School life isn't just about the kids and their education.
There's also a social minefield for Dads to carefully navigate around the school gates and beyond.
It can be pretty daunting.
As a dad you're highly likely to be outnumbered by mums who all seem to know one another intimately. It's natural to be a bit awkward, hang back and limit interaction to a quick smile or "hello".
And then there's the class groups, normally run through email and/or WhatsApp.
Like it or not you have to get yourself on these lists, otherwise you risk missing all the reminders about school events, equipment requirements and teachers birthdays.
But what do you do when the group posts an invite to a social event?
These invitations normally begin with "Hi Ladies!", and follow with "coffee at Deb's this Friday, straight after drop off" (or something similar).
Now there's a number of ways we dads can react.
We can take the "Hi Ladies" as an indication we're not invited. We can see it as more evidence of the emasculating view society places on 'daddy day carers'. We can feel guilty we're not out there winning the bread for the family.
Or we can just get on with it and go along.
This is what I eventually decided to do and, to my surprise, I found myself being welcomed into the 'club'.
As a result I've developed a network of friends that has brought many benefits.
Holiday play dates are much easier to organise, I can get help if my son has forgotten to bring his homework back, we can share runs to various after school activities and we can support and help one another when life presents difficulty.
So I encourage dads not to hang back, but to get involved. Drink the coffee and joke about the 'Hi Ladies' invitation. And make some friends.
Biut DO NOT apply the same approach to 'Girls Nights'. Those are strictly for the mums!
Do you have experiences to share? Let us know in the comments below...