog in the street, she shouts “puppy!” (which sounds a lot like the Italian for ‘daddy’) and sprints towards it, arms out wide, ready for a cuddle. We get some very strange looks.

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

I used to really dread the birthday parties, mainly because I struggle to make small-talk in Italian. Lately though I’ve started to love them… there’s always a few nice bottles of local wine on the go, usually some pizza too, and I’ve discovered that a large proportion of Italian men just want to know as much as possible about English football.

Bee pink shirt

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

I’ve done the stay-at-home-dad thing and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I would have hated not being around to see Bee growing, watch her take her first steps, hear her first words and clean her up when she triumphantly smeared poo all over her face like war paint. Obviously, it’s not possible for everyone, but we decided early on that if we were going to have a child that was how we were going to do it, and I’m so glad we did.

Best Advice you’ve ever received about Fatherhood?

I’m pretty sure someone once told me not to move country, renovate a house and have a child all at the same time.

Bee wine cases

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

Don’t move country, renovate a house and have a child all at the same time.

Thank you so much Richard!

Novello spring wide

So if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in this part of North-West Italy, look no more.  You’ve just found your place!  This 5 bedroom farmhouse sits among the vines of Barolo and can easily house 10-12 people.  Perfect for large families!  It has its own private pool and of course your very own  view of excellent Italian scenery.

You can also find them over at AirBnB.

If you’ve missed last month’s Chat with a Mum, have a read here.

Or you can also click here to catch up with the other chats with past Mums and Dads as well.

August Chat with a Dad: Julian of Northern Dad

Although off blogging and really enjoying my offline moments while on holiday this doesn’t mean that I’m going to forego or (God Forbid) skip this month’s chat with a dad!  Not at all, especially when I’m excited to introduce, Julian of Northern Dad… that is, of course, introduce him to those who haven’t yet come across his outstanding blog.  Julian is a recent find of mine, and one who is fast becoming one of my favourite dad bloggers.

It comes as no surprise that our August Chat with a Dad, also happens to be the winner of the Best Writer Category in the Brilliance in Blogging (BiB UK) Awards 2015.  Read on to find more about him:

Tell us something about yourself and your little ones.

I’m a dinosaur from the eighties, (poor eyesight – big feet) stomping around Yorkshire with my wife and two kids. My son is 12, and my daughter is 6 years-old.

378366_4586713830401_225149269_n

My son is at that awkward stage, bobbing around in the murky waters somewhere between man and boy. He’s just started talking like a rapper; the kind of hardcore rapper who likes Coco Pops for supper.

What were your little ones birth stories like?

When my wife was pregnant with our first child, our son Brodie, she developed an intense craving for chocolate oranges, which she used to eat nearly whole. I could almost hear them rolling down into her stomach. I think my son thought he was being incubated inside a pool table. It was totally different with my daughter, during her pregnancy my wife became addicted to Scotch eggs.

318519_2508650080106_2009961339_n

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

The price of chocolate oranges and Scotch eggs.

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

I’m a freelance copywriter, working from home, so during the school holidays I am around to look after the kids. When I say ‘around’ I mean hiding in the toilet, waiting for the holidays to end.

24183_1391579754046_2817022_n-2

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

I was always rubbishing at dating. When I first asked my future wife out on a date, I found out that she was really into cooking and meals out, so I took her to play badminton.

DSC_0465

Now, whenever we have a free night, I always tell her that I have booked a restaurant meal, and then take her to play badminton; she hates it. Faced with free-time with me, she always tries to go with the kids.

Any favourite anecdotes of your little ones?

I was driving, and my son was in the back with his friend. They were both about seven years-old, and were discussing who they thought was the richest person on the planet. It went like this:

My son: Who do you think the richest man in the world is?

His mate: Alan Sugar. Who do you think it is?

My son: I think it’s the guy who invented houses; they’re everywhere.

What is it about fatherhood you love?

The uniform.

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

Nothing, I love being a dad. Being a parent gives you the opportunity to experience a completely different kind of life; love it.

24183_1391579914050_5943880_n

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

In my experience, the first five years are really intense, and I think it’s hard for one parent to take on all that responsibility.

318519_2508650040105_636360361_n

My wife and I chopped and changed careers so that we could take it in turns, which gave us both an opportunity to be there at the magic moments, and the not-so-magic moments. It was tough financially, but we are both glad we did it. Well, I think we are both glad, I’ll ask my wife when she gets back from trying to ram her badminton racket in the bin.

Best Advice you’ve ever received about Fatherhood?

Never pick your kids up from school in a pair of skin-tight cycling shorts.

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

Don’t listen to people who tell you never to wear skin-tight cycling shorts, they’re just jealous.

Thank you so much Julian!

Hope over to his blog right now for more brilliant writing!

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