Friday, May 7, 2010

Have the Dads All Become Moms?

I've been frustrated with my dads' group for a long time now because they're very inactive. There are 195 members, yet the message board is virtually silent, and when we drive all over town to go to the daily scheduled play dates, more often than not we're the only ones who show up. Of the 195 dads, over the past year I've probably only seen 7 or 8 dads at the playgrounds, and another 4 or 5 who come to the Dads' Night Out events at area bars and restaurants every month. On a good week, there will be 2 or 3 dads at one of the week's play dates, and none the rest of the week. That seems like a remarkably low participation rate to me.

So when the dad who regularly schedules the play dates went out of town and asked me to make the schedule for a couple of weeks, I tried to shake things up a bit to see if it would attract more dads. It wasn't a huge success.

A few weeks ago, when we were at yet another play date with no other dads, there was a moms' group there having a play date of their own. I got into a conversation with a couple of the moms about what the secret is to a successful play group, and their answer was, more or less, "I don't know. People come. Why wouldn't they? Isn't that what they joined the group for?" I could only hypothesize that maybe dads just don't care as much about cooperative action as moms, that we're genetically predisposed to going it alone.

Now, though, I have a new theory: we've all joined moms' groups.

A couple of those moms that talked play groups with me suggested I join their group. They said I'd be the only dad, but they didn't think it would be a problem. For a couple of weeks I let the idea simmer: me? in a moms' group? And then I came to the conclusion that I'm the only man on the playground most days anyway, so why not at least know the moms? Why not at least let Thumper play with kids he knows, too? So I requested membership. That was over a week ago, and they still haven't responded at all, so maybe they don't want any dads in their moms' group. Or maybe they're furiously debating the pros and cons. Or maybe they just forgot about me.

And then, talking with a mom down the street that we frequently run into when we go out front to ride the bike in the afternoon, I learned about a neighborhood play group she belongs to. She told me I should join and gave me the Yahoo! address. So I requested membership. They replied instantly, invited me to meet them at the local playground yesterday, and after that meetup, immediately approved my membership. We met with them again today. It's kind of amazing. I'm not driving 45 minutes to the far side of Austin just to be the only one who shows up to the scheduled play date. Instead, for two days in a row, I drove five minutes to be one of a handful of parents. Two of the moms today were also there yesterday. I knew their names. I knew their kids names. It was kind of cool.

Yesterday, before going to meet with the neighborhood group, I posted to Facebook: "Off to go audition for a moms' group. I hope the boy brings his A game." One of the dads in my old group commented, "haha, you could join the one I am in :)" And it suddenly dawned on me: the dads aren't inactive. They're just inactive in the dads' group because they're all too busy with their separate moms' groups. Dangit! If I'd only known sooner, I could've transformed into a mom a long time ago and saved myself a lot of frustration.


Purelight said...

Congratulations--I think you make a great mom! Love the new blog-look too.

She Said said...

LOL! That's great! Good for you. Have fun! And I agree with Purelight, I like the new look!

I, Rodius said...


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