“Dads are definitely still overlooked when it comes to parenting issues… I think it’s going to take a long time for the myth about dads being second-class parents to die down.” Tom Briggs, on starting Diary of the Dad and being a full time blogger…
Tom Briggs, 36, lives in East Sussex with his wife Kate and three children: Dylan, six, Xander, four, and Amelie, 10 months.
“I started my blog a couple of months after Dylan was born in 2010. I wanted to keep a record of all the important milestones and also had a daft idea about writing a book about becoming a dad.
I saw Diary of the Dad as an opportunity to pilot content. I doubt I’ll ever write the book now, as the blog has become much bigger than I ever imagined it would and I’ve got other long-term projects in mind.
It’s a nice way to make a living as I’m around the family much more than I used to be. Within reason, I can write about what I want, there’s no commute and there’s never any issue with getting time off for things like school events.
It’s difficult to find any negatives, to be honest. The life I left behind was utterly miserable and I’ve eliminated all of the worst elements by going it alone. There’s the pressure to make enough each month as I’m the only earner, but I’m always confident. I suppose the only regular problem is having to chase payments. 90% are late.
Before becoming a full time blogger, I was a web content producer working with a quango. It was horrible. Meetings, red tape, passive aggression, the lot. I quickly realised that I didn’t belong there, but stuck it out for a year.
Within a month or two, my earnings from the blog massively outweighed the freelance income and that was that
It probably wasn’t until after I’d quit my job that I realised the blog could become my nine to five. I was in a bad way and something had to give. I wasn’t going to let my job make me ill, so I handed in my notice with no real plan other than to get a bit of freelance work and supplement it with sponsored posts on my blog.
Within a month or two, my earnings from the blog massively outweighed the freelance income and that was that. I’ve always wanted to go pro, but it happened more by accident than design in the end.
I don’t make a massive amount out of my blog, but it’s enough to pay the bills and put food on the table so that’ll do me. I’ve never earned less than £1,000 in a month since quitting my job 15 months ago and the amount I make has been around double that for the last few months. Long may that continue!
The majority of this is via sponsored posts but I’ve started getting more brand ambassador opportunities lately. The rates vary as different brands and PRs have different budgets but they probably average out at around £200 per sponsored post. Ambassador roles generally pay a fair bit more, but there’s much more work involved so it’s all relative.
Even though I was taking a massive risk which, in hindsight, could have really backfired, I had everyone’s full support from the word go. They all knew how unhappy I was in my old job and also knew that I already made a small amount of money out of the blog, so the foundations were there.
It’s certainly easier to stand out as a dad blogger as there are significantly fewer of us out there compared with the mums so that definitely helps. We have a much smaller natural audience though so it can be harder at times.
Dads are definitely still overlooked when it comes to parenting issues and, even though we’re at the start of a cultural shift, I think it’s going to take a long time for the myth about dads being second-class parents to die down.
Dads-to-be should make sure they know the basics and also be ready for anything and to learn from their mistakes
Hopefully, those of us dads who write blogs can help things along by showing that we’re just as capable as mums and hopefully inspire others to speak up too.
I think that dads need to be treated as equals. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked whether it’s “Mum’s day off”. It’s a ridiculously out-of-date notion. Similarly, the media needs to accept that we’re not all like Homer Simpson or Daddy Pig.
When it comes to fatherhood, the best advice I can offer is to be prepared to wing it. That isn’t to say expectant dads shouldn’t do anything to prepare – far from it. It’s essential to read up on what to expect in the delivery room and beyond, of course.
But babies don’t care about plans and will deviate from them from the first minute. A case in point: Amelie was supposed to have a nice, chilled-out home birth and we ended up having to go on a last-minute dash to the second nearest hospital when she decided she wanted to come out feet first.
Dads-to-be should make sure they know the basics and also be ready for anything and to learn from their mistakes. We’re all human after all.
The ‘Love All Dads’ Podcast I’m part of, an award-winning weekly show discussing parenting news stories, came about as a result of a conversation on Twitter. It was definitely someone else’s idea so I was just in the right place at the right time. It’s something we really enjoy doing and people seem to respond to the informal way we do it.
In five years time, I’ll hopefully find myself in a similar situation to the one I’m in now. I’m happy in what I do and, as long as it keeps paying the bills, that’ll do me.
In terms of specifics, I’m planning on doing more with video as that’s where the next generation of parents will look for content first so, all being well, I’ll be as successful in front of a camera as I am with a keyboard.”
Check out diaryofthedad.co.uk