7 March 2023 

Eleven years on from tragedy, triplet dad Paul Mason shares his story of bringing up his children and how Twins Trust helped him in his hour of need.

Looking at his triplets, Lukas, Mattias and Sarah, Paul Mason realises how far his family has come since tragedy struck more than a decade ago. Just eight days after he and his wife Isabel welcomed their baby daughter and two sons into the world in March 2012, she passed away. Suddenly a single parent and a widower, Paul was 44 and left to face life on his own bringing up his babies. A mighty task. Yet Paul couldn’t break, he knew how he and Isabel wanted to raise the triplets and he devoted his life to them.

Paul and Isabel Mason and their newborn triplets

Now 11 years on, former scientist and management consultant Paul, 55, has spoken about his challenges as a single parent of multiples and how proud he is of his family. He’s adapted his life and his job to fit around his children and tried to keep their days together as simple as possible. He plays the mother and father role as best he can and each day, he remembers to be kind to himself. He’s incredibly modest but also eternally grateful for the support he received from Twins Trust and Norland Nannies when the triplets were born. Norland College offers award-winning childcare training for individuals wishing to become a nanny. Twins Trust and the support of the wonderful multiples’ community raised an impressive £10,000 to support the family.

Looking back on his early days of parenthood, Paul said: “I had a huge amount of support from various sources. Twins Trust were amazing – their liaison with Norland Nannies was fantastic. It was early days and £10,000 was raised, which went towards some of my costs. I had a triplet buggy, a three-in-a-line one, which was fantastic. Isabel and I had already decided on that style as we wanted all the kids to be able to see our faces. The support of Twins Trust was hugely influential. It showed me that this wasn’t going to be impossible and it was going to be plausible as a single parent. Because a Norland Nanny could do it and showed me how to do it, I felt I could do it. They work alone with babies including multiples so they saw and understood the challenges of feeding three babies at the same time."

The support of Twins Trust was hugely influential

“At the time it was impossible for one person to do it 24/7. Even Isabel and I would have struggled even though we were a great team and brilliant together. I think it still would have been a stretch for us to do it together, just the two of us. The Norland Nannies came in the day and different Night Nannies at night. The kids were on a feeding cycle, taking two to three hours to actually feed and then we were winding them and they had a sleep. They wouldn’t all go to sleep at the same time. They would all get their sleep but some days I would have five minutes off in that four-hour cycle. Sometimes I wouldn’t even get that off. So it was pretty intense at that time.”

Triplets and their father

Paul said his parents were a huge support in the early days too, staying over to help raise their three grandchildren. Volunteers from the charity Homestart also came to support the family too. He took a year off thanks to paid paternity leave, meaning that, as he describes it, “he could learn the tradecraft of caring for babies”.

While Paul continued to work in his role at Ordnance Survey until the triplets were four, he then adapted his life to suit the family. He admitted that had he kept his job and continued looking after the triplets, it would have taken a toll on his mental health. He took redundancy from Ordnance Survey and successfully applied for a job as a Learning Support Assistant (LSA) at a local school, a role he was hugely overqualified for with his three degrees, including a PhD and an MBA. Yet by becoming an LSA, he realised it would save him having to work extra-long and stressful hours to pay for childcare. He also knew this would give him, and his family, a better work and life balance.

He added “I felt overstretched having to be the best employee I could and trying to be the best dad I could. I just couldn’t do both. I think if I had stayed there my mental health would have suffered and that would have had really serious knock-on consequences for my children.
“I’m kind to myself and very forgiving, especially when it comes to time management and what I can fit in to each day. I don’t overstretch and I try to have the right priorities and keep things simple. The kids don’t go without, they have what they need. We just make things work.”

Fast forward to the present day and Paul has adapted his weeks to make a life that works for him and the triplets. Lukas, Mattias and Sarah are now 11-years old and have started walking to school on their own and were given their first smartphones at Christmas. He said: “You configure your life in a certain way to make it work. Now as a single parent of three, there are days when it feels overwhelming. It’s not easy but it is plausible. If I’m struggling, I read a poem by Diane Loomans called ‘If I had my child to raise over again’ and immediately feel re-inspired. I would say I don’t think I ever looked this far ahead. I just thought before the triplets were born we would have this idyllic family life together. Isabel was marvellous. She was instrumental in my approach to bringing the triplets up. People say I’m doing a great job but I’m just copying what she talked about. She was such a source of inspiration and support to our little family. Family was so important to her and me of course. She would have loved it. I think this every day.”

Eleven years on, the family fill their spare time with camping and kayak expeditions, trips with friends, movie and board game nights at home. Summer nights are spent camping under the stars on their garden scramble net playground that Paul built. They laugh and play together, cherishing their time together as a family. Paul even doesn’t mind losing at games of Uno, as the children find moments of joy beating their dad at the card game.

Paul and his triplets

With Paul’s adventurous mindset and his plans with Isabel that the children would be world travellers, the world is their oyster. The triplets first visited London at six-months-old and took their first flight to Scotland aged two. Paul added: “I don’t want the children to feel like their lives are any less than they could be because their mother died.

Isabel was such a source of inspiration and support to our little family

“I’ve deliberately configured my life and the lifestyle of my house and of the kids to make it as simple as possible and avoid complexity where I can. They’re getting to the point now as 11-year-olds where it almost feels like we’re a little team. It’s great that they are all the same age and can play together and help each other. I’m still the parent but they’re great. They make their own lunches for school and one of my sons cleans the bathroom. I don’t ask for it, he just chooses to do it. They all do little things to help me, just as I enjoy helping them. There is an unspoken dynamic between us all that is just lovely. We’re an amazing quad act.”

Isabel started a blog before the triplets were born. You can read it here.

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