Is it my fault?

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Sorry about the inconspicuous title. I just couldn’t think of anything to call this post without it being ridiculously long…just like this apology/explanation.

A few weeks ago, just before the school holidays while waiting for my son to come out from nursery I couldn’t help but overhear the group of mums in front of me discussing going to a local playgym.
Now in my defence I normally don’t listen into other people’s conversation but I was intrigued because part of this conversation was a mum who didn’t normally speak to anybody and here she was chatting away like they were old friends.

I felt bad for my son. I felt bad that it seemed some of his nursery friends seem to meeting up outside of school and he wasnt invited, or maybe I mis-understood after all I genuinely wasn’t listening.

Today when I collected him one of boys he considers a friend was crying. When the teacher asked why, his mum (The usually very quiet mum), advised her that everyone was going to a local playgym and although they went last time they couldn’t go today.

My heart sank. I hate the thought of my son not making friends.

Then something hit me. Maybe the issue is not BB making friends, maybe it’s my fault? Maybe if I was a mum, maybe he would also be invited. Maybe I would be let into the warmth of the conversation allowing our kids to play together?

Obviously I’m not a mum (I’ve got the moobs for it but that’s where the similarities end…except my beautifully long eyelashes) and there isn’t anything I can do about that but I find it a shame that BB could possibly be missing out because of me.
Maybe I am wrong, it wouldn’t be the first time. Maybe it’s just a case of not everybody can be invited? Maybe they just assumed that as a dad, I wouldn’t be interested in joining them at the playgym? Well you know what they say about assuming and it making an ass out of you.
Of course BB would join his friends. I don’t even have to sit near the other parents. Hell, I’ll stand outside if it makes you all feel comfortable just so my son can be happy?

I know what you’re going to say dear readers. I am sure you’re all sat shouting it at your screens.. “IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT, ITS THEIRS!” but the problem with that is that still leaves BB missing out. It may not be me that has the issue but I do have a different one. Is my son missing out because his dad is the one looking him?

Are there any dads out there who has been welcomed into mums club?
Are there any mums who understand why they would have an issue and can help advise me what I can do to possibly help the situation?
Is my son doomed to being ‘THAT’ kid that nobody wants to invite to a playdate because he will bring his dad with him?
Or is this a normal thing and I am over thinking the whole situation?

Let me know in the comments below!

As always, thanks for reading.
L

21 comments

  1. Hi hunny, yes I was screaming it’s not your fault it’s theirs but I feel your pain. You see as you know I am a mum but still outside of school Eva doesn’t see any of her friends from nursery. As much as you wouldn’t believe it I am not that outgoing and find it difficult to start a conversation with others I don’t know. To be fair Jim picks up and drops off Eva most days at the moment because I am home with Amelia but when I do the only people I really talk to are her teachers about how her day has gone. I would love to give her the opportunity to see her friends outside of school and the fact that she doesn’t is my fault I guess. If I was one of these parents stood outside of school arranging this meet up the fact you are a parent not just mum would want make me want to invite you. Maybe introduce yourself to them then see if this changes. I should follow my own advise I know but if you are ever stuck for a play date you know where I am xxx

    1. Hey there! Your little ladies are both beautiful, whens No3????? 🙂
      Well they know who I am as I have been doing the school run for a while and I make the effort to say hello every day.
      The mum of the boy I refered to even walks on the opposite side of the road to avoid me/us and then crosses when she has no choice. Maybe I am just over thinking it but I hope any mums who read this and see a dad doing the school run think twice about not including his kids….and yes. Take your own advice! lol

      Thanks for the comment.
      L

  2. Being a stay at home dad, I had exactly the same paranoia when my daughter started school. Regretably I think there is something in it. Some mums will instantly accept you as one of the gang. Some want to, but are just unsure about how to go about starting a conversation with a guy. In my experience this group will eventually warm to you and won’t take it out on your child.

    Some mums can actually be reticent because speaking to a man they’re not in a relationship with can start gossip (sadly I’ve heard of this happening). Finally, you have the maternal gate keepers who want nothing to do with you. Forget about the maternal gate keepers, you will never persuade them they should socialise with you or your offspring.

    My advice is to make clear to anyone and everyone you speak to that you’re the main carer – especially parents. It took me two years of being a stay at home dad to realise this. When I do it, I am treated with much more courtesy and respect and people are more accepting of me.

    Is your little one missing out because you’re a dad? I’m afraid to say he probably is, but not as much as you think. I was desperately worried that Helen was missing out on play dates etc when she started school. While I think that was the case, I think she gets to socialise as much as any of the other kids now. It took longer to get accepted, but once I did, I became one of the girls (albeit an honorary member).

    Should you be interested Lewis, I have written a book called A modern father (…and dad blogger). It’s available on Amazon and includes a chapter called Starting School that address this very issue.

    1. Firstly, you’ve written a book? i hadn’t realised.
      Secondly, thanks for the comment.
      Hopefully as what seems to be your experience, time will be the answer. Hopefully sooner rather than later I will be become and honorary member and I won’t have the worry anymore.
      Thirdly, you really should advertise your book more! 🙂

  3. I don’t think that your son is missing out because of you, I know saying it’s there problem not yours doesn’t help, But its true! Maybe try sparking a conversation with the mums, or be the one who invites them, ask if they would like to join your son to go to a babygym. your opening the door that may then stay open. Personally myself, I’m terrified of approaching anyone, but maybe these mums don’t think you’d be interested, but by inquiring your opening that door for them to consider you next time. Just food for thought.
    Steph | http://www.raisingemily.net

    1. Sadly I have heard from mums and dads that making the first move doesn’t always work. Here’s hoping it gets better! 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!
      L

  4. I feel your pain, I’m not a stay at home dad but as I work shifts and have plenty of time off because of it I have become the main care giver (I love it and wish I was a SHD), but when it comes to school pick up I’m usually sat alone, nodding at one or two other dads and basically feeling shunned (fortunately my daughter doesn’t suffer as her mum arranges stuff at drop off).

    But I disagree with the line “it’s not your fault it’s theirs” I actually think it is our fault as well, I make no effort to engage the mothers (and fathers) of the kids in my daughters class, I could try, and in fact there are a few who I will speak to if my other half is there, but I am a bit of a people hater so unless someone speaks to me I stand back.

    There are other dads who are fully ingratiated (maybe it is different at your school) but they make an effort, sadly I don’t.

    I’m sure your little one doesn’t miss out as much as you think, but unfortunately you will likely need to make the first step if you want to change things.

    1. Sadly this doesn’t always work, I’ve tried on more than one occasion and have been rejected by the playground mafia. I genuinely think there is something to the stereotype and if there are men fully integrated into the relationships, it’s almost certainly because of another factor and not solely based on the school link. Those dads that are involved in my daughter’s school are so purely because their respective spouses work together and not because their kids are in the same class.

  5. I really do feel your pain and I’m a mum. We live in a village, having moved here when my eldest was just going to school 3 years ago. I’ve made some friends at the playground/toddler group (with my youngest) but none of whom I would describe as firm friends and we don’ get invited along to any of the group type activities – my eldest does have friends to play after school and also goes to their houses but it’s all done by text!
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fairly sociable person and I do have other friends! I just haven’t clicked with any of the mums in the playground particularly – I really don’t mind but I do wonder if my girls are missing out.
    Good luck!
    Xx
    #brilliantblogposts

  6. I agree with Sharon, if you instigate a play date perhaps that would open the doors for you? This way they know that you’re happy for your children to socialise. Sometimes people don’t ask for fear of offending or being knocked back. Good Luck Lewis. xx

  7. Sadly this is going to continue to happen through their life. It is really hard when your child misses out and as a child I missed out a lot. It really hurts. So I think I over compensate now and invite everyone. But my kids still miss out. All you can do is either ask to join in (sometimes it is an oversight by people), make sure you invite others to functions so they know you want to be part of the friendship group and teach your child that you can be a part of everything – NO ONE can. It still hurts.

  8. I feel for you, I really do. I’ve made the playground trip a few times and have been completed shunned every time. I even had the audacity to approach a group of mums once and try to make small talk with them. They pursed their lips nodded in agreement with what I was saying and then looked at the floor, no-one quite brave enough to tell me to sod off. If the kids are affected it’s a crying shame, and they need to get past their preconceived ignorances. I wish some mums would just lower the barriers and welcome dads in, I really do. Not to play the old Elevenarife card, or woe is me, but I can imagine if your kids are at the same school from 5 – 11 or even better 16 years old, you have time to build and develop those relationships, but my kids are going to have to go to a new school every 2 years and we the parents are gonna have to try and make new friends in the playground every 2 years as well. I hope at least 1 mum reads your post and next time she’s in the playground, actively invite a dad, who’s looking a little lost or alone, to join her and break the stereotype.

  9. I can totally understand where you are coming from on this, as I have the same worries for Boo, I am not the most social person (understatement) and I am painfully shy and well just plain awkward in most social situations and I was worried that it would mean Boo would get left out of things and wouldn’t get invited to things because of the way I am. I do try really hard for Boo’s sake at groups.
    What doesn’t help feelings like this when people go out of their way to make sure you know you aren’t included, I had to sit at a group, a couple of month ago, which we had been going to for months (and I got on well with everyone- or so I thought) and watch as every other person got an invite to a little girls first birthday party (in a massively showy way) … except Boo and I think 1 maybe 2 others … I cried on my way home from that group, I had doomed Boo to a life with no friends, and slowly, after the sadness faded, then anger, then I realised it that yes it is very much their problem not mine (if they are like that what kind of children are they raising and do I want Boo to really be friends with them anyway-anger makes me a little mean) but like you say it doesn’t help our children.
    However, I have, slowly made a couple of mummy friends and Boo has their children to play with and do things with. I think for some of us it just takes longer and is a lot harder work. But I think we will get there in the end, and once they are at school – I hope that things become more about who the kids want to play with and less about who the parents pick…

    1. Great comment. I have become less worried after reading peoples responses to this. It really is their problem and as you say, hopefully it become a point where the kids choose friends not parents!.

      Thanks for the comment.
      L

  10. This terrifies me even as a mum. You know I have major self confidence issues so what if J gets left out coz no-one likes me? You’ve actually just really hit a nerve with me, one I was hoping was just in my head, but you’ve shown me that it really does happen. Fuck.
    I hope it gets better for you mate, I honestly dunno what to say. I wish I did but I’ll be in the same boat as you in a few years 🙁
    Ally x

    1. From the responses I have had it seems it happens alot, but that means it’s not actually that big of a deal. It’s them that have the issue not me or you. As a mum you are infinatley more approachable to other mums than a dad so hopefully it affects you less than you think it will.

      Thanks as alwasy for commenting.
      L

  11. Lol, yip I was shouting! Maybe they feel shy to invite you because they think you won’t want to hang out with all the mums? My girls are older now so they organise most of their own social things, I’m just the taxi! I would maybe organise something after school one day and invite them all, might be a bit awkward at first, but they’ll soon get over it 🙂 Kerry x

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