Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cross-Promotion Alert: Commercializing Fatherhood

For today's On Balance post at, I've tried to synthesize all the stuff we've been talking about the last couple of weeks about dads being the new engines of commerce. I think I'm happy about that.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Neccessity is the Father of Invention?

In all of my consumer-oriented ranting, I have completely failed to throw a link to the New York Times story from a couple of weeks ago that was first on the scene with their dads-as-drivers-of-American-consuming story. Interesting stuff:

In the history of child care products from strollers to the odor-eliminating disposal known as the Diaper Genie, plenty have been dreamed up by men and women alike. But as more fathers have taken hands-on roles in child rearing, tackling some of the grittier and more odiferous chores of parenthood and even becoming stay-at-home dads, their inventions are increasingly inspired by personal experiences like Mr. Habeeb’s. In many cases they are designed specifically for fellow fathers.
My Dad, American Inventor - New York Times

(Still not sure that I'm down with the shocked-that-dads-participate tone of the whole thing. The "grittier" chores of parenthood? "Even" becoming stay-at-home dads?)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fathers Really Are Involved. Let the Marketing Rumpus Begin!

For all of the complaining I do when modern fatherhood is marginalized into a simple consumer trend, I have to admit that I get a thrill out of the idea that advertisers and marketers will soon begin flooding the airwaves with the not-so-subtle message that real men just want to hang with the kids (even if it is just for the status symbol element). Ad Age is spreading the good news/bad news:
In fact, they have come to see being an involved dad as the true mark of having it all -- much more than just succeeding financially.

"Dads today define success as being able to spend time with the family, and more of them say that spending time with their family is the thing they are most likely to do in their spare time," says Peter Rose, a trend interpreter at Yankelovich Partners. "That figure has gone in the last year from 52% to 62%."
Advertising Age - Lenore Skenazy - Dads Are the New Moms, so It's Time to Start Selling Them Stuff

(Via Daddy Types, whose readers wonder when mowing the lawn became a family-togetherness-killing time suck.)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Punk At-Home Dad Releases New Album Tonight

File under: the stuff that at-home dads are doing when they're not hanging with the kids:

Barbera has always had that spirit. But it's only now, at age 39, that he's really living out his punk rock dreams. It only took him several careers, a family and a near-death experience to get here, to get a band called Chest Pains together. He sang in a high school punk band called Youth Terrorists. They recorded all their practices like Guided by Voices. But, after college, he moved to Los Angeles and started writing about music and culture for extreme sports magazines like Big Brother, Bikini and Magnet. He settled in North Carolina and freelanced for The Spectator, eventually becoming its music and managing editor, also running his zine Salt for Slugs.

Independent Weekly: Music: Feature: In Chest Pains, older punks with cardio conditions finally find each other

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

USA Today on SAHDs

When it rains, it pours. USA Today ran a piece on the presentation at the American Psychological Association meeting of Aarin Rochlen's dad survey results, though I can't say that there's a ton of depth here. I have a million non-dads things on the plate, so I pass along without comment:

Nice work if you can get it. That's the consensus of fairly affluent, well-educated fathers who stay home full time with their children, according to a pioneering study released over the weekend.

About 159,000 men in the USA are full-time fathers, more than triple the number a decade ago, Census data show. "Just don't call them 'Mr. Mom.' They really don't like it," says Aaron Rochlen of the University of Texas-Austin. He spoke at a panel on cutting-edge research about fathers at the American Psychological Association meeting.

Update on CBS's Coverage of Dads Today

Greg from daddytypes has the full scoop and commentary on this morning's TV, and he nails it. Honestly, some days I wonder why I ever bother with the dadblogging, given Greg's level of insight: Liveblogging The CBS Early Show Segment On 'Hip, Hands-On Dads' -- Daddy Types.

[UPDATE: CBS has the full segment online now.]

Brady Wants Paternity Leave?

Filed under "I'll believe it when I see it" (but still giddy at the prospect):

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is seeking a timeout – for the birth of his first child with former girlfriend Bridget Moynahan.

"I hope so," Brady, 30, said Monday, noting that he'll need the approval of coach Bill Belichick in the face of his team's upcoming busy schedule.

"Bill has a lot to say," Brady acknowledged, according to the Associated Press, "so we'll deal with it when it happens."


As for asking for personal time off, he said: "Certainly, a lot of people make sacrifices for their family, and I'm dealing with a certain situation, a very joyous, happy situation.
Tom Brady Wants Time Off for Baby's Birth - Bridget Moynahan, Tom Brady :

CBS: Hip Dads Are Great Consumers

OK. So I've found the link to the CBS Early Show story relating to their segment this morning on hip dads. Keeping in mind that I haven't seen the video, here's how the web story starts.

Does your husband change diapers? If not, maybe a "manly" diaper bag will put him in the mood!

These days, Early Show contributor Amy Kean explained, there are plenty of products on the market for modern dads, to enable them to be be both hands-on, and hip!

How does this drive me nuts? Let me count the ways:
  1. "Does your husband change diapers ..." Guess who the story is aimed at. That's right. Not dads.
  2. " ... maybe a 'manly' diaper bag will put him in the mood!" This is just dumb. Men don't refuse to change diapers because they don't like diaper bags. They don't change diapers because there's a (dying) social stereotype that dads don't do diapers. I'm not sure this piece does anything to disabuse that notion.
  3. " ... plenty of products ..." Maybe this is just my anti-consumerism coming out, but I'm not sure that having more stuff to buy will make dads hip.
The irony is that I am thrilled that there are diaper bags made for dads now (I own one). I am thrilled that guys like are out there spreading the gospel about good products (for dads *and* moms). I'm thrilled that fathers are not always an afterthought in the marketing of children's products (usually an afterthought. But not always). But I don't think we can judge the depth of the revolution in fatherhood by the extent of diaper bags available. Looks like a missed opportunity by CBS. Unless, of course, you're in the market for a bag ...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fatherhood Redefined. Film at 8.

8 a.m. that is. 8:08 a.m. EDT, to be specific. Rumor has it that the CBS Early Show will do a piece on "new dads" tomorrow morning. Sorry about the late warning. Gary of sent me the warning. The producers spoke with me for some background, but I sent them to the infinitely hipper Greg from Daddy Types. No word if Greg will make the tape. Whether I can be glued to the tube at 8 past 8 tomorrow is an open question -- beers for anyone who can send along the clip digitally once it airs.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Convention Time!

Though it is August, the time has come to begin thinking about November. November 3, specifically, when LSU plays Alabama and at-home dads from across the country (and across the world) gather for the 12th Annual At-Home Dads Convention in Kansas City.

Registration material is now online, including the registration form (only $60 if you sign up before Oct. 1), a sheet of general information and details on extra activities (mmmm ... bbq and beer).

If you've never attended, this is a can't-miss event and the best way out there to remind yourself that you're not alone as an at-home dad -- that there is a vibrant community of men out there who are absolutely committed to being the best possible fathers they can be.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More Evidence that Dads are Really Important

Kids with depressed mothers see a significant benefit from involved fathers. This doesn't exactly surprise me, but  it's a nice reminder of how much better off children are when dad is active at home.

“My study corroborates findings from previous research that a child is at increased risk of problem behaviors when the mother is depressed,” said Jen Jen Chang, Ph.D., assistant professor of community health in epidemiology at the Saint Louis University School of Public Health and principal investigator.

“But once we factored in a father’s positive involvement, I observed that the adverse impact of the mother’s depression was attenuated. The father served as a buffer. He may have engaged with the children when the mother wasn’t available due to her illness.”
Children of depressed moms do better when dad is involved, SLU researcher finds

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Men Still Lag in Dealing With Sick Kids

There's a new release out today that suggests that men still aren't pulling their weight when it comes to dealing with suddenly ill kids.
Maume says his analysis of the data finds a large gender disparity in providing urgent child care, with 77.7 percent of women taking time off from work and 26.5 percent of men reporting that they attend to child-care needs (because the sample involved workers and not couples, the figures don’t add up to 100 percent).
There's nothing in the release to compare the results with years past, so I can't tell if we're moving in the right direction or not. Obviously, I'm not impressed by snapshots that show inequality right now. What I'm always interested in is the trend ...
Working parents -- who puts family first when a child gets sick?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Kansas City, Here We Come (Look for Convention Updates Soon)

Details are starting to trickle out about the Nov. 3 At-Home Dad Convention, version 12.0. I've promised various organizers that I'd post some info, but the week got away from me early on. Please stay tuned next week ...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Yes, Daddy Day Camp is Bad

No, I haven't seen it, but every single critic can't be wrong:

Daddy Day Camp is "a camp for no ages," and ... "has an amazing amount of CGI -- Cuba Gooding Incompetence."

"The screenplay is attributed to three writers. That means if the film's funny parts were divided evenly among them, they each wrote zero." ...

"Not quite as funny as a perforated ulcer."
ROTTEN TOMATOES: Daddy Day Camp: Almost Zero on the Tomatometer

Cross-Promotion Alert: Time Sinks

My post at On Balance is up. Today's topic: the black holes that suck time without giving much in return. Feel free to share your (and your strategies) here or over at

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Good News on FMLA

From today's On Balance column by Leslie:
Last week, before Congress recessed for August (the "Summer District Work Period" is how it's described on the U.S. House of Representatives Calendar), the Senate approved an expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act to allow the family of wounded military personnel to take up to six months of unpaid leave without losing their jobs. Current law -- the same that allows for unpaid maternity leave -- allows only 12 weeks. One of the more heart-wrenching back stories of the war has been families forced to choose between caring for injured veterans (often in military hospitals far from home) and keeping their jobs.
Hope that makes it into law. And while I think it's a particularly good idea for military families, I don't see any huge downside to making this available to all. (Employers may now commence howling.)

Caregiver Discrimination

I'm now a tad late with this, but you really ought to read (if you haven't already) the New York Times Magazine piece from a week ago on the emerging law on caregiver discrimination, which not only profiles pretty extensively Rebeldad's second-favorite law professor in the world (Joan Williams), but also gives an elegant overview of where this particular hunk of law comes from and how it's changing the workforce.

A couple of stats jumped out at me. the first was how frequently plaintiffs prevail in this kind of suit (STAT), and the second is that 20 percent of caregiver discrimination suits are filed by men. That's higher than I would have expected, and I'm curious what, exactly, that reflects. Makes me wonder if a lot of men aren't getting fed up with being penalized for not being (and Joan Williams likes to say) “ideal workers” ...

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Cross-Promotion Alert: Maybe Today's Boys Aren't Screwed Up

Wanted to point you all to today's On Balance post, The Boys are Alright, which looks at this week's really-quite-interesting Time cover story. It takes a skeptical look at the so-called boy crisis and is well worth the read.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Lest I Forget

In the comments to my post on dad networks, Colin dings me because I failed to mention as a premier site for at-home dads. He's right -- is absolutely one of the hubs for SAHD activity, particularly around the convention. More on that coming soon ...