I recently got invited to attend an exciting new social club in my local city of Norwich.
‘Knackered and Norwich‘ is the name, and it’s exactly what it seems. A diverse group of fantastic people who are all equally knackered but at the same time, all equally driven to succeed and promote positive change and encouragement within the community.
Welcoming people from all different backgrounds, from parents to bloggers to business owners to anyone who supports a charitable cause. And it works, so far the first two events have been held at a quirky coffee shop called Alchemista Coffee Co which provides the perfect social environment, and of course, the most important thing for a knackered soul, COFFEE.
Here’s the interesting part though, I was the only member of the male species in the room.
How is that possible, in a world fighting for equality, that only women are meeting like this, to talk about important issues and encourage each other? Why aren’t we meeting together more, and really engaging in being equals? In the world of parenting, I’ve met my fair share of moments where I’m made to feel like the less important parent, or the one who’s out of his depth.
It shouldn’t still seem like a ‘mum and baby’ world. Understandably, the women deserve a massive amount of respect for what they go through physically and mentally when it comes to growing and birthing a human. But I really think that solid family dynamics should be encouraged, women shouldn’t have to deal with that much pressure when it comes to parenting. Especially when, in most cases, there’s a perfectly capable chap next to them to share the load. It’s not that men aren’t encouraged, they just don’t talk about it.
In fact, I’ve yet to have a face to face conversation with a fellow Dad about the world of parenthood, even close friends seem to want to talk about everything else in the world, except that. Talking with these ladies, didn’t seem like a ‘mothers meeting’, it certainly didn’t feel like I was losing my masculinity either. I felt empowered and encouraged to be a part of the important conversations we should all be having face to face.
Even though I had my anxieties about coming to this social club, not knowing anyone and fearing that I’d stick out like a sore 6ft 2in thumb, I went.
Good thing too, because straight away I was greeted with conversation and a whole room full of people who had more in common with me than people I’ve known for 10 years. We were parents, local business advocates and people from the same community. And when I got offered freshly made pastry before I even sat down, you bet I jumped right in. These were my people.
We talked about blogging, business and listened to a great talk by Alex of The Parent and Baby Show, I was surprised when they asked for my opinion at points, because it’s rare that I feel encouraged to voice that usually. What was more surprising, was that they all listened, and had a genuine interest in hearing from a male point of view.
How is it so uncommon for men to open up? It needs to happen more. The mental health statistics for men today are shocking, and opening that door is crucial for fixing that. This social club openly advertises that they are open to anyone to come, so where’s the other half of the demographic, the doors are wide open!
The power of face to face networking is incredible, something I fear is being forgotten about in the comfort of social media. It’s time to stop hiding and feeling alone, especially as a parent, I can’t thank this club enough for reminding me of that. It was great to listen to the stories and advice everyone had to offer, and I’m confident in the connections I made.
I’ll definitely be going back, and I’d encourage anyone locally, male or female to join in. Have these conversations, open up to people and network with your peers, in a world that’s totally connected by social media, there really are no excuses. Even if all you do is drink coffee in the corner and listen in, you’ll be making a difference.
Special thanks to Vicki and Sophie of Knackered And Norwich and all the other ladies for welcoming me to this event, I’m definitely looking forward to the next time. I couldn’t be more glad that I showed up.