Will Lodge: Where does dad change the nappy at a mother and baby group?
- Credit: Archant
Parenting columnist Will Lodge tries out his first baby group.
This week I bit the bullet and went to my first baby group.
I don’t mean this is a bad thing, just that for me it was very daunting.
In my head there would be this gaggle clique of mums, all on their third child, who would be well prepared with holster packs of wet wipes, snacks coming out of their pockets, and every other latest gizmo.
Alternatively they would be so cool, calm and collected that me with my over-loaded changing bag prepared (poorly) for every eventuality would look ridiculous.
Despite my fears – and I did recognise they were fears rather than pre-conceptions – I had always deep down been quite excited to go to a baby group.
My wife took baby last week to Rhythm and Rhyme, which baby seemed to love, so when I had the day off and my better half had work to do it made sense.
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Of course all of my fears, made worse by the sense of not knowing the parent etiquette I wrote about a few weeks ago, were unfounded.
Although there was hardly time for chatting during the 50 minute session the other parents – and there was one other dad – were friendly, smiling at baby and keeping an eye out for each other.
There was no looking down on anyone, and it was very inclusive.
Much of the credit for this should go to the Barnardos’ staff who run the weekly group in our village who were fantastic.
It definitely opened my eyes and made me want to go to more groups like this. Maybe I will brave Pram and Chat next week.
There was one bit of social nicety I wasn’t sure how to deal with. At the village hall the baby changing facilities (well, a fold-out table) is only in the ladies’ toilets.
As with many of these things you just have to brazenly walk in and claim them as your own.
It did get me thinking though. As the role of dads becomes – rightly – larger and larger in parenting, it will need more and more recognition.
For example baby tables in unisex or both gender toilets, and baby-and-father sessions which currently run on a Saturday may need to extended into the week.
The demand is perhaps not there yet, but I feel change is coming slowly – especially as fathers get more paternity leave and more flexible jobs.
What did baby make of it all?
Well she was having a bit of a grumpy day, and though she smiled at the songs she knew and chuckled when we span around, it was not such the happy experience she had enjoyed last week with mummy.
But we can’t all be happy all of the time, can we.
I am sure both mummy and I will take her back – and I for one just can’t wait.