Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Suddenly, there's a fair bit to talk about, but I'm making a quick trip to the beach tomorrow, so this may be the last post for a couple of days.

For starters, HBO is apparently working on a followup to "Sex in the City" that will include a gay at-home dad. My money says that this character, when he appears, will be the best representation of at-home fatherhood -- regardless of sexual orientation -- ever on TV. Why? Because in creating a gay dad, the writers will have to jettison the trappings of the post-Al Bundy American dad stereotype. And without that sheen of doofusness that has pervaded to some small amount every screen SAHD since Michael Keaton, we might really get some reality. Imagine!

It's also worth noting that Mike from Full Time Father has officially pulled the plug. He's stopped blogging and taken down the archives. I suppose he's going out on top: he got some great national print and television coverage this summer, even if some of it was just stirring things. He'll be missed.

Finally, Daddy Types comes up with the link of the week: this first-person story of a father pressed into parenthood. I support the overall message of the piece ("give the whole at-home parenting thing a whirl. For a week or so, anyway"), but it's a generally a model of the old-school dad-knows-jack view of fatherhood, and I hope guys like this seem hopelessly dated in about three years. A sample of the Earth-shattering revelations:
A week is a very long time in toddlerdom and I made the stunning discovery that it is, er, rather hard work.
Or ...
... for all the graft, itÂ?s wonderful to spend extended time with your child.
I'll call it a good-news story. At least one more man gets it.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Nothing is moving in the dad-news world today (that I can see), but we seem to be in an especially fruitful SAHD blog creation time:

No Ma'am, this IS my job is the offering from Jeff in Delaware and is notable for the thoughtful posts ... and the fact that he already has a Cafepress store set up. ...

The Jasper Chronicles promises a "cynical perspective" on fatherhood, but he's mostly just funny, with a cute newborn to boot.

Finally, Bossed by Baby has a short track record, but I'm touched now by anyone writing about their baby ... we went back and watched baby videos yesterday morning. Dull as can be -- just our cherub-faced kid on her back, laughing -- but you couldn't have torn us away.


Friday, August 26, 2005

A couple quick items today ... the pile of stuff to address is shrinking, so let me know if I'm missing anything significant. A couple of weeks ago, Greg at DaddyTypes flagged this Salon article, which is kind of bashing attachment parenting. But what it is really doing is bashing a certain kind of "tsk tsk" parenting attitude in which anyone not doing what you're doing is screwing up their kid. A couple of days later, Greg put up a request for comments from attachment parenting dads. This all got me thinking, not so much about attachment parenting, but about the one-upsmanship of parenting. Are dads less likely to engage in that sort of tsk tsk judgment?

Also: another Texas at-home dad story. Bonus points, as always, for quote Kyle Pruett, who is rumor to be back at the convention this year. (More on the convention -- scheduled for Nov. 19 -- next month.)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Outreach day today: some new links and a plea for help. On the links front, the ranks of the at-home dad bloggers continues to swell. Today, I'll add RotaryDad to the right rail. It's a nice site by a SAHD who is doubling as a Rotarian. And back on the radar is CK, who just launched (Only) Man of the House. It's CK's second go at the blogging thing -- he had a wonderful touch with his own TowelBear -- and I wish him the best of luck.

Again, if I've missed your site, let me know. And if I have mentioned your site, but failed to put it on the right rail, let me know that, too.

Finally, I received an e-mail last week for a guy looking for other SAHDs in the Pensacola, Florida area. If you know one (or are one), let me know or reveal yourself in the comments.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I've been lucky enough to hear from Hogan Hilling a couple of times this week, each time sharing something worth thinking about. Since it's early in the morning, you may want to skip the cup of coffee and just read about a new BBC show on training your husband like a dog. After a moment on slack-jawed amazement, I laughed and figured this must be a hoax story. But no. It sounds like a blatantly dumb, offensive and degrading exercise in destroying good marital communication. Again, thank goodness Meet Mister Mom is tanking. I'd hate to have the American networks in a tizzy looking for more dumb-guy reality programming.

Also: ended up in a doctor's office a couple of days ago, and I picked up a brochure on the educational offerings at my local hospital, the fourth busiest birth center in the country. They had childbirth/parenting classes out the wazoo: LaMaze and breastfeeding (natch), exercise classes for new moms, classes for new siblings, classes for grandparents. But no classes for dads. What gives? Hogan is trying to change that reality in California, and I wish him the best of luck.

I know I've argued recently that there really isn't much parenting education that is really necessary, and that dads have no trouble figuring it all out. But the hospital classes are important for a different reason. They get dads involved early, they send the unquestionable message that men are important in the life of a child and that they can feel comfortable playing a major role. If you can't catch guys early, it's much harder to change behavior (hence my firm belief in paternity leave). It might be time to check with my hospital and ask why they're ignoring half of new parents. I'll keep you in the loop.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Getting through the backlog of at-home stories in local papers will take a day or two, so bear with me. I'm not certain what to make of this mini-deluge, but I suppose it can't possibly be anything but a good thing.

Maybe it's the "Meet Mister Mom" effect. This Dallas Morning News story makes a sneering MMM reference at the top of the story, then delves into one of the more complete -- if unfocused -- looks at at-home fatherhood I've seen in a while. The author, David Tarrant, should get extra points for the sarcasm. The story is not without its kinks, and there's a bizarre bit near the end about a new breed of intentionally partner-less mothers that I really couldn't figure out. (I mean, I could understand what the author was saying. I just didn't know why it was coming up in an at-home dad story.)

(Oh -- and on the topic of Meet Mister Mom, it is consistently finishing fourth in its time slot. Thank you, America.)

Let me hit some other mentions: there is a great dad in Coon Rapids, MN named Brian Machart, who spends a lot of time involved in the local early child education program there.

Also: the group in York County, SC got some more press, this time from the Rock Hill (SC) Herald. This is the second major media placement for these guys this month. Someone give their PR director a raise!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Let me get back to the magazine world for a moment (next week we'll get the growing pile of newspaper stories). Just finished my Men's Health and found a list they compiled on "24 Ways to Win Respect." Among the tips on doing the right thing in love, life and golf, they slip this in:
Change the blown-out diaper of a virus-laden infant without making your own stink about it.
Now it seems to me that if a similar sentiment had been expressed on the Parents "Dads" page, I'd be all bent out of shape. But something about the way it appeared in Men's Health gave me the feeling that this was non-judgmental guy-to-guy communications, not a mom using a magazine page to tsk tsk husbands. One final note: if Parents really want to make a useful "Dads" page, they could do worse than to study Men's Health's occasional "Family Guy" page.

This is wild stuff: Fast Company reports the results of a Ajilon survey that found, among other things, that 77 percent of women and 68 percent of men believe parenting improves leadership skills. So why is the working world so tilted against parents? At least most of the population gets it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A legend steps down. The news came today that theBeing Daddy blog is being (more or less) abandoned. It'll mark the end of one of the truly extraordinary blogs. When I launched this site almost three years ago, there was no stay-at-home father blogosphere. There was only Being Daddy. What made Being Daddy significant was not that it was the first of the daddy blogs, but that it was the best of the daddy blogs. Brian was heartfelt when writing about his family, spot-on when writing about fatherhood in general and hilarious when writing his satire posts. He'll be missed.

I should say that I understand Brian's motivation. I have avoided personal posting here for the same reason Being Daddy will no longer chronicle life around the house. And I have to admit that my passion for blogging the same old daddy issues wanes as I settle into the gig. (But never fear: I'll continue to repeat the same old rants, with as much zip as I can muster.)

If you entered the whole blog-surfing world too recently to have been a regular Being Daddy reader, you'd be well-advised to go and play in the archives over there for a couple of hours. And if you're interested in beginning daddy blogging yourself, you might want to take notes. It's great stuff.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Bam. All of a sudden, there are all sorts of things I'd like to post about, and I feel like I have about zero time to type, let alone think. But I won't let the lack of thought deter me.

One of the items worth getting out there is a piece in next month's Parents titled "We Finally Found Great Child Care." The lead anecdote is slugged "We have daddy day care," and it is a nice bit about one family that made the stay-at-home dad thing work. Dad is an actor and model, which is kind of an interesting gig to do part-time, but the story meets my qualifications for thumbs-up: it presents at-home fatherhood as a reasonable solution to a common problem. No grandstanding, no gasps of shock. Just another option. Which is as it should be.

(While we're talking about Parents, can we do something about the "Dads" page? Don't get me wrong: I love that they devote a page of their editorial real-estate to dads. No one else does it. If they took it away, I'd scream and carry on and cancel my subscription. But still ... it appears every month to be nearly content-free, and the tone and item selection utterly fails to capture my interest. Is it just me?)

Coming Soon: more SAHD bloggers on the scene, following Daddy Types foray into attachment parenting and a couple new news stories.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Just the basics today: Looking for a run-of-the-mill profile? The Easton (MA) Journal has one.

Also: I'm expanding the blogroll with two new at-home dad blogs. There's the photo-heavy Polanski behind the camera, from a guy who will be joining the SAHD ranks next month. And there is the delightfully named Silly Dad, which is off to a pretty good start. As always, please let me know if you are a stay-at-home dad who is not listed. I like to think that even if the actual blog content is ignored, compiling the most complete list of online at-home dads is a worthwhile endeavor.

Friday, August 12, 2005

A couple of random things today. For starters, I'm about to do away with the Work-Life links, for the simple reason that they don't work on Internet Explorer. You should be using Firefox anyway, but I'll take 'em down anyway.

Also: Dads and Daughters is now also looking for FMLA stories (pro and con). If you can, send 'em an e-mail at

Finally, I was sent a link to a slick-looking site called The Funky Stork, all about expectant fatherhood. It's all good information and well worth the look (particularly if you are, you know, an expectant father).

But in aggregate, I didn't think it was worthy of bookmarking. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there tends to be a fundamental disconnect with fathering how-to literature. I'm not a particularly enthusiastic reader of the genre, though I do have quite a collection. I think that's because, at the end of the day, most of the elements of parenting are obvious. You don't need a reference manual for your child, nor do you -- particularly -- need a parenting magazine. This goes for moms and dads. If every copy of the "What to Expect" series were to disappear, we'd probably be a happier, better-adjusted nation.

Dads don't usually need instruction, they generally need time with the family. They need to know it's a role that they are allowed to play, that it is something acceptable and fulfilling and important to their child's development. This is why I am significantly more optimistic about paternity leave making men more active dads than prenatal fathering classes at the hospital: it's not about how to do the dad thing, it's about actually doing it.

Still, I wish the Funky Stork people the best of luck. The mere existence of sites like theirs sends a message that dads are part of the process, and that may be the most important message the site can send.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Sex Talk and sex talk: as it turns out, this was not a week for getting a Rebel Dad Radio out the door ... but I did manage to pump out an episode of my gender-issue 'cast, Sex Talk. I promise to get back to the Rebel Dad Radio at some point soon, even if that means another rambling car-cast.

Speaking of sex talks, I am off of the agenda for the At-Home Dad Convention. Sounds like everything is so packed now that there is no official time to swap wisdom out at Oakton. But I suspect the conversation will come up at the Pizzeria Ora Lounge on Saturday night. I'll be the one at the end of the bar, wearing the Rebel Dad hat. Dayv will be there, too, I bet. Wearing reindeer horns.

Finally, I've added a dynamic list of news stories on work-life issues at right. As you've noticed, I have a real interest in that topic, even though it doesn't always fit in with the focus here. So I'll begin throwing up links to news stories there, sans comment, for those who would like to keep up on what I'm reading. (Geekery note: I'm using Feed Digest to pull in a feed.)

Monday, August 08, 2005

OK ... site tweaking should be done. If you expected to see your link here, and don't see it, let me know.

One of the links I'll be throwing up later today is for the York County, SC dad's group, which was featured Friday in the Charlotte Observer. If you're interested in starting your own local dad's group. The story is worth the read, particularly if you're interested in starting your own group -- a couple of fliers, a little media attention, and bam! you're in business.

York County may now be the closest at-home dad group to Charlotte, though I did receive a set of e-mails last week about a parent's group there, which resides at It's a splinter group from another online parenting group that apparently wanted to stay moms only, so the new group formed in the interest of including everyone: dads, grandparents, foster parents. Sounds like a wonderful endeavor, and though it won't make the dad-group-list at right, I wanted to flag it.

Don't look now, but a Rebel Dad Radio may be in the offing.


Friday, August 05, 2005

Even Mike at Full Time Father is getting weary of the debate he started on housework, but I still think it's great that the issue has been raised. I have to admit to be conflicted on this one: I've used a cleaning service in the past (which did great things for my marriage), but I still have concerns about the cost, especially for a one-income family. It doesn't take many cleaning service visits to pay for an iPod ... or a family vacation.

For a more comprehensive set of critiques, surf through yesterday's comments or read through the comments at Half Changed World's post on the topic.

That said, I'll give Mike the last word (from his final post on this):
Fact One: Housework is a huge bone of contention among many, many moms, dads, mothers and fathers, based on what I hear at playgrounds, in the media, and read in blogs. Aside from a few housework fetishists who have emerged in the last 72 hours, for most it is a clear negative.

Fact Two: More than 90% of fathers with young children are in the workforce, as are more than 60% of mothers of young children. (I am citing these stats from memory--I could be off a bit.)

Now, I happen to believe that society would be better off if parents--some combination of dads and moms--spent more time with their kids. That is one reason I believe children would benefit if our society decoupled housework from child-rearing.

It is my contention that more dads, and more moms, would be willing to be at home parents if it did not mean they were expected to be housemaids as well.

So for me, spreading the message that you can be an at home parent without cleaning toilets is a way to advance my public policy goal, which is to get parents to spend more time with their kids.
Oh, and by the way: men's rights kingpin Glenn Sacks is on the case of NBC's Meet Mister Mom. Glenn, you may recall, was the guy who helped get Verizon to yank a dumb-dad commercial last year. I can't endorse (or relate to) much of what Glenn does, but it'll be interesting to see if anything comes of his anti-NBC crusade.

Also: I'm sure I promised some people links to their sites or posts about their groups this week. Those will be coming after the weekend. Promise.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

I'm loving the discussions spawned by Full Time Father's anti-housework stance. (Read yesterday's post if this is new to you.) Mike gets his good-natured licks in at me last night, noting that if I would just give up my MP3 player and beer, I'd be on my way to a staff of my own. Mike's underlying point -- that housework isn't integral to childrearing -- is spot on, as is his point that housework need not fall only on the shoulders of the at-home parent. But I think my unease has less to do with the division of labor problem (thing are pretty even 'round here) and more with the finances. We've run the numbers, tracked our budget, and just don't see how eating out and cleaning services make for a good investment. I'd rather put in the 19 minutes a day of cleaning and spend the cash on the 529 plan. Or beer. But Mike's response is well worth a read:
The question remains: one parent sits at a desk making money for the family all day, the other is at playgrounds, ball fields and the library raising the couple's children. It's 7 pm, and now they are both home and both dog-tired. For what reason does society demand that the one who is raising the children must clean that toilet?

Or to put it differently: we don't expect an executive to stop work in the middle of the day to go clean his or her toilet. Why stop child-rearing in the middle of the day to play Tidy-Bowl Person?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Boy, I can't think of a 24 hour period in which at-home dads have received so much attention on America's broadcast networks. First, there was "Meet Mister Mom" last night, which I decided to take a pass on. I know there are some things that you really must see for yourself, but I decided that even the interest of daddy research wasn't enough to get me to sacrifice an hour of my time for what looked to be dreadful. Since I did not actually watch it, I will humbly decline from talking about the show. Instead, I'll link to the Zero Boss's (Jay Allen's) posting at Blogging Baby, which reads, in part:
While there'?s much work still to be done on the average American male, much has changed since the time of Ward Cleaver. Dads are more involved in the lives of their children than ever. But you wouldn'?t know it by watching this tripe, where the guys are made to seem more motivated by a paltry $25,000 scholarship than any fatherly feelings for their offspring. I feel like I need a hot shower - followed by a Cosby Show marathon.
Read the whole thing, particularly the part where Jay explains how real dads would handle the silly challenges thrown into the mix.

If, rather than watching NBC last night, you watched CBS this morning, you may have caught Full-Time Father, Mike Paranzino, on The Early Show. Mike is now something of an advocate for task-less parenting: he believe his job is to take care of the kids, not to cook or clean. It came up kind of incidently in the USA Today profile of Mike, and now his whole no-housework thing has gone broadcast, too.

Here are my caveats: I've met Mike, played with his son. He's a nice guy, and, from what I can tell, an excellent father. He gets all kinds of points from me for refusing to play the suburban at-home parent Martha-Stewart-clone contests. He also knew he'd be stirring up trouble.

But let me be real: Mike's choice isn't available to 99 percent of us, no matter how well we plan, and it's kind of weird to see a really wonderful at-home dad profile devolve into a story about paying your way out of stuff you don't like to do. "He's a trail blazer; but he's a trail blazer with a staff," said his neighbor, and that's just about right. The whole "staff" thing gets in the way of the "parenting" thing. And while I could stand a little less laundry and a break from the mop, avoiding household tasks is not my goal in life.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I have been worried that in order to accurately continue blogging about the new NBC reality show "Meet Mister Mom," I would actually have to, y'know, watch it. But the first round of reviews for the show, which begins tonight, suggests that this is not some sort of hidden gem that I should feel duty-bound to treat fairly.

A column in the Louisville Courier-Journal probably gets to the point fastest. The headline: Stereotypical 'Mister Mom' Suffers from Stupidity. The rest of it is hysterial. Worth the read.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that NBC "seems to take its cue from 1958" and notes that even the reality has been squeezed out of the program, making it into something of a domestic game show. And USA Today asks "Wasn't this plot already old when I Love Lucy used it?"

The Toledo Blade takes a page from the blogosphere and notes that "the whole premise behind this show is dated. The producers must think that raising children is a terrible and fearsome task." (The Blade says that the dads do a pretty good job, too.)

The real news is that the show's scheduled debut has made hardly a splash in the media. I think it's safe to call Meet Mister Mom a bust, which fills me with a great deal of relief.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The first word on "Meet Mister Mom" is out, and from a very reliable source. Peter Baylies of At-Home Dad got to watch an advanced screening, and he tells me not to worry: "this thing will be off the air after the first 6 week run."

There is a thoughtful piece on involved fatherhood, at-home dads and society in the latest edition of Dallas Child magazine. (Thanks, Hogan.) It ties a lot together, and it comes to the encouraging conclusion that involved fathering is indeed seeing a terrific rise, no matter how you measure it, pushed by all kinds of factors, including the growth and increased visibility of at-home dads.

General Geekery: I intend to begin running a list of interesting work-life links down the right rail. There's more work-life stuff out there than I can digest and comment upon, so it'll give you regular surfers more to check out. One piece that will probably get listed is this press release on care networks. Food for thought ...