- Expert Advice
- Nov 14, 2023
Lola&Lykke Experts Answer: Top Nutrition Tips For C-section Recovery
by Marika Luukkonen
Mental Health Expert, Dad, Speaker, Author
I’m a husband, dad, speaker, author and the founder of a platform, MusicFootballFatherhood (MFF). Together with our team of contributors, we run this parenting platform for men which is all about open conversations around fatherhood. MFF was described as the ‘Dad’s version of Mumsnet’ by the BBC.
At MFF, We aim to provide a space for dads to share the ups and downs of parenting and promote a positive representation of diverse fatherhood. This is done through our popular blog which has 100s of articles written by dads, our #DaddyDebates podcast where we have in-depth chats with dads about different fatherhood related topics, our monthly online peer sessions for new dads called The Lodge and our event partnerships with football clubs called Extra Time.
I started MFF in 2016 after suffering from PTSD after the traumatic birth of my daughter. It was like self therapy for me and it’s grown to something that I could never had imagined as we have supported thousands of dads over the years. I’ve shared my experience of PTSD in an in-depth BBC article here.
I now run MFF fulltime but previously I worked in the Civil Service where I held senior Diversity, Equity & Inclusion roles. While at Department for Transport I started a staff parenting network which was used as best practise across the Civil Service, I was the head of race equality in Defra and my last role was as the Head of D&I delivery at HM Treasury.
I’ve been involved in many research projects relating to fathers in the workplace, notably the 2018 Equal Lives report by Business in the Community and the Fathers in the Workplace toolkit by University of Birmingham where I spoke at both of the launches. I have used this experience alongside my work in the Civil Service, my experience running MFF and my lived experience to become one of the UK’s most prominent speakers and writers on topics around fatherhood, masculinity, mental health, equal parenting and gender equality. I regularly host webinars and workshops with organisations about how they can support working dads, redefine masculinity and create a family friendly workplace. Recently I have worked with companies such as Ford, Siemans, Co-op, Allen & Overy, BT, HSBC and Glaxo GSK.
I’ve been lucky enough to be recognised by the United Nations for my work engaging men in gender equality and I was awarded the UN Women UK’s #HeForShe ‘Changemaker of the Year’ award in 2019.
I was the keynote speaker at the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Fatherhood in July 2021 and I am a media commentator on issues around parenting and fatherhood. I regularly appear across national and local news, sharing my work and views on Channel 4, BBC News, Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio London as well as overseas media outlets across Europe and Africa. I’ve written for various mainstream publications, including The Telegraph and The Independent and even had my work shared online by none other than The Rock!
I curated MFF’s first book entitled ‘DAD: untold stories of fatherhood, love, mental health and masculinity’ which is a deeply moving and inspiring collection of 20 stories that represent the diversity of modern fatherhood and seeks to start a conversation that challenges the traditions associated with masculinity.
We have had some amazing support for the DAD book. Our community partners have done an incredible job in helping us to promote the book and we have had some unbelievable press coverage which even saw me feature on the BBC News and live on Channel 4 at exactly the same time! As part of the ongoing promo run I even managed to give a signed book to John Barnes and hand a copy over to none other than Prince William at Westminster Abbey! DAD was published on Tuesday 1st June and is an Amazon Top 10 bestseller and The Hive Top 20 bestseller.
In 2022 I want to continue to grow MFF by going deeper with our content and our community, grow our presence in football and music and have more phenomenal conversations around fatherhood. Also, 2022 will mark my TV presenter debut! I’ve been filming a documentary which I think will be seminal. It will be the first time that issues around equal parenting, work-life balance, dad’s mental health, changing expectations and masculinity are bought to the mainstream.
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