This past Saturday night was a much-needed break from hearing Papa, Papa, Papa and Honey, can you help me with this or that. After a long week I was heading out to spend the evening watching a FC Cincinnati futbol match. Then after the game I would get to meet up with a fellow stay at home dad friend from out of town to shoot some skyline photography at night. Once my ride arrived we headed to our first stop of the night a bar called Hang Over Easy.
The guy who picked me up was another dad from the area who I had never met before but was gracious enough to let me join him and bum his parking pass. The ride to campus was great, getting to know another dad and talk about life and about how awesome it was to get a night out with some guys. We arrive at the bar just off the campus of the University of Cincinnati, a quaint place with a good list of beers both domestic and craft. We were not just there to hang out the two of us; there were three other dads who joined us for drinks before the game (3 stay at home dads, a real estate agent, and a college chemistry professor in order from left to right).
Of course we had to bring up “Breaking Bad” with the chemistry professor (one of the guys even joked about having a trailer for use which had everyone laughing) but the rest of the conversation circled around what we do, how many kids/ ages and what it meant to get out for a night and how rare it is that a night like this is scheduled for each of them.
How often do “YOU” get a night out with the guys or in this case with a group of dads? For myself it is a once a month occurrence and I would highly suggest you try to make it a regular part of your life. The big reason I am able to get this escape is because my wife is very supportive of me having time out of the house. See I have been a stay at home dad for just over a year and before that she understood the importance of me being connected with other men in the same life situations.
There is just something special about hanging out with other guys and talking about the crazy stuff your kids are doing or the things that your spouse/partner and you may be going through. It is therapeutic to know that you are not alone and that there are others who have been through or are going through the same situations you are dealing with. I am a very social guy, I always have been and so meeting people and making friends is very easy for me. I can also feel discouraged very easily and having guys around to call me out on my lack of confidence helps me to focus on moving forward. I have gotten involved with some online groups like the National At Home Dads Network and a Dad Bloggers group that have really been a source of comradery and support. My hope is that these Dad Night Out events bring a recharge and encouragement to all who take part and walk away feeling it was worth their time to spent with other guys. For me each meet up is unique and an opportunity to have an impact on another guy’s life and let him know he is not alone and there is support from other guys.
After the time at the bar we all headed to the match and as we walked out of the bar there was this huge march taking place with all these people chanting and yelling and playing instruments to get pumped up for the game. We thought this was pretty cool and so we headed into this crowd to walk to the stadium and take part in some pre game shenanigans. It was a great way to get pumped up for the game and just blow off a little steam yelling and chanting along with everyone else. It was a hot day as the temps were in the mid 90’s and for Cincinnati in June that is hot but we loaded up on lots of beer and of course water and entered to the stadium and found our seats 4 rows from the field at about the 30 yard line of what would have been the football field. The atmosphere was electric as the game got started and all the guys were excited to see what would happen. It did not take long for the first goal to get scored within the first 20mins and the place just went crazy. It stayed 1-0 till half time and we went up for some more beer and water and talked about the game. This event brought me back to my time when I was in college and would go to Saturday football games with my friends. It is always nice to feel some nostalgia when your in your later years (I’m 38) and when you were a person who was always going and doing things it is a bit of a life change when you get married and then add kids to the mix. Things start to be less about the fun you get to have and more about the fun you try to create for your kids.
However you have to create fun times for you personally and for you and your spouse because the kids will eventually be out of the house and the relationship with your wife needs to have something to stand on. But I digress, the game started back up and at the end of match play the game ended 2-0, it was a great game and we all went our separate ways but each guy said they would be looking forward the next time to be able to hang out because they had fun and that is what it is all about. The night ended for them but I had a bonus event to go to that night, a fellow stay at home dad from one of those online groups I was talking about came into town as part of his family vacation and he is a photographer. He wanted to get some shots of the city skyline at night and since I love showing off my city I stayed up later than normal to take him around to some great spots for what would turn out to be a beautiful night of photography. We had never met before and it was a wonderful time of conversation about our roles in our family and what we were experiencing with our kids.
These two events this night were a huge benefit not only to me but also to the guys who I was getting the opportunity to spend time with and build into the Brotherhood of Fatherhood. Therapy does not always have to come in the form of sitting in an office with a professional. It can come from spending time with other guys who you can connect with and have either a meaningful conversation over a meal and drinks, blowing off some steam by attending an event together or enjoying a hobby you have in common with others guys. So take a moment and think about what you need to do for yourself to get a little time out with some friends and make it happen by scheduling the time. If you don’t know anyone I highly suggest checking out meetup.com and look and see if there is a Dads Group in your area or go to citydadsgroup.com where they have a list of cities with active dads groups. Break the stereotype that dads don’t talk to each other and get out there and find some local guys to hang out with if even for only one night out a month. Dads Night Out, schedule it!
Written by Brock Lusch
-Stay at Home Dad
-Organizer of the Cincinnati Dads Group
- & host of The NOMADad Podcast