Being a SAHD has left me a bit stuck between two worlds(9 Posts)
Not sure why I'm posting this really...maybe I need to re-assess how I am viewing things.
My DW and I have been able to share childcare of our toddler DD - by both working part time. I look after her for 3 days of the week, while DW does the other 2 while I work. My part time job is relatively low paid, a big step away from my old career, and not particularly what I want to do forever, but is good for right now in my life.
I'm finding life as a SAHD good in some ways, as obviously I love being with my DD and seeing her grow up. But I'm finding myself a bit stuck between the two "traditional" worlds of men and women. My wife seems to have made lots of other mum friends during her time at home, and although I have sometimes been able to spent time with these friends too alongside my wife, I alway get the faint impression that there are not many mums who really want to hang out with a dad if it would just be the two of them (plus the kids). I'm not sure if I'm correct in this assumption, but it's always made me hang back a bit in any kind of socialising at playgroups etc, which has left me a little isolated as the vast majority of parents I come into contact with are mums.
I've tried to stay in touch with some of my old male friends who have recently become dad's, but I'm finding their lives are so different to mine that we don't have so much in common any more. They are all super busy working hard at their careers, and trying to provide for their family. The very few times I've met with them they are full of tales about the office and work, and don't talk that much about their children. My stories of leaking nappies and lunchtime tantrums don't seem very interesting in comparison.
So I find myself stuck between two worlds - where I haven't quite got the confidence to properly relate to all the mums I meet, and I seem to have been left behind by all my dad and other male friends.
I am well aware that a large number of women also find the social side of being a SAHP parent hard, so I don't want to sound like I think I'm a special case. It just feels that extra bit difficult when the world of SAHPing is so overwhelmingly female.
Should I just get my head out of my arse? I just don't want to be the kind of dad who tries to push himself into a group of mums who would rather a man wasn't there. Is it all in my head that mums might be thinking this?
Why do you think that the mums wouldn't want to hang out with you? I always used to find it really refreshing to see a bloke at the playgroups. It's hard for mums too to meet new friends I would definitely try putting yourself out there.
I agree with DarlingCoffee!
I didn't know anyone in my local area when DD was born. I started going to playgroups and would have the odd friendly chat with a few moms but nothing that developed into friendships as such.
Then one day I baked a cake, made sure the house was tidy, then went to playgroup and asked if anyone fancied cake and cuppa at mine afterwards. 5 ladies came along, and 2 have become close friends in the 5 years since.
A similar approach might work for you?
You might even find there's a local 'Dads & Kids' group? Perhaps ask your local council?
I sort of know where your coming from. I am a lone dad raising two young kids, boy 18 month old and a girl 5 years old. I have been doing this for over a year now when their mum walked and moved 100 miles away. I also work full time. So literally I never really get any time to stop. I don't know why but gender does play a part. Often at my boys tots groups or the school gate you still feel the odd one out. All the mums are friendly enough but they are a little clickly, chatting in their little groups. We have common ground of course being parents but you never feel fully accepted or welcome to join the group. I think often the nature of the conversation is very girls zone. I get on with loads of the mums and we have a good laugh and a chat one to one. But I never feel welcome in a group chit chat. So you become aware that you are still an outsider.
I totally get that feeling of not fitting in. But I don't mind it. I have always been a square peg in a round hole.
I absolutely know where you're coming from.
Both SAHDs Friends of mine experience the same thing, mums would be perfectly friendly at the school gates but they'd never get the invites to pop round for coffee or a play date.
I experienced it as a separated dad, no husband wants to hear about some bloke he doesn't know hanging out with his wife all afternoon... I'd guess there are things women would prefer men aren't around to listen to.
I only communicate with any dads generally if I'm arranging play dates etc now.
As for male company, I guess you have to make the best of what you have.
If my friends only talked work I'd get pretty bored pretty quickly.
My dad friends and I always met up once a week for two pints , on a bike at a pub. It was a brilliant way to anchor the week.
My friends , or one, had a female mum friend he'd known for decades who he spent a lot of time with, that helped, he also had a bunch of mates to talk to. But he still felt a bit isolated.
You're the avant guard of the parenting world. It's a lonely place.
Yes, I think voyageofdad has hit the nail on the head. You are at the vanguard of a new movement and until there are more dads caring for their DC full- or part-time it must be lonely. I was a SAHM while my kids were little and I encountered the odd dad, but not many. I actually get on very well with men and enjoy their company and would've been happy to befriend a dad, but you're right that one-on-one its open to misinterpretation by all and sundry - inc. the DH who is out at work - and that doesn't help when it comes to making friends. With other women there isn't that complication. Can men and women be friends? Yes, absolutely. But its still a bit of a minefield, particularly where absent partners and school gate gossip are concerned. I think, if I was you, I'd look to see if there is a local SAHDs group and, if there isn't, why not try setting one up? And I agree - persevere with your male friends and carve out regular time to catch up. Once a week is good - once a month, less so. Don't let those friendships wane - your kids aren't going to be little forever.
Yep VoyageOfDad I would say you hit the nail on the head too. As much as people wish to ignore it gender plays a big role in the way people are treated in society. I guess we also socialise differently. I sometime have a few play dates with a male friend of mine with a child near the same age of my boy in the school holidays (he's a teacher), but that's about it. I think on the flip side sometimes men enjoy conversation with other men. But obviously there are not many me in the same situation.
Also sometimes the subject of the conversation tends to be about the trouble with men. A lot of the mums seem to be single parents with not much nice things to say about their ex's/children's fathers. Not always the most welcoming of conversation subjects for a man.
And I am probably being completely paranoid but I think a couple of mums are weary of me because I am raising my kids alone. Like it totally doesn't compute that a mum would walk off on her kids? Like I say only a couple, most of the mums I know are vary supportive.
I know it sounds a bit sad but you often hear mums chatting at the gate etc, saying things like 'oh come round mine for a coffee tomorrow or let meet in town'. You cant help but feel a little left out. But of reasons VoyageOfDad stated make complete sense.
It is very similar to being a woman in a 'male' workplace, it can be done but you have to try a little harder and be aware but not to sensitive. I was a SAHD and enjoyed all of it, even the 'major nappy overflow incident' at baby massage was OK after a couple of good baths!
School gate was OK as there were several other dads and mums who weren't part of the 'in' crowd.
I would do it all again if it were possible.
Best of luck.
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