The importance of support and community for Mom is a hot topic right now. But what about Dad? Finding a tribe is just as important for father figures — it’s just not talked about as often. With that in mind, we asked some members of City Dads Group to share how their local chapters have helped them navigate the trickier moments of parenting.
What’s one challenging aspect of fatherhood that City Dads Group has helped you to navigate?
Trevor Mulligan, L.A. Dads Group
I have almost eight years of being an at home dad. The first four years were all learning and asking advice from everyone and then combing through it to see what we thought was useful or applicable to our family. One of the best aspects of being a part of the LA City Dads group is the sharing of experiences. Over years I have enjoyed asking other dads with older children how they did certain things when their kids were my kids’ ages. I have a 6 & 8-year-old, so I want to talk with the dad that has the 10 & 11-year old’s. These different ages/stages we all go through are important to our growth for different reasons. We will all have problems – all the time. For me to say “We are potty-training, and it isn’t working. How did you do it?” Or “We have the whole ‘everything is a competition’, did you ever have to deal with that?” These shared experiences are important and help both dads. One gets a glimpse of where he came from and one dad gets a look forward. A win, win to me.
Eric Jacobs, Madison Dads Group
Being a member of a City Dads Group has helped me mentally accept and become super proud of the fact that I am dad first and foremost, and a freelancer second. I have built some amazing connections and friendships that I know would not have ever happened if I was not part of the group. You really get a chance every day to learn from others and become a better father because of the guys around you.
Brandon Billinger, Kansas City Dads Group
One of the challenges of being a full-time working dad is finding quality time to spend with my family. I’m lucky in the sense that my job is flexible to give me time off for doctors’ appointments, ball games, and the like but that means that there is still work to be done that will eventually take time away from my kids. City Dads Group gives me a chance to spend time with my kids doing various activities and philanthropic work within our community.
Chris Brandenburg, Twin Cities Dads Group
For me, the biggest challenge in being a stay-at-home dad, is having to learn the role of “rules enforcer” and be the parent to correct, guide, and discipline my child when needed. Being part of City Dads, I get to hang out with more experienced Dads and learn ways to do that. Talking with other Dads, to learn what works for them has helped me in my journey as a first-time dad. I find that guys are much more willing to share their failures and shortcomings as a parent to other dads. I believe we put too much pressure on women to become “the perfect mom” so they don’t feel comfortable talking about parenting challenges they’ve struggled with. Guys just let it fly. They’ll tell you where they’ve crashed and burned.
Darrell Humphrey, Charlotte Dads Group
Being an at home father has so many challenges to it. I face challenges every day from handling three kids, making sure they are safe, healthy, and teach them values that they will remember for the rest of their life.
Most guys struggle with isolation, mental illness, depression and more. Being a part of City Dads Group, specifically here in Charlotte, has helped me to have friends in real life, filling an ache in my life to be accepted and validated as a father. Charlotte Dads Group has helped me navigate fatherhood with a community of dads. The great thing is that they don’t all have to have the same ideals as me, but they are friends, and that helps me more then they will ever know.
Sean Singleton, San Francisco Dads Group
I think the toughest part is managing time. Between work and other adult responsibilities, it’s tough to find the time to be present and available for your kids. They tend to want your attention most when you’re not really available to give it to them, but making the time is an absolute must. They need that trust in you that you will be there for them, even for the “unimportant” things
Josh Bellish, Portland Dads Group
The biggest thing for me was knowing I’m not alone. My husband stayed home to take care of 3 Foster kids for a while and he rarely interacted with other adults. When I later became a full-time stay-at-home dad I made sure I wouldn’t experience that same isolation. I found City Dads group and immediately found a community.