I've written about The Diaper Dudes before, but what I didn't anticipate was how this Baby Brotherhood would grow. And grown it has!
It started with a phone call: My friend, Quincy, suggested we go to the park to hang out with our kids together. It was a lot of fun and so the following week we did it again, but this time our friend Jonas and his kids joined us. Before long Nathan, Vince, and Gerardo also were coming out to our brown-bag lunch and having "hang time" with all our kids (don't call them "play dates" please!). And before we knew it, The Brotherhood of the Diaper Dudes was born.
And then it occurred to us that, believe it or not, there were actually moms in our neighborhoods who stayed home with their kids too. So we opened our club to our female friends as Lynn, Anna, Christy, Monica, and Margaret joined us as well. And with the newly added Swaddling Sisterhood, we changed our name to The Diaper Dudes and Dudettes-- or "3D" for short.
So now on any given Thursday afternoon, eight to ten of us—plus all our little ones—get together to eat lunch and either walk over to Orange Park to let our kids play together on the new playground or sometimes we caravan to bigger destinations like the zoo or the Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park.
It's hard for me to describe just how much this 3D community of dads and moms helps and encourages me in this crazy adventure of parenthood. Much like a 3D movie, I'm seeing how real community makes life feel more full and vibrant.
Taking care of a baby all day can be extremely stressful and isolating, and I've learned that the worst thing a stay-at-home parent can do is to just stay at home. It's easy for discouragement and depression to settle in when you're alone, and without some healthy adult interaction you begin to go a little nuts.
A parenting group can offer a lot of practical insights on baby issues as well as provide healthy social interaction for our kids, but perhaps the best part of our 3D group is just how much we laugh. And we laugh a lot.
There's no real agenda for our meetings other than, as we eat lunch and watch our kids play together, we just talk about what's going on in our lives. And as we share the joys and struggles of parenting and of married life and even the deeper junk of our hearts, it brings a refreshing sense of perspective that we are not alone in all this. Things aren't as bad as they seem and friends help you not take yourself so seriously. I really need this.
The picture at the top of this article was taken at the Academy of Science earlier this year and shows Nathan, Quincy, Vince, myself, and Jonas, along with some of our kids. But if you look closely, there's a sign in the background that reads, "Science in Action" and just below this are the words "Cinco Hermanos" or Five Brothers. I didn't even notice this detail until I downloaded the picture on my computer. I found this "coincidence" to be really cool as it affirms exactly the way I feel about these fellow Diaper Dudes and Dudettes—they are my brothers and my sisters.