MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers).
BBM (Building Better Moms).
Mommy and Me.
Johnson County Moms.
Kansas City Moms Blog.
And the list goes on and on for groups and resources available for Kansas City moms.
What is missing from the list above? D-A-D.
Seriously, what about dad?
I know as women, it’s in our nature to want to band together, meet new friends, bond as new (and experienced) mothers. But have you ever wondered why there are no group for dads? I’m guessing the assumption is that no one would come. Because really, they are dads! How hard is it, right? Well…
In our family, after the breastfeeding part is over, the kid responsibilities are fair game in our house (can’t fault him if he doesn’t have the goods). That means my husband and I are both equally capable of tending to every need of our children. And going from one to two and now three kids, we need more than the four hands we have.
He gives baths, I give baths. He cooks dinner, I cook dinner. He helps get them dressed, I help get them dressed. You get the picture.
As a parent, you know that sometimes the day to day can be mundane, and it’s very easy to feel isolated, alone and even fall into depression – even with a supportive partner by your side. And that is where the support groups are amazing. Once you become a mom, you have an immediate invitation to so many group (many that I listed above). Why a mom seeks these groups out varies from mom to mom, but ultimately it is to gain a sense of community with other moms. To use that community to learn from each other, share stories, triumphs, failures, epic failures and even those stories that you don’t dare post on social media because you know you will be judged to the end of time (i.e. you lost your kid at the grocery store, kid walked out the front door and you didn’t know, etc.) because you know these ladies will understand. Some of these groups have speakers to talk about parenting, healthy eating or safety in the home. You scribble all these notes down and talk with other moms and vow to be the best mom you can be.
I am in a few of these groups (and am a contributor for this amazing blog that is an awesome mom resource!) and love them. And most of the time, I come home from them (or after I read an article) rejuvenated. Feeling good that I’m not the only working mom that sometimes looks forward to Monday mornings after a long weekend at home. Or feeling that I am armed with new knowledge about how to work on communicating with my kids and anxious to try out all the new tips I have learned. When I get home, I sometimes share what I learned with my husband but sometimes not. I figured, eh, he’s a dad, he’s got it all down.
Then one night, we were driving to a dinner date alone after a particularly challenging parenting week. We usually listen to music in the car or talk to each other, but my husband mentioned to me that he wanted me to listen to this parenting podcast that talked about discipline. Apparently he had been reading books and listening to these podcasts to learn more about the best way to discipline our four-year-old and wanted me to learn, too. I laughed, but he was serious. So instead of talking to each other, we listened to the podcast and then when we arrived at the restaurant, sat in the car to quickly discuss what we learned.
That was when it hit me – dads don’t know it all, either. And even though it’s now more likely than not the household duties are equally shared, the same equality is not available in the form of support and community groups for dads who would likely benefit from it just as much as we do as moms.
Now a dad’s group would NOT look the same as a mom’s group (just like men breastfeeding would look entirely different than women). But the common thread between them? The community to learn from each other, share stories, triumphs, failures, epic failures and even those stories that dad doesn’t dare tell his wife… because she would disown him.
While my husband might be an anomaly reading parenting books and listening to podcasts on discipline (I really do love him!), I’m guessing these dads are likely a little more interested in all that stuff if we just gave them some credit. And also gave them that support they might need. Just like us moms, they want to help raise our kids up right, but also sometimes need to vent. And maybe realize the fact that their four-year-old still throws tantrums is normal. If that happens to be in a more manly setting, so be it. Beer and wings for the guys and wine and dips for the ladies – it all bring us together as parents and gives us that support we all need so badly.
While many of us are constantly working to break glass ceilings for women in the workplace (and I’m all about #girlpower), I’m advocating giving those dad the resources and support that us moms have so much access to. So here’s to the formation of some dads groups and the hope that they come up with a better name for them than DOPS.