If I’ve learned anything from watching my wife Dana’s journey through motherhood, it is that having a mom-friend support group is important and can make a huge difference in a mother’s life (even if she doesn’t actually want any).
This got me thinking—why doesn’t anyone talk about dad-friends?
No no, I’m not talking about the buddies you grab beers with to watch the game. I’m talking about the guys who are there to support you as, well, a dad.
There’s so much thrown at you as a parent and sometimes, it gets seriously overwhelming. Not just for me as the father, but certainly for the mother.
As a first-time father, I had no idea what to expect from a baby but truthfully, I didn’t know what to expect from my wife, either. We were extremely lucky that she did not suffer from either postpartum depression or anxiety, and we were unbelievably fortunate to have help when needed.
However, if I’m being completely honest and vulnerable with strangers, it would have been helpful to have other dads to turn to or talk to. Not only to discuss how I could help my wife but to vent to about how I was feeling with everything, too.
I feel like I typically hear about moms having mom-friends and a support system to turn to, and I sometimes wonder why dads aren’t really considered here. My wife and I joke all the time that we’re both clueless when it comes to parenting, so having a circle of dad-friends is just as important, in my opinion.
I’m sure I’m not alone here, but I am extremely proud to be a dad. Hell, if you’re willing to listen, I could spend hours talking about my son—how he’s a world-class roller, babbler, eater; how he fills a diaper like no other kid; how awesome it is to be a father. I love having other dad-friends who love to talk everything dad! Yes, that includes grills, lawnmowers, and comparing our wives’ honey-do lists. (If you’re wondering, I do have the best lawn on our street.)
It’s funny, we recently got back from a vacation hiking some National Parks in Utah. Before our trip, I bought something called a MiniMeis, which is basically a little seat for your kid to sit on your shoulders. I usually see the dad carrying kids on his shoulders, so it was a lifesaver for me during the trip. It was extremely comfortable, plus I had my hands free.
Every single time I used it, people would stop me and tell me what a cool thing it was and how they wished they had that when their kids were small. What’s odd is it was usually women who stopped me. The men would notice it, do a double-take, nudge their wives, but never approach me.
Until, that is, we landed back at the Orlando airport. We were walking through the hotel’s lobby when, all of a sudden, a man ran up to me.
“Hey! Two things,” he said.
“First, I’m a dad; and second, that thing is awesome!”
He told me he’s usually the one responsible for carrying his 12-month-old on his shoulders and absolutely loved the idea of the MiniMeis. (I could be a salesman for this thing!)
We spent a few more minutes just talking about fatherhood and it was seriously awesome. This was one of the few times I had been approached by a dad, and just chatting about fatherhood was really refreshing.
It was even cooler that this dude was a complete stranger and we were chatting in the middle of a hotel lobby like we had been friends for years.
As a parent, it’s a no-brainer that having a social life sometimes takes a backseat, so just talking to someone who can actually talk back to you is extremely enjoyable.
Talking to another dad? It’s just an added bonus.