Thursday, July 28, 2005

I'm sure you're all waiting with bated breath, but wanted to remind that "Meet Mister Mom" starts next week on NBC. I've already weighed in on why I happen to think it is off-the-charts dumb/offensive/stereotypical. I happen to believe that loud protests tend to bring viewers, not drive them away, so I won't be outside Rockefeller Plaza screaming on Tuesday, but you should know who is sponsoring this dreck. I'm making a good faith effort to avoid those products.

Also: here's quick sample of what others are saying:

Thoughts from the Oasis amidst the Corn: "We're Dads and we're perfectly capable of handling ourselves in the home. We're the rule. That Mr. Mom stereotype that's going to exploited on this brain drain of a television show is the exception to the rule. Dads have come a long way, baby."

rmenga: "'Can dad handle what Mom does?' I happen to know a few fathers. YES THEY CAN. We can thank NBC for making dads across America look stupid and worthless."

Blogging Baby: "The premise: send mom on a one-week vacation and put dad in charge of the family. The payoff? Well, we all know dads are hopeless dolts when it comes to kids, so hilarity must ensue. Any bets that theyÂ?ve selected the most self-absorbed, work-obsessed fathers this side of Frank Zappa to serve as comic fodder?"

Playground Revolution: "Fathers know how to take care of children. There's no reason why should still be debating this one. End of story. And from a feminist mother's perspective, stay at home fathers are a woman's best friend. I know lots of mothers who are still able to work fulltime, with very little ambivalence, and without the extra work of packing lunches and daycare drop offs, because their partner is at home with the kids."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 readers (and linkers) rock: Just realized I'm now the number 1 hit on Google for stay at home dads (for now). Thanks to all who have given me link love.
Grab Bag Day: First off, my reporter friend is again looking for folks to interview:
I'm looking to interview people who have worked a part-time or flexible schedule or would like to, but feel they canÂ?t for whatever reason. I'd even be interested in talking to bosses about the challenges in managing a staff that includes part-timers.
If you can help, let her know: Katherine.Lewis(at)

Also: increasingly famous podcaster/at-home dad Dan Klass has had a bit of a run-in with the New York Times. In support of Dan, I am initiating a Google bombing effort to help get out the word that Dan Klass is not an addict. (The hope is that Google will see my link to "not an addict" is coded to "" Enough folks do this, and "" will become the number one Google link for "not an addict." And then Dan will find it easier to get paid work.) If you're a blogger and would like to help, but have no idea what I'm talking about, drop me a line.

Finally, some bad news: leaving, then re-entering the workforce does a number on women's earnings, says a Bloomberg News story. Not much in the way of analysis, and no corresponding info on the effect of men who take time off, but a good reminder nonetheless of why it's worth fighting for recognition of the value of what is incorrectly called "time off."

If you happen to be a rebeldad that works outside the home, the fine folks at have published a wonderfully complete (yet concise) guide to establishing some work-family balance. The piece is worth reading for the advice, obviously, but let me also praise the underlying premise: working dads -- not just working moms -- struggle with balance. With the thousands and thousands of gallons of ink spilled each year writing about how women can make family and work fit, it's nice to see a dad-focused piece. (Thanks, Mark.)

There is nothing terribly earth-shattering in the tips ("learn to say no," "take all of your vacation,"), but in aggregate they lay out a powerful blueprint for making the most of your job's flexibility. Of course, the top tip for my money? Number 5:
Lesson 5: Take paternity leave.
While a fairly new option, a handful of progressive companies offer fathers paid time off, ranging from a few days to a few weeks, following the birth of a child. This July, California workers will become the first to take advantage of a statewide family leave act that will allow them to receive up to six weeks of partially paid leave per year to care for a new child or seriously ill family member. There are some restrictions, but the benefit will replace up to 55 percent of wages, up to a capped amount per week.
If you got it paid, use it. And if you don't got it paid, scrape up the cash and use it anyway.

Monday, July 25, 2005

It seems like ages since I posted about comic strips -- one of the windows into the soul of culture -- but Chip flagged a strip that's worth a second look. Last week (and apparently into this week), For Better or For Worse has been dealing with the case of Anthony and Therese, a career woman and work-at-home dad. Here are links to the pertinent strips:


Chip wondered if the strips were dissing the at-home father, and I feel pretty comfortable saying that they're harmless in that respect, and show a dad who seems fairly happy with the whole kid thing. Plus, it's the first at-home dad I've ever seen on the mainstream comics page. (A couple of years ago, I held out hope that Mike Patterson -- one of the actual main characters in FWOFW -- would go the at-home dad route after he lost his job, but no dice.)

It's on the flip side of the arrangement that the diss creeps in. Anthony and Therese obviously have a marriage on the rocks, and her career focus is the reason. That's fair enough, I suppose, for a strip that now goes from drama as often as laughs, but there's still something unfortunate about seeing the mom-at-work/dad-at-home dynamic held up as a marriage killer.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

What's the Matter With Kansas? The at-home dad media goes dark, and then ... a deluge ... from Kansas. Today, in the Kansas City Star, an advice columnist gives a woman advice on how to verbally diss those who talk smack about SAHDS. Yeah!

I'm a bit behind on this one, but the best paper on men and work-life issues (the Boston Globe) had a wonderful piece a month ago on men who are working to change the work-life culture at law firms, highlighting a founding partner at a Boston-based firm who walks his kid to school and makes it to most field trips. The subject of the story -- Matt Lowrie -- may not be a stay-at-home dad, but he's a rebeldad, no doubt about it. Guys like him are changing the landscape of work and family, and not a moment too soon.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Back to the at-home dad news ... I wanted to throw out this story from the AP (reg. required) that ran in Kansas City. Nothing special, but in the dog days of summer, we'll take what we can get.

Still ... there could be more to blog about in the future. Looks like a couple of regional magazines are looking at the topic, so I'll keep an eye out for those stories. And as always, lemme know if you see anything breaking.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Update: The Wired story on my trip to the iTunes twilight zone is now up.

Also: we have entered the annual at-home dad news doldrums, so posting may become less frequent. Please send along any snippets you see that bear mention.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Funny Story: About a week ago, a reader shot me a quick e-mail about my currently-on-hiatus podcast, Sex Talk, which covers gender issues a bit more broadly than does this blog. "Heya," the note went, "Just noticed that Sex Talk is at #47 on the iTunes top 100 podcasts :)"

I noted that having an near-death show up as one of the most popular podcasts was off-the-charts bizarre (also off-the-charts bizarre: the shows are all labeled "explicit"). I assumed that I was accidentally nabbing the ear of folks who thought "Sex Talk" meant the voice of Jenna Jameson, when they got the voices of Gloria Steinem and Kim Gandy instead. (Ha!)

I figured would wake up the next day to find that order had been restored to the universe and that Sex Talk would vanish into obscurity. Didn't happen. The show is now ranked 35 -- it's been as high as 32 -- and the archived episodes are getting thousands of downloads. (And as it turns out, the show's description makes pretty clear that it's a politically oriented show about gender issues.) I'm getting feedback from new listeners, nearly all of it positive. And I'm flummoxed. I originally put the show on hiatus because it was sucking up entirely too much time that would have otherwise been spent looking for paying work. But now I have all these folks asking me what comes next, and I hate to leave them hanging.

It's entirely possible that will mention this in the next couple of days. The reporter was apparently cracked up that such a "cerebral" and "square" podcast (his words) would, even accidentally, get this much attention. It amuses me, too, but at the same time it's kind of cool to know that there are plenty of iTunes listeners hungry for all the gender equity news they can get. Even if it is a bit square.

Story over. Back to the SAHD stuff soon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Rick Santorum: Stay-At-Home Dad Proponent (?!) Rick Santorum, who I believe can fairly be called one of the more extreme members of his party, is now on the record as being a big at-home dad fan. He's taken the position after first round of criticism on his new book, "It Takes a Family," which pointed out that Santorum appeared to long for the day when dad when out to work and mom stayed home and blamed modern feminism for driving women out of the kitchen. (Note to Santorum: when the Independent Women's Forum concedes that you "may be going too far," you've gone too far.)

Not so!, says Rick, who defended himself thusly to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
"A parent should stay home. I didn't say whether it should be moms or dads. I have a lot of friends where the mom works and the dad stays home. I'm very flexible on that," he said.
I especially love the "I have a lot of friends where" line. I'm pretty sure that the story's author didn't buy Santorum's line, either. The line immediately following Santorum's quote is from Rebel Dad fave Joan Williams: "Who is he kidding?"

Geek Update: For those who care about my tagging efforts, I have decided to scrap the little-used "fathers," "father" and "dads" tags in favor of the unofficial standard "dad."

Monday, July 11, 2005

There's a nice addition to the at-home dad blogosphere in Growing Things which gets off to a rocking start by taking on this Family Scholars blog posting mocking the number of at-home dads. (The Family Scholars blog is an arm of a pro-marriage think tank, FYI.) Always good to know there are SAHDs out there ready to take on this sort of thing. Thanks, Peter.

Also: Mike from Full Time Father briefly resurrected his blog after the USA Today publicity, noting this Omaha World-Herald story on an effort to give tax credits to at-home parents, who are now cut out of the child-care tax credit program designed to defray the cost of non-family care. Though the conservative members of Congress who are backing the bill probably wouldn't see it this way, the bill if passed (which I don't believe is a priority for anyone right now) would push us closer to a world in which the government would just give money to anyone with a child. Oh, and there's an effort to fix the whole Social-Security-screws-at-home-parents thing, too (though imposing a marriage requirement). That is exactly what a lot of the motherhood folks would like to see, if I remember correctly.

But the fact that this is being supported by the Family Research Council and its ilk suggests that Rebel Mom's usual critique of supports for at-home parents comes into play: incentives to at-home parents -- particularly incentives offered by folks who have not supported egalitarian policies elsewhere -- becomes an economic carrot driving women out of the workforce and toward 1950s-style gender bubbles.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Rebel Dad Radio 7.06.05

A belated, poor quality Rebel Dad Radio is now available. It's a one-note show: nothing but musing on reality television. As always, Rebel Dad Radio audio comments are welcome at 206-338-3237 (DADS). Best comments will make it on a later show.

Rebel Dad Radio 7.06.05 | 15:00 | 13 MB


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

It's been a while since I overhauled the list of at-home dad groups that appears on the right rail, an oversight I intend to fix.

Along those lines, I received a request to post the well-developed meetup page for an Orlando at-home parents group. It seems that there is a guy in that group, Eddie, who wouldn't mind getting another couple of guys involved so they can do a dad's night out.

Long Island continues to do well on the at-home dad front; there is now a Nassau County Dads group. They've off to a good start, and the founding dad was featured in his local newspaper. It's not clear whether there will be much overlap between the Nassau Group and Long Island Stay At Home Dads Group, but the more the merrier. has also been getting hits from Chelmsford Dads, a group serving the guys in the Boston suburb. This quietly thrilled me -- my family had a long and noteworthy history in Chelsmford, so I feel a little bit like an honorary member.

Finally, one of the guys at the Chicago dad's group posted this more comprehensive list of dad groups, which I'll be cleaning up and stealing from in the days and weeks ahead. Naturally, if you want me to list your group, just drop me a line.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Part of the frustrating part about digging through the Father's Day stories is that I haven't had time to tackle last week's publication in The Lancet this study on male postpartum depression (reg. required) that found that at least 4 percent of men suffer from it. The really jaw-dropping stat is that kids whose father suffered from postpartum depression are twice as likely to have behavioral problems at three to five years of age, a finding that was especially strong in boys.

This is all interesting research, but what was more significant, in my mind, was the journal's call to arms with regard to research on fathers that centers on us as caregivers. Here's the conclusion to the editorial by Tytti Solantaus and Saara Salo that accompanied the original article:
Fathers are naturally motivated to have a meaningful relationship with their infant. ...

Fathers are sometimes kept away from the nursery (and from developmental theories) by the argument that men lack '?maternal instinct', understood as an inborn quality, which supposedly makes mothers more sensitive to their babies than fathers are. Feldman showed that fathers and mothers are equally capable of engaging in second-by-second synchrony in interaction with their infant. This finding is supported by Braungart-Rieker et al. Ramchandani and colleagues' study adds to this knowledge by suggesting that infants are also sensitive to their fathers. There is no longer any excuse to exclude fathers from mainstream research into infant development and psychopathology.
(Full disclosure: Greg at Daddy Types was all over this way before I was.)