The Baby Club Effect
Working on The Baby Club has really reintroduced me to the world of parenting a baby or toddler. And not living it this time around, has enabled me to look at it from the outside. Something that is very hard to do while being overwhelmed by tiredness, learning new things, supporting your partner, and trying to survive. This time I get to observe how mums, dads, grandparents and carers go through this beautiful yet testing time. And more importantly I can see where people could do with a little support. (This is where The Dadvengers Initiative comes in, more on this in a minute). As those of you who’ve been through/are going through it know, there are no definitive rights or wrongs. Just the path you choose to navigate because it feels right for you.
More support needed
One area where I feel we could do with more support is that of the hands-on dad. More and more dads are making the effort to be involved with their kids from birth and we all need to help encourage this even more. It’s true that in an ideal world we would not need to do this. All dads would embrace their part in raising happy healthy children. But the reality here in the UK is that dads have become better but there is still some way to go.
According to an article in 2017, back in 1965 men spent an average of 16 mins a day with their children. Cut to 2012 and that figure had risen to 59 mins a day and was still climbing. It’s not quite the 104 mins per day that mums clocked up (Well done team), but it’s definitely movement in the right direction. And looking at the stats worldwide we are one of the top 2 countries in terms of improvement. (For more on these stats check out the original article.)
The one thing I’m hearing directly from dads is that the early years landscape is not geared towards them. There are plenty of mother and baby groups, mummy blogs, mother and baby changing facilities but the dads are being overlooked. It’s not done deliberately but if we want dads to feel more comfortable being dads we need to help them. So this is me doing my little bit to help the cause.
Support Will Also Aid Mental Health
On top of the obvious benefits to family life and child development, support for dads will also aid men’s mental health. Historically men have not been the most receptive when it comes to dealing with their mental health. The fact that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50, and that in the UK roughly 75 men a week (many of these fathers) take their own lives, is a big indicator to me that we need to do more to support dads*. Which is why mental health support is a core pillar of the Dadvengers Initiative.
*Statistics taken from – A letter to a Dad Contemplating Suicide
The Dadvengers Initiative
While working on Nigel’s Baby Club Diaries I had an idea to create an online community, forum and resource to help the dads out there. To give them a place to get advice, voice their questions and concerns and hear stories from other dads. Mums have loads of online resources to chose from, whereas there is far less for fathers. Which is the whole reason for this initiative.
Dads, just like mums come in all forms, young, older, black, white, gay, straight, and more. The one thing that unites us all, is that none of us has a clue what we’re doing when we first start parenting. But hopefully here amongst these posts, on our Live Dad Chats on Instagram, through our podcast and more, we can all help each other to feel more comfortable. We can navigate the challenges that arise, and ultimately take responsibility for our children’s development. Basically, we’re forming a team… The Dadvengers!
Mums we need you too!
Mums you will be an integral part of getting dads involved. Believe it or not they listen to you, even if they pretend not to. Making them aware of this site and the topics we cover will be largely up to you in the early stages. Also providing your encouragement and support to dads here will help them know what they are doing is valued. So you see you are Dadvengers too.
Thoughts on the Dadvengers Initiative? Questions? Topics?
So what are your thoughts on The Dadvengers Initiative? What questions or suggestions do you have? What topics would you like to see covered? Are you a hands on dad? Are you trying to encourage a dad to be more hands on?
At some point I would like this to become a podcast with dads talking about their fatherhood experiences. But for now let’s start off easy, get the conversation going and the thoughts and feelings flowing.
Please leave your comments in the section below and share this post with other parents, the more the merrier. And remember, mums you are an integral part of this. We can’t effect change in dads without you so please please please help if it’s just sharing a post or making a suggestion.
Now it’s over to you…
I was just reading the Dadvengers post. It’s a great idea and have just signed up to Backstage and gave some thoughts around my first time fatherhood. Not sure who would more fun with that Hot Wheels set though 😉
Our children are 8 and 9 now but my husband couldn’t take a lot of paternity leave. I found it tough as I had 2 non walkers! He works from home and sees the children for at leas 90 minutes a day which I think is fab. He can help with their homework and he takes them swimming lessons. I find we are a great team.
Hey Olivia, it’s great to hear that you and your husband make a good team. And thank you for sharing that you struggled in first months as your husband couldn’t take paternity leave. It highlights how mothers appreciate help when looking after their young children. I think ‘Teamwork ‘ would be a great topic for one of the upcoming Dadvengers posts.
Absolutely! Teamwork makes the dream work as they say!
I think it’s a fantastic idea, there are plenty of dads who like to get involved in discussions about family life and daddy stuff.
This is very true. My husband is a fab dad.
I wish things like this had been about when my son was little. Dad stayed at home and I (Mum) was the one who went back to work. There were plenty of groups for Mum’s but nothing for Dad’s and not much on the internet at that time.
I’m hearing a lot of stories like this. It’s such a shame but slowly we are going to change things. It must have been difficult for both of you. Would love to hear for your husband on some of the future posts as his story could really help other dads out there now.
(not you) but there is more support needed for dad during and after birth, dad’s never get asked if they are OK, how are you feeling etc. Totally agree with what you have said above but dad’s are always welcome to come to groups, it’s scary going in to groups whether a women or man. Do it for you kids though.
Good point! At the end of the day it’s all for the kids so sometimes we need to overcome our fear or apprehension and look at the benefits.
exactly, benifits the adults to
This comment just reminded me about Ross Hunt who writes on the Isablog blog. He as a father suffered with Post Natal Depression and talks a lot about his journey with that as well as his journey as a dad, he’d definitely be someone positive to try to include in this kind of things Nigel
I’m a mum to two children and I couldn’t ask for a better dad to our two children. He reads them a story everynight and we are always doing family time at the weekend. I’m also a nursery nurse who looks after babies which is lovely.
Your partner is exactly the kind of person will would love to hear from on the upcoming Dadvengers posts. If you see any posts in the coming months that he may be able to share his experience on, please ask him to do so. I would really appreciate it and I’m sure other dads will too.
What a great idea, everyone should be involved
Ahh thanks! Please share so we can get more and more people involved.
sharing on FB x
I know I’m a bit long in the tooth, by that I mean a grandparent but I spent all my working life with children and found dads were really receptive to ideas and encouragement. It really is a myth that women instinctively know about childcare, I actually knew nothing and was scared stiff but I had to put that ‘face’ on in public. My husband, brought up in childrens’ homes with no family life at all was far more capable than me, it was one of his innate skills. He was creative, instinctive, the diplomat which really complemented my forthright, straight talking approach. What I’m saying really is that there is no difference between the sexes, so be it one alone, two same sex, older or younger, trial and error is the way forward for us all.
Jean all kinds of parents are welcome here. And that includes grandparents! You’ve got the wisdom we hop to attain.
Yeah you make a good point that deep down we are all the same. And this is definitely the way people are starting to look at things, but some of us still need a little help and encouragement to get there. which is what I hope these posts will become. I look forward to hearing more of your views in the coming posts. Are there any specific topics you’d like to see discussed?
dad’s need support too! I love the idea of this and I’m sharing far and wide
Thank you Laura,
We really need mums to get out there and share this. It will send a message to dads that we want them involved and we want to help them be involved.
Brilliant to have more dads involved! I agree, that it support is needed from hands on dads! I also think that most dads generally end up being the breadwinner and work so hard, although this is recently (in my own experience) changing…and its great, would be brilliant to have dads at messy play, sensory activities and such like. I think it is a big step for sbt parent to take heading out and going to clubs and socialising, but should be fab to see more dads! 🙂
Yes we all want to see more dads at baby groups, sensory play , messy play and slowly its happening but we need to all keep talking and sharing our experiences to continue and increase the change.
What a fantastic idea Nigel. I know that when my son was first born due to my health if we wanted to go to a baby group or anything like that I relied on him to go with me and to do the physical stuff and the chasing around and often he felt like the odd one out because he was usually the only male there and the activities and facilities tended to be aimed at the mums.
He’d love to find groups of dads locally that are similar age or have joint interests so that they could do things together too as the rest of his social circle don’t have children.
An app or something would be brilliant where Dads (or any parents) could post about groups/changing facilities etc and leave reviews so that others locally could see what was available x
It’s great that your partner went with you to baby group. I know it came out of something difficult but I’m hoping it has facilitated a strong family bond between all of you.
Thanks for your suggestions, I think they are great ideas and I’ve made a note of them. Let’s see what we can achieve 😉
Hello there! Having been a first time parent for getting towards two years now, it’s still something I am getting used to and not sure I ever will! It is so rewarding and every day is a new challenge whether I am at home or away with work.
I try and spend as much time as possible in the evenings with my daughter after work and for that hour or two, the state of the house, the washing, the dishes can all wait. The time is precious. We will never get this time back so you just have to grasp it.
I’ll be honest, I hadn’t a clue what I was doing 2 years ago Haha. Nothing really truly prepares you for fatherhood or motherhood. Instinct just guides you through. But the wider support I have found locally is certainly more towards mums. But, with that being said, I’ve never felt out of place being the only dad at baby clubs and local baby centres when I turn up. If I’m away for a weekend I’ll always get the Monday off and that will always be spent at our local club followed by whatever we feel like doing together. She loves it, the songs, the painting, and I do feel like I can get fully involved which I’m so grateful for, but outside of that, it’s a little harder. Swimming locally is a bit of a challenge, a number of cafes around town is usually zero or female only baby changing and only one of our shopping centres has a proper baby changing facility that is open for all. I love the idea of Dadvengers and cant wait to get a bit more involved. 🙂
I think you may be our first daddy to comment on a Dadvengers post!? ??
Welcome to the fold young sir and thanks for sharing!
It’s great to hear how much you value your time with your daughter and that you have braved the baby clubs and centres as a lone dad. Baby changing facilities is definitely a topic that we’ll be tackling in the coming weeks so please don’t hold back when we get there. In the mean time welcome and I look forward to having you involved.
I’m a mum of 5 and my partner can feel overwhelmed when alone with the kids. There is support for mums but not enough for fathers. I am all for this inititive. I’ll share this for you and hope more dads get involved soon.
Although I have no experience, I reckon at times 5 must be overwhelming for anyone. Make sure you try and get your partner to join in here. Hearing his stories, advice and more might help other dads who have multiple children. I’ll definitely look to do a post on dads with 3 or more children.
This is a great idea. I am a mum of 3 and my husband is a fantastic dad he regularly spends time playing reading with all of them using positive encouragement my 3 have all flourished
This is great Margaret. It would be lovely to hear from him in the coming weeks
This is a fantastic idea, my partner was hands on from the beginning but soon had to go back to work. As a full time mum it’s extremely important to us that dads get the chance to parent too so we can recharge, if only for a few minutes.
You highlight a great point Kate,
Sometimes a few minutes respite can make the difference to a whole day, and dads can be a great way to get that little break no matter how short it might be.
Is you’re partner trying to be hands on in between work?
16 minutes a day! Goodness me. I think a dad plays a very important part in a child’s life, and ideally every child would have some kind of father figure as a role model.
My brother in law was stopped from seeing his daughter by her mum, which is really sad. She is now 21. They have contact now but it’s just not the same, and not the way it SHOULD be.
I agree. I think all children should have some sort of father figure as one of their role models, but sadly its not always this way. That’s why I think something like Dadvengers is important to help more dads to be role models.
Sorry to hear that your brother-in-law was kept from his daughter. It’s heartbreaking when children suffer because of the behaviour of adults.
my 3 children have an amazing dad spends quality time with them one on one when homework time and all together story time is the best. summer fun splash time with daddy is the best kids faces light up
Summer Fun Splash Time sounds like lots of fun. You guys must have a ball!
My kids are growing up fast and one of them as flown the nest , but times have totally changed .
I know our local community centre runs a saturday morning dads club all the kids get their breakfast there ( my other half and little one think only went for the bacon buttys) then do various activies , during school holidays they go on various outings which they pay for at a few quid a week so the kids are never bored think this is a great idea .. would love to see more places offering similar things as like you said you see alot of mum and baby/toddler groups but not much for dads
Julie this sounds great!
Like a social club for dads and their kids. There definitely needs to be more of this. Who knows maybe there will be a Dadvengers Club soon.
Watch this space
How did you find out about your local community centre doing this Julie? Did you already attend the community centre for something else or were you sent leaflets or saw it on social media etc? In our area I find we often don’t find out about events and things until it is too late to have participated and I’m wondering if it’s just that our area are really rubbish at communicating things or if I’ve maybe just got the blinkers on and we should be making more effort to find these events.
I think this is a great idea! I’m a stay at home mum of a toddler and I couldn’t do it without the support I get from my husband “daddy”. I’m really lucky that he is very hands on but it does take time for both parents to learn to share the ups and downs of parenthood
Great that your husband is supporting. It would be lovely to hear from him hear 😉
He doesn’t do social media… Maybe that’s a good thing lol
Not even for a good cause? We need to hear from the daddys ??
Hello there Nigel! I’ll tell you what’s fantastic about what you’re planning to do, and that’s a) you want to involve the mums, which is essential and b) you are a high profile dad. Dads do not have that many role models so Dadvengers is in a good place with you as the focal point.
The online dad community thing is a bit of a crowded market. There a re a few people out there doing it if you scratch under the surface so I think you need to stand out. Maybe organising events where guys can actually meet up in person? That’s a bit lacking.
Amazing that The Baby Club has given you this idea. Best of luck and I will of course do what I can to help.
John you are the 2nd dad to have ever commented on a Dadvengers post and what an honour to have you weigh in on this.
For those who don’t know John is responsoble for https://dadbloguk.com/ and award winning dads blog. Please do check it out.
Thanks for your kind words and suggestions. Especially the idea for an event or meet up. I was toying with it myself but didn’t know if people would go for it…but the more I hear from people the more I think it might become a very big part of the Dadvengers community. 😉
This is great! I wasnt aware of dadbloguk but will check that out too. I think if this really does start to gain some momentum, an ‘official’s launch type of event could do wonders with some kind of meet up. The trouble with those though is it’s only really going to be in one location and that will never suit everyone…. but, dont let that detract from the idea! 😉
Who know… maybe we start off in one area and if it’s a success we can spread and start taking it to other areas!
It’s that sort of positive thinking that will make this a success! 😉
As a mum I try to encourage my partner to spend quality time with our daughter by suggesting things they’d both like to do. My partner is not really a bed time story or baking cookies kinda guy so does things like gardening and swimming with her. He painted the living room last weekend and our daughter helped.
I definitely agree with you re baby clubs and baby changing facilities. They shouldn’t be in the female toilets but unisex as that promotes out dated stereotypes. I’d also like to see the end of hearing about dads ‘babysitting’. They are not babysitting, they are parenting! it shouldn’t be a novelty that a dad is looking is after his own child.
Great that you are encouraging your partner to spend quality time with your daughter. Some men just need a little nudge. There are many reasons a dad can feel uncomfortable at first but after the initial hurdle most settle straight in.
Its a great idea. Dads, mums, everyone caring fir children need to be able to support each ither and have access to support and facilities.
Spread the word Jenna,
The more the merrier 😉
I quite agree that Dads should be more involved with their children but I do believe the trend is slowly moving that way. When my children were growing up it was considered a mother’s job alone and fathers only joined in when it was time to play football in the garden! Now I see father’s taking sole charge of tiny ones and toddlers around the shops and in the park.
You are right Anthea,
Times have changed and dads are definitely playing more of a role in their children’s upbringing, but some still need a little encouragement and support and that’s the idea behind Dadvengers. Let’s get dads supporting and doing even more for their little ones.
Its becoming much more socially acceptable for mothers to be the career person of the family and for fathers to be stay at home parents now too, as many stay at home mothers know though unless you have a great support network it can be quite lonely and isolating which is why it’s such an important thing to encourage male caregivers to join in with groups and activities.
Danielle this is so true. You sound like you have first hand experience of how projects like this can really help.
This is fab I’d love my children’s daddy to get more involved with my children and join in with them at the moment my boy Charlie 2 is loving the baby club I always sing along and he really enjoys it . Carry on the fab work ??
Thanks for the support Jeanette,
it’s a shame your children’s dad doesn’t get more involved. He’s welcome to get involved with our posts if he’s not the most comfortable dad at the moment.
This looks lie a great project, Dads need support too!
Thanks Lynn. Spread the word 😉
I absolutely love this idea. you are providing a fantastic role model for new dads who have zero clue what they are doing but also giving great advice to dads who are in a rut thanks
Thanks Dawn, That’s the plan.
Have you a hands on dad in your family?
My husband is a brilliant father we have a 5 year old and 2 month old. He really does seem to have the knack at getting them sleeping through as our 2 month old managed 9 hours uninterrupted sleep last night. I’d say dad’s really do teach lots of life skills that we might take for granted
Big shout out to your husband. We love hearing of the dads out there that are getting involved, and succeeding. Your praise shows how appreciative you are for it, and I bet your kids have a great bond with daddy because of it.
There are so many things that it aids, and we’ll explore them in these posts. 😉
Please get your husband to join in with our discussions it would be great to hear directly from the horses mouth
I absolutely love this idea, dad’s need support too! I wish things like this had been about when my son was little