Dad-blogger, journalist and Man Talk podcast presenter Jamie Day on fatherhood and mental health
WHEN DID YOU LAUNCH YOUR BLOG AND WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BECOME A DAD BLOGGER?
I think it was when my daughter, Edie, was around three and leading up to the birth of my son, Arlo, so it’s been going since mid-2015. I started writing about parenthood because I was an avid follower of lots of mums online and their motherhood musings, but I noticed dads weren’t really getting involved in the parenting conversation. I wanted to demonstrate that dads are part of the family too, and that the dated cliché father image (never around, hands-off) that still lingered was no longer relevant. Because I was in a job in education at the time, it meant I had lots of school holidays to be with the kids and document our adventures, so I always had plenty to write about, whether it was tips and tricks, dads’ style or days out. At the time it was only really me, Simon Hooper, Matt Farquharson, Greg Stanton and a couple of others posting about our lives as modern-day dads online. After a story in The Sunday Telegraph came out about dads on social media that featured us all, things kind of took off a bit with blogging and Instagram. And now, obviously, with the explosion of the parenting community on Instagram over the last two years, brilliantly, so many more dads are now getting in on it.
HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN AUDIENCE LOYALTY IN THE COMPETITIVE SPACE OF INSTA-PARENTS?
For me, I don’t see Instagram as a competitive space. There’s room for everyone. No one’s nailed this parenting malarkey and everyone has an individual experience, so if I can put out or gain one tip, or spot one product, or amazing day out that my kids will love, then the Insta-parent community is working. If people are chasing likes, buying followers or dragging their kids around with multiple outfit changes to bank some content (this happens!), I think they’ll lose their appeal. I’m all for organic, authentic and useful content, whether it’s a paid partnership or a just a photo that makes me laugh, and I hope my followers are too.
WE LOVE YOUR PODCAST, MAN TALK. WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S SO IMPORTANT FOR MEN TO TALK ABOUT THEIR MENTAL HEALTH?
Suicide is the biggest killer of young men in the UK. Not cancer, not road accidents, nope, it’s suicide. Men are choosing to end their lives rather than open up about their issues and seek help. Stigmas still remain and sadly men find it so difficult to speak up. I’ve struggled with my mental health for years, but I’m in a place now in my life I feel comfortable talking about it. I’m hoping that I can show that if I’m doing it, and all my podcast guests are doing it, then there is hope. Help is out there, whether that’s through counselling, medication or alternative treatments, the most important thing is to talk to someone first. That might be a friend, a family member, a doctor or a charity, but once that first step is out of the way, things can be put in place to start addressing the issues.
WHO HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE GUEST SO FAR AND WHY?
That’s a really difficult question to answer as all my guests have been amazing and actually I admire them all for coming on the show and opening up about their issues with depression, anxiety, suicide, grief, PND and PTSD. I think they all have relatable stories and importantly provide comfort and guidance for others who might be suffering in similar ways.
WHAT ARE THE BEST AND WORST BITS ABOUT BEING A DAD?
Best: every day is remarkably different. It’s full of love, fun and happiness. Worst: every day is chaotically different. It’s full of poo, farts and tantrums.
WHAT DO YOU, JAMIE DAY, WANT FOR FATHER’S DAY AND WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL ACTUALLY GET?
My wife will tell you, I am the worst person to buy gifts for. I’m very particular (and probably very annoying) when it comes to clothes, fragrances and the like. But no tat. Definitely no tat. Save your money and give it to charity, kids. I don’t think any dad really wants a pair of naff socks. Now I’ve said that, I’m definitely getting a pair of naff socks aren’t I?
Read our latest Insta Mama interview.