Being a dad not all child's play

All getting along in the sandpit: Chris Brokensha and his daughter Charlotte with Jeremy Richardson and his daughter Alice.
All getting along in the sandpit: Chris Brokensha and his daughter Charlotte with Jeremy Richardson and his daughter Alice.

For dads who find themselves at home looking after the kids, finding places to go that are fun for both kids and adults can be challenging. Childcare is still predominantly the domain of women, who are more likely to have a network of friends they can call on for support or catch-up over coffee withwhile the kids play.

For the past five years or so Lismore's Men & Family Centre has been running a playgroup where dads can get together and offload about the trials and tribulations of parenting.

But facilitator Jeremy Richardson said it is much more than an opportunity to brag or whinge about what the kids have been doing.

"There are friendships that have developed within this group that continue long after the kids have grown up and the men have stopped coming," Jeremy said.

Chris Brokensha is one of the regulars and he backed up Jeremy's comments.

"It's a really diverse group, a really good bunch of blokes," he said. "Everybody is happy to share their stories and experiences and will often drop in to each other's places... Last year I built a deck and a bunch of the guys came over and helped and the kids all played together."

Jeremy said the group is always looking for new dads to come and join and would also like to hear from dads who can't make the Monday morning session to see if there is another time that would suit.

"It really is just a group of guys who get together and get down to the nitty-gritty reality of parenting. And the kids love it," he said.

The Dads and Kids Playgroup is held every Monday for dads with kids up to the age of five from 10am to 12.30pm at the old scout hall in South Lismore. For more information phone the Men & Family Centre on 6622 6116.

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