Monday, August 31, 2009

At-Home Dads get the Dr. Phil Treatment Wednesday

I've pretty much given up on a thoughtful discussion of at-home fatherhood by television shows, but if your hope springs eternal, please tune into Dr. Phil on Wednesday and let me know whether or not he has at-home dads figured out. Here's the teaser:
More than 80 percent of the jobs lost in this recession belonged to men. As more and more women re-enter the workforce, marriages turn upside down while the men become stay-at-home dads. Dr. Phil speaks with families struggling to deal with the role reversal. Why does it oftentimes hurt a man’s pride to become a househusband? And, how do women feel having to dust off their resumes and bring home the bacon? Plus, don’t miss the top five tips for finding a job.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

For the Record ...

... I hired a Spanish tutor for my daughter. He happens to be a guy. At the end of the day, I hope that the vitriol that my column generated won't stop others from examining (and working to get past) their own prejudices. We all have them, regardless of whether we're willing to speak about it openly.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stirring the Pot at the WaPo

Today, I wrote a post for the, my regular gig, about the process of hiring a Spanish tutor for my daughter, and the fact that I am, hypocritically, a bit uncomfortable about getting a guy in that position. That's not a reasoned, statistically driven opinion. It's just something in the back of my head. I'm not especially proud to feel that way.

But I will stand on my record of promoting father involvement and breaking down barriers for male caregivers. Heck, my kids have probably spent more time with non-family men than 99 percent of children in this country. My point wasn't that guys are intrinsically dangerous: I was trying to be honest about something that nagged at me, even though it shouldn't .

So I am currently getting hammered in the comments section, which thrills me. I'm not thrilled to have people equated my feelings to the worst kind of racism or question my commitment to dads, but I am thrilled that so many people are so publicly taking me to task for even admitting to these thoughts. It means there is a huge and vocal group of parents who are completely gender-blind when it comes to their children. For the sake of argument, I take them at their word. My big fear, of course, is that these outraged readers represent a minority ... we'd be living in a vastly different world if no one actually gave a second thought to gender.

The big question that went unanswered in the Post commentary is what I should do about my feelings, both on a personal level and a societal level. Is it enough to acknowledge my unease and move on?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Key Stuff to Know About the 2009 At-Home Dad Convention (Such As: I Will Be There)

Things are coming together for the 14th annual At-Home Dad Convention (Oct. 10, in Omaha), so I wanted to share some stuff you should know.
  • I *will* be there this year, after a few years off. I'll be doing a session on dads and the Internet.
  • The early registration discount ends on August 15. So do yourself a favor and register, like, today. If you don't have the funds, there is a scholarship available. Let me know and I'll put you in touch with the right guys.
  • That's just the start. There's a lot more on the program, and I'll be flagging it as we get closer to the date. Let me know in the comments if I can expect to see you there.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Giving "Mr. Mom" a Pass, For the Month

I was in the video store on Saturday, looking for "Home Alone." I wanted to demonstrate to the handful of kids we had sacked out at our house what John Hughes was all about, and "The Breakfast Club," really wasn't age-appropriate. It look me about 15 minutes to find the film; it was stuck in a special display up front with a bunch of other Hughes movies, including "Mr. Mom."

I had no idea that John Hughes wrote that particular screenplay, and -- quite honestly -- it inclined me to view the film that much more charitably. Because, at the end of the day, my problem is not with "Mr. Mom" itself (indeed, the moral of the story is perfectly in line with everything I believe) but with the continued reference, a quarter-century later, to the bumbling-dad clips from the film. I'm also curious to know if anyone has ever seen anything from Hughes talking about his own experiences? (He would have had young kids at the time he wrote "Mr. Mom.")

So, out of respect for John Hughes, who died last week, I'll refrain from bashing "Mr. Mom" for the rest of the month.