Like I said, being a stay at home dad (SAHD) was a little daunting at first but luckily I had a resource at my disposal that helped me out tremendously. When I was trying to find parents’ groups that I could join so my kids could socialize I found that Rochester had a website called RocMoms.com. I emailed a few of the people that ran the site looking for groups that included dads but most of the time women said that they wanted the group to be all moms because of the similar shared experiences. Now, if you know me I was a teacher for 9 years. I first worked at a K-8 school and then a high school.
Predominantly, I am around women and although I can’t hang with the hair salon conversation or the problems with my lazy husband conversations, believe me; my teacher friends at Morton had discussed it all. Ladies, don’t worry about talking about your period with me. I am not grossed out and I am not a pre-pubescent boy who is going to run away screaming COOTIES! Maybe it is because I am hanging out with all these women all the time but sometimes I get a little witchy too and that’s not because I am PMSing, it’s because I am aggravated and you are too. All kids drive parent’s crazy and I hate to admit that sometimes even my kids can drive me to a 100 Grand every now and then. The good thing being around all these women is obvious…I am a guy who sometimes hangs with 1-10 women depending on the Thursday night but it’s not because I run a street walking racket in Rochester it’s because they are fun! We share kid stories, tricks of the trade, we even discuss the best equipment out there for getting the job done. Ask the Y Mommies how many of them have a Shark and you will see…the power of testimony is huge!
So, my saving grace has been two things. First, the Y Mommies. It started with Andra and Shea. Both of them were so willing to hang out with a guy and not be weird about it. I’m just a guy like you are just a girl trying to do what is best for your kids and raise them right and be well adjusted and social. If they are not around other kids they will never learn how to interact with them one on one. It continued with Michelle, Melissa and many others who were/are so accepting of me and who included my kids in things like parties and playdates where my kids have learned what friendship really means. Not to mention getting me out of the house for some quality ME time. And if it just happens to be at a bar with 7 other women, so be it. What guy is going to pass that up? The YMCA in Rochester has been integral in the development of my kids. The programs and people, especially at the Southeast branch have made me feel like I am a family there. The teachers and staff genuinely care about my kids and the great thing is, they don’t hide it. They usually just come out and say it, and for that I am grateful.
Secondly, my homies. The other dads I hang out with and have found by the grace of God has been one of the best experiences in my life. Dave and Steve, you guys help balance out that other end and I value your friendships. When I just need to be a guy and eat subs, shoot some guns, talk about Star Wars. Ladies, this is where some of you will say…Hair Salon conversation is to Me as The A Team debate is to Chris. I LOVE that I can be both things as a Stay At Home Dad. So, if you are a stay at home parent and you are looking for a way to get your kids involved and socialized, try the YMCA. I’m Chris Bernholdt, not only do I feel like the president but I am also a client.