Simon Hooper, the father of a gaggle of girls, shares a visual tour of his adorably offbeat life.
When Simon Hooper, who calls himself an FOD (Father Of Daughters), started documenting his life as a dad-of-four on Instagram he decided to get real. He didn’t opt for the picture perfect poses of a seemingly blissful life, instead he shared the raw reality (and joy) that comes with having four daughters aged nine, six, and twins who recently turned one. He explained: “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.”
But what Hooper might not have realized is that by inviting us in on his crazy parenting experience, he and his wife Clemmie, a midwife also known by her Instagram name, mother_of_daughters, have created a family life that seems to be pretty imperfectly perfect to us. His deep captions accompanying the images are definitely worth a read (though if you explore the social feeds on your own, some might have a bit more colorful language than others), and overall will provide any new parent with some pretty useful insight and tips to consider.
Count your blessings
While your counting each little finger and toe, take plenty of time to enjoy the miracle of birth.
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. #keepthemsafe #donate #youcanmakeadifference #fatherofdaughters #instadad #dadlife
Forget expensive toys
We all know that kids are much happier with the packaging than the toy inside, so reduce your clutter and help your budget by embracing the cardboard box.
Give a child a box of toys & they'll entertain themselves for a minute (before using them as a blunt object to smash over their sisters head resulting in both of them crying like, well, babies). Give a child an empty box and they'll ignore you for a good hour and fight over it until one or both of them cry. Excellent. Glad we bothered to buy all those expensive sensory toys for their development that are now door stops, ornaments and "no win, no fee" law suits waiting to happen as they lie on the floor looking for ankles to break. If I were the @elc_uk, I'd get the marketing department onto rebranding cardboard boxes and whacking a premium on them - money of old rope as the saying goes. #nowiknowhowwoodyfeels #suckstobeyousophiethegiraffe #ignoredtoys #enthrallingboxes #FOD #dadlife #instadad #fatherofdaughters
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Cuddles are the best medicine
When it’s a case of sick bambinos take time for cuddles—preferably with everybody in their pjs—and they’ll soon be on the mend.
After talking about strong women yesterday, we now have 2 girls who are so weak & clogged up that they'd make a damp paper bag look as strong as a cross fit junky. Their usually beaming little faces look like they're been made over by an undertaker in training and now they just stare into space with the occasion heavy intake of air to let us know they haven't actually turned into freaky mannequins. I'm the man who can sort things for my girls & lift their spirits, but I'm powerless now and it sucks. Bet you I get this cold as well within 48 hours. #whodbeaparent #twins #double thediseaseinourhouse #FOD #fatherofdaughters #dadlife #instadad
Bath time is fun time
Invest in good waterproof flooring and walls as things are going to get wet! Bonus point: your at-home waterworld will have your little ducklings ready for a good night’s sleep.
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. #waterstaysinthebathgirls #bathtime #sealifecentreathome #cheapentertainment #twins #mygirls #theyneverstayinthesechairs #fatherofdaughters #dadlife #instadad
Invest in a big bed
Although daddy might be squished to the edge, there’s nothing better than a family snuggle/pillow fight.
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 @SimbaSleep #bedrealestate #livingontheedge #girls #twins #daughters #therestoomanygirls #fatherofdaughters #dadlife #instadad #gopro
Who needs to go to the park when jungle gym is at home? Kids love nothing more than to clamber on their parents and go for a ride. Be warned: hair might get yanked a lot so wear a hat.
The cornerstone of any dad's role is the old horse / pig ride but I'm starting to feel more like a mid sized family car with all 4 my girls aboard. Without me really realising, these rides have evolved from what was a cheap fair ground attraction to entertain kids into an in-house Uber service for children who's legs no longer seem to work from lack of use. They've also taken to now simply calling me 'pig' and steer me by the twisting of my ears. on top of that, I have to point out imaginary land marks as we go from room to room and if the guided tour isn't up to scratch, someone will inevitably try and pull my trousers down while I'm in this vulnerable position - usually it'll be @mother_of_daughters. Am I being bullied? I'm genuinely not sure #the4thatbrokethecamelsback #aremygirlsbullyingme #inhouseuber #luckyivegotagoodass #fatherofdaughters #FOD #instadad #dadlife
DIY for moms and dads
There are so many DIY jobs for both parents to get involved with; whichever you do, involve the kids and make it a family project to enjoy.
Whether it's a result of being tight with money or crafty, I've always made our wreath while Clemmie has bought the table decorations. This has multiple benefits - 1). I get the kid out of the house to the woods to get the bits we need 2). it gives the kids something creative to do 3). Clemmie gets to go to @Marksandspencer (without children) to get the nice bits to make the house feel special. notice how the stuff that we're allowed to make isn't actually for inside the house? I know she'll say 'it's too nice to be inside, so all the neighbours should see it too', but we all know that it probably hasn't quite made the grade to be allowed inside with the real decorations. where's the Christmas Love? #2daystogo #christmascreativity #LoveMrsClaus #ad #dadlife #FOD #fatherofdaughters
With safety always in mind, don’t forget to let your little ones experiment and explore.
I regularly find the twins half way up the stairs, smiling / squeaking, on their way up to the promised land of the big girls bedrooms - the allure of small unguarded objects that fit conveniently in the mouth is too much to resist. So what do you do when you have a too many stairs, not enough stair gates & twins that love climbing? Welcome to the dark & murky underworld of baby staircase racing. simple rules - take 2 genetically identical babies in prime physical condition (i.e. no overloaded nappies) & let them battle it out. No encouraging with food, No blocking, No pulling hair. Delilah has the edge at the moment & is filling the older girls piggy banks with winnings whilst I'm down £7 - Ottie is killing me - i should've known better than to back old stubby legs. Note: Safety professionals are on hand at all times & are trained to give out quiet encouragement & hugs. it's a nice sport really. #indoorfamilysports #illegalbabyracing #welcometotheunderworld #nevergoforlongodds #ottieneedscrossfit #FOD #fatherofdaughters #dadlife #instadad
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Have an escape route
In certain conditions make sure you can always escape quickly when out with your noisy tribe.
The Christmas concert is upon us which presents the perfect opportunity to observe other parents. Through my anthropological study, I’ve boiled down parents into 3 main categories: 1). 1st timers - they’ve got in early to save front row seats for grandparents / enable visual contact with their child to ensure their constant waving can be seen / setup tripods / conduct sound checks - they will mouth all the words to all songs and secretly playing the last clap game with themselves. 2). Middle rowers – grateful to get a seat, usually a bit red from rushing to the concert, thinking they screwed up the times. They’d been here before and will no doubt spend a good 30% of the time quietly chatting to the other middle rowers about being a bit hung over / Xmas plans. They’ll take some videos that they won’t look at again until June when they need to make space on their phones. 3). Standing workers – in suits with trainers, they’re late so forced to stand at the back with the undesirables (people with babies), the only other company they have is the partner of the first timer who’s shooting the 2nd angle for the compilation DVD they’re sending out in the new year. Let me know if I've missed any types! #imabackrower #proudofmygirls #christmasconcert #peoplewatching #FOD #fatherofdaughters #dadlife #instadad
Leave the house
It might seem a hassle (especially in the colder months) but get the right baby paraphernalia, wrap up warm, and breathe in some fresh air … even if you have to dash back 15 minutes later when you realize you’ve left the oven on!
I didn't post yesterday, mainly because i was asleep / eating / crawling around like a python with indigestion. I managed to dragged myself out of bed this morning after consuming what I'm pretty sure I was the equivalent of the girls birthweight in Turkey, buttery vegetables and pork products in. To rectify things, we decided to embrace a walk and wear every new item of clothing possible. Apparently, 2 walks in 3 days is too much for my girls as it bit heavily into their screen time. I tried to educate them on the village I grew up in, what birds were singing and what it's like to live in the country. Their response was tell me (through chattering teeth) to stop talking, to take them home and provide hot chocolate in unlimited quantities. #Heartlesschildren . #xmaswiththeparents #westcountryliving #dadlife #FOD #instadad #fatherofdaughters
Have fun at your own expense
Oh yes, we love that dad gets in on the act here. A great lesson in remembering it’s OK to ridicule yourself—and just think of the photos for the family album.
Sometimes as a #fatherofdaughters you have to put your testosterone to one side, give in and let girls be girls. So what do you get if you cross bored girls who love makeovers / playing with out of date make up they retrieve from @mother_of_daughters bin & a tired dad who'll say yes to anything to make them happy / quieter? I introduce you to my drag queen half brother, Simone. You can find him performing cabaret in soho every Thursday. Of course, they then thought it was hilarious to hide the make up remover - Oh, how I laughed. When clemmie saw me, she just shook her head and walked off..... #reallybringsoutmyeyes #whyblueeyebrows #anythingformygirls #snogmarryavoid? #privateshowswillcostyou #FOD #dadlife #instadad
Teach through play
Each parent has something different to offer in the world of play. Use it as an opportunity to send an important message: Yes, Barbie, you can be an astrophysicist.
I play with Barbie. There, I said it (hardly shocking as I'm drowning in daughters). As an adult, your imagination can get stunted as life experience tells you what's possible and what's not, but playing with my girls & watching where their minds takes them keeps me feeling youthful, something no chemical peel or botox can compete with. Granted, some of the story lines are a little far fetched, but that's the point isn't it? why not be a fashion designer one moment, an astronaut the next and finish the day being a vet, having been a particle physicist that also moonlights as a backing dancer between lunch and tea time. It's hard to keep up, but as long as they keep playing, so will I. FYI I don't play with Barbie when the kids aren't around. not in view of Clemmie anyway. Any other dad's out there who partake in a bit of roleplay #dadswhoplaybarbie #ifiwerebarbieidbeshattered #understandagirlsmindsishardwork #play #parenting #FOD #Fatherofdaughters #ad #dadlife #instadad
No matter what gender mix we end up with, there’s a joy in your very own gang.
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. #mygirlswearthetrousers #daughters #dayofthegirl #girlsareequals #girlsarestrong #sisters #mygirls #girlsareamazing #beproudofyoudaughters #fatherofdaughters #instadad #dadlife
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