Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Stay at home dads

On Sky3 last night there was a programme about mothers who leave their kids. My tot has been sick since last Thursday and today I just blew up as I couldn't take caring for her anymore. That may sound heartless but I've had her in the bed with me every night and she's a hair pulling/kicking in the back kind of kid. She's not doing it on purpose I know but hey, a mum can only take so much. I'm not about to leave (though a long weekend pretending to be single again wouldn't go a miss).
Part of the show was about the rising number of men left holding the kids when the mums disappear. Which makes me think about Stay at Home Dads (SAHD). I very rarely see Dads in Plumstead's stay and play sessions. I do see them in the park or at Toddler World. I don't know if they are SAHDs or just looking after the kids for day. For some I feel I need a sign saying "I'm just being friendly, don't want to get into your pants or anything" before approaching them. Luckily there are those sane ones who you can chat to but mostly its quite superficial as we don't know eachother well enough yet.

I'm curious, do SAHD's get depressed like the stay at home mums (SAHM)? Do they find that a year on, the experience was not what they expected. I thought I would have time to learn some new cool recipes, go to the gym, start book clubs, exercise my brain in ways I couldn't at work etc. Fat chance. Time is devoted to the tot and spare money is rare so some activities are unaffordable.
Do men join sites like Netmums.co.uk, Mothers35plus.co.uk, babycentre.co.uk, raisingkids.co.uk,mumsnet etc? Some of these sites have pages for men specifically but I think most of the articles are targeted to women.

I found a site for dads but it seems an American site: www.athomedad.org. There are UK sites such as dadathome.co.uk.
The following blog has an list of links: www.stayathomedad.blogspot.com

It's sad but at work I got used to having yearly assessments of my progress. It showed me where I had done well, helped vocalise my plans for the future and highlighted any areas of improvement or training needed. You don't get that as a SAHP (Stay at home parent), apart from the few visits from the health visitor in the first few months. I guess once tot starts school, I'll know how well she is doing and therefore, how well I'm doing at this most important of job. In the meantime, the fact that, apart from the odd shouting session, most days are filled with fun and she's not injured, means I must be doing OK. Much as I may fantasise, I have no plans on leaving just yet.


hilly said...

Dads in this area have their very own playgroup! well it's in charlton: www.selondondads.org.uk

Sherington Children's Centre, 14 Sherington Road, Charlton SE7 7JW
(near Blackheath Rugby and Tennis Club)
Wednesdays 09:30 - 11:30

Anonymous said...

My husband spent a lot of time at home with our tod and I have to say was happy to go to the park etc and took tod swimming but wouldnt go to a group full of women! also he is happy not to have to make any new friends whereas i really wanted to have mummy friends, he prefers to spend time with tod on his own and have one on one time with tod..we both work part time though so i guess we are lucky.

Steve said...

My wife and I both work part time, so I am a PTSAHD. I go to a children's centre every week for stay and play. Occasionally there are other men there too, but it's usually women. I know some men find it a bit difficult being the only man, but to be honest, I have no idea why. Conversely, I resist the whole concept of dads' playgroups (or single sex anything for that matter).

To answer your question, I do get a bit depressed sometimes but in my case it's pretty much always as a result of lack of sleep (or, as in your case, when the little one is ill).

Anonymous said...

Hi Plummy Mummy - not a stay at home question but a technical one! I am the anon who asked about posting anonymously on your blog as i dont have a blog and dont want to blog - am far too dull! But I see Steve has posted with a name and no blog, Am happy to be non-anon but not sure how to do this! Thanks...

Steve said...

Hi Anon
I can answer that! Choose the Name/URL option and then just type in your name (or a pseudonym I suppose).

Plummy Mummy said...

Hilly - thanks for that link. It didn't even occur to me to search.

Other posters - very much thanks for the feedback.

Steve - I think part of our depression is lack of sleep. My hubby and I do wistfully look back on the hours we used to spend sleeping uninterrupted. Only about 18 more years to go heh! And yes, I agree about single sex stuff too. Unfortunately with playgroups you often don't have much choice. I don't really mind that but more that I have no one to talk e.g. technology, scifi or comics to.

Also, anon. Sorry I had no idea how to do it myself. Glad we have both been enlightened. :)

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