I’ve been a stay at home dad for over five years now.
Most of the time I’m fine being at home.
But there’s always a niggling feeling of isolation hanging around like a bad smell.
Being a stay at home dad is still awesome and a privilege and it’s the right thing for our family at the moment.
There are some reasons for my feeling of isolation though that you may connect with.
A consequence of us moving around the country several times is a lack of ongoing friendships.
My wife and I have friends in the areas we’ve lived in but time and distance have led to us growing apart from them.
As I get older, I feel suspicious of others having had some terrible friendships in the past.
It makes it more of a challenge to get to know people.
And with being a stay at home dad I wonder what I’d have in common with others anyway.
My life revolves around family, running and blogging!
When I left work five years ago, I had wanted out for quite a while.
I had worked for the company for seven years but never enjoyed the experience.
I had some friends at work who were regular drinking buddies.
With many of them that was the only thing we had in common though.
The trouble is that when it came to getting out and about, work colleagues were always there.
Since I don’t see them at all these days, it’s out of sight out of mind.
I’m lucky that one guy lives just up the road from me and we catch up for a beer every now and then.
When my kids were younger I would take my daughter to a local playgroup once a week after dropping my son off at school.
I remember the first time I walked in and my heart dropped.
It was a room full of mums and not one dad in sight.
I had hoped there might be another dad who I could get to know there but it never happened.
I got on well with quite a few of the mums there and met a lady I hadn’t seen since university. But it wasn’t the same.
My daughter didn’t enjoy that playgroup so much either. All she wanted to do was run around and not join in.
So after a few months we stopped going.
No Social Interaction
Most of the time, the only conversation I have is with my wife and kids.
I spend a lot of time on my own at home.
The only social interaction I have is when dropping off and picking up the kids from school.
And you guessed it. That’s with the mums most of the time.
When I’m walking around town, I see other dads with their kids and wonder if they’re in the same situation.
I don’t approach them though because that would just be weird!
Another dad blogger, John Adams who owns Dad Blog UK made the video below about social isolation.
It sums up a lot of the things I experience.
Lack Of Confidence
Since I don’t interact with people as much as I used to, my confidence level in social settings isn’t great.
I start to feel uncomfortable, particularly around other guys. Are they judging me for being a stay at home dad?
I also struggle with any conversation surrounding football. I used to enjoy watching it but I’m out of the habit.
I always have in the back of my mind that at some point in a conversation it’s going to move towards football. It’s inevitable.
So instead I don’t even begin a conversation. I’m terrible at small talk in any case so why bother?
And I do realise the irony of that adding to my feeling of isolation.
Victim Of Circumstance
Sometimes circumstances can add to a feeling of isolation.
My wife works for an independent school and we live on the school campus.
It can feel like we live in our own little bubble.
My kids are fortunate enough to attend the school.
But there’s never going to be an eventuality where we can keep up with the Jones’ or would want to.
And it means we don’t have too much in common with the other parents.
We exchange pleasantries and the kids have play dates but that’s about as far as it goes.
Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence. – Vince Lombardi
Being A Stay At Home Dad Is Still Awesome
Sometimes I crave social interaction but much of the time I’m pretty self sufficient.
I get on with the things I need to get on with and don’t dwell on much else.
Although, I can be my worst enemy in that I crave social interaction but am less proficient in those skills.
I joined The Dad Network and that’s helped me feel part of a group.
My next plan is to join a local running club if I can pluck up the courage.
That should open up some social interaction and keep me fit at the same time.
If you’re ever feeling isolated, come say hi on social media, email, or any other way you can think of!