(This is an earlier blogpost from May of last year. Also, beginning the 15th of this month, I will be running a free book giveaway through Goodreads for one month. So, on Tuesday you can register to win! You can check my homepage or click on this link)
If you're a stay-at-home Mom, you'll know that there are all these "groups" and "playtimes" that you can go be a part of, take your kids to, hang out with other moms, etc... My wife has told me on several occasions that I should go to some of these groups and take the kids, hang out with other- wait a minute. I'm a Dad. Not a Mom. So... I'm not sure about this.
I know that at one point in my life, the thought of hanging out with a bunch of women and being the only guy would have been ideal. You know maybe when I was in college and... not married with children.
So, I have to tell you something, and I don't claim to speak for every man, but I will speak for myself: I really have no desire to hang out with a group of women anymore. Frankly, that's my Monday through Friday routine. It's nothing personal. It just may be a bit awkward... for you and me.
In fact, it's a little too "girly." Since I have four girls (plus a wife), I feel like I already get my fair share of girliness. If I could bottle the estrogen that pumps through this house on a given day, I could probably rival any pharmaceutical company out there. And, let's face it. Do the women really want me there? Probably not. It would probably be weird for them. Sometimes I feel like maybe my kids miss out because of this, but then I just buy them an ice cream cone, take them to the playground, or direct a play for them to be in, and they're happy. Or, my wife takes off a few hours from work and we drive an hour to the nearest Barnes and Noble. Then we're all happy.
But my wife has mentioned several times that she thinks I should start a Dad's Group. I hate starting things, so that's a no go on many levels. But I started thinking... What would this Dad Group look like? I'm betting it would go something like this...
Dads arrive with the kids. If there are any girls among the children, their hair would either be down or in a ponytail. No braids or other fancy stuff.
No one says anything at first except for maybe "Hey!" More than likely, heads would just head nod as the men shuffle toward the coffee maker and get coffee. That itself would be in doubt because who would make the coffee? Each man would probably come armed with their own travel mug or cup bought from home, Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, or a gas station.
There would be no snacks unless some guy brought donuts. We would nominate him to be the "planner" for the next one. (In other words, he would choose who bought donuts next time.)
Now, you could hear a few conversations spring up. What would they consist of? Who knows. But I'm sure movies would come up.
By this time, kids are running around like crazy and Dads are ignoring them (I feel like Moms would have toys set up, or a craft prepared). As far as men are concerned, the kids just need an open field or gym.
There would be definite periods of silence as men take sips of their coffee and stare at the sea of children crashing around... or at a car passing by... or a tree swaying in the wind. We wouldn't want to say too much. Don't want to be too "chatty." But during these periods of brief silence, we would call out the name of our children just to fill in the gaps of wordless minutes.
Side tangent: True story about my Dad... When I was a kid, my Dad and another man would meet occasionally at Burger King to "hang out." I would go with him to hang out with my friend. All they would do is sit at the same table and drink coffee. For 45 minutes or more, they would just sit there. And drink coffee. No small talk. No chit chat. Nothing. The would maybe speak a sentence about something every 10-15 minutes. That's it. That's hardcore.
Anyway, back to the Dad's Group. We wouldn't meet from 8-10 or 9-11. It takes too much "planning." We would meet until our travel mugs are empty of coffee. Think of it as some sort of coffee hourglass. When the coffee is gone, that would let us know that we've been there long enough.
So... we call our kids and leave. There would be no saying we're leaving and stay for fifteen more minutes to continue talking. Once we say, "Time to go," we're out! We get the kids in the car and drive away.
It's then I realize that we never introduced ourselves. Oh well, we'll introduce ourselves at the next Dad's Group... 3 months from now.
Scott Keen is the author of two young adult fantasy novels, Scar of the Downers and Rise of the Branded. His third and final book of the Scar of the Downer Series should be released sometime next year.