We've been following Gregory from The London Dad for a while now, his instagram feed and blog posts are all about honest (and emotional) parenting and we always love to see and hear things from a dads perspective. He lives in Wimbledon with his wife Alice (founder and editor of Avocado magazine), daughter Etta and they have baby number two due in December. He writes about everything from embracing the dad bod, feminism and bonding with your baby to easy recipe ideas. We are super excited that Greg will be a special guest at our very first Dada Meet on 17th November at Olive Loves Alfie East, E20. All Mamas and Dadas welcome (you can bring kids up to pre-school age) and it will be a great opportunity to chat face to face and meet some new parents over a cuppa.
Gregory has kindly also done a little interview with Finlay Fox....we delved deep and asked him some personal questions that we hope are a little bit different form the ones he's used to!
1) How do you class yourself? Stay at home Dad? Self employed? Flexible Worker?
Can I completely cop out of answering this one and say a little bit of each? I am self employed but spend one day a week on site with one of our larger clients whilst flexibly working as a SAHD. Some of my friends think it's living the dream but whenever we are not with Etta we are working.
2) Who spends the most time with Etta?
It would have been Alice up until a few months ago but since the bump has grown and I have tried to give Alice more time to rest Etta and I have been together a lot more, she wants me to do most things but still calls out for Alice in the middle of the night which I think she secretly loves……..right?
3) Do you feel you have a good work/ life balance and do you have any tips on how to achieve it?
The best balance is the one that works for you. We took a few days about 6 months ago and tried to look at what “our routine” was and what needed to happen and when. From that shell we managed to figure out when was right to work and when was time that we should devote solely to Etta. We gave up on trying to do both at the same time as you end up doing both badly.
4) Was The London Dad blog always a plan and does it have a master plan?
Outside of complete world domination? LD was something that I fell into really, it's been a really fun rollercoaster of a ride and now I can't imagine a life with us not doing what we do.
5) How does Alice feel about you getting so much attention and glory for being such a hands on dad?
We laugh a lot because really I am just a modern dad that loves his family. I don’t see myself as any different from anyone else. We just so happened to be in the right place at the right time taking some half decent pictures. It's harder now than ever trying to remember to take pictures and E is a touch camera phobic at the moment.
6) What's your dad like and how is your relationship with him?
Like all fathers and sons we butted heads a lot during those years of growing up, he was an amazing dad though, always on the PTA and always the manager of my football team, if I end up being half the dad that he was then I am doing something right. Our relationship is amazing but its changed since I had Etta, I just understand so much about the worry you have for you kids and it was that worry that I rebelled against mostly.
7) Do you meet many other dads doing a similar role to you and what and where is the best way to meet other dads?
It is a real struggle to find other dads to be honest, that's the whole reason why I started the dads breakfast club but I have been too busy with other work to put any of those together recently. I have met some amazing dads through that but outside of the occasional day dad you bump into at soft play its pretty tough to find other dads. That sounds like I feel sorry for myself but thats not how its meant to sound.
8) What are the most important qualities in a dad and are they different to qualities in a mum?
I think dads have to be patient and understanding and most importantly the best support and partner for mum. In terms of a difference in qualities hmmmm, I don’t think that there needs to be any difference, we are all parents and the traditional mum and dad roles are so blurred. One thing that I will say is to just play to your strengths, I do most of the cooking and cleaning and Alice deals with the DIY and driving as thats what we enjoy.
9) What are your top words of wisdom for a first time expectant father?
Don't try to plan too much, take it all as it comes as you will enjoy it more, oh and don't forget your camera, they change so quickly. Seriously to start with take a picture every day.
10) What are your top tips for a stay at home dad to survive the day?
We get out 3 times a day everyday and most days more, it keeps everything fresh plus you can buy coffee as you're gonna need plenty. Alice’s nan always said that a change is as good as a rest so getting into the fresh air helps to calm most tantrums or screaming fits. Worked from week 1 through 'til now.
11) What are your top tips for getting out of the door?
We just go, if you don't have nappies or wipes then buy them, same for a spare change of clothes, if its not packed then pick up new leggings etc. You can never have enough of any of them and some of our best buys have been the emergency run into Gap to see what we can get before a quick change, it keeps life interesting. #extremeparenting
12) How does your own daughter influence you? What have you learnt from her and what qualities has she bought out in you?
Wow where do I start? She amazes me with how daring she is, it really spurs both Alice and I on to try things that we wouldn't otherwise. She has made me a much calmer person as well as really bloody tired. :) It sounds really corny but it's because of her that I value what family is as well having the epiphany of being rich isn't about what you have it's about what you have.
13) What qualities would you like your daughter to grow up to have and know are important as a modern girl?
I just want her to be comfortable in who she is and who she wants to be, she doesn't have to be “strong” as most people strive for, she just needs to be Etta and know that who ever that is is enough. I suppose that going hand in hand with that whoever she decdes to spend her life with must also love her for who she is, not who she might be or was just who she is in the present.
14) How has being a dad has changed you?
Yeah being a dad has changed me for the better in every way. I feel that I am truly blessed to be a dad to Etta and to get to spend so much time with her.
15) What's the biggest challenges you face as a dad and as a dad with a daughter?
I think the real challenges are yet to come, the only real challenge I have is the lack of proper baby changing facilities in mens toilets. Sorry to all the ladies but I will always walk into a womens and use the baby change there rather than change my daughter on a cold hard floor.
16) What are the highest and lowest moments you've experienced as a father?
The high moments change everyday, I am proud of what she achieves constantly so it just gets better. A low point would be on occasion having to travel and be away from her. When she was little I found it really hard to bond with her so the first few times we were alone together I struggled and felt pretty useless. That was a real low.
17) Is there anything you'd do differently with baby no 2 on the way?
God yes, a dummy and a night light from the start, those and a routine rather than trying to be bohemian parents. Routine rules.
18) What does your dad wardrobe consist of and do you have any dad fashion tips?
I was a prolific buyer of clothes and trainers pre Etta but since having her I literally have not purchased a thing, all my satorial attention is focused on her. Saying that Alice and I are planning a january sales spending spree. Top tips would be to have a wardrobe for going out that only comes out for a special occasion or when the kids go to bed. I have lost a few pairs of limited edition sneakers to Etta as well as the odd rip etc to shirts.
19) Where do you buy Ettas clothes from and whats your favourite kids brand?
I love taking her into the Cos store in Kingston, we cannot walk in there without walking out with something for her. Now my favourite brand would have to be Noe and Zoe Berlin. Check them out, they are amazing.
20) What are your top 3 things to do in London with kids?
1. Just walk, let your mini lead the way and see what you discover between the two of you.
2. Brick Lane and Shoreditch, I am not talking the obvious boutiques and bars but the amazing multicultural restauarants, street food and the contemporary galleries.
3. As its winter it would have to be a walk in one of our amazing parks or commons followed by a roast in a great english pub with a fire. Now thats Hygge for you.
21) Who are your favourite insta accounts/ insta dads?
Oh now you are talking. I am going to try and go with some of the not so obvious ones.
@aestants my beautiful wifes feed who takes amazing pictures.
@thedadhe - Josh is such a cool new dad. Give him a follow.
@neilpaints - my best mate who happens to be an amazing model painter, how he finds time to do this, run a business and raise two kids is beyond me.
@kellouhar - my sister who at any given time could have plus or minus a hundred followers more or less than me.
Come and meet the London Dad at our Dada/Mama Meet on the 17th November at Olive Loves Alfie East.
Click here to buy tickets