Sometimes I feel like I spend a lot of time talking about one of the big the downsides of being an at-home dad, in how we dads can have such a hard time finding acceptance and inclusion by the moms of our local communities.
I think every at-home dad I know has a few of these kinds of stories. Being rejected by an organized mom’s group because it’s “too likely you’re a predator” or something. Getting overtly distrusting leers by moms on the playground, or the cold shoulder as the only dad at a library storytime. These things, and far worse, happen all the time.
But while moms often present to us our biggest challenges, moms are also in many ways our most valuable support and biggest cheerleaders. As I’ve thought about my life right now, as an at-home dad who has embraced the role, I feel like it would be dishonest –and frankly, ungrateful– of me not to acknowledge that there are more moms who give me friendship and support than give me a hard time.
And so . . .
To the mommy friend who, when her mom’s group would not allow me to join, helped me organize my own dad’s group so that we could do some activities together… thank you.
To the mommy friends from that group who went out of their way to make me feel welcome on the playground, introduced me to other local moms and dads, had words of encouragement, and never treated me like I was out of place… thank you.
To the several mommy friends who have responded to my mention of an upcoming errand (that would be really tough to pull of with the kids in tow) or wish for an afternoon out with my wife by immediately offering to watch my boys for me . . . thank you.
To the mommy friends who have welcomed me and my boys into their storytime and playgroup with open arms, and really demonstrated to me in real ways the concept of it “taking a village” . . . thank you.
To the mommy friend who thanks me for positively stretching her perceptions about the role of dads . . . thank you.
To the mommy friends who come to me for advice as they would any other of their friends whose opinion –on everything from potty training tips to a good recipe for garlic scapes– they trust . . . thank you.
To the mommy friends I don’t even really know or get to see in person, who still “friend” me on Facebook, read my blog, or follow my Twitter, and send messages of support that make me feel like mine is a voice you think is worth listening to . . . thank you.
To my own mommy, and mommy-in-law, who have been so supportive in every aspect of my role as an active, involved dad . . . thank you.
There are so many more. I never want any of the amazing moms I’ve met in my three years now doing this at-home dad thing full-time to feel like I have not noticed just how much you have done to make me feel at home.
Thank you. All of you.