Stay-at-home dad working with 'Moms on Board' to attract more fathers to Facebook group

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EL PASO, Texas - A local Facebook page is growing fast, and is already having a positive impact on the borderland.

That said, it's about to undergo a major change.

"Moms on Board" is a local Facebook group with more than five-thousand members.  Adrianne Moody is one of the co-founders of the group, and says it's a registered non-profit and political action committee of sorts, with a goal of bringing more family friendly amenities to El Paso.  It's also an online support group for those seeking and giving advice on parenting and child-rearing.

Moody credits the group with going beyond the expectation of a typical Facebook group, by taking action.  "So far, we've put more shades at parks, changed tables in men's and women's restrooms, we've worked with the City on a lot of issues.  Right now, we're working with the County on revitalizing Ascarate Park," Moody said. Just this week, the group had representatives attend a City Council meeting to advocate for the Children's Museum.

A founding member of "Moms on Board" thinks it's time to embrace more than motherhood.  That's because he's a dad!  

David Parish is a local stay-at-home dad.  He says it can be isolating.  In fact, he's been excluded - even turned away - from playgroups and social activities because he's not a woman.

"I feel it odd for a group of people who have fought for their place in society, that they should turn around and push somebody else out.  Play dates aren't about us. They're about kids," says Parish. 

The father told ABC-7 he hasn't run into other stay-at-home dads around town, despite the fact that he and his nearly 2-year old son, Tobias, keep a busy social schedule.  He notes that his days of swim and music classes, going to the park and caring for his son are a stark difference from his days in the army.  The transition wasn't easy.

"I'm not ashamed to say - that at first - I went to see a psychologist a few months into it.  It is a massive shift.  I went from doing one of the most manly jobs int he world to what would traditionally be considered a woman's role.  I had a hard time like a lot of stay-at-home parents transitioning from the work force," Parish said.

The father is reaching out to "Moms On Board" to bring more men into the fold.  In a Facebook post, Parish told the group: "I have begun to wonder if there are other men out there who are primarily with their children during the day, as well as to think about the men in all your lives (the dads) ...Families come in all shapes and forms, but to cut half of them out of the equation certainly doesn't help us reach our maximum potential."

Moody agrees it's time for dads (and grandparents) to get on board.  She encourages dads, grandparents and caregivers to reach out and post on the board and introduce themselves.  She says MOB is also trying to organize events monthly, so members can get more involved, not only socially, but in their community.

"I would like this to be a community effort.  The more you do, the better it is!  Get involved.  If you want to know how to get involved, we'll give you a list," she says.

Now it looks like Moms On Board is going to be referred to as "the MOB" to make everyone feel welcome.

Melissa Babina