Monday, October 08, 2007

Best of the Bunch

I was asked the other day why I started Rebel Dad in the first place*. The initial rationale was that there was basically nothing out there on at-home fathers (or even fathers in general). There were no good books, no magazines, and barely anything on the web beyond the already-decrepit (and now dead) slowlane.com and the pioneering dad blogger, Being Daddy, who hung it up two years ago.

But in those five years, there has been an explosion in resources for fathers, and I wanted to point out some of the best.

BOOKS:

Be Prepared. This is the finest book on new fatherhood ever written. It is fully and lavishly illustrated in a 1950s style and offers practical advice done about 70 percent seriously (which is about as seriously as anyone should take parenthood). Brilliant content, brilliantly executed. (The Amazon ratings are telling: 60 ratings. 57 five-star ratings. 3 four-star ratings.)

Pop Culture. No pictures, but a well-done look at the nuts-and-bolts of modern fatherhood with a wonderful, authentic voice.

The Stay-at-Home Dad Handbook. To the extent there is a national network of at-home dads, it is because of Peter Baylies, who wrote the At-Home Dad Handbook. It's focused on at-home fathers, but full of plenty of excellent advice for fathers of all stripes (who have kids of all ages).

Twenty Days with Julian and Little Bunny. Nathanial Hawthorne -- the Scarlet Letter guy -- recorded the three weeks he spent as an at-home dad 150 years ago. Though there are too many first-person dad accounts to count (including some pretty good ones) on bookstore shelves, I've never read one as pithy as Hawthorne's.

BLOGS:

Daddy Dialectic: There are dozens of great dad blogs -- particularly first-person takes on the subject -- but no one puts fatherhood under as analytical a lens as does Jeremy Adam Smith and his fellow bloggers at Daddy Dialectic.

Daddy Types: Greg Allen -- the guy behind Daddy Types -- has taken on the huge task of viewing just about all products aimed at parents for their beauty, practicality and consideration of fathers. I go to sleep hoping that baby product developers read him as closely as I do.

MAGAZINES:

There are still no great magazines aimed at fathers. The mainstream parenting mags are can't-look terrible, particularly when it comes to taking dads into account. Brain, Child is probably the best of the alternative parenting magazines, though I have not entirely forgiven them for missing the significance of at-home dads three years ago.

* For the record, the site will hit its five-year anniversary in just a few weeks. That's the wood anniversary, if you're shopping. 2x4s and sheets of plywood always welcome.

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