Monday, January 31, 2005

Referral Madness. Thanks to the reflected glory of people brighter and more widely read than I, has had quite an impressive few days. I'd like to start by thanking former MTV poster boy and current podcasting godfather Adam Curry for his plug of Rebel Dad Radio in today's Daily Source Code podcast. You're an at-home dad in my book, Mr. Curry. And you're sure as hell a rebeldad.

Thanks also to Ben over at Trixie Update, who had all kinds of national media fawning (appropriately) over the site. First, MSNBC featured the site, and then he was mentioned -- along with just about every other kidblogger of note -- in a New York Times story that has since been discussed by pretty much everyone else in the blogosphere. At any rate, the number of Trixie visitors that have found there way over here is not insignificant, and I thank you all for clicking through.

Finally, thank you Alessandro for helping me understand why, suddenly, zillions of Italians were suddenly visiting. Apparently, Corriere della Sera mentions the site. So ... any reader who can get me an original copy of that Corriere della Sera piece will receive a shirt or hat. Drop me a line at for more information about how to get it to me.

I have accumulated a huge pile of stuff to blog on this week, and stay tuned for Rebel Dad Radio next weekend.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Rebel Dad Radio 1.30.05

It's official. The first podcast is live. If you're not familiar with the technology, here's what you do: 1) Get some podcasting software. iPodder (Mac, Linux and Windows) and Doppler (Windows) are free, iPodderX (Mac) will set you back 20 bucks. 2) All this software is pretty simple. Tell it where to look (in this case and where you want the files saves (iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc.) and voila! The software will automatically deliver the show whenever a new one hits the air (so to speak).

I'll only make one apology: Sorry about the "popping." I'm working on the mic setup, and I'm optimistic I can find an solution by next week.

As always, I'll welcome comments on the show at or phone comments to 206.338.DADS (3237). Or Skype me at rebeldad. All audio comments are fair game for a later show.

Here are the quick show notes/links:
* "D-d-d-dads at home" intro
* Welcome
* Dan Klass thank-you
(See the Christian Science Monitor story)
* Discussion of Wired News piece on what's Wired/Tired/Expired
* Discussion of family guy-oriented marketing
* Interview with Peter Baylies, author of The Stay-at-Home Handbook
* Discussion of Ludacris news

Back to more blogging tomorrow!

Rebel Dad Radio 1.30.05 | 16:52 | 7.72 MB

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Headphones at the ready yet? The promo for Rebel Dad Radio is live, so fire up your iPodder. Show One -- barring acts of God or the usual technical mishaps -- is due on Sunday.
I'd be much obliged if someone would explain why hits to from Italy have exploded in the last eight hours.
Warning: special geek edition. Plans to launch a Rebel Dad podcast continue apace, and I wanted to let you know about a couple of tech-y bits. For starters, I've moved the RSS feed to here:

I'm still publishing the old Atom feed, but the new feed will be in podcast-enabled form that can be read by your favorite podcast software (like iPodder or Doppler. In short, you can dump the new feed in and have Rebel Dad Radio instantly download on Sunday.

If you're still reading Rebel Dad via your web browser, you may safely ignore everything I just said.

But while we're talking tech, an alert reader pointed me in the direction of Wired, which runs a monthly feature listing things that are Wired/Tired/Expired. Check out last month's list. At the bottom, at-home dads are listed as "Wired." (And workaholics as "expired.") We're hip! Wired says so.

And if you don't believe Wired and take your cues from rap culture, please note that Ludacris is taking some time to be an at-home dad. He's welcome at my playgroup anytime.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Thank goodness for good and loyal readers. I was worried I would have nothing to talk about this week -- the media seem to have gone silent on the subject of fathers -- but I've been rescued by e-mail. The most interesting came from Mark from Long Island, who pointed me to a parent-child music class aimed at fathers. It's called "Daddy and Me" -- obviously singling out dads.

This is one of those small signs of big change. A single music class in the wilds of Long Island probably isn't enough to attract CNN camera crews, but it is a marker of how much more involved fathers are and how much more society is aware of involved fathers. Such a class would have been unthinkable when I was growing up, and I'd be willing to bet that a "Daddy and Me" music session would have tanked even 10 or 15 years ago. Heck, I honestly believe that dads have become a significantly larger presence at my preschool over the last 18 months. Again, I really wonder if involved fatherhood broadly (and at-home dads specifically) are approaching a tipping point.

Certainly, the at-home dads in Green Bay are trying to get to that tipping point. I've added a link to their Yahoo! group in the list to your left.

Finally, a podcasting update: the first RebelDad Radio Show is still a go for this weekend, and I can announce that my first guest interview will be with AtHomeDad himself, Peter Baylies, who wrote The At-Home Dad Handbook.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

There's not a whole lot floating out there on at-home dads this week, so if you see something worth my attention, by all means, let me know.

One quick public service announcement: if you'd like to get a makeover by the folks from Maury Povich's show, they're looking for a stay-at-home dad for a taping next week. Shaggy gentlemen preferred. Contact me for more info. Seriously.

Finally, some good news from across the pond. Scottish SAHDs have doubled in the last five years, according to the Herald. The piece suggests that the rise in men at home has much to do with the banishment of the stereotype of the macho male worker (which they imply is happening in lockstep with the rise of the working woman.

But the thing about the piece I love best is that the UK's HomeDad group has is now functioning not only as an information resource for at-home dads, but also as an advocacy group, spreading the good word. They have a "spokesman," for goodness sakes. They're pros!

Friday, January 21, 2005

The revolution will be podcast. Heck, the revolution is being podcast. (Podcasting is the new blogging. It's a way of easily downloading web audio files onto iPods and other mp3 players.) Among the vanguard of this whole podcasting thing is a guy in L.A. named Dan Klass who has a most wonderful show called The Bitterest Pill.

Almost anything is game during Dan's podcasts -- spilled cooking oil, family trips, run-ins with celebrities -- but during his last couple (#17 and #18), he's begun talking more about the unique features of being an at-home dad. I don't single Dan out now just because he said nice things about me, but because it's wonderful to hear such insight into at-home fatherhood. If there has ever been a better defense of diaper changing, I've yet to hear it.

On the same subject: I'm going to try my hand at the podcasting thing, with a beta attempt at Rebel Dad Radio scheduled to go up Sunday, January 30. I'm not capable of being as funny as Dan, but you can look for an overview of the week's dad news and an interview with a luminary TBD.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

So I'm late to the party. What else is new? I want to comment on New York Times columnist David Brooks' strange, heart-is-in-the-right-place piece from Saturday. In a nutshell, Brooks noticed that women are getting screwed because they leave the workplace right in the middle of their earning years. Wouldn't it be better, he mused, if women could get the marriage and kid-raising thing over with by, say, age 35 and then work uninterrupted until 70?

I was alerted to the bit by Elizabeth over at Half Changed World, who put together a nice piece poking holes in some of Brooks' logic. I'm with Elizabeth: I think that Brooks understands the challenge (he even proposes tax credits or tuition credits for at-home parenthood), but his prescription is a bit wacky. I won't go into all the ways that better "sequencing" is a squirrelly way to achieve workpalce equality; Elizabeth hit the big ones.

No, the bit of this that drained my good humor was the utter lack of any suggestion, any hint that fathers should consider living their lives differently to help ameliorate this unfairness. Look, I don't expect that at-home fatherhood will ever become as common as at-home motherhood (if it does, though, you can be damn sure there will be tax credits), but work opportunities for women expand when care is shared more equally. Brooks:
It's possible that women should sequence their lives differently from men, and that women may need a broader diversity of sequence options.
This is the bit that really gets me. I would never agree that more work/family options are worse, but this ought not be a battle that concerns women only. Men need a broader diversity, too, just in the other way. By fixing this as a "woman's problem" and then suggesting that the solution is more young brides, Brooks misses a great opportunity.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I considered writing a "Top 5 Stories of 2004" post earlier this month as a way to fill the news void around New Year's, but I never managed to summon the mental energy. If I had, however, there is no doubt that I would have given a prominent place to the American Academy of Pediatrics effort to get fathers involved in the healthcare of their children.

The report came out in May, but it's getting a second look after the Associated Press ran this story this week that was picked up everywhere. It's really no different than the 9-month-old Pittsburgh Post-Gazette piece that first alerted me to the report, but the fact that every paper in the land is now covering the report is great news. Involved fatherhood needs every supporter it can, and pediatricians are a great ally.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Every once in a while, there comes a story that so perfectly tells the story of modern fatherhood that I am left (almost) commentless. This piece on Gen X dads from Sunday's Boston Globe is one such story. The thesis is simple: men today are increasingly putting family first, and the author, Patricia Wen, finds a wonderful group of men to illustrate that point.

(An aside: Wen may be my favorite reporter on social issues right now. She also penned the modern marriage story I wrote about last month.)

The most powerful thing about the story was the "to be sure" section, the portion of any piece of journalism given over to the opposing viewpoint. I read though several hundreds words of experts claiming that men can't possibly tilt from selfish workaholics to family men in the span of two or three decades and found myself underwhelmed. It sounded like an out-of-touch argument, and, intentionally or not, reinforced the reality of the trend.

(Credit where credit is due: link via Daddy Types.)

Sunday, January 16, 2005

All's well that ends well: the very strange and very silly New York Times "Desperate Househusbands" story I tackled last month has come to a rather pleasant conclusion. Though the paper failed to run Barry Reszel's thoughtful letter, it did run four others from local dads (read 'em here).

In none of those four pieces did any writers agree with the dads-are-miserable take presented in the original piece. All four presented different perspectives that could have (and should have) been included in the article. Among the thoughtful points:
Another improvement would be for more employers to value the parental responsibilities of their employees by supporting programs like paid parental leave and allowing flex-time and part-time work arrangements.(Joshua Burstein) ...

As a former stay-at-home dad myself, I can say the best relationships they can have are with the children they are looking after. (Frank Deale) ...

Naturally, we men need to negotiate awkward male-female dynamics when we're the only guy in a roomful of women. But as a man who has served my share of pizza at lunchtime, schmoozed with moms at the bus stop and read stories to a classroom of kids sitting at my feet during Children's Literature Week, I can tell you that the rewards far outweigh having to bear all the jokes about emasculation. (Roger Mummert)
So the final word on whether SAHDs are living lives of quiet desperation goes to the guys actually doing the gig, not to a couple of malcontents. And the verdict: this ain't a bad life at all.

(And while we're on the subject of Robert Mummert, check out this five-year old Fast Company story -- featuring Mummert -- on "designed marriages." It's a heck of a thoughtful look at the flexibility of modern marriages.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

It's not just me: the fine folks over at Fox News say that dads are getting to pitch more products nowadays (I was musing on the subject earlier this week). I'd love to say that the story lived up to its headline -- "Dad's in Charge in New TV Ads" -- but it focused more on the flops than daddy empowerment. It does highlight the worst ads of the past few years: the Verizon one, the JCPenney's one, the FluMist one, and in some cases gets the person responsible to comment (but not apologize).

The ugly truth of the article -- laid bare earlier today by Daddy Types -- is that these ads aren't aimed at us anyways. No one cares if we're offended by the stupid Penney's spot: it's aimed at the ladies anyway. I'd offer more commentary, but your time would be better spent reading the Daddy Types take:
Ads with bumbling dads in them have gotten under the toupees of more than a few at-home dads out there, but according to Fox News, gee, you're being kinda sensitive about it, dude, and besides, those ads aren't meant for you, anyway.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Parents Magazine has discovered blogging daddies, which is apparently driving traffic off the charts at sites of the four fathers featured. The "Dads" section of the magazine also includes the helpful suggestion to avoid taking small children to restaurants with a prix fixe menu, but the blog suggestions are inspired. Regular reader should already know Trixie Update and Best of Blogs frontrunner Laid-Off Dad from the blogroll at right. Parents also features A Single Dad Life (which has been showing signs of blog abandonment with only a couple of posts in the last few months) and, chronicling the lifes of a set of gay fathers. Heck of a broad cross-sampling, and the mag is to commended.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Today's edition will be multimedia: books, TV, magazines, newspapers, all aggregated right here. For starters, I absolutely loved this Indianapolis Star story on working dads. It's a great piece on work on the increasingly work/family struggles of fathers. It's not unlike (and indeed cites as a major source), the Best Life magazine piece I wrote about last month. The more I think about this topic, the more I'm convinced the Best Life and Indy Star articles will mark the beginning of this as a hot media topic. Mark my words: work/life balance for men will be the next great social trend discovered by the media.

Of course, at-home fatherhood will stay on the radar, but Elizabeth over at Half Changed World put up this post last night noting all of the SAHD items she'd seen that really weren't about at-home dads. I think that's significant; stories about fathers-as-novelty-items only go so far in promoting the concept of flexible family structures. It appears that we're moving to the next stage: a serious discussion of what those flexible structures are and how families operate within them.

Finally, Real Dads magazine (which I covered in this post) is now at the printers and available at The mag is starting to get more attention; here's a story on it from last week. The story suggests that us guys may be coming into our own as marketing targets:
Increasingly, one particular situation is starting to get more attention: stay-at-home-dads. At a recent "Marketing to Moms" panel hosted by the Advertising Women of New York and Family Fun magazine, Maria Bailey, author of "Marketing to Moms: Getting Your Share of the Trillion Dollar Market," commented on the speed at which this segment was growing.
And to emphasize the point, I saw a minivan commercial (for Saturn's new offering) during the Broncos-Colts game yesterday that was a direct pitch to football-coachin' guys, using the "you need this car for all the fathering you do" approach. It struck me as novel. I've can't remember ever seeing a car marketed to men in quite this way (back-to-the-wildness-with-family SUV escapism excepted). Am I missing good examples, or is this quietly revolutionary?

Friday, January 07, 2005

Ambition. As I set out last year to transform Rebel Dad into more of a resource and less of a dumping ground for my ramblings, I realized that I wanted to get some additional voices here, something to highlight exactly what it is that we do. What I would love to start publishing here is something akin to the "Diaries" that Slate runs. I've been impressed with their format, which consists not just of daily blog-style journaling, but some commentary and a good bit of job/family/life history all tied together.

So let me throw it out to you guys: anyone want to take a stab at this? All I ask is four days, 400 to 600 words a day, with something more than just a list of activities. Those up for the challenge will be featured on the main page, and I'll archive the diaries in an as-yet-uncreated link to appear next to the "STATISTICS" link above. And I'll send you a hat or T-shirt.

Interested? Drop me a line.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Bad news from the work front: a new study has found what has long been assumed to be true -- mothers are punished in the workforce at far higher rates than men or single women. The thinking, according to the study's authors, is that moms are punished because they're thought to be less committed workers. (Fair warning: the study was run as a simulation, with college kids reviewing fake resumes. It is possible -- though the authors doubt it -- that older workers would be more equitable.)

It's a frustrating study to see because it suggests that the old stereotypes are dying hard. "Even today, lead author Kathleen Fuegen of Ohio State says, "mothers are still expected to be caregivers first and fathers are still seem as the main breadwinners." And while I'm on "frustrating," it appears that only the San Jose Mercury News even bothered to write about the research. Read that story here.

On another note entirely: The nationwide, internet-enabled at-home dad network is truly an amazing thing. Over the break, while at my in-laws, I did indeed catch up with a couple of dads in Omaha for a great playdate at the zoo. Thanks, Phil and Mike, for making me feel at home.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Belated media roundup: it's been a busy couple of weeks for at-home dad stories in small local papers. How small? At least two of the pieces have been in publications so small that the stories weren't posted to the web (Longmont, CO and Lodi, CA). So if you hail from one of those locales, dig your papers out of the recycling bin and read 'em. (Thanks to Dayv -- prominently featured and well-photographed in the Lodi story -- for sending me scans of the article.)

The other story I missed over the holiday was this bit on the Wall Street Journal's real-estate site. It's a remarkably good, business-focused piece, even thought I can't say I embrace "trailing husband" as a SAHD euphemism. Rather than trot out familiar experts, the author, Jennifer Lisle talks to a number of consultants who work with "trailers." That gives the story a different feel, and it comes across as less of the same-old, same-old.

There is also a nifty stat from one of the consultants, which speaks to either the growth of at-home dads or the willingness of men to identify themselves as such:
The ranks of trailing husbands have been growing steadily since the late 1980s, but the rise has been dramatic in the past few years, according to Laura Herring, president of the Impact Group, a global relocation consultant based in St. Louis, Mo., that specializes in counseling trailing spouses. In 1988, Ms. Herring says trailing spouses [I assume she means "husbands"] were 6% of her business and 11% in 1993. In 2004, they represented 25%. She attributes the growth to the rising ranks of women in upper-management positions and the commensurate rise in their earnings.

Also: Thanks to all that have expressed their support for my somewhat new life. A few folks have asked how this impacts my care. I've chosen this gig with an eye to that very question. RebelMom has compressed her schedule and will be home one weekday. My daughter attends preschool some mornings, and I have two longstanding babysitting swaps. My in-office hours are scheduled around those arrangements, and I'll work odd hours -- some early mornings, some late nights and some naptimes -- to get to the 40 expected of me. It isn't a pretty schedule, and I fear that my Palm Pilot will buckle under the stress, but it ought to be workable for everyone in the family. I'll report back periodically and let you all know how it goes ...

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Democracy. Ain't it great? The time has come to pull the lever in the first-ever "Best of Blog" Awards ("The Best Personal Blogs You Ought to Be Reading"). The contest has a category for "Daddy Blogs," which makes me quite pleased. (And I'm thrilled that there are such a rich group of sites nominated. When I started this site, more than two years ago, the number of blogging daddies was next to nothing). So surf over to the online ballot box, check out the ten finalists and let your voice be heard. I have a hard time saying any one dad has a better site/story than any other, but the finalists includes at least four current or former at-home dads: Ty Miller, Laid-Off Dad, Patricide, and The Blue Sloth.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Confession: I've kept personal details to a minimum on this site, as much out of concern for reader boredom as my own privacy, but I need to take a moment out today for full disclosure. Tomorrow, I will enter a shiny office tower and fill out the paperwork required for a job that I accepted last month. I'll begin work in earnest a week from today. I'll continue my work on this site -- perhaps at slightly more irregular hours.

It is not news that I'll be working; many readers understand that I have worked -- at varying intensities -- as a freelance journalist during the three years I've stayed home. At one point, I even held down what was technically a full-time job. But I have always had the freedom to work from my home and to set my own schedule. Now, I will be leaving the house on a regular basis for the first time in almost three years. I'm fortunate in many respects. I've asked for that my time in the office be compressed into 15 hours, and I plan to make up the remainder of the time from home during the pockets of availability that I've built into my life.

Despite this, I intend to keep the focus of the site on at-home fatherhood, though I reserve the right to post (as I have on the past) on work-family balance issues more broadly. At-home fatherhood is a key component to solving the child care dilemmas of the 21st century, an option that offers increasingly well-documented benefits to father, mother and child alike. The guys at the convention assured me that a paycheck would not bar me from the fraternity, and there is no group of men with whom I would rather be counted.