For those of you who feel like there is nowhere to turn to, you are wrong and probably haven’t looked all that hard (to be blunt) for this community of dads.
6 years ago, I became a dad and I had no idea what I was actually getting myself into. Changing a diaper was as hard as college algebra (somewhere there is a video of my very first diaper change in the hospital). I had no clue on how to snap a onesie together. Holding a baby was greek to me (I was that dad who picked up a doll by the head in our parenting class). I didn’t know where to find any sort of community of dads to be part of to help me through this strange thing called fatherhood.
However, I did start this blog. (and if you have stuck with me from the beginning, you’ve seen me grow, not only as a parent but as a writer)
I started it as sort of a way to remember what it was like becoming a dad. Telling stories, that were poorly written, explaining simplistically how I was feeling, what I was going through, and how I saw my journey in father at that given moment. I never imagined that it would grow into what it has become today. A place for me to be creative and tell stories in a way in ways that I never knew I could tell.
But when I first started to be a dad, I never felt alone. There were other dads out there that were going through the same thing that I was going through. I might not have known who they were or even knew that some of the guys I know today were out there.
I knew that I wasn’t alone.
There were dads who were waking up at 3 am for diaper changes and feedings. There were dads out there that were going to the park just so that they could sit down in peace on the bench for 5 minutes. I never felt alone even though I was not part of a group of dads.
Over the last 6 years, though, I have found that there is an entire community of dads. Be it online or cities with dads groups that get together once a week to do various things that fathers want to do with their children. These dads have become some of my best and closest of friends. Guys that I can count on when I just need someone to talk to.
I don’t think that this community that I have built around me would be here today if it were for The Rookie Dad. Having a blog about being a father, forced me to find a community of people who are going through the same thing that I am going through.
When NPR published their story last week that there are dads out there who still crave a community that they can not find, I found it disheartening. Because I remember being one of those dads. I wanted so badly to be part of a group of dads who would get together, talk, and be men but also be parents. This was even knowing that I was not alone in fatherhood.
After a while, I started to seek out these groups actively. At the time, I found a local at-home dads group that met every Wednesday. Eventually, I had to leave that group as I entered the work force again. But, I had sought out other groups that I was part of. I was part of a larger Dad Bloggers Facebook group along with many other groups on Facebook that allowed me to be able to talk to talk and ask questions to other dads.
The Community of Dads Is Out There
The groups that I was part of were not all that hard to find. A simple Google search for Dad Groups brings up over 51 Million results. The top one, the At-Home Dads Group, the group that I was part of the Kansas City At-Home Dads Group that I mentioned above. The next one down is the City Dads Group. A group that has communities of dads all over the nation in various cities of guys who get together and does what they do best be a dad.
For those of you who feel like there is nowhere to turn to, you are wrong and probably haven’t looked all that hard (to be blunt). There are many groups out there, and outside of the two groups there is The Life Of Dad, these are some great guys that have a hilarious yet heartwarming site that connects dads together from around the world. If you haven’t checked out their Facebook page, you really should, and you are missing out.
Finally, how could I forget the Dad 2.0 Summit? An incredible conference where dads around the globe unite to talk about what we do best, being a dad. I have personally attended two of these and can attest to what they can do to a father. I come away with a feeling like I can conquer fatherhood. I have also met so many great friends that I can turn to at a moments notice when times get tough as a father. Look at it this way, if you are in anyway interested in any of community of dads that I have been talking about, this is the place to go. I credit this summit of dads for where I am as a father. I have written quite a bit about the summit in the past and if you have any interest in going, please check out my recaps AND how to go if you want to attend. FYI, it’s in New Orleans in 2018… and take my advice and go!
These groups are just 4 of the dad groups that turn up when Googling, “dad groups” and it isn’t that hard to find them and become deeply entrenched in them.
Because as a community of dads, we won’t leave a father behind.