Man, have I ever got a lot of little stuff to cover. Here's a start:
Laid-Off Dad has begun his gig as "luckiest dad blogger": he's now also writing a he-said, she-said for the just-launched Oh!Baby site. This is a paying job, and LOD competed with some of the best daddy bloggers (plus me) to win it (and if you've read LOD, you understand why they wanted him). It's nice to see parent bloggers rewarded for their labor of love, but based on the first week's post, I think the old-school Laid-Off Dad blog may make for better reading than the Oh!Baby back and forth (where he spars with Mother-in-Chief).
Phil Corless, the guy behind A Family Runs Through It, just published the last of five interesting, first-person pieces in the San Diego reader. It's some wonderful stuff, perfect for late-season beach reading.
Finally, one story to consider: this piece about a military SAHD. Interesting perspective. I can only imagine the stereotype-busting that Albert Constantino must do. posted by Rebel Dad
5:09 AM |
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Absolutely snowed under. Back tonight/tomorrow. posted by Rebel Dad
6:32 AM |
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Holy crap. A parenting magazine actually *gets it.* I have spent a great deal of time in this space expressing my irritation and bafflement about the fact that parenting magazines appear to have a not-entirely-hidden agenda of promoting parenting by women alone. So you can imagine my surprise when I opened this month's Parents and found a story titled "Daddy Power."
It is, rather concisely, a list of the ways dads often do things differently, and how this benefits the children. Kyle Pruett is quoted throughout, and the whole article is steeped in the findings of Pruett's Fatherneed. It's almost like a Cliff's Notes for one of the most thoughtful looks at fathering ever written. Amazing. And I'm all the more amazed because Pruett -- and the author of the piece -- present fathering as crucial to a child's development, not just a hobby for guys who want to be a little more family-centric. So, wow. Nice job, Parents. Now please fix your "Dads" page, which gets weaker and weaker every month.
Speaking of amazing: There are already five guys who used the wiki to confirm their spot at the RebelDad convention-time gathering. (I need a better name for the event. The RebelDad Roundup? The Blog Bar Hop?) If you want to sign up, just visit rebeldad.wikispaces.org and follow the instructions.
I've been noodling this over for a while, and I've finally started a wiki for a RebelDad spinoff gathering at the At-Home Dad Convention. The site is rebeldad.wikispaces.org. A wiki is just a web page that anyone can edit. Once you log in, the process of adding information is pretty simple, and I'm using the site to figure who will be in Chicago, and where and when they think the event should be. Dayv has also posted, and I'll be adding some additional information based on some of the folks who e-mailed me after yesterday's podcast. I'm excited about the prospect of the event, and I'd love to see you there.
Quick Over-Analysis of Desperate Housewives: Tom Scavo's first episode as an at-home dad is pretty much a non-entity. But two small (and noteworthy) points: Tom ends up passing the parenting buck to Lynette at one point, but does so for health reasons (a bad back) and not because of a total failure of parenting skills (that may come later). Also: Lynette's soon-to-be boss doesn't care a whit that she brings her infant in to an interview and hires her anyway. A bold step forward for parents in the workplace? We'll see. posted by Rebel Dad
5:42 AM |
As I noted last week, this is suddenly a boom time for celluloid at-home dads. But it's also time to start bracing for at-home dads to take over the small screen, too. I was all set to begin posting about Tom Scavo, the Desperate Housewives guy who announced that he was going to be an at-home dad on the season finale, which brought me much close to the edge of my seat than any of the who-will-live-who-will-die melodrama. That show premiers Sunday, and I've seen at least one interview with a cast member that suggests they'll follow that strand of the story.
Of course, I bet they'll blow it, but I'll be watching.
Then I learn 7th Heaven is heading toward an at-home dad plotline, too. I'm not a 7th Heaven watcher, but loyal reader T.J. says Kevin will make the leap over the next couple of episodes. Journalists like to say that three examples make a trend ... can anyone think of another TV SAHD?
What makes me happiest (I think) is that these characters are being rolled out as a normal part of a larger universe, unlike the ill-fated Daddio, a show that focused on the at-home dadness. The more ordinary, the more the media treats at-home fatherhood like a sensible discussion point, the closer at-home dads get to normalcy. As I've said before, I look forward to the day when at-home fathers are so much a part of the care landscape that this blog is unnecessary.
So the dumbNew York Times piece on college women has become one of the hot topics in the blogosphere, and many people have written smarter and more extensive posts than I (I'm all about speed, not depth). You could spend the rest of the day reading them, but there are two pieces worth reading. Ms. Musings covers the story and asks for some real, probing journalism:
I'm willing to bet we'd be a lot further along in our discussions if the media focused half as much on the persistent obstacles to egalitarian child-rearing as it does on women who choose to stay at home. Why should it be left to feminists, academics and social scientists to probe why traditional gender roles remain unchanged?
The multi-part series (think big) I'm imagining would obviously cover issues such as the lack of affordable childcare and compare U.S. support for families against that of Western European countries. It would also investigate the broader social context, including countervailing forces such as the Christian right and the current political and social philosophy of the Bush administration.
And the series would included the voices of -- brace yourselves -- current fathers and future wannabe fathers (hey, it's my fantasy). Other than Yale's dean, Peter Salovey, no other male is quoted in the most recent Times story. Unfortunately, this is the norm.
The second must-read is Jack Shafer's piece in Slate, where he argues that there is no evidence to suggest that the front-page trend of college women planning for lives as at-home moms exists at all.
Back to the news: I'm a couple of days late on this Rochester Democrat & Chronicle piece on a family with a stay-at-home dad. What's remarkable about the piece is that it is not a straight SAHD story. The dad admits up front that he does a little work on the side, enough to bring in a small but noticeable chunk of money into the household. So while I applaud any story that has an at-home dad talking about the benefits of the gig, I'm also happy to see a story that shows that guys can become the primary caretaker without walking away entirely from paid work. In not all cases is it work or family. Sometimes there's a middle ground. Worth thinking about as I gear up for my yearly rant about how the Census Bureau counts at-home fathers.
The story, in and of itself, is an interesting read about smart, well-educated college women declaring their intention to someday be at-home moms. According to the story, a survey of 138 women at Yale found that 85 planned to stop or cut back work. Only two said they planned on going the at-home dad route, and two others said they'd consider it. I refuse to knock anyone who plans to stay home with the kids or who exalts work-family balance, but the fact that most Yale women have already bought into the standard who-does-what stereotype is a bit bothersome. And not just for me:
"What does concern me," said Peter Salovey, the dean of Yale College, "is that so few students seem to be able to think outside the box; so few students seem to be able to imagine a life for themselves that isn't constructed along traditional gender roles."
Of course, we hear only from the women. I'd like to think that men plan to strive for the work-family balance, too, but Yale guys appear only in passing:
Sarah Currie, a senior at Harvard, said many of the men in her American Family class last fall approved of women's plans to stay home with their children.
"A lot of the guys were like, 'I think that's really great,' " Ms. Currie said. "One of the guys was like, 'I think that's sexy.' Staying at home with your children isn't as polarizing of an issue as I envision it is for women who are in their 30's now."
'I think that's sexy.'!? I'm assuming that the this quote is just one of the not-really-representative, over-the-top lines that make their way into stories because they're too good for a writer to pass up, not because they reflect some larger reality. Everything I've read suggests that younger men are prepared to be equal players in the whole kid thing. Maybe the Yale guys haven't gotten the memo.
Update: for more on this, check out Feministing, which treats the story with much-deserved bile. And thanks to KZ for pointing out in the comments below that Yale is breeding future SAHM-vs-working-woman mommy warriors. To whit: "'My mother's always told me you can't be the best career woman and the best mother at the same time. You always have to choose one over the other.'" Thanks for spotting that, KZ. I happen to know one woman who is both. (Love ya, RM!)
I've done some pretty major work to the blogroll, thanks to Blogger search. A couple of the new entries came to be by direct referral or by mention on trusted sites. There is the delightful and funny Daily Dad that is well worth a look, as is The Bean's Dad, which was featured in MetroDad's new must-read list.
Also new on the list are The Pen is Mightier, Undercurrent and Logjam's Mental Goo. These I plucked off of Blogger search. They seen relatively new, and I'll keep them on a kind of probation: if they begin to look abandoned, or if they end up being blogs that don't touch on parenting, I'll remove them.
Kind of a Friday grab bag today. I'll start in Hollywood, where, unbeknownst to me, there is another at-home dad based comedy making the rounds "Trust the Man" has David Duchovny playing the sex-addict (?!) SAHD. Apparently, it was just shown in Toronto and it ain't half bad. So that makes at least three celluloid at-home fathers that could be in wide release: the script for Stay at Home Tom has been optioned, and there's supposedly working on Little Children.
Chip highlighted this priceless New Yorker cartoon from this week's issue. I love it on a number of different levels, not the least of which is that dad is fighting to be the primary caretaker. After all, it *is* a plum gig.
And I keep not posting this well-done Des Moines Register story. There is a nice profile there, but the author, Amy LaMar, makes a critical point that is generally lost when talking about us:
At least 400,000 men across the country may feel the same way, according to 2003 Census Bureau data, although the number is hard to classify.
"Many stay-at-home dads aren't defined as such because of gender roles," said Darcie Vandegrift, assistant professor of sociology at Drake University. "They're retired, disabled, students. There are up to 2 million stay-at-home dads (across the country)."
Vandegrift's husband, Victor Tonelli, is among those who aren't classified as a stay-at-home dad since he runs a part-time computer consulting business out of the couple's Des Moines home. But it's been "his turn" for the past five years, he said, and he loves spending time with their children, Anson, 8, and Risa, 2.
5. Is the denigration of parenting skills a particular problem for women, or does this bias also affect stay-at-home fathers?
What's remarkable is that Crittenden's book doesn't answer the question, or even try to, nor does any other serious piece of writing. I've long held that SAHDs are held to a much different standard at home: our parenting is somehow (and undeservedly) more praiseworthy, and foibles are not judged as harshly.
Of course, Crittenden was interested in how parenting skills were viewed in the workplace, too. That's a harder question, but I think men might get the benefit of the doubt there more, too. Can anyone explain why, or point to any literature that does?
Also: The blogroll is likely to increase as I play more with Blogger's new search function. I'm stumbling across some SAHD blogs I've never seen before. It's not a perfect tool, but I'm pretty impressed so far ...
Armin Brott, better known as "Mr. Dad" took on another SAHD topic in his latest syndicated column, discussing how and why you might want to set up a dads' group. Brott gives plenty of good ideas on why such groups are important -- reasons that I wholeheartedly support -- but the how-to isn't as robust as it could be (and refers people to slowlane.com for more info. C'mon Armin. Give *me* a little love). That's probably a reflection of his space requirements. Still, if you're interested, check out the definitive guide on the topic, written by the great Dayton Dads.
And I don't know how I missed this one, if I was in a summer lull or if Daddy Types failed to bring it to my attention, but there was a strange fashion piece in New York magazine this summer featuring a stay-at-home dad. Leaving aside the fashion advice, it's one more piece of evidence that active fatherhood is becoming the norm:
When I first started, I felt like I was getting lots of stares from nannies and mothers alike. Now I walk down our block in Brooklyn and there's five guys pushing a stroller, so I'm no longer the odd man out.
But I'm not all good news today. One of the articles that Keith has added to the rebeldad bookmarks in del.icio.us is about a law professor's quest to make it home for dinner with his family. The guy, Cameron Stracher, had a Wall Street Journal piece on the subject. He has, of course, a blog and he's sold a book proposal on the subject. Now I wish Stracher, who has a 110-mile round-trip commute to work, the best of luck. But when did actually eating with your family become a major media event?
New faces, housekeeping and general geekery today. For starters, there are one new blog on the blogroll (and four other ones that I've posted on before but never threw up there before): Cynical Dad, as accurate titled a parenting blog as I've seen. Funny stuff. A few blogs have also dropped off the list. If yours should be there but isn't let me.
OK. The rest of the post will be a bit technical. If this is your first time here, I apologize, and rest assured I spend most of my time talking about at-home fatherhood, not esoteric web acronyms.
One of the things I have been thinking about since posting on the At-Home Dad Convention is where *I* think the national stay-at-home dad support network will be in 10 years. There's no doubt that it will be online, so I'm committed to using all of the web tools available to connect readers with other dads and other resources. Some of these tools are now probably overkill for 99 percent of readers, but I never want to be in the position of slowlane.com, which seems stuck in 1999 and unable to provide access to the robust online SAHD community. I want this site to be useful as far into the future as possible. And if there is technology I should be using but am not, let me know.
So ... I have also established an OPML file listing the RSS feeds for the sites in my blogroll, so you may import all at-home dad blogs into your newsreader of choice in one fell swoop. Again, if you're a committed blog reader, you should really be using a newsreader. Feeds of recently added blogs aren't yet part of the file, but I'll do my best to keep it updated.
Also: Keith Tipton, who suggested the OPML file in the first place, has begun using the social bookmark service del.icio.us to tag interesting articles/sites with the "rebeldad" tag. I've been using the same tag to mark articles I want to blog about. If you're a del.icio.us user and want to play along, feel free. Keith has already flagged a couple of interesting pieces. I'll post on them in a bit, or you can just check out the rebeldad del.icio.us bookmarks directly.
Finally, I still plan to establish a wiki for the convention, and a podcast is coming this month. Expect both over the weekend of the 24th.
Phew. If you've made it this far, through "RSS" and "OPML" and "social bookmarks" and "wiki" and "podcast," you're to be commended for your patience. Back to sensible SAHD-related posting tomorrow.
Feeling a bit swamped right now, but if you're looking for some interesting weekend reading, print out this college newspaper piece about a 21 year old who aspires (in all seriousness, despite the heavy layers of humor) to be a stay-at-home dad. Heck of an interesting read: the guy gets so much right and so much wrong at the same time.
Promised updates to the blogroll (and the OPML file of RSS feeds) are coming. The blog creation process is outstripping my meager ability to link ... and expect a Rebel Dad Radio later this month.
OK. I take back (almost) everything bad that I may have said about the BBC following their any-way-you-slice-it dumb show "Bring Your Husband to Heel." Because now the beeb has let loose with a show called He's Having a Baby, which follows first-time dads as they stumble into parenting. I haven't seen the show (obviously), but it sounds like it may have been done with some ... gasp ... class or restraint. Anyone over there had a chance to watch?
Over here, I should be getting ready for some over-analysis of Desperate Housewives, which left us with the tantalizing prospect of a stay-at-home dad character. (I really don't care who really lived and who really died. More SAHD plotlines!) For giggles, I took the "Which Housewife Are You" quiz. I'm Lynette, whatever that says. Season premier is Sept. 25, I think.
There has been some discussion about the best time for a RebelDad event over convention weekend. I'm open to suggestions. A midnight breakfast on Friday or Saturday? An early-bird breakfast before the buses pull out on Saturday? An exclusive, 10 p.m. after-party on Saturday night? I'll consider everything. posted by Rebel Dad
6:56 PM |
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
I had hoped to start blogging about the 10th annual At-Home Dad Convention next week, maybe the week after. But Peter Baylies has opened the issue, posting the unofficial schedule for the day. It looks good, and I plan to be there.
The morning is given over to Kyle Pruett, who was so wonderful last year. It looks like Pruett will have even more of a role than he did a year ago (Pruett could have answered questions all day). The afternoon will be taken up by more of the usual grab-bag, though -- as I mentioned earlier in the summer -- I've been bumped. (They're doing a "What's It Like to be Married to an At-Home Dad" discussion instead).
If there's a theme for the afternoon, it's looking ahead to the next 10 years of at-home fatherhood and "growing the national at-home dad community." Unfortunately, the same guys who did so much over the last 10 years are leading that discussion. The folks who run the convention are wonderful people, and the event is truly a must-attend. But it's pretty clear to me that the future of at-home dads is electronic. Blogs and local groups with website and listservs will do the vital job of connecting dad with dad over the next decade. Face-to-face efforts like the convention will always be welcome, but the at-home dad "agenda" of dealing with isolation has a wired future.
That's why I'm working so hard to keep this blogroll up to date, and why I'm into the RSS/tags/social bookmarks/OPML geekery. I want this site to be one of many that creates a network of support that is unavoidable for anyone looking to plug in. But other than Peter -- who has four posts in the last six month -- there are no other convention leaders in the blogosphere (that I'm aware of). And slowlane.com, which has held the no. 1 Google spot for at-home dad since I started the gig, hasn't been updated in years despite my annual offer of help. It's too outdated to serve as a useful resource.
In short, you guys are the future.
So I'll go to the convention to get my fix of unity and in-person support, and I hope to see you all there. But I'm not sure that the answers 10 years ago will be applicable over the next 10 years.
I'd like to run a Rebel Dad event in conjunction with the convention. I don't want to compete directly, so I'm thinking a morning-after brunch on Sunday, near the hotel. I'll probably set up a wiki in the coming weeks to poll on places to hold the brunch and to serve as a place to sign up. I'd love to really get the chance to meet and talk to you. We'll keep it exclusive: only readers who make themselves known to me before the convention. posted by Rebel Dad
5:09 AM |
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Labor Day is over, school has started and it is time to start getting serious about posting. I'd like to start by throwing out a link to a story you certainly didn't see in your local paper: this fine first-person piece by a New Zealand dad. I felt like the guy got it. There was no real belly-aching, just a real solid understanding of what he was doing and who he was doing it for:
When I had been in the workforce I heard mothers say, "At home I just get into doing something, and the kids come and interrupt me". Well it's true. All those hours at your disposal get nibbled away. I thought the only thing I needed was better time management. But that was missing the main point: those kids are the reason I came home, not an interruption.
It seems oh-so-obvious when you read it out loud, but slowing down to your child's pace is incredibly difficult and incredibly rewarding. I have to consciously do it -- my instinct is to rush through Target as quickly as possible, rather than to crawl inside the circular clothing racks and pretend I'm a penguin. But if I can get myself to switch viewpoint, I rarely regret it.
Also worth checking out from the New Zealand piece: the 10 Commandments of The At-Home Dad. Very nicely done.
This has been quite a summer for stay-at-home dad blog creation. I have a couple of additional ones to post in the coming days. And following up on a suggestion from Keith Tipton, I plan to begin (slowly) making available an OPML file of all of the RSS feeds for at-home dad blogs. If none of this makes any sense to you, it will (someday). Suffice it to say that if you read more than a half-dozen blogs on a daily basis, you should be using RSS feeds and a newsreader (my preference is Bloglines) as a simple time-saving device (you *are* a time-starved parent, right?). I hope to have the OPML file up in a week or so with some core feeds, updating as I am able. posted by Rebel Dad
6:47 PM |
Still digging out from the backlog of a five-day weekend. Hoping for a post early this evening. posted by Rebel Dad
5:43 AM |