The Dad Diary: Simon Hooper

Simon and wife Clemmie with the twins

The Insta-dad shares the good, the bad and the oh-so honest about life as a father of four girls

How does it feel having newborns again?

It’s shocking just how much I’d forgotten about what it takes to look after newborns.
I guess that’s a survival technique the brain has built in so we continue to procreate. That said, I’m loving it. And, of course, being numbers three and four, I finally know what I’m doing and don’t get so overwhelmed by it all.

What challenges have the twins thrown your way so far?

I’ve had to become a lot better at multi-tasking – can you cook dinner while bouncing one baby, feeding another and holding a conversation with an eight-year-old about homework? I certainly didn’t think I could, but look at me now! Another thing I hadn’t considered was how were going to deal with the nights. My wife Clemmie and I currently sleep in separate rooms with a baby each, and compare notes in the morning about who had the worst sleep. Not an ideal situation, but it means we stand a fighting chance of not being too knackered the next day.

Just a standard evening in the Hooper household

Why did you launch yourself as an Insta-dad? 

Women seem to have embraced social media as a kind of support network, while men have quietly got on with things in the background. I just wanted to show what parenting was like from a male perspective, while providing some guidance along the way. I also wanted to expose ‘real’ family life – there is a lot of sugar coating in Instagram-land and a dose of reality seemed to be missing.

How does it feel to be outnumbered by girls?

I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sure, it’s loud and emotions run high, but I like being the one who finds the balance. People still ask me if we’ll try for a boy – my response is always, “No, I’ve got everything I need.” From my experience, girls seem mentally quicker than boys, so it’s fun trying to keep up.
The downside is that girls, if they want to be, can be incredibly mean to each other.

Where do you go when you feel like dodging dad responsibilities once in a while?

I have three locations of choice. The first is B&Q/Wickes/Screwfix. In fact, every man walking around these stores is secretly hiding from his family. Secondly, the shed. It’s damp and has spiders in it – perfect for warding off girls. Lastly, the toilet. Dads (and more mums than I thought, actually) have been practicing the age-old art of hiding in there for years.

Your local DIY store: the hideout of choice for fathers

Fatherhood has taught me… 

To be calm, kind and patient. You can’t reason with children in the same way you can an adult so adjust your approach accordingly, unless you want your blood pressure to sky-rocket.

What piece of advice can you give new dads?

Don’t enter fatherhood with too many expectations. Everyone finds their own way. That said, don’t be afraid to ask your friends who have kids for advice. Traditionally, we men aren’t great at asking for help but we really need get over it and learn from others to make us the best dads we can be.

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