When Mom Needs to Work.... Our Hunt for Dad Friendly activities in Ottawa

For anyone who has been following along for a while, you probably know that my husband took the majority of the parental leave with our first born.

Although it is now 2020, dad's taking parental leave is still not the common choice. The year that he was at home was a learning curve for all of us, and an eye opener to how mom-centric most activities are.

A lot of parent and baby activities do say that dads are welcome, however men often don’t feel comfortable in a room full of moms venting about their partners or discussing developmental stages.

I have been fortunate over the last few months to be gifted an opportunity to try a few dad friendly activities, and I am so glad we said yes! With my husband working and myself at home right now, we now face a different challenge, giving him quality time with our toddler, especially because he has an unconventional schedule.

Over the summer I was offered a chance to try out the drop-in sessions with Starr Gymnastics. The drop -in sessions are one hour sessions where parents can chase their kids around the gym and they explore trampolines, a rope swing, balance beams, etc. This was a major hit with my husband and toddler! It is a safe space for kids to run wild and test the limits without being too dangerous. It is also a great activities for dads to do with their kids because the focus is on the parent and child engaging together vs. trying to make awkward small talk with other parents.

With drop ins at various times through the week, there are lots of opportunities to check it out while working around nap schedules and work schedules.

The second activity we tested out recently is indoor soccer with Little Kickers Ottawa. We had an opportunity to spend 4 weeks playing indoor soccer at a local gym, which was fantastic.

Trying to get 2 and 3 year olds to do soccer drills and stay focused for an hour is definitely a challenge, but the instructors did a great job. They were patient, gave very basic instructions, and encouraged the parents to get involved with their little ones.

Watching Ryan and Zoey run around is always the highlight of my day. Sitting on the sidelines I not only got to watch them interact each week, but also got to observe other family dynamics. There were lots of families who showed up with multiple parents, or multiple generations.

Next on our list of activities is grandpa and tot (aka parent and tot) gymnastics classes. Keep an eye on my insta-stories to see how those go, or send me suggestions for other dad-friendly activities we should try.


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by Emily Harrington. 

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