Photo credit: John Adams
With Fathers Day on the horizon this Sunday, I wanted to add a few more dads onto my blog this week. First up, we have an inspiring interview with John Adams AKA Dadbloguk.
I have had the pleasure of meeting John in person a few times over the years and he has always been really supportive of the Guilty Mother blog, which means alot to me. Especially coming from an award winning parenting blog himself! Every time I chat to him on instagram, he seems to have collected another award for the mantelpiece. But, I know the awards are not as important to John as sharing some hot topics across his blog. Over the past year, he has spoken out on work-life balance, modern day parenting and more recently, the juggle and challenges of homeschooling for parents across the country.
More so than ever, parents are seeking out the best work-life balance that they can. With many of us now getting settled in a home office for the foreseeable future, could that be a good thing? John Adams (www.dadbloguk.com) writes his blog around managing the household and everything his two girls need. I admire him. I think John is a great example of a modern husband and father.
John, when did you start your blog and what inspired you to create it?
I started Dadbloguk back in 2012 when the Internet was the Wild West! Looking back on it, it was an exciting time as nobody knew what they were doing and there were no rules to break. It's a totally different story now with higher levels of regulation than you find in journalism (I was a journalist many years ago).
I was inspired to create the blog when I left full time employment to become the main carer for my daughter. It was a purely practical, cold-hearted decision. I couldn't get the flexibility I wanted to balance work and family and my wife earned more money so it made sense for me to look after family and home. It didn't feel like a radical thing to do but I quickly found myself facing sexist attitudes in the most unexpected places. It was tough as many people didn't think it was a man's place to look after young children.
I started blogging about my experiences. In doing so, I accidentally launched another career as a blogger and social media influencer! I steadily broadened the subjects I wrote about and these days I run the blog on a commercial basis. With both my children at school (or they were until March!) I fit my work around my family commitments.
A photo from when we filmed together on the topic of 'guilt' in 2018
What do you think are the most important qualities for raising your daughters?
Being kind, compassionate and understanding. I want them to reflect these values in their lives.
That said, I think there is a need to make them aware the world is an unfair place and they will experience challenges. They need to be prepared for what life might throw at them.
We have spoken in part about mum guilt vs dad guilt. So dads feel guilty sometimes and if so, I'm what way?
If there's one thing that annoys me it's the fact dad guilt gets so little recognition. I occasionally see daft influencers writing about this subject as if it's something new when it isn't.
The source of guilt for mums and dads may be different, but trust me, dads often feel guilt as strongly as mums. Dads tend to feel huge pressure to be at work and this leads to guilt that they can't help at home as much as they'd like. I am regularly contacted by men who feel guilty they can't be with their kids more.
Added to this, dads are notoriously bad at maintaining social connections and friendships (I've worked on a few charity campaigns to encourage men to be social). Not only do men feel guilty, but unlike mums, they often do not have the informal social networks in place to blow off steam or discuss the challenges they face.
Photo credit: LinkedIn
You recently partnered with LinkedIn to talk about the need for more flexible working for parents. Can you tell us more about why this topic is so important to you?
Ah yes, I was delighted to be selected to work with LinkedIn to work as a Changemaker. In my case, I am working with LinkedIn to promote flexible working as an option for all mums, dads and carers.
This is important to me as I left the workforce as I couldn't balance work and family life. We have a dreadful culture of presenteeism in the workplace.
Interestingly, the campaign launched at just the right time. With COVID-19 leading to widespread workplace closures, employers and employees have had to adjust to flexible, remote working at rapid speed. I can't see us going back to 9-5, five day a week, office-based jobs. I think and hope that ship has sailed as it will free up more men to help out on the domestic front at home. In fact the Fatherhood Institute is saying the amount of childcare carried out by men has increased by about 60% in the last two months. We need to cement that change in place.
What are your top tips for building confidence in your two daughters?
Oh gosh, what a question! Such a difficult one to answer. I did once hear it said that girls who are mostly raised by their fathers are more confident. The logic is that in the sexist world we live, men are raised from childhood to be risk takers and they pass these traits on to their offspring. Who knows, maybe my kids will benefit from having me as their main carer??
Aside from that, I think putting children in managed situations where they could possibly fail, such as a sports competition, has great value. They might not win, but you never know, they might!
I think 2020 is going to be bizarre in that we won't have the annual "Should sports day be competitive" debate in the media because no school will hold sports days. I am personally a fan of these events. They give kids a chance not only to win, but to learn how to fail and how to cope with failure and that is a part of building confidence.
Photo credit: John Adams
That said, I think you need to recognise that your children have different strengths and weaknesses and be sensitive to that. One of my children doesn't like speaking up in front of large groups of adults. If she wants to speak to me in that situation, I'll lead her away to a quiet spot where she can say what she needs to. I think the worst thing I could do is berate her and force her to speak up.
I could go on and on, but I am going to stop there. There's so much to be said on this subject.
What would make the ideal Father's Day for you?
Like most parents I am totally frazzled after three months of lockdown. I really just want to keep it simple. Some sunshine would be nice, as would a couple of ciders and a barbecue.
I just heard you had some exciting news about DadBlogUK on Vuelio. Can you share?
Yes indeed. Vuelio is the market leading digital monitoring agency. It produces various Top 10 charts of social media influencers. It's just published its Top 10 UK Daddy Blogger list for 2020 and I am pleased to say dadbloguk is at number one. It was news that brightened up a tough week. Do, though, check out the other blogs on the list. There is some amazing talent among the Top 10. You'll find the list here