Thursday, January 25, 2007

Diaper Dads Have Arrived

The surest sign that a trend has passed into the mainstream is that the hipper-than-though types start coming out of the woodwork to loudly declare the trend is passe/pedestrian/unoriginal and that we should all keep our excitement about iPods/tattoos/Barack Obama/single-malt scotch to ourselves.

So it thrilled me to no end to see dads get the get-over-yourself treatment from the Globe and Mail's Leah McLaren -- who, at the tender age of 31 -- has declared the hip-dad trend (taken to its zenith now with the publication of Neal Pollock's Alternadad) has been done before and ain't all that interesting.

This is great news. Because despite McLaren's belief that every generation of new fathers is just like mine, only with better music, we really do live in a time of huge change for fathers. We're just beginning to come out of an extended period of Western history where kids didn't automatically play a huge role in the lives of their fathers (or vice versa). Books like Alternadad are overturning the idea that witnessing each and every joy of childhood (and, admittedly, talking about it a lot) is somehow not something that men do. So I'll count my blessings that my McLaren, a fellow Gen Xer, sees this as routine, even dull. Because I go to bed every night hoping to wake up in a world where fatherhood is so much a part of the fabric of society that the topic bores the heck out of hip newspaper columnists.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Quick Personal Reflection

The great thing about meeting at-home dads is that you realized how poorly they fit into a single stereotype. I've made this point many times before -- usually in reference to the At-Home Dad Convention -- but it hit home in a personal way the other day.

I ran across this reference to Ivor Hansen, which noted that he was an at-home dad these days. I went to grad school with Ivor. He had -- without a doubt -- the most interesting background of any student there. He was a former window-washer and a member of some of the most influential hardcore punk bands. The news that Ivor is now doing the writing-and-diapers thing made me smile ... there are a lot of way into fatherhood, clearly, and it's neat to see that Ivor and I may have ended up in a similar place, despite our distinct resumes. (A similar place, except that has a new book out, "Life on the Ledge: Reflections of a New York City Window Cleaner." Check it out.

(While we're doing personal reflections, sometime folks who start in similar places end up in completely different worlds. Ivor's is the second book out this month by an erstwhile classmate. Sam Sheridan -- a guy I was with on the first day of preschool and the last day of high school -- just finished A Fighter's Heart about his experiences as an Ultimate Fighter. Sam, needless to say, ain't doing the diaper thing yet.)

Friday, January 19, 2007

New Resource for Dad Group Leaders

Bruce Reynolds from the Seattle Dads group has been a busy guy lately. He has pulled together a vetted list of other dad groups and has pointed out some errors in my list and map (which I'll update next week).

But, perhaps more notably, he's revitalized a hugely useful Yahoo! group for the leaders of local at-home dad groups, dealing with such questions as how to build group and (perhaps more importantly) how to keep them going even after the founding generation of fathers moves on to other things. There are details on an umbrella group and a lot of worthwhile discussion. So if you're leading your own band of dads, it's worth checking out.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Fresh Manifestos

As promised, I've updated the Parenting Manifesto Project page with four new efforts, including some of the more insightful and well-written efforts to date. I'm taken with Alice's take on parenthood, and I'm convinced that every parent should probably be forced -- while still in the delivery room -- to memorize the entirity of Ward Willat's effort:
1. Don't make too many rules.
2. Enforce the rules you do make.
3. Don't see everything.
Keep 'em coming.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Convention, Continued

(Welcome to Gaping Void readers. There are two or three more manifestos that will be uploaded to the Parenting Manifesto Project tomorrow, and I welcome yours.)

I think we're finally out of the convention season -- the 2006 At-Home Dad Convention is now two months in the past, but the best piece on the gathering was just published. John Perry from the Telegraph (UK) showed up this year and penned a a thoughtful piece on the convention goings-on, his own experience, and some outlook on the at-home dad landscape here and in the UK.

The coverage gave a lot of color and captured the environment well. If you haven't been to one, it's hard to describe the variety of guys -- the former professionals, the Hell's Angels lookalikes (really, though, the Daves are nice guys), the vacuum-obsessed -- or the depth of everyone's experience. Nice to see Perry capture it so well.

It's probably never too early to start thinking about the 2007 conference. Check out the convention's forums, particularly the one on '07 suggestions. And I hope to see you there.

Friday, January 05, 2007


I know there's been some radio silence around here lately. Unfortunately, I was naive to think that once I got through the holidays, December would somehow be an unscheduled wonderland. And while I still have more to post than I can possible get to, right now, I can assure you that the blogging flow will pick up in the day to come.

But for the meantime, please let out some of the new additions to the Parenting Manifesto page. I added seven more this morning, bringing the grand total up to 30. The advice continues to be all over the map, and clicking around to see the wisdom of real-life parents is some of the most satisfying surfing I've done.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year

I'm far less relaxed than I should be after the layoff (probably the lack of any long winter's naps), but the posts should be resuming in the next 24 hours. I have a handful of manifestos yet to come, so if you've send yours along and haven't seen it posted, it's a problem on my end, not yours.