Simon Hooper is the man behind the massively popular Father of Daughters Instagram page. Many dads identify with Simon, who writes about being a father to four young girls (making him grossly outnumbered in his household). He has nearly a million followers who enjoy reading his humorous observations about parenting.
Simon tells it like it is without glamorizing life as a parent. He had no idea what he was in for when he first started his family with his wife Clemmie. He has since learned that being outnumbered in a family of six may be tough, but he wouldn't give it up for the world.
Simon & His Wife Got Started By Sharing Stories About Their Lives
Clemmie and Simon Hooper, also known as "Mother and Father of Daughters" on Instagram, have four daughters: Anya Rose, Marnie, Ottilie and Delilah. Clemmie is a midwife and writer. She shares stories about being a mom and a midwife on social media.
Simon is also an author. After seeing his wife's online success, he followed suit with his own Instagram page and his popularity has soared. Last year he published his first parenting book, Forever Outnumbered. The pair met when they were students at Bristol University and were both hanging out at a "cheesy" nightclub.
Love Is Many, Many Things To This Father Of Four
Simon began one post with the line, "Love is understanding when someone needs to have a blow out & not be a parent for a bit." Any parent can understand that sentiment. He adds, "Love is agreeing to your other half staying out for the night with friends via text at 10.30pm without arguing."
Love is also letting your wife who has a headache nap and telling the kids mommy has gone out. It's driving to get your wife chicken nuggets and a milkshake. Love occurs in sickness and in health, "and hangovers definitely count as sickness!" says Simon.
The Worst Type Of Exposure Happens In Swimming Pool Changing Rooms
Here's something awkward many dads can relate to: the changing rooms at public swimming facilities. What's worse is being shamed by your own offspring. Simon explains, "My girls decided to very loudly state as I undressed - 'look, look - it's daddy's willy!' This was closely followed by laughter from them, several others kids 1 cubicle over & a passing adult who couldn't contain themselves."
His daughters then proceeded to open the door and expose Simon's nudity to anyone who passed by. "No slush puppies today girls, daddy needs to leave this place immediately," he adds.
There Is Such A Thing As An International Time Out
Even if you're on vacation, the rules still apply. The "time out" step or chair is still a punishment whether you're at home or on holiday, according to Simon. "As you can see from Ottie's face in [the] second picture, she's wasn't thrilled that time out was still 'a thing' in a different country and that 3 minutes of her life were lost (which no doubt felt like an eternity)."
Simon notes that rules are still in effect during the holidays; otherwise, he risks his French beer getting warm while he cleans up his daughter's destruction (which you can see scattered across the carpet.)
Dads Sometimes Have A Hard Time Finding Places To Change Diapers
One of the problems Simon has encountered over the years is the lack of baby changing facilities for dads. He praised New York state for introducing legislation to address the issue, but that doesn't help people living in Britain.
He notes, "Perhaps we can ask some leading outlets to make changes of their own accord to help dads share the childcare responsibilities when out and about and not have to resort to changing our kids on bathroom floors, in car boots, on toilet lids or just shoving our kids in the arms of women to deal with the problem."
Three-Year-Olds Don't Always Help When They Ask If They Can Help
Sometimes you have to let your kids help make the dog's breakfast, even if they are the opposite of helpful. "When a 3 year old offers you assistance, I find it's usually followed by a sharp intake of breath & a slow acceptance that I'm about to lose several minutes of my life," Simon explains.
It's worse with twins, particularly because the task becomes multiplied, involves some arguing, and turns into four hands carrying a bowl that only requires one or two. "Sorry Pablo, breakfast is now lunch," Simon quips.
The Best Dads Play Make Believe Even When Their Kids Lose Interest
This sums up everything: "One moment I'm method acting the crap out of my role as a granny named Lucy at an exclusive tea party hosted by the twins, the next they've abandoned me quicker than the entourage of a celebrity embroiled in a sex scandal to act out scenes from a budget version of king Kong."
Simon complains that his kids quickly lose interest while he "ponders his life choices" and deals with children who have the attention spans of senile goldfish. He wants to know, "Who else has been dumped mid play & continued on your own?"
Reading To Kids Isn't Always Easy
Reading to children is an important part of their development, but it's not always simple. Simon writes, "I'm not gonna lie, reading with these 2 can be a battle of patience and perseverance. Questions. So many questions. 1 page forward, 2 pages back. Pauses to let them finish the sentences. Interruptions."
Yet, he'll continue to persevere. "So why do we bother? The answer - because reading opens your imagination. It broadens your perspectives & can transport you across the universe in the time it takes you to read a word," he explains.
Watching Your Child Obey A Dentist But Ignore Your Directions Is Particularly Frustrating
Most parents can relate to this: your kids refuses to follow your instructions but become "compliant balls of putty" when a complete stranger asks them to do something. It's worse if that stranger has a sharp implement in his hands! That's what happened when Simon brought Delilah to the dentist.
"Kids really do do anything for a sticker these days - at least she wasn't scared I guess, it's just a shame a family check up takes half a day now and involves up taking up an entire waiting room!" he notes.
Random Car Conversations With Kids Can Quickly Get Deeply (And Awkwardly) Personal
When Marnie was eight years old she had lot of questions. "Somehow, 3 hours into our motorway marathon, I found myself facilitating an impromptu sex education lesson which involved explaining vasectomies," Simon explains, adding, "which isn't exactly the discourse I had planned."
Marnie then told her parents to just stop being intimate to avoid having any more babies. Yikes! "FYI these types of discussions are best held through the 2x8 inch rear view mirror as Direct eye contact would have been just awkward. I guess that's why confession isn't done face to face," Simon admits.
Parenthood Makes You Behave In Bizarre Ways Sometimes
No, this isn't hide and seek or a meeting of the National Pavement Appreciation Society. It's the result of a stubborn child who refuses to put a coat on in extremely cold weather. That's when Simon's wife decided to silently lie down next to the "apoplectic child" and see what happens.
"Sure enough, Ottie's brain overloaded at the sight of an adult on the floor, rebooted into recovery mode and she quickly dusted herself off and rode off into the sun. She still didn't have a coat on, but you take a win where you can in these situations," Simon explains.
Woe Is The Parent Who Must Deal With A Picky Eater
Getting kids to try new foods can be tough. "Expanding their palettes to accept things beyond brightly coloured prepacked junk & that all important food group of 'the colour yellow' can be challenging," Simon notes adding that they tried to get the twins to eat at their favorite Asian restaurant.
"Dim sum was turned away with cries of "SLUGS", coconut chicken was scoffed at & the aromatic duck was met with lips so tightly pushed together, a cat's bum hole would have been looser...We tried. We failed. We ate their food. we moved on. One day they will eat real food. Probably."
Sharing Is Caring Unless A Hamster Is Involved
Simon's family had a hamster named Fluffy that resembled a soft toy and was loved deeply by Ottie and Delilah. "Sharing is caring. Unless you're talking about a hamster, in which case, sharing can take a long walk off a short pier in concrete boots," Simon tells his Instagram followers.
"Taking turns doesn't [compute] for these 2, so inevitably one twin tests the sound proofing of the house by screaming, while the other vigorously massages him until he's returned [to] the to relative safety of his cage where he no doubt thinks about what he's going to say at his next 'over handled pets' support group."
Living With Four Daughters Can Get Really Hairy
Unless they grew up with sisters, many men don't always know how much hair women can generate. And when there are five females in the house, it can get out of control. "You end up living with clogged drains, balls of hair placed around the house, nit epidemics, meals with a side helping of hair, endless brushing & plaiting (usually accompanied by screaming)," Simon explains.
He adds, "I'm strongly considering just shaving their heads in their sleep but realise they just end up looking like a bunch of juvenile offenders." Here's a situation where he is certainly outnumbered (by hair follicles, at least!)
A Wailing Child Can Commonly Interrupt Professional Moments
When Simon was getting his head shots for his book, Ottie was unable to let him have some time to himself. "Ottie decided she absolutely positively couldn't give me a moment to myself - transforming my moment, very much into her moment," Simon explains.
He adds, "Clemmie scooped her up seconds later & I can laugh at this now but it does remind me just how hard it can be to achieve the simplest of tasks when a wailing child is within close proximity."
It's Painful To Tell Your Child A Pet Has Passed Away
The Hooper family is fond of animals, but not every pet has a great experience in their household. Poor hamster Fluffy unexpectedly died while Simon was watching their pets when his kids were away.
"For the second time in my parenting career, I'm the dad that killed his daughters pet while she was on holiday. So here's the challenge, I've got 5 days to figure out how to break the news when she returns without breaking daughters heart - how do I do it?!" he laments in one post.
Potty Training Is One Of Parenthood's Worst Adventures
Imagine potty training four daughters! Simon recently had to deal with his twins going through the process, which is twice as (not) fun. "Today I was presented with more wet knickers than a flooded M&S underwear department & every other pair looked like an Asda car park after it had been hijacked for a late night street racing meet - covered in skidmarks," he explains.
It's a part of life that he couldn't wait to get through. "Even if I tried my very hardest & punched my bladder, I don't think I could wet myself this much! man, I hate this phase, but we'll get there," he adds.
Playing A Baby For Your Toddler Can Have Hazardous Consequences
Sometimes kids can get a little overzealous when they play with their parents. "[This is] in fact the moment last night force [I] was fed a bottle / partially waterboarded by my own Flesh & blood," Simon explains.
He notes how his twins are obsessed with babies and pretend to be one themselves or make people in their vicinity act as babies while they play the parents. "I'm sure there's niche fetish service out there that would charge a small fortune to treat [a] grown man as a baby, but I seem to get this for free on the regular without even asking for it," he jokes.
Yup, Being A Dad Can Be Pretty Painful
Kids beat up their parents even if they don't mean to hurt them. "No one tells you this as a new parent, but despite spending all your waking moments keeping them box fresh & away from harm, they do not do the same for you," Simon writes.
"Over the last 10 yrs, my 4 girls have tagged teamed me with Head butts, eye gouges, scratches across the face before a big meeting, bites, hair pulling resulting in involuntary baldness & the occasion stomp on the groin ensuring no additional siblings follow their path into the world," he shares.
When You're Gone, You Can't Help But Miss Your Kids
When Simon travels, he initially embraces the freedom and quiet he gets when he's away from his family. But it doesn't last very long. "Despite being oppressed & forced to work a servant to our pint sized captures, like a free buffet lunch, we always come back for more. This is especially true when I go away for work," he writes.
And when he gets back, he doesn't always get the welcome he envisions: "In my mind I would return to 4 perfect children who would greet me with open arms & proclaim their lives were incomplete in my absence. The reality was 50% of my girls acknowledged my return..."