WeChat groups are a vital resource for Beijing’s international community, not only providing information, but bringing together people with shared interests. Each week we’ll be highlighting a thriving group chat, so whether you’re new to town or just looking to expand your networks, you can find your people.
In recent weeks we’ve featured Female Expats in Beijing, Mommylosophy, and Beijing Mothers Guild. But what about the non-mom parent types, I hear you cry? In fact there is a lively and thriving Dads Group, so we tracked down the admin, who turns out to be… me. Undaunted, I set about interviewing myself. It was a tough gig, but in the end I got to the truth, as you will see below.
Tell us about yourself, and how you came to be admin of this group.
The idea for the group came about in the beijingkids office. My colleagues were discussing what great support they got from mom groups, and how it was a shame there was nothing similar for dads. “You should start a group, Andy,” Pauline said. “Go on. Do it now. Do it this afternoon.” So the group was born on a Friday afternoon, and by Saturday morning had over a hundred members. Clearly there was a need for it.
Who’s in the group and what do you talk about?
There are now over 300 members in the group. Anyone who is a dad, or an expectant dad, or cares for a child and identifies as male, is welcome to join. It’s often rumored that there are moms lurking in disguise to find out what we talk about, but none has ever been caught… Some are dads who have now left Beijing, but still hang around for the chat (and because they have valuable experience to share.)
The discussion is varied: parenting issues, visa complications, where to buy things, grumbling about the in-laws, memes and stickers, sport, beer, and life in general. There’s an extraordinary wealth of knowledge in the group, so serious questions usually get answered quickly and accurately. On a Friday the stickers traditionally get a bit lively, but I’m pleased that we have at least one gay dad to stop it getting too “locker room”. And there’s a long-running gag which refuses to die about one dad’s ayi.
Do you meet in real life?
A sub-group meets up regularly for lunch, and there have been barbeques and boozy nights organized by Beijing dads.
If you’re a Beijing dad or dad-to-be, join Beijing Dads Group using the QR code below, or add WeChat ID: AndyKilleen.