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.
From the moment the interview began, John showed a stubborn refusal to give in to the nuclear stereotype, that fathers and mothers have fixed roles. Here was a man whose desire is to represent fatherhood and give a voice to a minority of men who feel undervalued or let down by a stereotype of how families should function.
Dads often suffer a crisis of masculinity, particularly stay-at-home dads who rely on their partner as the breadwinner, finding themselves reluctant to ask for money from the partner, which goes against their natural instinct as a male, to be able to provide, to be self-sufficient and a role model to their child.
As a middle-aged man I never felt feminism had anything to do with me. It was the woman's battle for equality. Whilst I may have agreed with their ethos and end goals it was, and always would be their fight. It was only when listening to Emma Watson's amazing speech to the UN that I realised how wrong I was.
I have never seen any dads in the hub. Not even partners. The hub is usually a child-free zone too, a place of mothers in conversation while their children fend for themselves. This day there were lots of crying and distressed pre-school children who needed the attention of scattered lone parents, before their actual parent in the hub noticed.
Admittedly, as part of the new launch Mattel has partnered existing businesswomen to give advice to those aspiring to follow in their footsteps, but this doesn't go far enough. Everyone trying to maintain some sort of work/life balance knows that professional performance is affected by how organised, settled, stable - and happy, we are able to be at home.
There is a hope, be it ever so slim, that William could do something that would make women the world over - even women like me - hail him as the best thing to happen to Britain since Boudicca. Grab the burp cloth and pick out your preferred get-baby-to-sleep manual, Lt. Wales, it's time to become a house husband.
UK government policy on parental leave, for example, has been set according to a generalised assumption that men want to take more time off, and work more flexibly, to be with their children. Yet the simple, statistic-backed facts support the opposite conclusion: men aren't yet using even close to the wiggle room they already have.
I'll let you into a little secret. I pretend to be someone I'm not all day every day, but it's a bigger act than faux diligence at work. I pretend to be a man. No, its not a transgender issue. I mean being a man in the traditional day-seizing, lady-killing, shelf-putter-uppering sense of the word. I'm not bad at pretending, and for the most part, people seem to believe me.
One of the best ways to foster creativity in children is to read to them or, better yet, to make up stories with them, and fathers in particular have an important role to play in this: it's long been recognised that the more a dad reads to his children, the greater their verbal intelligence, academic success and emotional wellbeing.