The media continues to focus on the changing gender roles taking place in so many families. This recent article was shared by Andrea Doucet, a well known Canadian author that focuses on breadwinning moms and stay at home dads.
Men Staying at Home with Families by Choice and As Victims of Economy by Shannon Proudfoot of Postmedia News intrigued me. If you read this blog often, then you will understand why. The article focuses on Michale Vickers, an at-home dad of two kids in Ottawa, Canada that felt out of place when he initially took on the primary caregiver role….so he decided to form a group for fathers.
“The first summer was hard because it was culture shock,” he recalls. “I’m there in the park going, ‘Hmm, it’s kind of all moms. I don’t know people and the etiquette and I feel a little out of place here. Where are the other dads?'”
In hopes of finding them, Vickers founded Ottawa, which is the only Canadian online community he knows of for stay-at-home dads. The group now boasts 50 to 60 members and a core group of a dozen who get together regularly for park play-dates or to “take over” mom-dominated playgroups.
“I always think it’s funny when the discussion turns to, ‘Oh, breastfeeding, that was really hard or my labour was really hard,'” he says. “I could chime in, I have some experience and opinions as an observer and assistant, but I probably shouldn’t get into the nitty-gritty of it or you’re going to think I’m weird.”…”The conversation will often turn to stereotypical male things like sports of tools or cars, but it also goes back to where’s the best playgroup or don’t you hate when you’re trying to get dinner on and the kids won’t leave you alone?” he says about playground chat among dads. “It’s less about the gender and more about the role you’re playing.”
Numerous communities of dads are popping up across America as well as abroad. It’s happening. Hopefully, more and more dads will read articles like this and say, “why aren’t I participating in a group with other involved fathers?”
If you enjoyed the article discussed here, check out this other relevant article also written by Proudfoot: More women bringing home the bacon, more men cooking it.