Family life

Stay-at-home dad: What the heck is circle time?

Jennifer Pinarksi sent her husband to playgroup but forgot to mention one important thing to her introvert husband — Circle Time. Here’s how it all went down.

circletime

Illustration: Jennifer Pinarski

Follow along as Jennifer Pinarski shares her experiences about giving up her big city job and lifestyle to live in rural Ontario with her husband, while staying home to raise their two young children. This week, her husband Kevin chimes in.

As a current stay-at-home dad, I’m used to reading, singing, and being silly with the kids. But when there’s an audience of other adults around — well, except for maybe my better half or really close friends and family — I tend to tone it down considering I’m somewhat of an introvert.

A few days ago, a friend invited me to go to a playgroup with her. I accepted her invitation considering my three-year-old daughter was crawling the walls that morning like a wolf spider. She needed to burn off that energy.

Read more: 5 reasons to go to playgroup >

Anyone who has been to playgroup knows the routine: the playtime, snacks, etc. I’ll admit I haven’t been to many playgroups in my lifetime, but there was an activity at this particular location that I’d never seen before at other playgroups — circle time.

I figured circle time was when all the kids got in a circle on the floor and had one adult sing songs with them and read them stories while the parents chatted or watched.

Read more: 8 ways to meet other parents >

So, you can imagine my horror when this playgroup full of moms — and they were all moms — were summoned to circle time with their kids.

As stated before, I’m an introvert and I don’t like drawing a lot of attention to myself in a public setting. So, when I realized I was the only guy in the room who was about to sing children’s songs with a bunch of moms and grandmothers — who all knew the lyrics to each song — I felt about as comfortable as I’m sure most middle-aged men would feel if put in the same position. Which is, not at all.

So, I followed the songs and the actions as best I could, with my three-year-old glancing at me several times with a look of “what the heck are you doing?” on her face. As with many uncomfortable situations, it usually gets better as it time goes along. It wasn’t all that bad, in the end — except for the dancing part. This daddy don’t dance.

Thinking about my experience with circle time later that night, I realized that I hadn’t really paid any attention to the moms singing and bouncing up and down with their kids — and they likely hadn’t checked to see what I was doing either. They probably hadn’t noticed if I was singing the song correctly or bouncing properly — they were likely unaware of my general awkwardness. We were all just focused on getting together as a group and having our kids spend time with each other. I admit I’m still not used to playgroups or the social involvement of circle time, but I think it’s one of those things where, the more you do it, the more comfortable you get.

I guess I’ll still need to learn the lyrics to those songs, though.