Welcome to Meet a Dad! Here is where we like to feature an at home dad from within our community, through interviews conducted by Mike Andrews
Today we have an interview with Mark Hendrikx. He is a filmmaker and an At-Home Dad to a 2 year old boy and lives in London. He helps run the Dads & Littluns group in London and is a very active dad in the National At-Home Dad Network Community. Mark created an excellent short film titled “The Set Menu” that I really enjoy and suggest you all check it out at his site. We are proud to have him as one of our many international Dads. You can find him on twitter as @markatciff and at his website cuttingitfinefilms.com/
1. How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I have (at the moment) one son and he is 2 years and 4 months old.
2. Why did you become a stay at home dad?
Because financially it just made sense. I’m a filmmaker and I am in a fortunate position where my income is sporadic enough to make it possible for me to shun badly paid jobs and save money on childcare.
3. Other than spending time with your kids, what do you like about being an at home parent?
Being able to have extra time to switch on the computer, work on scripts and also catch up on watching films and TV to research how the industry is changing.
4. What do you like least?
Not getting those jobs listed above done. That and the occasional loneliness that it can bring.
5. What is your normal daily routine like?
6:30 wake up, shower, cup of tea (or two) and prep breakfast.
7:30 – 8:00 the little man awakes.
8:00 – 9:30 Play, eat breakfast and get him dressed.
10:00 – Midday go out, regardless of the weather and go to play groups, jungle gyms, swimming – whatever he wants to do (with a little negotiation).
13:00 Home for lunch
13:30 – 14:00 try to get him down for a nap. (this is ending though, as he is getting old enough not needing a nap, much to my sadness).
15:30 – 16:00 he awakes generally in a bad mood. Give him a chocolate bar to cheer him up sometimes.
16:00 – 18:00 try to keep him happy by playing with him, arts & crafts and a little TV or a Disney Film on in the background.
18:30 Wife sometimes gets home for dinner with us together.
19:15 run his bath.
20:00 bedtime for him.
20:15 clean the kitchen
20:30 – 22:00 watch TV and the News and then go to bed.
6. If you were to change one thing about yourself as a dad, what would it be?
Not to be so damn strict. And try not to raise my voice as much, i.e. Not be such a hothead.
7. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Go to the football (soccer), cinema and anything else where friends are there. (Socialising)
8. What advice would you give a new At Home Dad?
Get out of the damn house. Find activities to do. And expect the unexpected by taking a spare set of clothes for your little one in the changing bag.
9. What does your spouse/partner do?
She is an auditor / accountant.
10. What is your best memory of your father?
This is a tough one. My dad was always working abroad when I was growing up so he was only really home for the weekends. The best memory did come later on in life when I graduated university as a mature student aged 26. He was proud that his non 9-5 working son actually got a degree in something.
11. The worst? How did this effect the way you parent your kids?
He always took the piss out of me – it was his way of blowing off steam. He once wound me up so bad that I kicked him. I was 9. I will thus never mock my son. Whatever my son does, if it makes him happy, I will support him.
12. What has your experience been as far as how others see your role as an At Home Dad?
Generally supportive. of course I have had the few comments like “Oh, his mother is having a break, how nice for her,” but I generally verbally slap them down with such a speed that they don’t know what hit them. (i love my linguistic strengths). But that doesn’t stop me from being my own worst and fierce critic.
13. What cartoon character are you and why?
I’d love to say Yogi Bear. Not because I love picnics, but because at the best of times I am not the quickest of cats. But for that analogy, I would say I’m more like Top Cat because I somehow always manage to get a group of savvy people around me and then we figure out a problem together with a little direction needed. By me, of course.
14. Who is the better cook in your home? What is your best meal to cook?
I’d say we are both equal. I do a mean bolognaise. But I love to bake; something my wife isn’t happy about because it can add the pounds very quickly.
15. Are there any “Dad Groups” in your area that you participate in? If not, what do you do to connect with other parents?
Dads & Littluns in Wimbledon Park, SW London, UK. I help with the social media and online presence. They’re a Godsend.
16. Favorite kid’s book growing up?
The Point Horror Series.
17. What is your least favorite kid’s show?
Currently? Henry Hugglemonster because Summer Hugglemonster (the sister) is the most self centred character on TV after Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian. Definately not a role model for kids.
18. What was your best moment as a father?
Holding my son when he’s been ill and getting him to calm down by me whispering that, “Everything will be okay.” That and the time he started to say Papi to me. It brought a tear to my eye.
19. What was your scariest?
Having to visit the ER (A&E) when he got concussion. Another time was when I was putting my son into his car seat and a van clipped me for “standing in the road”. (For the record, there was enough space for a tank to pass me). I absolutely lost my mind and saw red. I was literally half a breath away from smacking the guy’s lights out. And I could see the worry in my son’s eyes through the window.
20. What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want you kids to remember you?
Strict but fun. I want to introduce them to great fun days out every time I can.
How do you want your name to shown in the post?