Monday, June 19, 2006

Buried

(Welcome new readers. If you're interested in connecting with other dads in your area, please check out -- or ask me to update -- the Group and Playgroup Map.)

Every year, I make a good-faith effort to track all the stories written about at-home dads. It is a long process, and this year should be no different. Give me a week or so to work through the backlog, and if you find that I didn't mention a story I should have, let me know. Right now, I'm up to 19 stories, and I'm sure I'm missing some.

Of course, I'm still digging out from dad items from *last* week, including:

As it turns out, if you ignore Leslie Morgan Steiner, she does *not* go away, and I am (unfortunately) not wise enough to avert my eyes when I see a train wreck coming. So when I realized that she was handing over her blog to her husband for a day in honor of Father's Day, I knew I'd have to read it. He mounts a defense of himself as a father that's rather tepid (especially in light of the flogging he often receives on the blog). As I see it, his argument has five main points:

1) He was tricked into cleaning the cat litter but continue to do it anyway (this appears to be done under protest). He also fixes stuff and takes out the trash.
2) He's doing a way better job than his dad, yet receives no credit.
3) He brings home the bacon (or, as he puts its, "shoulders the burden of being the primary breadwinner".)
4) He was shocked -- shocked -- when he read his wife's book and realized that motherhood was occasionally a guilt- and anxiety-raising experience.
5) He's clueless. (I'm serious. This is the linchpin of his defense. Here's the last paragraph of the piece: "We're men. We do our best. We're not selfish. Just clueless.")

Maybe I'll use that for my next set of RebelDad t-shirts: "Dad: Not Selfish. Just Clueless."

Look, I appreciate that he's being honest and engaging in the discussion, but the reality is that the role of "father" has shifted seismically over the course of a generation. Those changes do indeed make life more complicated for dads today. But why should a father's world be any simpler than a mother's world?

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