When I decided to interview someone for Men’s health week this year, the first person that I thought of was Neil Ward. His blog “Multiverse Madness” gives a dads perspective on life with multiples, the blog is not only entertaining and honest but he often talks about issues that normally get skipped over and offers advice based on his own experiences.
You can read my interview with Neil Ward for Multiple Birth Awareness Week here.
Neil is also the man behind a unique Facebook group which brings dads of multiples from all over the world together to share their experiences and offer support to each other.
You can read his work at www.multiversemadness.wordpress.com.
Dads of multiples can find his Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MultipleDadsSanctuary/
Q: The theme for Men’s health week this year is “MoMENts in time”. Could you tell us about a moment in time that has had a positive impact on your health (either mental or physical)? Finding out I was going to be a dad, first I needed to get my headspace right and on the physical side I thought “hang on, I’m going to have to keep up with these babies.”
Q: How about a moment in time that has effected someone else’s health in a positive way? For me, running the Multiple dads sanctuary we’ve had an episode where we had to help a dad out who was literally in dire straights, we gathered the resources we had available to us and without going into details we saved somebody’s life. Knowing that you can help someone is a big thing, and hopefully if you help someone they will then pay it forward and help someone else.
Q: You mentioned the “Multiple Dads Sanctuary” What can a dad of multiples expect to find when they join the group? Not the atypical dad’s group, no sheds, motorcycles or cars, it’s all family orientated. You’ll find us talking about which washing machine to buy, how many nappies we need to buy, where’s a good place to hide when the kids are just starting to get to you. It’s the same questions that you would find in any typical mothers group but with a difference. Questions are answered with facts rather than emotions. Dad’s can ask a question and receive the information that they need without the judgement that they may have to deal with elsewhere. It’s a support network and like anything else, the longer you’re there you get to know who the regulars are and these people become friends.
Q: As well as running the Facebook group you also volunteer for your local Multiple Birth Association group, what benefits can dads expect to gain from volunteering? The voluntary work that dads can really get involved with for their Multiple Birth Association group would be the BBQs, the bake sales and the events themselves. What I get out of it is a bit of peace and quiet, it’s an escape. I can go and talk to people I know who have the same daily struggles as me and also make new friendships through the club.
Q: Let’s talk about your blog Multiverse Madness, how would you describe Multiverse Madness? I really enjoy my writing, for me it is a legacy for my boys. My father passed away when I was really young and I have half a dozen photos and I’ve got his old license that’s got his signature on it but that’s all. With the medical history in the family, if the worst were to happen to me, I want my boys to have more memories of who I was, what I thought about them. So you could say that it started out as a keepsake/legacy and I think that there’s also alot of information in there for other dads.
Q: Last year you made a commitment to improving your health and joined a gym, what inspired you to take that first step? A photo. The boys had their 2nd Birthday last July and a month later I looked at the photo and thought “Who is that?” I did not recognise myself. I was a cross country state runner, athletics, hockey, 30 plus years of being active in sport, to then see that photo was “Wow!” I thought if I don’t fix my health I’m not going to be here for my boys. When the boys were born I was already 43 so I’m going to be 60 by the time they’re 21. I want to be able to run around the park with them and go for a bike ride or wherever they want to go. With that in mind the decision was too easy. Since then I’ve lost 20kg.
Q: I’ve noticed that you like to write letters to your boys for them to read when they are older. I love this idea, mainly because the way we view the world and our relationships with our children change so much as time goes by. What piece of health advice would you like to record today for your teenage sons? It’s always about the basics, don’t overcomplicate things. whether it’s food, relationships or lifestyle, keep it simple. Everything in moderation. There’s nothing you can’t do or can’t have (within reason) it’s always the excess that gets you. The other thing would be variation, wether it be culture – it’s Australian-Greek in our house – food or friends. So keep it simple and diversify over everything you do in life.
Q: Lastly, I feel obliged to ask: Are you the man?? I’m one of the men. I’m not the only man. And there’s also a woman as part of my team. It’s never one person, it’s never one place it’s never one child. As “the man” it’s all about choosing to do something about things, 25 minutes a day reading to a child, giving them a cuddle, writing them a letter, whatever. It’s not a monetary investment or a massive time investment, it’s the engagement with my boys that matters.