One woman’s mission to reinforce the dad bond has resulted in something altogether more amazing.
We’re living in a new age of parenting, but the majority of dads still don’t spend as much time with their children as they want. Those on the 9-5 grind often feel a sense of detachment and it can take a little while for them to be part of the kids’ routine again at the weekends or evenings.
For those in extended periods of time away from home, this detachment can be even more extreme. As a full time mum and military wife, Jo Lomax saw an opportunity to get dad back into their kids lives in a down right huggable way.
With Jo’s husband working away for weeks and months at a time, the routines of their two children became less and less about daddy, to the point where they didn’t even want to know him when he was back. It’s something that broke Jo’s heart seeing her husband trying so hard to no avail.
“When my youngest was 6 months old the children were almost forgetting about him in our daily lives. They just didn’t think about Daddy and it broke my heart.”
But one conversation changed everything. Jo and her friend were talking about their partners due to go training abroad for 6 months, and how their kids could really do with ‘cuddly daddies’ the same as their favourite teddy bears. Jo knows her way around a sewing machine and took up the challenge.
The night before her friend’s husband was due to go abroad, he gave it to his child, and his happened:
Huggable Heroes – Dad was part of our lives again.
After convincing her husband to also have one made, Jo set about making one each for her children, and the result was incredible.
On the first night of Daddy’s return, her oldest grabbed her ‘huggable hero’ and ran to daddy to show him. Daddy had become part of their lives again in an everyday way. His ‘huggable’ format had been sitting at the table with the kids for months, and so he slipped seamlessly into things with them upon his return.
Everywhere the kids wanted daddy, ‘daddy cuddles’ came along…and soon these were in the hands of a lot more families.
Friends, of friends, of friends
When setting up the business properly in 2015, Jo was getting inundated by orders from friends, then their friends, and then friends of those friends. It was all starting to affect her other job, being a full time mum!
‘It was an exhausting process, working through the night on all the cuddles only once the children got to bed.’
But the amazing effect the toys had, and the reviews were driving her on.
Not wanting to compromise on the quality of production, she enlisted the help of one’s she could really trust – her mum, aunt, and nan – who are still a huge part of the production process to this day!
‘I’ve learned how incredibly lucky I am to have a beautiful family and the chance to really change people’s lives’
And how she has. There are stories right across social media that show how the Huggable Heroes have helped kids deal with their dad’s absence, helped stop self harming, helped in times of self confidence, helped in times of grief. Rarely to do you get to see such a business making such a fundamental impact on children’s lives.
The 1 year anniversary and looking ahead
Earlier this year, on their first full anniversary, Huggable Heroes were nominated for The Sun Military awards, and they’ve also since picked up two ‘Loved by Parents’ awards and the Practical Pre-school awards where they came out as the overall Gold winner in the 0-3 category.
The success doesn’t stop there, and Jo has ambitious plans for the product ahead.
‘I have so many ideas in my head, and my January challenge will be looking at all-round expansion’
When Jo started making the cuddle dads, her daughter Charlotte would personally kiss and cuddle each one before they went to their new families. There’s been quite a few more go out since then (almost 1000!), but it’s the little traditions like that, and the pure love put into this business that we admire.
You can find out more about Huggable Heroes on their Website, Instagram or Facebook.