The Social Plight of the Work-from-Home Parent

Q: I’m a divorced dad of two girls. I work evenings from home and watch the girls during the day.  It’s great never having to leave the home, but I need to get these kids out to socialize. It’s hard to go to parks because most of the time there are only moms there. Any ideas for making social connections with other dads?

A: My situation is somewhat different from yours because I happen to be one of the many moms hanging out at the park. But I do know how difficult it can be to make friends as an introverted stay-at-home parent, so I’m happy to brainstorm some ideas with you!

1) I belong to several community groups on Facebook, and they’ve been great for me. I’ve learned about local events, asked questions and received helpful answers, and made some good connections. Perhaps there’s a local Playgroup with Dad page you could join? If you can’t find one, consider starting one. That type of community could be immensely beneficial for both the dads and their kids. (Of course, safety is key, so always meet in public places.)

2) You might also think about enrolling the girls in classes, like dance, gymnastics, or art. It’s probably true that many of the attending parents will be women, but there will likely be a few dads there too. The routine of seeing the same parents week after week encourages more natural, ongoing friendships than chance encounters at the park would.

3) If your kids are old enough to be in school, you might explain your situation to the teacher. She’s likely aware of other families with a similar dynamic. Although she can’t share private information about the other students, you can ask her to pass along your number to other dads who might be interested in meeting for a group playdate. Bonus: your child will already be familiar with the other kids, so things should go smoothly!

I imagine that being a work-from-home dad can be a little isolating at times. Your decision to be proactive about socializing with your children is a healthy one for both you and your kids, so keep up the good work!