By: Dave Taylor
I’ve been doing the single dad thing for almost a decade now, and while my children are in their teens now, I have all too many memories of the Old West Saloon of a young child’s world. You know what I mean, Dads: You walk into a preschool, a kindergarten event, or a playgroup and everyone stops talking and looks at you.
What are you doin’ here, son? This ain’t your kinda place!
I still remember going to the local kindergarten to pick up my daughter after school one day and feeling like I was suddenly in a bad crossover movie, half parenting, half western. All the moms stopped talking when I stepped into the coat room with its cute little bench and cubbies and swiveled towards me. I felt like an interloper, but here’s the thing: I persisted. I smiled, I said “howdy, gals, how’s it going?” and broke that proverbial ice. And the next day it was a lot more like being the popular kid showing up at the party instead of the villain in a movie!
And that’s a pretty important point for all you dads out there: Just because you might not be comfortable with the daily activities your children are involved with, doesn’t mean you can’t get familiar and even – dare I say it? – have fun too! Heck, I took both my son and daughters to Music Together classes and while there was an element of amusing banality about it, there was also a lot of fun marching around and playing instruments. More importantly, it was great to watch my child enjoy it and stretch for the various tasks.
Little Monkey Business is a similar sort of thing. I imagine that any dad who could tighten his stirrups, saddle up and head on over to a free-play or class with their little one would not only have a good time, but would be the hero of the hour too. That’s a secret I can let you in on too: Moms are just about universally hungry for their spouse to be more involved in the parenting activities and they LOVE having a dad show up. Once they know who you are.
If I had a buck for every time a mom had told me that she wished her own husband was as involved with parenting as I am, well, it’d cover a good few cups of coffee at Starbucks.
So don’t be a couch potato, don’t let mom take the kids to the play group, the movement class, the painting activity. Get involved and give it a try. Your kid will be thrilled, your spouse will be happy you’re move involved and you might just have some fun on the way too!
Dave Taylor is a single dad to three fantastic children and writes about his experiences and adventures at GoFatherhood.com. You can also find him on Twitter as @DaveTaylor