If other people’s perfect photos make you feel bad about yourself, it’s because they don’t show the reality! That’s why Simon Hooper, father of 4 daughters, decided to show what parenting really looks like. The result? Now he has more than 190k Instagram followers, and they’re growing like crazy.
“My whole account is to show a realistic view of what parenting is like from a parent’s perspective,” told the dad. “There is way too much sugarcoating when it comes to parents, so I wanted to share what it’s really like and provide a bit of humor at the same time.”
His oldest daughter is 9, another is 6, and 10 months ago he and his wife welcomed two beautiful twins. Now Simon is “a handy man, taxi driver, swimming instructor, tutor, chef, counsellor, human climbing frame, bank, personal shopper and PA.”
This week my eldest has been doing sex education at school. Shes very mature about it & having a midwife as a mum, they know a lot more than your average kid, no ‘front bottoms’ or ‘nunnys’ in this house, it’s strictly a ‘vagina’ affair (which coincidently would be a great title for a drama series on TV) That said, she’s chosen tonight (when @mother_of_daughters is away) to ask questions about men which makes me feel like an embarrassed child, but i promised to tell her the truth. My personal favourites – “do you wear a condom daddy?” Me – “Yes”. Then why do you have so many children? Touchè. “Have you and mummy had sex more than 3 times?” I laughed proudly – “Way more……like at least 9 or 10 times” ( I didn’t want to come across as a sex crazied maniac). Can wait to until she asks if I’ve ever masturbated…..I will actually curl up in a ball and die
Tomorrow is international day of the girl and I, more than most, am celebrating. I might be heavily outnumbered and outgunned, but I’m celebrating because my girls are strong independent young ladies that are growing up in a world that they can do anything they put their mind to (with a little encouragement). We strive for equality and see women as equals (and in my case, as superiors!). That said, in many places girls are seen as second class citizens and have limited opportunities to reach their full potential. This has to change. Go kiss your girls goodnight & encourage them everyday to reach for the stars. Tag a strong girl and share.
Is it only me or do all men learn to sleep on an 8 inch strip at the edge of the bed? Irrespective of the size of the bed, or how many people are in it, I always find myself relegated to the ‘man zone’. I’ve become so used to sleeping on this limited area of bed real estate, that I’m confident that I could sleep on top of a wall & not fall off. On the other side of the bed (the promised land), @mother_of_daughters sleeps like a star fish all night long, kneeing me in the back and generally complains about me coming to bed too late, being too cold or my foot encroaching onto her territory. At least the bed’s nice and warm, even if the reception isn’t sometimes! I hope that next Sunday, on #NationalLieInDay, I’ll not only gain another hour in bed, but more space – but it’s doubtful ! If you want to regain that hour (and some space for that matter) click in the link in my bio, loads of great prizes to be won
This is us 2 minutes after the number of kids we were responsible went from 2 to 4. Being married to a midwife & having 4 girls to bring up, I sometimes forget how lucky we. I took it for granted that our children would be healthy and that their births would by trouble free. Sadly, that’s not the case in many instances, so I’m supporting @VSOInternational & their #FirstBreath appeal which aims to end millions of preventable neonatal deaths that happen every year in developing countries. Please lend your support by sharing your own newborn picture along with the link to the appeal page (click my bio) & donating if you can. Thank you all lovely people.
Clemmie gave me a pretty simple job this evening – “go pack the baby bag” (we’re going away for a night). A plan developed in my head (why can’t I take anything seriously?!) I called her in – “well you said pack the baby bag!!”, expecting a laugh. She didn’t. I then suggested cutting holes in the bottom for their legs to hang out like those dog carriers but @mother_of_daughters was already less than pleased that i’d used her prized leather @kerikitbags for lols, so with my tail between my legs, I repacked. A shed load of nappies, baby crack (milk powder), toys they won’t play with & a monitor – There was still enough room for half my family in there!
Developed a New product this evening – child shoes. They cost a fortune, stop you from achieving anything, age you dramatically, are never clean despite washing them regularly and never go in the direction you ask them to. Come to think about it, these sound terrible. Back to the drawing board…..
Teething is now in full effect and the girls want us to know all about it. An email would have sufficed but it seems they’d rather use their voices to get the message across that they really aren’t enjoying this stage of development. Its not straight screaming, it’s more like the sound a wounded animal might make that just wants to end it all. I can’t blame them though, it’s like a mini scene from ‘Alien’ in there at the moment, just in very very slow motion (and of course teeth don’t then go on to kill you and the crew of your ship so a few subtle differences but essentially the same).
After long day of walking around and playing, The twins needed a bath and I needed a wash so day 2 of #dadtakeover ended like this. (I dont run baths just for myself…I’m a man after all). In theory this sharing of a bath was a good idea. In reality it felt like I was an uninvited blue whale who’d gatecrashed a private spa for small people. If looks from babies could kill, I’d have been dead for sure. Strategically placed flannels were used in the taking of this picture. (And yes I took the picture on a tripod before people ask! Im on my own!) On to day 3.
Should I get offended that when I’m in charge of dressing the girls, instead of being given free rein to ‘get creative’ and use my couture fashion eye to create a ‘wow’ outfit that will catch the eye and imagination, I walk into their room and find that all the clothes are laid out already. Granted I have a tendency to dress them as boys, and will invariably forget the importance of layers, and that spots and strips clash, and that socks are essential, and that a baby grow doesn’t count as day wear, and that I dress them the same, i cant tell them apart for the rest if the day, but surely if you give me a chance, the law of averages will mean I’ll get it right one day!
If there is one thing that us dads are good for its being used as a mobile human climbing frame. We’re practicing our routine for britain’s got talent, the talent being how many family members can hang off me (kind of a real life buckaroo game) before I slip a disc and crumple into a pathetic mess crying like a child who’s grazed their knee for the first time. Now all I need it for @mother_of_daughters to get on my back and the twins to rest of my shoulders and the award is surely mine. Come see us on the BGT tour next year.
Someone call crime watch! I took this picture of a guy getting mugged in broad day light today. The 2 confidence tricksters are known in the local area and ply their trade by pretending to love their victims and then, when their guard is down, scratching their faces to pieces, pulling their hair and dribbling on them until they are given milk or rice cakes. The suspects are described as looking exactly the same, to the degree that their father cant tell them apart. They are around 2.5 ft tall, talk with a strange accent and are incredibly cute. Some previous victims had said they smell like a childrens play centre toilets but that has yet to be confirmed.
We have A LOT of toys for the girls. Some hand-me-downs, some brand new. We offer up the hand made, ethically sourced, non toxic, bespoke blocks made from organic, carbon offset wood, lovingly sourced from Norway. They look down their nose at them with disgust, decide they’re tosh and toss them to one side. Then they go on a rampage to find keys, my wallet, my phone, anything that resembles a remote control and plastic packaging. If that fails, they bug me until i give up the goods. Many mornings, you’ll find me running around the house, quietly cursing the babies, who’ve hidden my cash / debit card and /or keys. guess I should get used to this as I hear teenage girls take the same stuff.
These two have been round my ankles all day, literally. I’ve been walking around as if there’s broken glass on the floor to avoid stepping on them (no one wants to hear that cry you get when you accidentally tread on a small hand that’s not where it should be – that’s the point when you give yourself the ‘shittest parent of the day’ award). At least they do a good job of cleaning the floors, I should put Polish down and strap a rag to their stomachs. Might as well get them to pull their weight from an early age. FYI the tiles are from best tile UK. Encaustic Moroccan cement tiles.
Why does bathtime always involve cramming as many family members into one of the smallest rooms in the house at the same time? I guess the eldest 2 like it as it’s like a cheap version of the sea life centre. They get to watch these weird pink slippery things splash about and generally contort themselves out of these chairs while sucking the life out of some sponges. Clemmie and I are there just play life guards and crowd control. I should charge admission. Just avoid the dirty nappies at the door and the water EVERYWHERE. Actually, forget it – Health and safety would definitely shut us done.
The wonders of modern technology. Why, oh why did I give my eldest an ipod touch? Yes, its great to stay in contact while im away but my inbox is now full of emoji based spam from my bored daughter. (The emoji poo is a firm favourite). Today while in meetings, I convinced her that because I’m 8 hours ahead of her (I.e. in the future), I could send her the lottery numbers and shes guarenteed to win as i already know the winning ones. Took her a while to figure out that wasn’t actually the case, made me laugh though! FYI Yes I look shattered but I’ve been travelling for 22 hours so what do you expect!!
Last night – “Oh daddy, remember to make our woodland themed costumes for school tomorrow!” – Why is this the first I’m hearing about this at 8pm the day before you need them – I’m not some 24 hr costume design dept! Considered slapping a door mat on their backs and sending them off as hedgehogs but decided that was shit, so my plan to cuddle up with @mother_of_daughters wilted & died before my eyes & instead was spent contorting sodding coat hangers into wings, wrapping them with cling film, skewering myself attempting to attach fake leaves to jumpers & rummaging around in the loft for brown clothing (of which I can confirm we have none). They were woodland fairies FYI.
Another monday, another last minute rush to the shops to avoid the armageddon I.e running out of nappies, wipes & baby crack (milk) for the addicts. I basically live in this aisle of the supermarket now. New parents seem to gravitate to me as an “experienced parent” (i.e. the tired looking guy shivering in the corner) and ask “do you know where so and so is please?” My reponse – “Sure 3rd shelf, half way down on the left hand side, buy 3 & get a discount,although you want to use that in combination with blah blah blah.” I’m like a walking encyclopaedia of baby product info. I used to use my brain to solve global corporate wide problems. I now use it to calculate bulk buy discounts.
What do you get if you cross claires accessories with 4 girls, 2 of whom who have just drank a coke, and a tired dad? 10 minutes of dressing up followed by 20 minutes of trying to get them to leave. There’s just too many of them, you get one and the other sods off to hide in the hair bands – I can hear the giggling, I just can’t see them through the haze of pink and sparkles. At least i found the tiara i was after. I look Bangin’!
Reading at bed time can be a pain in the ass, especially when you’ve got ‘important’ adult things to do, but that’s no excuse to not to do funny voices for the characters in the story. But what if you didn’t do them? They may lose interest and decide books are boring. They may not read much as they grow up, leaving them intellectually and culturally stunted. They might jack in school and start hanging with the wrong crowd. They may end up in a dead-end job they hate and drink too much. They may get evicted from their 1 bed squat and end up living under a bridge, sniffing stolen marker pens with a guy called crazy bob who eats pigeons. For the love of the children, DO THE VOICES!
Day 2 since the clocks changed and the girls are still not adjusted (anyone else struggling with this?!) So at 6.30am, while Ottie & Delilah studied ‘farm yard biology for beginnners’ with mixed success (I said point to the cow, they laughed, clapped & crawled off to chew stuff in the bin), Marnie provided me with a fluid stream of incomprehensible child brain rambling for 5 mins straight at max volume (without noticeably breathing). Morning voices seem not to exist in our house. All this while @mother_of_daughters hid in the shower. Clever woman.
I seem to forget to feed myself sometimes. I can get to 5pm and realise I’ve had nothing other than a cup of tea that’s been microwaved 5 times and has a skin on it that’s thicker than I feel after watching a documentary of dark matter. The twins, on the other hand, get 3 square meals a day spooned directly into their mouths. I tried crouching between them in the hope @mother_of_daughters would feed me too (FYI I don’t have tiny arms) although I was rumbled by Delilah who kicked up a fuss. They have absolutely zero loyalty or compassion for me. Get between these girls & their food and you may just lose a finger.
After dressing the twins as pink fisherman and managing to navigate passed the people selling flashing swords and whirling things without parting with money, we celebrated bonfire night in style. And by style I mean dealing with a huge melt down, an explosive poo that happened against my chest in the carrier literally 2 seconds after this photo was taken (and no nappies) and spending £8 on chips that were luke warm. It was all worth it to see the twins faces when the fireworks started. Fun night out in Crystal palace.
The curse of being called Simon when at a children’s birthday party – I am immediately rolled out for the obligatory game of ‘Simon says’. Of course I take it easy to start with and filter out those that can’t keep up. After separating the wheat from the chaff, we get to the hard core pros who know their stuff. I finally kill them all off with the old stand on one leg, close one eye and stick out your tongue. The remaining kids think I’m taking it too seriously, get bored and run off leaving me looking like a proper tool. I might have taken competitive dadding too far- they’re only 6 after all, oh well.
Ottie’s teething has made her as clingy as a winter cold and she refuses to be put down on the floor at the moment, so I’m doing everything with a 9 month old surgically grafted onto my chest. This includes baking (with mixed success – Her feet were just at the right height to kick the butter, the flour and my manhood, several times). I find it almost impossible not to take over and mix things properly but i must let them make a complete hash of it, so they learn too. I’m sure the cookies will taste fine and we can just pick out the egg shell. I’m also almost certain that no snot made it into the bowl either so that’s a real a bonus.
Delilah shrieking with glee as her older sisters teach her how to trash a room In under a Minute (an important skill when you’re a kid) What you don’t see here is me encouraging them and @mother_of_daughters having heart palpitations at the horror of things being out of place with no order (she’s on the OCD spectrum for sure). What’s life if you can’t make a mess and have fun doing it now and again. Beer time …….
Cooking with the family is important so that they get an early interest in what healthy eating is all about. But when you add two 10 month work experience kitchen hands to the mix who have minimum training and hygiene standards that would get a greasy kebab placed closed down, Jamie Olivers 15 minutes meals turn into Simon hooper’s 90 minute botch jobs. In the end you just chuck it all in and hope for the best. The likelihood is that it will get rejected by the discerning clientele anyway. Might as well just short cut the whole process and chuck the raw food directly into the bin.