Behind the scenes with a dad who gained internet fame tweeting about his 4 daughters.
When it comes to capturing the humor of parenting, James Breakwell is a pro.
James Breakwell has four daughters between the ages of 1 and 6, well over half a million Twitter followers, and an unfailing sense of humor.
James with three of his daughters. Image via James Breakwell, used with permission.
Known on Facebook and Twitter as Exploding Unicorn, Breakwell has been sharing his and his wife's parenting adventures with the world since 2012. He writes about the joys and sorrows of fathering four girls, proving that humor can be found in even the smallest moments.
4-year-old: Why do I always have to share the cookies? Me: If you don't, you won't have any friends. 4: But I will have all the cookies.— James Breakwell, Exploding Unicorn (@James Breakwell, Exploding Unicorn) 1472823056
Breakwell with his daughters dressed up as Harry Potter characters for Halloween. Image via James Breakwell, used with permission.
Like any father, Breakwell enjoys watching his kids grow up.
He loves watching their personalities change along with their likes and dislikes. "It’s fun to see what my daughters take an interest in and what they reject out of hand," he explained in an email.
For now, the girls have a wide variety of hobbies. "They love princesses, sci-fi, and zombies, and it all gets blended together in games that are as weird as they are loud," Breakwell said. Only time will tell what those games turn into when there are four teenagers in the house.
[3 daughters fight with lightsabers] Me: I said no lightsaber duels in the house. 6-year-old: A duel is 2 people. We have 3. Me: Proceed.— James Breakwell, Exploding Unicorn (@James Breakwell, Exploding Unicorn) 1472155147
Raising four daughters comes with a unique set of challenges. But, Breakwell said, "whether it’s math, science, or zombie slaying, I teach my kids that both genders are equal at everything that matters."
"Ultimately, I don’t know what it means to be a woman any more than they do right now," he continued. "It’s up to them to define that for themselves. I just have to make sure they’re confident enough to deal with any challenge, regardless of if it’s a sexist boss or an undead monster."
And to their credit (and their parents'), the girls seem to be doing pretty well as far as confidence goes.
4-year-old: Girls can’t get as tall as boys. Me: Why not? 4: Our brains are too heavy.— James Breakwell, Exploding Unicorn (@James Breakwell, Exploding Unicorn) 1475789599
Family photo time with four young kids. Image via James Breakwell, used with permission.
What's the secret to getting such great tweets? Breakwell wrote that he spends all his time listening to his kids.
"I don't have a choice," he said. "They never stop talking."
And with four kids, he's got a lot of material to work with. Enough, actually, for an entire book. "Only Dead on the Inside: A Parent’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse" is a work in progress, scheduled to be published in late 2017. It'll be a combination of parenting tips, a zombie survival guide, and the same humor that gained Breakwell his internet fame to start with.
4-year-old: *stares in a mirror for 5 minutes* Me: You’re too young for that 4: I'm practicing faces to scare away dinosaurs Me: Carry on— James Breakwell, Exploding Unicorn (@James Breakwell, Exploding Unicorn) 1478095235
The kids love being the subject of their dad's Twitter and are pretty convinced that he's a celebrity. Breakwell's wife, he explained, used to think the whole thing was a waste of time, but she's become more supportive as he's managed to secure a few ads.
Overall, Breakwell described his parenting style as "results-oriented."
"The ends justify the means," he said. "If my kids survive, I did a good job."
His advice for other fathers is similarly lighthearted: "Don't worry too much. Kids are more durable than you think."
Of course, there are tons of great dads like Breakwell (minus the Twitter account and a daughter or two) who are doing their best to help their daughters grow up well. The only difference is that in Breakwell's case, we all get to share in the comedy.
A behind-the-scenes look at a family photo shoot. Image via James Breakwell, used with permission.