As a stay-at-home dad, I've experienced the joys and challenges of raising our little ones whilst navigating the primarily maternal landscape of playdates and parenting groups. Although most parenting communities historically focus on moms, we stay-at-home dads must find a supportive network. In this article, I share my insights on staying connected with other parents and fostering a community beyond gender norms. Embrace Social Media In our digital age, social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram can be a godsend for stay-at-home dads seeking to connect with local parenting groups. By actively participating in these online spaces: \tSearch for local groups by using keywords like "Malaysian parents," "stay-at-home dads," and "parenting support" \tJoin the conversations and share your experiences as a stay-at-home dad \tOrganise or attend virtual meetups, workshops, and webinars, thus expanding your network and knowledge Social media offers many opportunities to find like-minded parents in your area; help make new friends, and foster collaboration. Attend Child-Centric Events and Activities Actively participating in events and activities catered to children will naturally allow you to interact with other parents: \tEnrol your kids in extracurricular activities, such as art classes, sports, or music lessons \tAttend storytime sessions and playgroups at local libraries or community centres \tCheck community bulletin boards or online event calendars for child-friendly gatherings By taking advantage of these growth opportunities for your children, you also create opportunities to connect with fellow parents and stay-at-home dads, potentially forming long-lasting friendships. Create Your Own Stay-at-Home Dads Group If you've had difficulty finding existing groups tailored to stay-at-home dads in Malaysia, consider pioneering your own: \tReach out to potential members through your existing network, social media, or online forums \tOrganise regular meetups, playdates, and parenting workshops \tPromote your group using creative flyers and online advertising By creating a proactive space for stay-at-home dads, you can foster a supportive community addressing unique challenges and experiences that differ from those of stay-at-home moms. Don't Hesitate to Reach Out Regardless of the setting, proactively making the first move can be pivotal in building connections: \tIntroduce yourself to other parents at the playground, school gates, or leisure centres \tEngage in small talk, sharing stories, and exchanging advice about parenting, united by common ground \tMaintain an open mind and embrace a diverse range of parenting perspectives Even in settings that might feel mother-centric, putting yourself out there and initiating conversation can lead to unexpected connections and help destigmatise stay-at-home fatherhood. Volunteer at Your Child's School or Local Community Events Actively involving yourself in your child's education by volunteering at their school can lead to valuable connections with other parents: \tOffer to help with school events such as sports days, field trips, or charity fundraisers \tAssist teachers, tutors, or coaches at after-school clubs or activities (such as PIBG committee) \tJoin the parent-teacher association (PTA) and attend its meetings \tThrough volunteering, you show your dedication to your child's education and network with fellow parents who share similar interests. Diversify Your Social Circle Establishing connections outside traditional stay-at-home parent groups can foster a broader range of perspectives: \tAttend local clubs or events catering to your hobbies (e.g., sports, photography, gardening) \tExplore expat community events where you could meet other parents from diverse backgrounds \tVisit places of worship or attend spiritual retreats, connecting with community members who share your faith \tExpanding your social circle exposes you to fresh experiences and allows you to build connections with a broader array of parents who can offer valuable insights and support. Establish Flexible Playdates and Meetups Adapting to the unique schedules of stay-at-home dads and other parents helps accommodate diverse time availabilities: \tOrganise playdates or meetups outside typical working hours, such as early mornings, weekends, or evenings \tCreate a WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger group to facilitate easy communication about upcoming gatherings \tPlan a variety of events (e.g., casual coffee catch-ups and family picnics) to cater to participants' preferences \tBy accommodating different schedules and interests, you can foster an inclusive and engaging environment where stay-at-home dads and other parents can bond effortlessly. Conclusion In conclusion, embracing the digital space, participating in child-centric activities, creating your support network, and being proactive in initiating conversations are all powerful ways for stay-at-home dads in Malaysia to connect with other parents. With persistence and open-mindedness, we can help reshape the narrative surrounding parenting roles and foster a more inclusive and supportive community for all.