About 16 months ago, Dubai resident Vip Patel became a father for the first time. But the experience led him to becoming a daddy blogger for the first time too.
“I started the blog about four weeks ago. A friend of mine said all I ever seem to do is post pictures and captions on social media about the trials and errors of being a new father. She said ‘why not just blog about it’. So I did.”
With so many family-friendly things to do in Dubai but with information so “scattered about”, 37-year-old Patel said the whole ethos behind his blog, www.dubaidad.ae, is to make parenting a bit more easier for expat mums and dads. “The tagline reads: ‘Playing in the sand pit’. It’s basically all about figuring out how to raise a child in Dubai, this sandpit we call home.”
With the expat life in Dubai on a whole other level to other countries around the world, he said it was the perfect excuse to get typing again.
“Since becoming a dad I’ve followed international dad bloggers. I’ve seen some hilarious ones but they are not really relatable to the region. I wanted to bridge that gap.”
As an ex-music magazine director, Patel has always enjoyed writing and he’s well aware of the power of blogging, so it made sense to launch his own page, he said.
“All I want to do is dispel some of the myths of parenting. The first thing that you realise about becoming a parent is that everyone tells you about the joys of it. The only thing that goes is your sleep apparently, but so many other things go too. You constantly have to have one eye on the baby. But on the flip side, no one prepares you for the level of love you will feel. Yes, you may be pulling your hair out but you’re just so in love it doesn’t matter.”
When asked what the biggest adjustment for him has been since making the leap into fatherhood, Patel said adjustments don’t have to be drastic if you “think smart”. And that is the message he wants to get across to dad’s in his blog.
“I’m a self-confessed party animal. My previous job meant I was mainly working late at night. I thought Kira’s arrival meant my social life would die, but it’s not dead.”
He said it’s all about finding that balance, otherwise you’ll burn yourself out.
“I want to show dads that there are events here you can go to that are fun for both parents and kids. I’m not talking parks and soft play areas, I’m talking live bands and stuff, where you can bring the kids along.” And the most important underlying message is letting people understand that they can have a social life.
With more than 10 blog entries under his belt so far, some of his favourites have been the typical Dubai scenarios.
“Kira is only 16 months old but she’s already been on her first yacht party. We do a daddy and daughter swimming class too at a beach side hotel. Instead of a dull backdrop like you’d get in the UK, or some gross verucca sock floating by, our backdrop was of super yachts. It’s a different kinda parenting style here.”
Some of his most popular blogs to date have been ‘The 24 stages of a dad’s night out in Dubai’. From the standard debate on where to go, to contemplating the struggle of handling the kids the next day, he said it’s been a huge hit among his followers.
“Keeping it relatable is what it is all about for me.”