The Loose Dads podcast talked this week about a post they had seen online where a dad complained that he often was the only dad at toddler groups and that he felt excluded. The dad said that the assembled mums were “very cliquey and not very approachable, so I end up normally being by myself or feeling uncomfortable.”
But is this the experience of many other dads?
“I went to loads and loads of these classes with Jake” said Jack from Loose Dads, “yeah, sometimes the mums were cliquey, but I wasn’t there to hang out with mums. I was there to hang out with my kid.” Host Jim replied, “I found that, and I didn’t know whether it was because the mums are cliquey or just because, when you go to a group where there are established friendship groups, that’s what happens anyway. I don’t know whether it is a gender thing or not. Don’t know.”
The idea that dads might not be welcome at groups populated by mainly women is not new. A post from a mum on Mumsnet in 2008 talks about her husband not wanting to attend because “he said that he was worried that the mothers would think he was a perv being a man hanging around at a baby group.”
If the attendees really did view him like this, then that is very much a them problem as it is clearly ridiculous. But that doesn’t mean that dads don’t perceive these events as unfriendly, whether there is reason or not.
Hopefully with shared parental leave and changing work patterns, more dads will start attending toddler groups, evening up the balance of parents and making it easier for those who are cautious about how they will be accepted to join in.
In addition, there are a number of groups around the country that put on dad-and-kid playdates, including many of the local Dadsnet groups. And remember, it is all about having fun with your kids and, as long as they have you to play with, they will be happy.
You can download the Loose Dads podcast wherever you get your podcasts right now