Move over yummy mummies, the stay-at-home dads are here to stay. Parenting is no longer a mother’s realm, with the number of men choosing to stay at home and be the primary care giver quadrupling in the past 25 years. This is not a parenting fad, but a trend. Anyone who has watched an episode of Super Nanny will know that parenting is no walk in the park for either Mum or Dad. This is one job that you don’t need a qualification for, but sometimes a little training can help.
According to the Office of National Statistics, a record number of 229,000 men stay at home to bring up their children nowadays, compared to 111,000 in 1993. Yet with this rise come a number of charities and support groups for these dads, who are often met with surprise and suspicion in the playground. Here at Hotcourses we wanted to find out more, so caught up with stay-at-home dad Adam Porter, a young dad who helped set up the North London ‘Dads’ Club’.
The dads club
In 1989 only 10% of fathers were stay-at-home parents, in 2014 16% are. For many fathers, their new job is more demanding and also lonelier than the nine to five world they have left behind. Fed up of being the only male at coffee mornings and support groups, Adam Porter noticed a gap in the market for a group to help dads. After starting to look after his son full time, Adam decided to help run the Dads’ club, set up by a friend, aimed at fathers of children under five. Putting stay-at-home fathers in touch with each other, whether it was to swap advice on nappy rash, teething and how to get through the terrible twos, or just having someone to talk about the football with.
We asked Adam where this all began, he explains, ‘We were both struck by the lack of support for us dads – there are loads of mums’ groups out there, but I’d never heard of another dads’ group until we set ours up. I’ve since discovered there other groups, which is not many for a city like London!’
Despite the growing number of dads in the playground, it seems that they are still struggling to shake the old stereotype that this is a women’s world. Adam tells us ‘I’ve been looking after Dylan full time for over a year and playgroups are an important part of our routine. I’m often the only dad there and I don’t know how many times I’ve been ignored by the other mums.’
Deciding that something needed to change, he went on to create a social support network for dads with young children. According to Adam, ‘It’s particularly important now, as more dads than ever before are caring for their kids.’ If you are a dad looking for some help, support or sports chat, why not pack up the pushchair and get in touch with the dads club?
The naughty step
You don’t need a qualification for this role but a course might help. From baby massage, to child psychology, understanding how your baby experiences the world and how to deal with the milestones of childhood, a parenting course is a good place to start.
When your days are filled of Peppa Pig and Postman Pat it is often difficult to dream up activities for both you and your baby. A routine revolving around nap times, snacks and meals, housework and tantrums often feels too jam packed, so a course that involves both dad and baby could be the welcomed break you need. A baby language lesson could be a great way to learn something new with your child as well as having fun.
For years Havering Adult College has run free part time, evening and weekend parenting classes for those wanting to learn without breaking the bank. Noticing the trend of stay-at-home dads coming through their doors, the college now runs dad focused courses, including science and space challenges.
Our favourite quotes on fatherhood
Who can forget the adorable photos of Becks with baby Harper or Simon Cowell cuddling newborn Eric? The Daddy-baby bond is not to be underestimated, so have a read of our five favourite fatherhood quotes.
Jane McGuire received her BA (English) from the University of Loughborough. A yoga enthusiast with a sweet tooth, in her spare time you will probably find Jane in the gym or online shopping.