Dads: Behind the hashtags

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Hashtags, They’re everywhere, aren’t they? Sometimes they’re helpful signposts to help us find related content. Or they can be the source of much aggravation as we try to work out whether our latest Instagram story should be tagged #ad, #gifted, #sponsored or #yesigotpaidtodothis. And they can be invaluable in flagging our support for a cause or even to start a campaign ourselves.

So this month I’m calling out three campaign-based hashtags that some of my fellow dads have been featuring. They all struck a chord both with me and with other fathers. Our support for them goes beyond mere virtue-signalling. We believe in the causes they represent and we’re not afraid to talk about them.

#Pride

It saddens me that in this day and age we still need Pride events. But in the blogging world, the LGBT+ community are more than welcome because they offer some of the most interesting and thought-provoking perspectives on parenting issues. If not for blogs such as Jamie‘s Daddy and Dad, my insight into this parenting niche would be sadly lacking – and that would be my loss.

Jamie’s post about the Magical Pride event hosted at Disneyland Paris perfectly captured his family’s joy at being invited to Disney’s official, world-first Pride event. If ever two things were tailor-made for each other in terms of a combination of fun and colour, it’s surely Disney and Pride.

We had the best weekend of our family’s life so far, we honestly couldn’t recommend Magical Pride enough. It’s wonderful!

Daddy and Dad was also recently named as the number two blog on Vuelio’s top ten list of UK LGBT blogs. (Well done, Jamie – the recognition is well deserved.) You can read about his thoughts on the importance of Pride events and online trolling in his Vuelio Blogger Spotlight.

#GetOutside

Walking is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to improve fitness. May was National Walking Month in the UK. As someone for whom walking had underpinned some serious weight loss last year, Phill from Four Seasons Dad was quick to get behind it in support of the #GetOutside initiative. He joined forces with David, who blogs at Potty Adventures, to do a joint family hike in the beautiful surroundings of Snowdonia National Park.

Phill is quick to point out the psychological as well as the physical benefits of walking.

I forgot how clear my mind becomes when I’m walking and how much it allows me to think about things. It’s almost like the increase in oxygen and adrenaline, coupled with the sense of achievement, flows through your body and revitalises you ready for the week ahead.

The exercise also provides a sound justification for a pint or an ice cream afterwards!

David writes about the same walk from his perspective, pointing out how easy and accessible walking is. And because anyone can do it, it’s a great opportunity for families to bond away from the distractions of modern life.

We understand the benefits of walking as a family, sure, but our main reason is refreshingly simple: we want to spend quality time together.

I can vouch for the benefits of walking as either a family or a solo activity. I’ve lost nearly four stone in weight over the past nine months through a combination of diet, a little bit of running and gym work – and a lot of walking. (I walk on average 180-200 km every month.) You don’t need any particular skills or equipment other than suitable footwear and waterproofs. And you can go on long mountain hikes or just a 20-minute stroll to the shops. It all counts!

#PutYourPhonesAway

Finally, Nigel from DIY Daddy wrote about how his addiction to social media and his phone was impacting his family life. As bloggers, there’s a constant pressure to be always-on. Check the blog. Respond to emails from brands and PRs. Take photos to post on Instagram. Look at Facebook and Twitter for the latest notifications. Rinse and repeat, from the minute you wake up to when you go to bed.

Nigel likens the addiction to alcoholism and isn’t afraid to admit the detrimental impact it was having.

I was sick of being short-tempered, snapping at the kids because I thought I needed to look at my phone. I was making those around me unhappy.

If we’re being honest, many of us will recognise similar patterns of behaviour in ourselves. But how many of us ever get round to doing something to break out of it?

Nigel did just that. Shamed and inspired by a comment from his daughter, he made changes, resolving to put his phone down. And by creating the hashtag #PutYourPhonesAway, he’s encouraging others to do the same and remember that there is a whole life out there beyond the seductive confines of a six-inch screen.

Sometimes all a fire needs is a spark from a single person – or a single hashtag – to start it off.

Are there any particular causes that you like to publicise your support for – and why? Share them in the comments!

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About Tim Liew

Tim, also known as @thatchamdad, is a blogger, a podcaster, a father of three (aged 11, 9 and 7) and a master of none. By his own admission he’s forever stuck somewhere in the mid-1980s, probably a Thursday. In between bouts of nostalgia, complaining about his aching joints and compiling endless music playlists, he has been writing about his experiences as a working dad on his blog Slouching towards Thatcham since 2008.

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