I’m lucky enough to have heard from some pretty amazing mums over the last few weeks as part of this series. So, I thought it was about time the dad’s get involved.
So, as they say, here come the boys.
And what a way to kick off with the inspirational dads. Martyn has been one of my favourite bloggers for a long time.
His blog, Inside Martyn’s Mind is unusual in that he is a home educating dad.
The posts are always engaging, entertaining and incredibly informative. I pick up a lot of tips for activities to do with my children.
And why is Martyn inspirational?
Well, he’s got more educational qualifications than I can count, he plays multiple musical instruments so well that he teaches them. His an incredible artist, an amazing writer and a qualified teacher.
Enough already? Well he has achieved all this whilst battling with both physical and mental health difficulties and being a single dad.
So before his ego gets inflated any further, here is Martyn with his answers to my rather taxing interview questions.
1. Tell me about the most unexpected change to you as a person or to your life since becoming a parent?
The most unexpected, well maybe not in some ways, was my marriage ending and me becoming a single parent. It changed me as a person as well as a parent; I suddenly had to find out what I was made of in both forms.
2. What has been the biggest challenge you have faced since having children?
My Disability is definitely my biggest challenge and still is to date. Having Muscular Dystrophy means that my muscles are always deteriorating, this has meant that there are many things that I can’t do as a parent: Run, play, lift and carry them. Yet, at every turn for the negative I have found a counter way to enrich their lives.
3. What do you regard as your greatest achievement?
Children aside, I would say my education: I achieved 14 G.C.S.E’s at A or higher, have 5 A-Level’s, again at A, then on to University where I completed 4 Degrees and 2 Diplomas. I was always put down as the quiet unintelligent type throughout school, when in fact, as it appears, I was just quiet.
4. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. What hasn’t killed you?
My Mental Health has definitely got to be there for this. I had a nervous breakdown in October 2012 where, unknown to me at that time, my Personality Disorder was flaring beyond control; what I very rarely talk about is that this resulted in me taking a serious attempt at my life.
Yet, I received some help, a diagnosis and then subsequently had to rebuild my life. It has been an uphill struggle, but I have achieved lots since then and have only become stronger.
5. Who inspires you?
Stephen Hawkins. He has always inspired me to see the world differently. He looks at something and comes to a conclusion and then from that tries to disprove what he has come up with. This for me shows the ethics of him in life.
Despite his health condition, he strives to prove that there is more. And once he has done it, he makes every effort to disprove one more thing.
He inspires me to do the same; I want to prove that there is always so much more to life and to me. My goal is to disprove any stereotypes or labels that life can throw at me.
The fact that he is a genius is just a bonus.
6. I have just invented a time machine (and you thought you’d achieved something great). You can now go backwards or forwards to any point in time and deliver any message to any person, what’s your message and who is it for?
Oh how difficult is this question! I suppose I would go forward in time and see my boys grown up and possibly being parents themselves. I would tell them how much I loved them and how proud I am of everything they have achieved. Something I know I will miss out on.
7. You have the opportunity to influence the entrepreneurs of the future. What life changing invention would you like to see on the drawing board?
I actually have 3 disabled adaptations that I wish I could finance and take on Dragons Den 😉
My big idea though is a walking stick/grabber. Most common walking sticks have an elasticated middle, to collapse and fold away. This is the same elastic that is used in grabbers; so my thinking is to combine the two.
Use the “grabbing claw” part to lean on and then if you drop something you can turn it around, pull the elastic and use it to pick up what you’ve dropped.
I know that most people with walking sticks, like myself, also have trouble bending down and who really wants to carry a grabber around with you everywhere?
8. I have waved a magic wand and all of your responsibilities have been taken care of for 24 hours. What are you going to do?
I would probably sit and draw; I don’t get enough time to actually draw in large sittings. I find it extremely therapeutic just to sit and focus on what I want to create. With the obvious cup of coffee in between 😉
9. How can parents best be empowered to properly balance a career and a family life?
There’s a balance? I still haven’t, in all honesty, found a good balance. I have the boys for half the week and Home School them and for the other half I teach Piano and the Guitar.
Then somewhere in between, I blog. My days are long and very busy but I do it all for the boys.
They motivate me to do everything and help me to focus through the harder days.
10. You’re off for a night out tonight. Where will you go, what will you drink and what will be the topic of conversation?
It would probably be off to the pub where I host a quiz night one evening a week; the locals know and accept me for who I am and welcome me at every opportunity.
As for the conversation… well, they’re quite immature and childish and often enjoy lowering the tone and mocking one another; something that I enjoy for the simplicity.