Over the weekend, about 30 fathers from the NYC Dads Group “manned” the Dads Lounge at the New York Baby Show (more about this tomorrow) co-sponsored by Huggies – the dads lounge was a revolving door of hundreds of expectant and new fathers seeking advice, asking questions, and sharing some of their concerns about becoming a new parent. We’re certainly not experts, but we thought it was our goal to explain to these expectant/new dads the importance of being a part of a social group with other caring, active, and involved fathers.
Here are some of the things that came up during these conversations with our NYC Dads Group members:
Why Should I Join a Dads Group?
10. It’s a healthy social outlet – meeting up with other dads and their kids can be a great way to spend part of your day hanging out (or talking sports) with people in a similar situation as yourself
9. Feels like a fraternity (a dad-ternity) with guys who understand your situation
8. Safe place to share best practices, enjoy successes, and vent frustrations
7. You can learn a lot from other dads, like what to do when your toddler’s answer to every question is, “No!”
6. Dads Night Out (DNO) once a month – True story: parenting had been so challenging for one particular dad in the group that DNO actually forced him to get out socially without his wife for the first time in over a year
5. To support each other through an extremely challenging job
4. Enable our kids to frequently socialize, bond, and play together
3. To have a place where you can continue playing Fantasy Sports (or participate in an NCAA bracket pool) – “Because 2-year-olds aren’t going to help you decide between Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers”
2. Participate in fun, engaging, and interesting things that you probably would not do on your own
1. So you do not have to go through it alone! Let’s face it, guys do not always like to ask for help, read the manual, or ask for directions
Hopefully, this top ten list will give a few expectant dads & new dads we met over weekend the gentle nudge they need to throw in the towel, not do it alone, and just join a group.
Along this same theme, Friday’s THE DAILY published an article – PAPA POWWOW: FORGET THE FILM VERSION: FATHERS’ GROUPS ARE EFFECTIVE SUPPORT SYSTEMS by Chavie Lieber – talking about the importance of avoiding the isolation as new dad & joining a social group. The article drew comparisons to “the Dudes Group” featured in the film, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” The article featured three dads groups from across the Nation – Omaha, Ne, Kansas City, Mo, and us – NYC Dads Group! The message from the all three dads groups (as well as the “dudes group” in the film) was similar:
I initially joined for the social aspect, said Shannon Carpenter. In our daddy group, we hang out and can relate to each other, helping out by sharing our experience on things like potty training and postpartum depression. We even discuss what type of diapers we buy.” – Kansas City Dads Group
“Joining was the most important thing I ever did for our family. The guys make it possible for me to stay home, to stay married, and help me stay confident in handling my four kids,” Al Watts said. Like most of the groups, the Omaha chapter has weekly outings to zoos, baseball games, parks and museums, where the dads can interact with each other and their kids. But for many, the group is also a social outlet: They also have Dads’ Night Out once a month. – Omaha Dads Group
We’re at a time of great change in fatherhood,” Somerfeld said. “I know it’s funny to make fun of dads being bumbling idiots, but that time is over. I wish they would show how cool fatherhood is.” – NYC Dads Group