The Learner Parent blogger Sam Avery to come to Maidstone
He's an award-winning comedian with a huge online following for his blog, the Learner Parent.
Now Sam Avery is bringing his stand-up show - also called The Learner Parent - to the Hazlitt Theatre in Maidstone.
Here he talks public meltdowns, touring and first days at school.
He is sat in a windowless room as he embarks on a series of press interviews. But that’s just fine. It is giving him some peace and quiet from his four-year-old twins Zach and Ben.
“I’m having a great time," he says. "I’m in a soundproof box with no light and no air but I’ve got a hot coffee and a comfy seat. I’m going to book myself in for a week I think. It’s like a spa break.”
He is joking of course. He may write about the trials and tribulations of being a dad, including everything from poo to public meltdowns but he loves being a parent and misses his boys when he is away from them – “one night is nice, two is okay, but three is pushing it, I start to really miss them,” he said.
Sam is nearing the end of his Learner Parent tour, with the Hazlitt Theatre in Maidstone being one of his last dates. And despite missing his sons, he has loved every minute.
He said: “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done professionally. I’ve been doing stand-up since 2003 and having the ability to do your own tour is the main thing I’ve always wanted to do.”
Sam has won awards for his blog and his book The Learner Parent is a best-seller but he says doing his own tour feels like he has ‘made it’.
Sam has amassed a huge following. His Facebook page, Sam Avery - The Learner Parent, has more than 150,000 followers. It led to a best-selling book The Confessions of a Learner Parent and the current tour.
Sam started blogging about his boys when they were born and quickly gained followers. His funny take on parenting from a dad’s perspective made him stand out in the world of parent blogging which is dominated by mums.
He said: “I have always written down ideas and when we were in the hospital I started to write stuff down, we were in there for about 10 days.
"When we got home I thought about writing a blog, I hated the term because I didn’t really understand it. I thought, for some reason, it was just people writing about celebrities. But someone said to me you can just write about whatever you want. I thought that was a good idea as it was a good way of seeing if stuff is funny.
“The blog got quite popular online quite quickly, people started following it and tagging friends in it. Within a couple of months there were a few thousand people following it. It just sort of exploded and became its own thing. That’s where it spiralled from.”
It was one post in particular that led to the blog becoming such an internet hit. Called 20 Things I Learned as a Parent Last Year it contains such gems as ‘people who say you should enjoy every single moment of parenthood are at best unrealistic, and at worst, morons’ and ‘getting your baby to nap is like a game of Snakes and Ladders. One wrong move and you’re back to the beginning’ as well as how he times his morning routine by the CBeebies' theme tunes and finds it impossible to tidy the house.
It is this honest take on being a dad of twins that has struck a chord with parents across the UK. His show promises more of the same.
The first half of his show is all about being a new parent and the second is, in his words, about the worst tantrum he has ever experienced which all began because of a broken banana.
He said: “I’ve had loads of messages about the show and been sent pictures of all these broken bananas with a child crying in the background.
"I have some parents message me to say they now use the phrase broken banana to mean a tantrum, like ‘we’ve got a broken banana incident’. It’s really nice that people have connected with it in that way.”
So what’s life like with four-year-old twins?
He said: “They play with each other nicely most of the time and then they’ll just have this massive fight. We were in a soft play once, they must have been about two. Zach had lost Ben, he didn’t know where Ben was. I could see them both and Zach was really upset, saying ‘where’s Ben where’s Ben’ and I said to him, Ben’s just there. Zach stopped crying, went over to Ben and I thought this is going to be an amazing moment, but then he immediately started a fight with him. And that just sums up their relationship really.
"They need each other but there is a healthy disrespect for each other as well.”
He added: “It’s great fun at the moment. Four is a great age. They are really funny and they make me laugh all the time.
“I don’t know how I feel about them starting school. I’m going to be stood at the gates just weeping. I’m going to have wear those big sunglasses to hide my eyes. I’m going to be a mess, but they are probably going to be alright.”
Sam admitted that the worst thing about being a parent is the lack of sleep. He added: “It makes even basic decision-making hard. I would be getting myself a glass of orange juice and I’d spend ages just deciding what glass to put it in because I’d had like 90 minutes sleep and I was losing my mind. There were all these beautiful moments that I probably didn’t appreciate at the time because I was just so tired.”
Now the boys sleep much better – but still get into bed with mum and dad.
Sam said: “One will get in and then the other one will notice they are in the room on their own and they will get in as well, so it will end up with the four of us in bed. We need a bigger bed. Maybe I should name my next tour that. You know like Peter Kay did the ‘buy my mum a bungalow’ tour, I can do the ‘I need a bigger bed tour’.”
Despite their dad’s success, the boys are too young to really understand what he does for a living.
He said: “I tried explaining it to them by saying my job is to make people laugh. Zach said he wanted a job where he makes people sneeze. I think he just saw it as they are both just bodily actions.”
Tickets for the show on Saturday, July 13, cost £18.50. Book here.