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19 June 2016

B&S meets...Matt Jones of GQ Dads

It's Father's Day - and, to mark the occassion, we've been catching up with Matt Jones of GQ.com, which launches new parenting website GQ Dads today... 

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Hi Matt! firstly, can you tell us how the idea for GQ Dads came about?

When my wife and I were pregnant I started to realise that there was actually very little information online targeted at men. No surprise, but the questions that I had were slightly different to my wife's, and I couldn't find advice that wasn't either medicalised or self-consciously blokey. I found it a little frustrating, so decided to do something about it. 
Also, fatherhood gets pretty bad press - you're told that you have to forfeit your friends and your social life, your hobbies, your holidays, but as a dad I know that's not entirely the case. Yes, there are some pretty major changes, but your life isn't over, and I found that the ways my friends and colleagues managed parenthood really interesting and positive, and wanted to share that with our readership.

We presume you’re not going to be talking about breast pumps and nursing pads?  What sorts of subjects can we expect to hear about?

You'd be surprised - we have a gentleman's guide to breastfeeding in the works! But you're right. It won't be Mumsnet. Like GQ, it's a broad church and covers everything from dad kit and relationships, fashion, cars, travel and insights from our talented columnists, including AA Gill, Tony Parsons and the Unmumsy Mum, who's our agony aunt.
As a new dad yourself, what 3 pieces of essential advice would you give a first time father?

The one thing you can give the mother of your child that will make her love you more is sleep. That's what a mum friend told me before our daughter was born, so I built it into our routine - I give my daughter a late feed at 11pm, and every Sunday take her out in the morning so Mrs. Jones can sleep in.
When you come home, give your partner a kiss first then your child. I want Mrs. J to know that she's still my priority.

It's OK to be honest about how hard you're finding it. There were some really, really difficult days, and I felt like I could only share that with my close friends and family. My NCT Dads WhatsApp group, for example, was full of rosy anecdotes from the frontline of fatherhood, and that makes you feel like an outsider for struggling. If someone says it's easy or wholly wonderful in every way, I doubt they're telling the truth.
What do you think dads bring to the family dynamic that’s different from mums?

What it means to be a father is changing and different for every family. That's something we want to demonstrate on GQ Dads. Our contributors include working dads and stay-at-home dads, some are hands on and some are hands off. I think every man has a responsibility to be a meaningful part of their child's life, but how they do that and what that looks like is very much down to them.
Are there any inspirational dads who you draw inspiration from in terms of their parenting style?

For me, my own father was pretty inspirational, but like every child you identify things that you would do differently. I think anyone that's hands on, makes time to be a part of their child's life and is someone who their child can go to with problems is inspirational - to me that's what being a good dad is.
Are there any rookie mistakes you made when first embarking on parenting?

Buying loads of rubbish. We have a baby bottle heater that's been used about twice, a baby bottle drying tree that's still in its packaging, about 10 romper suits my daughter's grown out of having never worn...the list goes on. Also, no matter how nice they look, never buy baby grows that are awkward to fasten! 
What have been your ‘go to’ baby brands so far? The ones you really couldn’t do without? 

Our Bugaboo Bee3 is amazing for London, we love Mamas and Papas, and the Kindekeklein hanging cot is great for space efficiency. Baby Gap is superb for essentials, too. 


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