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Mommy and Me Classes? Dads Object!

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So many dads were showing up, this Brooklyn "Mommy and Baby" class tweaked its moniker.

Upset looking man

Vivian Manning-Schaffel: According to a recent post in the New York Times, so many dads were turning up to a "Mommy and Baby" class at the Prospect Park Y.M.C.A. on Ninth Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn, they changed the class name to "Parent and Baby."

The piece goes on to say that this could be attributed to many things: the economic downturn, a generational attitude shift concerning fathering, and a neighborhood where many residents have jobs with flexible schedules, some of which allow working from home. Or maybe some parents are opting to stagger their schedules to cut back on child care. Either way you slice it, more babies, at least in my neck of the woods, are doing harder hang time with dear ol' Daddy.

Everyone knows "Mommy and Me" class doesn't really mean the kid's mother actually has to represent. Semantics, schmantics, right? I polled a couple of neighborhood dads to gauge their vibes, starting right at home. It's unanimous -- they appreciate the consideration. "It's about time!" says my husband, Brad. "Anything that assumes only mothers are involved in their children's lives is insulting. Titles like that treat fathers as second-class parents."

My friend and neighbor, John, also finds "Parent and Child" a hell of a lot more appetizing than "Mommy and Me." "Mommy and Me always made me feel excluded," he said. "It sounds as if dads are deliberately unwelcome. I think 'Parent and Child' is a big improvement."

Doh! Who'da thunk a dad would appreciate a name that didn't exclude him? Makes perfect sense. And it is about time. The days of pipe & slipper parenting are long gone. Who do you think is dealing with the monkeys as I type this?

Here's hoping more classes follow suit.

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6 comments so far | Post a comment now
breanna July 17, 2009, 9:35 AM

the dad that come to my daughter’s mommy and me group are kind of weird- i hate to say it! of course they are welcome- but really…why would a man want to hang out with a bunch of postpartum women and their babies? the men in my group don’t socialize with any of the moms and don’t contribute anything to our discussions. and i must admit, i always wonder if they have an actual job or just are unemployed wonders.

Uly July 17, 2009, 12:36 PM

Gee, Breanna, maybe they come so their BABIES can hang out and socialize? And Breanna - when you spend time with your kid, does that mean you’re an “unemployed wonder”? Or is watching your child your job?

Call them what they are July 17, 2009, 12:50 PM

Mommy and me classes are about the mothers getting out and socializing. The babies really could care less if they are with one other baby or with a dog. I can imagine males would feel uncomfortable, as these classes, especially in the infant stage, are truly designed for the adult, not the baby.

Uly July 17, 2009, 1:07 PM

Well, CTWTA, maybe there’s more than one reason for those classes.

Secret Mommy July 17, 2009, 2:49 PM

I also have felt uncomfortable when men have shown up at Mommy and Me classes, but all the classes I’ve participated in really were geared for post-partum women. (A yoga class, a breastfeeding class…) What is so wrong with creating safe, warm, friendly zones for mothers and their children to interact without feeling as if we’re excluding someone? I don’t feel odd when hanging out at the baby play area at the children’s museum with dads and their babies, but in our mommy and me post-natal yoga class it was just weird.

The Mad Mom July 18, 2009, 1:29 PM

Hey There!

More and more men are the primary caregivers for their children. And when you call a class “Mommy & Me,” you assume it’s the mom who’s staying home. What if it isn’t? Isn’t it a good thing that more dads are as involved as moms? Don’t they deserve a place to go too?

Some food for thought…

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