Saturday, April 19, 2008

Questioning the Media Swoon Over At-Home Dads

Back online after a brief family vacations and a here-and-there workweek. There's a pile of stuff to get through (stay tuned), but I wanted to start with this:

A week ago, I penned my washingtonpost.com posting on my Today Show experience and how I felt uncomfortable about the at-home-dad centric approach that they took. Don't get me wrong, I don't think Lauer and Co. did anything wrong (other than using "Mr. Mom" on the website), and I was thrilled that Aaron Rochlen got some national exposure. The taped piece on the Austin dads was pretty standard, but exceptionally well done. (And included the best quote I've ever heard on whether at-home fatherhood is more emasculating than paid work: "I've never thought there was anything particularly manly about sitting in front of a computer all day.")

But I'm beginning to wonder if the best sign that at-home dads are a real and accepted and meaningful part of society is a *lack* of attention. Maybe I've been staring at this too long, but I think that dads are perfectly good at childrearing, and I don't get a jolt anymore when the media treats this as something to report breathlessly.

I'm torn. I want the guys on the front lines to get all the support possible, but I have to be public about this (even though it calls into question the raison d'etre of large chunks of this blog): should I be jazzed about at-home dads continuing to be treated like minorities (even celebrated ones) in the media?

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