Monday, May 19, 2014

Isolation. The Stay at Home Dad's Best Friend!

I have been reading and hearing a lot about how hard being a stay at home parent is, and how tiring it is and how much of a "job" it is, and for the most part, I do, in fact, believe that being a stay at home parent is tough, but not for the common reasons cited by most at home parent bloggers.

For me, the roughest part of being a stay at home dad is the isolation.  

I am not sure if it is the same for stay at home moms, but for me being a stay at home dad is very lonely. There are all these groups that I am not welcome at simply because I am not a mom.

Sure, there are a few that claim to welcome dads too, but they hardly mean that.  

What they mean is that my kids can play with their kids, which is cool, that is what play groups are for, but the problem I have found is that I, being the only dad around, am suspicious and don't belong and my brats suffer the consequences because of it.

The last play group we attended was quite interesting, and exemplified this "you're welcome but not welcome at the same time mentality" perfectly.  

Let's see, it was almost two years ago

The brats and I showed up at the play ground, and I noticed straight away that all the parents, and by parents I mean moms, were off to the side and letting the kiddos run wild.  I thought that was pretty cool, and I didn't want to screw up what I thought was the "routine."

So, I told the Pizzmeister to have at it, and I toted Two-zy over to the parent "section."  The result of my approach and saying, "Hi! How is everybody?" was silence and then I noticed a wall of backs formed while I blinked or something.

Yes, it was that quick!

Now, I am terrible at reading social cues, but even I saw that as my cue to move on.

The only other face I saw was a breast feeding mom, so I went and sat next to her.

She was cool!  

We found we had a lot in common and had the same problems with our kids being screaming maniacs! We both had problems fitting in with the others at the local play groups, but kept trying because it was good for the kids.  

Why was she ostracized?

Well, she was Muslim, which mattered not at all to me, but for some reason does to a lot of people. I was just grateful for a friendly face, and it was super cool that our kids got along well, and played nicely together.  

You know, it's amazing how having someone to just sit next to can make you feel a little better about being somewhere where you feel like you don't belong.   

It made that week of play group meetings nicer, much nicer. Then she disappeared on me. I am not sure what happened.  She just stopped coming, so I was left sitting on a bench all to myself.

Well, needless to say, I quickly got bored and decided to play with the kids.  

I guess that was the wrong move.

Every time, my kids got close to another kid while I was playing with them, the other child was called away by his/her mom.  

At first I didn't notice, but then the Pizzmeister asked me why no kids would play with him, and then it hit me.  

By wanting to play with my kid because I was lonely, I was keeping other kids away, so I went back to sit on the empty bench. 

It didn't matter.  

The damage was done.  

The poor Pizzmeister was still left playing by himself, and, clearly, not having any fun, so we went home to watch "Bob The Builder" and eat popcorn.

We tried other play groups, all with the same result or eerily similar results, so, eventually, I gave up the play group idea and we just started going to the park whenever we could.

That had its own problems, like moms claiming that it was "weird" or awkward hanging out with a dad, but, on the whole had much better results for the kids, so it didn't bother me too much that I was still an outsider.

Then, a miracle happened.  We had a play date where the kids got along marvelously, and I was friends with the mom!  

Can I tell you how super stoked I was to not have to be an outsider anymore?!  

It was awesome!

I felt human again and had adult, human conversations with somebody.

BUT....It wouldn't last...

After a few weeks I learned that my friend's husband didn't particularly like that we were getting our kids together and having play dates. 

To tell you honestly, I was so stoked that another adult human, besides Mama Bear of course, was willing to be friends with me that the thought that she was female never even crossed my mind.

But, it crossed someone's mind...

So, now it's back to the lonely park bench.

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