You try making conversation, but none develops. Your hopes of meeting new people, making new friends, forming bonds with other parents for the sake of your child are dwindling. You end up sitting alone in a corner, watching your child play alone while all around a community you long to be a part of continues on oblivious.
As adolescent boys (and girls) become overly preoccupied with sex and understanding everything about sex, thanks to raging hormones, in much the same way most women, whose 'biological clock' has got activated, are becoming overly preoccupied with the idea of having a baby and understanding everything about being... a mother.
My 10 year old son is a good and keen footballer. He plays for a team and it's getting quite competitive. He was playing an away cup match a couple of weeks ago, the usual Sunday morning stuff. The referee didn't turn up and so one of the dads from the home team stepped in. You can see where this is going...
It's not fair that he gets branded as being lazy, messy and childish just because he has dangly bits, when he is none of these things. In fact he is the complete opposite. Without him being the cleaner, the caregiver, the accountant, the shopper, the handyman, the daddy or the lover our household would fall down in a crumbling mess.
Traditionally, it has been the mother who has given up a career to look after a child. But times are changing. As a consequence of more and more women having babies later in their lives, women are spending more time forging established careers, just like men have always done. At least that's what I'm experiencing in my neck of the woods.
Assumptions that men are "hard to reach" or that "men don't talk" are unhelpful and present challenges to services that seek to engage with men and encourage their involvement. There is more to do to develop our understandings in terms of research, policy and practice, and recognition of men's roles in families and as carers might be a key signifier for broader change.
There has been situations in the past where Mike has been out and hasn't been able to change the boys because the only baby changing facility is in the women's toilet. It's these small things that help make this equality happen but more importantly its the microlevel, social situations described above that can really change societies attitudes to the male/female dynamics in a family.
Dads are not welcome in post-separation family life, especially if they are going to cause trouble by wanting to actually parent their children. For those modern men who gave their all to fatherhood, the injustice of such a swift eviction from the lives of their children after separation, is a bewildering attack on their very sense of self.
Daddy Pig is a legend. So much so that when I find myself in a difficult situation at home, I often think, 'what would Daddy Pig do?'... While I know I shouldn't be seeking parenting and lifestyle inspiration from an overweight, make-believe pig, if my two daughters grow up knowing they're as loved and cared for as Peppa is, then it'll have all been worthwhile.
I think society has a strange view on men bringing up children alone. I guess people presume that because women generally take the lead in parenting, another familiar female figures will intervene if the wife or partner is not there. Perhaps people assume that a man is somehow not capable of doing what a woman can... But, do you know what? We aren't inept human beings.