WHILE the toddlers played happily with each other, the talk among the dads was about motorbikes and hot rods.
The conversation topic at a new Chester playgroup for stay-at-home dads is perhaps slightly different to that found at a mums and toddlers group but otherwise the ambitions are the same.
Dads Aloud, which meets every Monday morning, provides social interaction for both child and accompanying father.
Founder member Graeme Lowe, from Christleton, was celebrating his 46th birthday at the latest session, with cake and drinks all round.
Graeme became a stay-at-home dad for son Austin, who turns two in August, after he packed in his job as a builder following an accident.
It made sense because wife Joanne’s occupational therapy business was beginning to take off. But he found the role isolating at first.
“I was so used to having people around me to talk to all day and all the social life that goes with it. Giving up work, I lost the lot. It has become a very lonely job, all my mates are at work and I found myself on my own.”
Graeme took Austin to mum and toddler groups but found he sometimes felt excluded from the social scene because he was male.
An idea formed in his mind and Dads Aloud was born. Comprising seven dads and their children, the group was set up in January and after initially meeting in each other’s homes, it has now found a permanent home at Kingsway Children’s Centre although there are social nights out and the respective mums are also becoming friends.
Graeme added: “This group allows dads to have a more enjoyable ‘stay at home’ experience and gain social support from other dads, which is often lacking.”
Dads with a baby or preschool child are invited to go along to the free Monday sessions which start at 10am and finish at midday.
Most of the time the children just love playing with each other but there is always a sing-along and story time.
The address is Kingsway Children’s Centre at University of Chester, Kingsway campus, Chester.
There is a Dads Aloud Facebook page or contact Graeme Lowe by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.