A woman has sparked a debate online after asking whether it is unreasonable that she doesn’t want men coming to a meet-up for mothers – prompting some exasperated respondents to say ‘men will barge in anywhere’.
The UK-based woman asked people for their thoughts on the situation in a post on parenting forum Mumsnet.
She explained that she attends a weekly meet-up for expectant and new mothers to discuss everything from ‘boobs to PND to holidays’.
After someone recently asked if there’s a similar group for dads, men were added to the group’s WhatsApp chat, and some have started to come along, with one attending the last meeting on his own without even bringing his baby along.
The mother admitted it changes the dynamic for her, even though that’s probably not reasonable, but she was inundated with comments backing her up, with one saying: ‘They’ll barge in anywhere they can because it’s ‘their right’ and no one will say no.’
However, others argued that dads need support too, and that the group should be accommodating, since it’s not specifically geared towards an issue that only impact mothers, such as breastfeeding.
An anonymous mother took to parenting forum Mumsnet to ask other people if she was being unreasonable by not wanting dads to attend her mums’ group (stock image)
According to the UK-based poster, having men attend the group and be part of the WhatsApp chat has ‘changed the dynamic’
Kicking off the debate, the mother wrote: ‘So I strongly suspect I’m being unreasonable and probably need a resounding yes to give me a head wobble.
‘A weekly coffee / lunch meet up in a pub for mums started a few months ago. It was advertised as mums and mums to be and it’s been a great space to meet other mums and talk about everything from boobs and PND to holidays.
‘Someone recently asked if there’s a similar group for dads and then all of a sudden, dads were being added to the WhatsApp group and have started to come.
‘Today, one came on his own as he left sleeping baby at home with mum. I personally think it changes the dynamic to have men, Just hoping that whilst I’m unreasonable, it’s understandable.
A number of the post’s respondents thought the poster was being mean, and that fathers should be welcome to attend the group
‘Just to add, there are dads who come to other baby groups I go to and it’s completely ok, and I happily chat to them. But it’s this particular one where it’s more of a support group that feels uncomfortable.’
The post garnered mixed responses: some respondents felt it was unreasonable for the poster to want to keep the meet-ups as single-sex.
One respondent simply wrote: ‘Do dads not need support too?’
Another commentator wrote: ‘Remember the number of stay at home dads is tiny, in a town like mine there probably isn’t enough for a group with a similar vibe to what sounds like a great casual supportive environment. Plus if they are the principal caregiver they will be facing many of the issues the sahms do.’
A further Mumsnetter felt the same, adding: ‘In all honesty – I can understand why dads join such groups. Judging from my husband for some reason they trust advice from women more than they do advice given by men.
‘Therefore, it does make sense to them to want to join mix groups rather than forming one just for dads.’
Many posters agreed that as a group set-up specifically for mothers, it was fair of the poster to not want fathers to attend meet-ups
However, the majority of posters felt it was fair to stop men from attending the group, admitting they would feel uncomfortable in the same situation.
One wrote: ‘YANBU [You Are Not Being Unreasonable]. It’s a Mum’s group, advertised for Mum’s so should be females only.’
Another explained: ‘Could you mention that you aren’t thrilled with this? I’d be really unhappy if my supportive ‘No-one told me about the piles’ group turned into a bloke space. I don’t think you need to be progressive and include the husbands in a female only group. They can have their own group.’
A third added: ‘Dads are welcome at child-focused stuff, playgroups etc. Not at regular meetings of female ante-natal groups, in my experience.’
Some respondents felt very strongly that the group should have remained single-sex, with some saying men always try to take over
Some commentators felt much more strongly that the group should remain single-sex, with one writing: ‘Doubt they’d want you at their golf meet ups or wherever else they meet up and complain about their wives and the unfairness of it all.’
Another added: ‘F****** hell they are forever encroaching! I’d be p***** off. Men, make your own group, or join a parent group. Don’t elbow your way into a mum-to-be space. F*** sake.’
And a third wrote: ‘Ugh I’m sorry OP. Of course men change the dynamic. They interrupt more, talk louder, don’t ask questions of quiet people, etc.
‘As for the guy who leaves his baby at home with the mum so he can go out on his own to make friends with other women? Creep.
‘I wish women were stronger at telling men to stay out of womens meetups. Of course the men love it, they get a load of female attention and to lord it over them all.’