Dad Chat – Headline Spews

Here’s the next instalment of my Dad Chat series. This time it’s Oli from Headline Spews. Oli is both a journalist and a Dad, but the blog focuses on life as a Dad covering a range of issues. I’ve read a number of posts Oli has done and I’d highly recommend them! Take a look.

You’ll find links to his great blog at the bottom of the interview.

Please read on, enjoy, and check out his blog and social media.

1. Tell us about yourself and your family

I’m Oli and I live in sunny Worthing, West Sussex, with my partner, Hanna, and our eleven-month-old son, Albie.

What a great picture of Albie!
What a great picture of Albie!

I’m a journalist at a local newspaper. In under six years I’ve worked my way up from a lowly trainee reporter, to deputy political editor for all our papers in Sussex and now content editor for four of our titles. This means I’m making a lot of the day-to-day decisions about the stories we write, how we approach them and how the papers are put together. I also work as part of our company’s national Investigations Unit, which is a really cool opportunity to do some really reporting and write stuff for our national newspaper, The i.

Hanna and I have been together for seven years. Albie was born at 36 weeks by C-section and it was a bit of a roller coaster. We were sat down at 28 weeks and told he was probably going to be delivered that night due to a particularly pesky placenta – but after more than a dozen scans, monitoring every other day and a hell of a lot of stress, Albie was born at a fairly decent 5lb 5oz and everything’s been great since – apart from the horrendous reflux he’s struggled with, hence the name of my blog: Headline Spews.

2. Have you always wanted to be a Dad?

Absolutely, though years ago I’d have said I’d be in my 30s, rather than 26 as it turned out. Our nephew, now three, was a big influence. We looked after him loads and loved the experience. At the time, we anticipated it would be some 10-15 years before we could afford a house. Marriage was not a priority as scant savings were going towards a house and by the time all that was sorted, we’d be about ready to retire!

After much thought, we felt it was the right time to have a baby and, despite some doubts from others, we are 100% confident we made the correct call.

3. What’s the best thing about being a Dad?

Here's Oli and Albie
Here’s Oli and Albie

Seeing your little person grow and learn is amazing. Almost every day there’s something new that they’re doing; a funny face, new babbly words which sound like real words but definitely aren’t, or trying to stand up when they can’t even sit independently!

In my job I can work long hours. Before my latest role, I could spend three or four weekdays at evening council meetings. But passing the time with funny pictures from home every day really helps and there’s nothing better than the family greeting you at the door at the end of a hard day.

4. What’s the most challenging thing about being a Dad?

I’m certainly not perfect and have a lot to learn – but I think sometimes you can overthink it. The best advice I received when I was a little apprehensive before Albie popped out was ‘Millions of these things are born every day. How hard can it be’?

The thing I find most challenging is dressing the wiggly monster. It’s like the Krypton Factor! That, and now he’s found his man bits, changing his nappy without leaving his hands in there.

In the early days, the sleep deprivation was a killer. After my paternity leave ended, I found myself falling asleep at my desk. Only a brisk walk in the stiff sea breeze was enough to whip me into shape. Albie didn’t sleep without being cuddled in the first couple of months, so we took shifts holding him each night. One person would do until 3.30am and the other would go through until morning. Don’t worry, though, you get through it and adapt quickly, finding your own way of doing things.

5. If you became a Dad again would you do anything differently? If so, what?

Given the above, I’d somehow work out the magic formula for getting the baby to sleep soundly in its own ‘bed’. We’ve still not cracked it. He’s now going down well in his crib but not his cot – and he won’t fall asleep alone and then he moves into his cot when he’s asleep and unawares.
Looking a happy boy!
Looking a happy boy!

Knowing what I know now, I’d definitely not buy a Moses basket, crib and cot bed. The latter’s not been touched and added to the travel cot for our nephew, our one-bed flat looks like an orphanage which has lost all its children.

When the baby was born, I’d try to get some assistance with the first poo. It was way too sticky and Hanna was too ill after the section and batting on alone was a mess (way too sticky!), not give them the entirety of their first bottle (90% of it went on the nicely-warmed towel and got me a ticking off from the doctor) and I’d think twice about signing up to the Parentcraft sessions – they might be useful for some people but we knew our circumstances would be different from the ‘perfect pregnancy’ situation so much time was devoted to. Certainly consider attending but don’t treat them as an essential, or expect them to be answer all your questions

6. What advice would you give to new dads?

You will get a lot of advice in the early days, especially from health professionals – from the midwives to the health visitors. Everyone seems to have different things to say, as – unsurprisingly – there’s no textbook. Listen to everyone but take on board the things that work for you.

You may also feel like everyone’s watching your every move before you come home. They’re not waiting with a clipboard to report your wrong moves to social services, so just do things at your own pace, your own way, and relax.

7. Social media links…

Please like and share my Facebook page:

Blog direct:

Twitter: @headlinespews


There You Have It…

Thanks for taking part in my Dad Chat series Oli! The answer to question four is really interesting. Changing those nappies has become a whole lot more challenging recently for the same reason Oli mentioned. Plus, this answer makes me so glad N was a good sleeper, some have it really tough!

Look out for another interview next week.

For previous interviews check out my ‘Guest Posts‘ category.

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