IT’S five years today since doting fathers David Marshall and Thomas Lynch launched the Capital’s first dads only playgroup.
They bonded over a common issue that neither of them could find group that offered vital bonding time between them and their kids, without feeling as if they were being judged by critical mothers. They also had a mutual love for rock music.
After four months of planning, they launched Dad’s Rock playgroup in Sighthill, which was just like any other toddler group, but with the absence of mothers and the addition of music.
Over time they’ve expanded their services, now offering playgroups at various locations across the city, as well as antenatal classes for men, counselling and music tuition.
Reflecting on the years gone by, David, a dad-of-two said: “We’ve done so much since we first launched five years ago it’s hard to remember everything.
“Everything is going great and we are continuing to grow. We can’t thank the people that have given us support enough.
“I remember ten minutes before our first playgroup session was due to begin five years ago, I said to Thomas, I don’t think anyone will turn up.
“To our surprise around 20 families did and that’s where it all began.
“I would never have thought away back then we’d win several awards and even speak about Dad’s Rock in the House of Lords.
“It’s been quite a journey.”
David, Thomas and Barry Wright have been working hard to firmly establish the group and the role of dad’s across Scotland.
As well as their regular classes and playgroup sessions, they are hoping to visit more primary schools over the next year, to get children spending more time with their dad’s and participating in activities.
David, 37, from Parkhead, said: “I think a lot of time men are written out of the whole equation when it comes to parenting.
“The focus is on the mums and the babies, quite rightly, but our lives change dramatically too and there’s a lot of expectation around what you should do as a dad.
“There are not many people to ask, so we thought let’s have a dads only playgroup, so that we can meet other dads and share our experiences and ask the stupid questions without embarrassment.
“At our playgroups the dad’s are the one talking about nappy rashes and lack of sleep - all the usual baby things that the mum’s do.
“It’s great to look at all the relationships we’ve built up.”
Dad’s Rock believe that children need a diverse mix of parenting, and want to prove that dads can play a vital role in the upbringing of their children.
Counselling sessions are based at WHALE arts agency in South Edinburgh, and Royston/Wardieburn Community Centre in North Edinburgh.
While playgroups are available in Craigmillar, Granton and Westerhailes.
To find out more about the services Dad’s Rock offer, visit: http://www.dadsrock.org.uk/