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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thank you so much Simon!
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Have you read last month’s chat with a mum yet? Do check her out here.