A RIBBLE Valley stay-at-home dad has penned a new novel about his ‘excruciatingly painful’ experiences at play groups with his daughter.

Garry Cook, 39, started researching the topic last October and took his one-year-old Betsy to play groups across East Lancashire.

Garry, of Mitton Road, Whalley, completed his third book in January and it will be released in print soon after being released on Kindle last week.

‘Stay At Home Dads Are Not Welcome Here’ documents his experiences as the only man at the playgroups and his interactions with other parents.

In the book, which is billed as a ‘biting satire’, Garry recounts his experiences with ‘mad mothers’ ‘over-enthus-iastic class leaders’ and ‘screaming children’.

He also questions the need for play groups and whether they actually harm a child’s develop-ment.

Garry, who has worked as a freelance journalist and documentary photograph-er, said: “The main focus of the book is being a male in a female-dominated envir-onment.

“I’m a fairly laidback person, comfortable in most social situations, but right from the start I found being the only dad at playgroups difficult. There were some mothers happy to chat, and I was so grateful to them, but there was never any prospect of close friendships.

“I don’t think children need to be at a play group mixing with other children when they are aged two and three. The reality is they play on their own.

“My advice for any stay-at-home dad is not be pressured in to doing what other people think is good for your child. People have suggested to me that I should start my own dads’ group, but I do not want to start a group which was oppositely exclusive to women.”