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but I'd like to attend a playgroup where the other mum's actually see me as an equal

(42 Posts)
StayatHomeDad78 Wed 19-Oct-11 15:14:42

I attend a local playgroup, where I'm the only regular dad that goes (other dad's have come and gone within a month). I've been going every week for 2 and a half years since my daughter was 6 months old, in that time only a few of the mothers and carers attempt to chat with me, is it because I'm a dad? (When I tell people that I'm the only dad at our playgroup they seem to think the other mothers would flock round me) I've seen other newcomers (female may I add!) Being welcomed with open arms but my main gripe is that in the past 2 and a half years my daughter has had 3 birthday's (work it out, we started going when she was 6 months and now she's 3) and not once has her birthday been celebrated. This year I tried to remind the women who run the playgroup by telling them 2 weeks before the summer holidays that it was her birthday at the end of August and that we were going away for the whole 6 weeks so if she could have happy birthday sung to her the following week and they both said 'it's ok we've sorted it' the following week came and went, the 6 weeks holiday came and went now 6 weeks later still no sign of that little cake with the candle for my daughter, oh but there have been for other children. To say I'm angry is putting it politely. I only attend because my daughter loves it there. I need some advice what do think I should do?

FearfulYank Wed 19-Oct-11 15:18:31

Ask them why they didn't celebrate her birthday. She's old enough now to notice, so you could say "DD wondered why X had a birthday cake and she didn't. I was wondering the same." Be very pointed about it.

FearfulYank Wed 19-Oct-11 15:19:33

And FWIW I love dads at playgroup! The only time it was ever awkward was when it was time to hold hands for Ring Around the Rosie and the one dad in the group and the mom standing next to him just kind of looked at each other awkwardly. grin

MrBloomsNursery Wed 19-Oct-11 15:20:48

Why didn't you take a cake in? That's what we've always done for DD at nursery - I don't understand why the playgroup should provide the cake?

cjbartlett Wed 19-Oct-11 15:21:30

surely a playgroup like tht you'd have to take your own cake?
they're run by volunteers aren't they?

activate Wed 19-Oct-11 15:23:25

you don't celebrate a child's birthday when it isn't their birthday - that's just odd

are you sure you aren't supposed to take the cake yourself?

but if any other year you were at playgroup on her birthday and it didn't happen then

in 3 years how many approaches have you made to other parents there?

porcamiseria Wed 19-Oct-11 15:23:50

awwww, thats SHIT, my DP is a SAHD and I think maybe cos our community is a bit mixed ethnically, he blends in OK. I feel for you. Maybe find some different groups to attend and next time, take in the bloody cake

Hardgoing Wed 19-Oct-11 15:26:40

Perhaps it is actually this playgroup and not because you are a dad, though, because I have found they massively vary in terms of friendliness and I think the not doing a birthday thing is quite upsetting (although did you bring the cake?- I used to take a cake and candles and plonk it in front of the organizer and say 'shall we sing happy birthday to my dd1?' but then I am super pushy).

My husband attended a playgroup for over three years which had quite a few other dads attend on and off, though always mostly women and he seemed quite popular, although I think sometimes women who weren't in groups themselves or perhaps were a bit on the fringes tended to talk with him, there were a few younger gangs who probably didn't have much to say to him. The organizers were super-welcoming though (church).

He has had less enjoyable experiences at the school gates though, particularly at one school where he stood out for being male and foreign. Other places have been really friendly.

Are there any other groups you could attend? I wouldn't go personally if it was that horrible just for my daughter's sake, go somewhere where they get to know you personally and will value you being there (I hate to say it after the last discussion, but for me, church play-groups have always had the edge in terms of being welcoming).

mrsravelstein Wed 19-Oct-11 15:27:01

i think it's odd to have a birthday cake if it's not your child's birthday - yes i appreciate it falls in the summer holidays but that's just one of those things, and i think you may be making too much of that because you're irritated about the general attitude.

maybe you just need to find a different more friendly playgroup, they vary wildly from one to another, i've found.

Hardgoing Wed 19-Oct-11 15:29:47

You could also check out your local council because in our area, they set up a dad's playgroup which my husband was invited (yes, invited) to join. He didn't go as he liked the church group, but it was nice to have options.

rockboobs Wed 19-Oct-11 15:33:59

Fearfulyank - you mean at playgroup parents have to join hands and play ring o roses?!
shock

Perhaps the issue is that the OP hasn't managed to infiltrate the playgroup enough (being the only male there) to know that its the parent who brings in the cake for their childs birthday? i mean, who would know?

Fourthdimensionallizard Wed 19-Oct-11 15:36:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kelly2000 Wed 19-Oct-11 15:39:31

Ask them directly why they behave like this towards your daughter.

FearfulYank Wed 19-Oct-11 15:44:12

Rock not always, just at the closing song. smile The rest of the time is spent chatting.

lesley33 Wed 19-Oct-11 15:44:18

Playgroups are well known for varying tremendously in friendliness. Some ostracise anyone they see as different.

OliviaTwist Wed 19-Oct-11 15:47:26

My DH is a SAHD and goes to a dads only one - he loves it! Maybe look for one of those?

Fecklessdizzy Wed 19-Oct-11 16:11:30

Our local playgroup was very matey, several Dads helped out on a regular basis but if your birthday was in the holidays ( as both my DS's were ) it was hard cheese ... And one had to bring one's own cake!

mollythetortoise Wed 19-Oct-11 16:19:33

does the playgroup operate in the summer hols? IMO most close.

I'm wondering if this is less a case of dad-phobia and more a case of your daughter having an end of August birthday.

My dd has an end of Aug birthday and unfortunately people do forget as everyone on holiday etc.
Just a fact of life for school holiday birthdays and not worth being upset about.

Plus I would have thought you'd supply the cake /sweets etc. I know I did when both my kids attended these things.

StayatHomeDad78 Wed 19-Oct-11 16:20:30

Yes it is run by volunteers but they provide the tea, coffee, cakes and biscuits

pixiestix Wed 19-Oct-11 16:32:57

Our playgroup is a children's centre one and it always provides the cake for birthdays <veers wildly off topic>

StayatHomeDad78 Wed 19-Oct-11 16:43:42

And another thing, a few weeks ago, when the weather was nice, it was decided the following week we would have a teddy bears picnic, having never been to a teddy bears picnic before, I assumed that the food would be provided, nor was I told that we were to bring a teddy (seems obvious now) and our own picnic blanket, yet everyone else turned up with these things, I felt such a gooseberry, it's like they all have secret meetings or am I just being paranoid?!

madam52 Wed 19-Oct-11 16:49:34

I do think also that you are maybe reading too much into the (lack of) cake thing. Possibly same thing would happen if you were a mum - I think its just a case of out of sight out of mind in holidays. But the other thing is - have you tried striking up a conversation with any of the mums yourself - even in todays liberated times some women still do hesitate to strike up a conversation or any sort of rapport with a lone male. I personally am not like that and have had many very good male workmates aswell as female whom I have taken meal breaks with/walked home with etc etc. The problem is it does raise eyebrows and even cause gossip ( wrongly IMO and that has happened to me ) and yet if I were to sit with the same famale colleague every day/go to lunch with her and walk home with her nobody would think twice about it. I think maybe you should try talking to one or two (to keep those gossips quiet grin) of the mums yourself instead of waiting for them to speak to you. It could just be that you have got a particularly bitchy clicky PG where as someone already said they just marginalise anyone a bit different - as you obviously are. In which case you need to look for another one.

WindingMeUp Wed 19-Oct-11 16:55:03

Why didn't you remind them on the day about singing happy birthday? You make it sound as though you just sat there waiting for them to remember and when they didn't you said nothing. For the first 2 birthdays it sounds as though you didn't remind them at all. Do they have a birthday list?

As for the picnic you should have asked if you needed to bring anything. Are you shy? Although saying that I would have thought the food would be provided as well. It is for that sort of thing at the groups I go to.

There have been a few dads at groups I've attended and they always seem to mix fine so I wonder if it just this playgroup or if you are expecting too much without doing anything yourself. For eg. my SIL complained the 2 times she went to play groups that no one spoke to her, but I know that she isn't great with new people, isn't friendly, chatty and smiley and has a chip on her shoulder. She also really judges other people. She complained that no one spoke to her but when I asked why she didn't talk to anyone she looked at me blankly, like that hadn't even occured to her. She expected everyone else to do the running.

StayatHomeDad78 Wed 19-Oct-11 17:05:01

I did ask (about food for the picnic) they just said bake some cakes, so it's ok for them to ask me to provide food for THEIR darling little ... control yourself sahd78...kids but then let me and my daughter sit there with nothing but cakes, while everyone else eats their picnics?!

exoticfruits Wed 19-Oct-11 17:05:22

A lot of women find playgroups very difficult. August birthdays are also difficult-I have a DC with one. Just wait until you get to school, give out party invitations at the end of term and a lot just forget!

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