Support group for stay-at-home dads

By Ruth Keber

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Hallam with his two-year-old twins Sophia and Atticus. Photo/John Borren
Hallam with his two-year-old twins Sophia and Atticus. Photo/John Borren

A Tauranga man is setting up a support group for other men like himself - stay-at-home dads.

Father of six, Hallam Woolfrey has two fraternal twins, two school-aged children and two school-aged step-children.

He has been a stay-at-home dad for most of his twins' two years of life.

It's good to have support, especially when the kids are all together, they get to play with each other so it's not so exhausting.
Hallam Woolfrey

Mr Woolfrey's wife, Anna, worked fulltime as a health, safety and environment specialist at C3 and provided for the family.

The Bay dad, who is originally from the UK but moved to Tauranga three months ago, did not have a huge support group to do things with so he decided to do something about it.

"Having the twins is a nightmare with trying to figure out what to do with them," he said,

"There are loads of things to do in the Bay of Plenty but my twins seem to go in the opposite directions. So you either keep them in a pushchair or you keep them occupied in one location. I thought, 'how do I keep them in one location?' I took them to the beach and started digging holes and lots of dads started to come over and joined in. I started meeting all of these people and they were stay-at-home dads, too."

His group will host its first event on February 3, from 10am at Mount Maunganui near Motoriki Island and plan to "meet up, keep fit, keep the kids entertained, dig huge holes and build big mounds," he said.

Mr Woolfrey said there were plenty of mums' and bubs' groups he could go to but he was the only man.

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"It's quite isolating ... there's often nothing you have in common. They are talking about stuff you can't relate to and that becomes quite isolating in itself. At home you're isolated, you just want to meet another adult to communicate with you."

Mr Woolfrey said the idea of the stay-at-home dads was interesting because when he was bought up there were none in society.

"In our day Dad used to work 9 to 5. Mum used to stay at home, make dinner and look after the kids. Now the roles have reversed. It's changing the way people relate to their emotions too. In our day, blokes were blokes and didn't talk about emotions."

That mindset caused problems in men's lives with depression, especially in Kiwi males, he said.

"I think it's because they haven't got anyone to talk to. I think it's really important for us blokes to have the ability to chat and talk shop."

Mr Woolfrey said he hoped to have the group get together once a month. If people got along he planned to make it more often.

"You're not doing anything anyway because you're a stay-at-home dad. It's good to have support, especially when the kids are all together, they get to play with each other so it's not so exhausting."

To get in touch
To connect with Hallam Woolfrey and other stay at home dads head to www.facebook.com/stayathomedadstauranga

- Bay of Plenty Times

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