PART I – Being A New Dad – Man in the Moon
Does being a new dad feel like you’re a man in the moon, sometimes? Most of the times? Are you scared, at times? Terrified even, at times? Do you feel a bit ashamed of or shy about how you feel? You’re a Man after all. Aren’t you supposed to ‘suck it up?’ ‘Handle it?’ ‘Have it under control?’ At least outwardly … I mean, you look at your female partner and she does, or doesn’t … but that’s okay if she doesn’t because women can say how they feel. It’s okay, right? Expected even. And if she’s at her wits end she reaches out. To her mom or friends. Then, there’s the ‘mommy blogs,’ her ‘new mommy coffee group,’ and well you know the picture …
SO, now we come to the focus of this blog – YOU – the new dads of Burnaby and beyond. If you answered “Yes!” – hesitantly (in a quiet voice in your head) or with great gusto (out loud) – this blogs for you.
Man in the Moon – it may be how you feel sometimes but it’s also a program through the Burnaby Public Library.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Ryan – a new Burnaby dad who is a librarian at Cameron library and facilitates a “Man in the Moon” story time for dads there. His little boy, Walter, is just over a year old. Ryan recently returned to work after 5 months of parental leave. And, during our interview this new dad mentioned the word ‘terrified’ about four times. Terrified “… to be running the show by [himself].” I thought he was so brave to openly use that word, as I KNOW ALL parents – regardless of gender – are terrified in the beginning. Or, if they aren’t they probably should be or are in denial that they are! THE most important responsibility in this world that has zero training. I mean, I was very nervous about getting a dog for the first time. How would I know what it wants? What does it eat? What if it doesn’t eat? You get the picture. So, yes, this new Burnaby dad shared what it’s like to facilitate the Man in the Moon story time, what it’s like being a new father and his road to becoming and feeling like a “… a more complete and capable parent.”
What and When is “Man in the Moon” story time for dads?
“Man in the Moon is a library story time that’s for dads/male caregivers and their children. It’s the only library story time that’s gendered. It encourages the bond between male caregivers and their children. It aims to be an open space, so men feel more comfortable in a space that may be predominantly women. There is some time in the beginning where they can trade “war stories” (ha ha) sort of speak. It provides them an opportunity to do something different. It’s offered Saturday mornings. We say it’s for babies to 2 and a half year olds, but we’re open to older children.” The content is roughly the same as a typical library story time. There is an opening/welcoming song. The facilitator usually reads 2-3 short books and there are 20-30 quick songs and rhymes – some as few as 4-5 lines. Everything is repeated at least once. “All you need is attention and a voice. I don’t usually use props at all … [to] show that you don’t need anything special at home to interact with your child.”
Man in the Moon is offered at all BPL branches on a rotating basis. For more information about the Man in the Moon programs, please click here.
Part II – “A Burnaby Dad: On Being a New Father and 5 Months Later …” – will be posted in September. Have a wonderful summer!