What happens at Dads’ Group stays at Dads’ Group

At Whitney’s impassioned suggestion, I joined a new moms’ group and it was my lifeline for those first challenging months of motherhood. We met together for heart-to-heart discussions (about nipples, sleep, sex drive) and also to get our butts out of the house for outings.

In addition to group playdates, we scheduled regular meetings for Moms’ Night Out. I took the lead and sent out monthly reminders to meet up (sans baby) for bonding sessions over post-bedtime wine. Despite our collective best intentions, my group drifted. (But I’ve heard greater success stories: More than five year’s later, Whitney’s mom’s group actually still meets up for MNO. They supported each other through the births of their second children and now compare notes on Kindergarten.)

My husband, on the other hand, didn’t have as much of a network for all things baby. Most of his best guy friends had not yet taken the plunge into parenthood. And — shocking, I know — he never spent much time on the parenting blogs. I wished he had a daddies group though, some dudes to tell him that his crazy wife and refluxy baby were actually pretty normal.

But guys are different that way. He didn’t really seek it out. He spends his time on the playground playing or zoning out and not striking up conversations.

Eventually, he found a group (of mostly dads) that cycles in Berkeley twice a week before work. (I introduced him to these guys for bike-riding, but that’s not really part of this story.) Having to finish a bike ride by 7:30am so you can catch the bus for work and also help with preschool drop-off is not a single guy thing. Not in the Bay Area where you can safely roll into work at 10am for many jobs.

[photo by peter r]

As luck would have it, they meet for post-bedtime bonding over beer. Sure, they mostly talk about bikes, urban planning, and geeky tech stuff (so they tell me) rather than kids and pesky wives, but I love that he has a dad posse to convince him we’re normal.

Every third Thursday they meet at the local pizza place and pub. Attendance ranges from two to twelve and nobody stresses about it (which would NEVER fly at moms’ group btw).

The evening starts around 7:30 (I try my best to get him to bathe the boys before going because I am a little crazy) and ends whenever. Since these guys are also his cycling friends, they usually to return early enough to wake up for 6am rides on Friday. But not always.

How many of us wish our husbands would join a Dad’s Group?

See also reclaiming custody of ourselves as individuals.