We caught up with one of our favourite Instagram dads, Simon Hooper, also known as Father of Daughters. Simon’s Instagram account depicts life as a dad, depicting day-to-day family life as a father to four young girls. Simon is also husband to the hugely popular mummy blogger Clemmie.
What made you start up your Instagram account?
Women have really embraced social media and especially Instagram, not only to share pictures, but to build friendships, businesses and support for each other. Men tended to use it just to post pictures of cars, architecture and other things that interest them, but sharing what being a dad was all about seemed to be lacking – most men are either taking the picture or quietly getting on with stuff in the background, so I started mine back in February when daughters number 3 and 4 where born to show what parenting it like from a dad’s perspective and it seems to have been received rather well. I now have 26k followers and have plans to expand onto other platforms.
What’s it like being outnumbered by the girls?
I wouldn’t change it for the world. Of course, at the start I wanted to have a boy to carry on the family name and to play rugby with, but in the end the girls are everything I could have wished for and more. Sure, it’s loud and emotions run high a lot of the time, but my place in all this is to keep the peace, be calm, be caring, and to support them all (Clemmie included) and I love that role. I’m surrounded by smart intelligent women who are funny, kind and caring, so really I couldn’t ask for much more.
People do still keep asking me even after 4 girls “so are you going for the boy?” My response -“Honestly, no. I’ve got everything I need”.
If you had to describe yourself in one sentence what would it be?
A calm, patient, hard working father and husband, who acts more like a child than an adult.
For our daddy readers out there, what are your five top tips for new dads?
- Don’t go into fatherhood with too many expectations about what it will be like – you’ll find your own rhythm and pace
- Try not to compare yourself to other parents too much. Every child and family situation is different so do what works for you.
- Be hands on – it can be daunting to be responsible for a baby, but get over your fears by jumping into it feet first. The rewards are far greater than the effort you put in.
- Talk to each other – both you and your partner will have questions, things you worry about etc., so be honest with each other. You’re stronger parents when you work together.
- Swot up – arming yourself with a bit of knowledge when it comes to how to handle pregnancy, birth, and the early years is a good idea, so read books, look online and ask friends with kids for advice. Literally billions of people have gone through what you’re going through, so help is out there.
What are your top three Instagram accounts?
- Mother_of_daughters (I’m very biased as that’s my wife, Clemmie)
- Love.watts – a great modern art influencer account
- Thefatjewish -social commentator
Share with us your favourite family recipe.
I don’t have a specific recipe to share as we try and mix things up to ensure the kids try lots of different types of food. Time is a precious commodity in our house so taking ages to cook something is a big no no unless you want moaning children hanging off your ankles. Therefore recipes that take 30 minutes or less are brilliant. Anything from Jamie’s 30 minute meals is good. Simple, tasty and always result in a relatively clean plate.
Tell us about your relationship with the awesome Selfish Mother and the line of Selfish Mother products?
I’ve written a number of pieces for Molly over at Selfmother.com and have also recently been part of a number of dad’s who have helped launch Father’s Inc (a spin off from Selfmother.com aimed at fathers).
Your perfect day with the family?
Anything outside on a sunny day where we get to run around like loons – the girls like being outdoors and it has the added benefit of knackering them out, so bedtime becomes a whole lot easier.
How’s your hair plaiting skills?
They’re up there! I’m still learning French plaits and despite the number of YouTube videos I watch, I still can’t quite do them, but I’ll nail them soon – small wins are still an achievement (man, my priorities have really changed over the last 10 years!)
Are you ever left on your own with the four girls?
All the time but that’s not a biggy. I’m a competent father and I’m more than capable of looking after my girls. Parenting is a team sport and Clemmie needs to go out and see friends to make her re-entry to the real world after birth and maternity leave, so we take turns to having a social life. Having all 4 solo isn’t really that much hard work and I love spending time with them, after all I’m their dad so I shouldn’t whinge about it.