So this is a bit of a follow-up to my previous ‘reflective’ piece titled “Dads Involvement in Parenting” (link here) somewhat inspired by the “Dads don’t babysit” t-shirt that has been doing the rounds.
When I wrote my previous piece, I felt somewhat alone as a single parent, and as a dad. I reflected on the fact that most of the time I went to groups etc, I was one of a handful of dads and I did feel as though dads should be doing more.
I still feel that is the case in some instances. However, thanks to the power of the internet, there are pockets of dads who do go above and beyond, who are the “main carer” (I hate that phrase!) and are the ones taking their child here there and everywhere.
Yes, the stereotypical view by the population as a whole that mum should be the main one caring and nurturing the child will remain for some time. Miracles don’t happen overnight.
However, there are groups out there of like minded dads out there, some of whom will be in a similar position to myself. The fact that these groups exist give me great comfort and support, even if it is just reading the posts and smiling, knowing that I have been in that particular situation. Yes, being the only dad in a parent/toddler class of 40 children will never be easy, but I know that the support groups are there. They are just a bit harder to find for dads than for mums.
Also, it does get easier as time goes on. Confidence grows and as babies turn into toddlers, they make friends and that makes going out as a group so much more interesting and turns into the highlight of the week.
Yes, it is still difficult, yet life is difficult. Life as a single parent is more difficult, and I realise that I am very lucky to be in a better place than others. The latest press coverage will surely help and it might mean that those starting on the journey will find it easier. I know that I am now, even though I am 2 years down the path…
If after reading this and you don’t know where to turn I would try two groups:
If you’re a fellow Leeds Dad, join the Facebook/Twitter for the Leeds Dads group. They meet once a month in Leeds (although I have only been once due to sleeping toddler!), a really informal group and the WhatsApp chat group is a source of great comedy!
If you’re further a field, “The Dad Network” is an excellent free flowing Facebook group where dads around the world post thoughts on parenting (or parenting to be) and interesting discussions flow from there.
I would be foolish not to conclude with a link to the “Dads Don’t Babysit” t-shirt page (for UK dads) It is for an excellent cause so you’re doing more than just buying a t-shirt