I’m very proud to announce that I have just been elected as the newest Board Member of the National At-Home Dad Network, and will be helping with the redesign and relaunch of their web presence as Chairman of the Website Committee.
It’s been a real pleasure getting to know the other dads in the NAHDN this past year online, and then to meet so many of them at the convention earlier this month. I’m excited about getting to be officially involved with a group that makes it their mission to provide advocacy, support, community and education for dads who act as primary caregivers for their children.
Thanks for your faith in me, dads!
Keep on daddying!
A few weeks ago was my son’s fourth birthday, and as he asked for an Octonauts cake, I decided to go for a casual “undersea” theme overall. In addition to some surprisingly good “octo-dogs” (bbq cocktail weiners cut so they looked like little octopi) I finally tried my hand at making some homemade goldfish crackers.
Now, ask any parent and they’ll agree, goldfish crackers are like “Toddler Crack.” Every kid loves them. Any time, any place, my boys will devour a bag of them like they’re manna from heaven. It turns out they are also SUPER easy to make at home.
This recipe was a lot of fun to do, because Tucker actually got to help me out quite a lot, cutting the shapes and laying them out. With only 5 ingredients I’m sure it would also adapt well to different cheeses, healthy flours or grains, interesting seasonings, and the possibilities for the shapes are endless.
Give them a try!
A stay-at-home dad calls to schedule a play date for the kids—can you get them together without “dating” him?
Because while the tots race around the park, you are spending time alone with someone else’s husband. Maybe you never thought of it that way. But experts say you should and for good reason.
So begins a recent article from Make It Better, a Chicago-area magazine, that made the rounds online today amongst a lot of at-home dads I know.
It is called “Navigating Play Dates with Stay-at-Home Dads,” and it examines with some pretty shocking myopathy the potential pitfalls for your average stay-at-home mom whose child has the apparent misfortune of making friends with a child with a stay-at-home dad. In particular, it addresses how spending time alone with one of these dads during a “play date” is — like it or not — a “date,” and apparently at any moment could break out into a full-fledged affair if you’re not careful.
Now, I’m all for being mindful of respecting your spouse and avoiding the appearance of impropriety. I think it’s important to safeguard your marriage against certain temptations. The article does indeed contain some good nuggets of wisdom in this regard.
But at some point we need to recognize that people cheat for a lot of reasons, and very rarely is it because they accidentally find themselves together with someone of the opposite sex while watching their children play.
I mean, this sort of thing is really unfair to both men and women, as adults capable of controlling themselves, and does nothing but hamper the ability of dads to be accepted as fully capable parents. And never mind how it hampers that dad’s kids from being able to simply socialize with their friends without it being under a cloud of suspicion of simmering urges by the parents.
Look, we dads already face enough trouble finding acceptance by the moms in our community, by virtue of the whole “man around small children = possible child predator” thing. Adding “potential homewrecker” to our warning label doesn’t help anyone, least of all our kids.
I’m sure this all sounds like a bunch of worry over nothing, and the truth is we had more fun with the idea that only ugly dads get invited for playdates (the article warns against scheduling play dates with “a dad you find attractive”) than we are actually upset at the author or Make It Better.
But there is a very real problem of discrimination against dads in the realm of parenting, of which articles like this are symptomatic. That is made much clearer when you reverse this article to be addressing how working men can best “navigate” meetings with female coworkers.
Election season is not only well upon us, but for many it’s been all-consuming for some time now. Years, even, for some.
It’s the season for primaries, conventions, debates, speeches, commercials, more debates, robo-calls, press conferences, fundraisers, gaffes, yet more debates, changes in position, clarifications, and news of the day trying their best to keep the election within the confines of “the story” and based mostly on what’s trending on Twitter.
This morning, as I heard the cries of victory emanate from the bathroom as my son successfully did his thing all by himself, it occurred to me how much in common there is between the weary process of potty training and the (almost) equally as draining process of electing a President.
It’s Messy, But Necessary
That’s little comfort, I know. But both of these things need to happen.
Tons of Promises, Little Follow Through
Really, is there a difference between a toddler promising that “next time” he’ll stop playing long enough to use the potty, and a politician promising that he’ll do everything you want done on Day One?
Everybody Has an Opinion
And they’re not afraid to share it, are they?
Just Not Getting Poop On Yourself is Sometimes Considered a Victory
“Well, you didn’t actually do what you were supposed to do, but you also didn’t make an entire mess of it this time. Gold Star!”
It’s Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back
Every time you think things have made some real progress, something happens that feels like a big ol’ slide backwards.
You Find Yourself Posting About It Too Much on Facebook
And your Friends either agree with you, try to correct you, or start ignoring your posts.
It Got Old, Fast.
When things began you were so excited about this new phase, but now that you’ve spent days, weeks, months dealing with this stuff, you mostly just want it to be done.
Eventually, It Will End.
Seriously. Just hang in there. Before you know it, it will be over.
What do you think? Did I miss any other similarities?
November 1st kicks of Movember 2012, and this year I will be joining the NYC Dads Group, Dad 2.0, and other fantastic dads from around the country and around the web as we shave clean and then (in my case attempt) to “grow a Mo … to become walking, talking billboards, for our men’s health causes – prostate and testicular cancer initiatives.”
Before you write this off as a pointless slacktivist gesture, know that the Dads team last year raised nearly $20,000 in donations, and also received a $15,000 match from sponsor Philips Norelco. That’s $35,000 just from one team of dads! This year we hope to beat that.
Now, I am not exactly what one would call hirsute. There’s a good reason I’ve been shaving my head for over a dozen years now, and my face has never known what it’s like to have 5 o’clock shadow. Heck, it barely registers a 5 day shadow. So what I will be able to produce in 30 days is questionable. I may simply look like I was facing upwind as a someone shook out a recently used barber cape. We’ll see.
But still, I am happy to join my probable peach fuzz to the glorious mustaches and beards of those far more hirsute than I, as we together try to raise awareness of these underknown killers of men.
How Can You Help?
First of all, if you’re a dude, join the team!
Lastly, spread the word. Please share this post, tell your friends and family about Movember, and generally just be a good egg about the whole thing.
Where does the money go, exactly?
The funds raised in the US support prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men. The funds raised are directed to programs run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Together, the three channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programs in line with our strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.
For more information on the programs we are funding please visit the following:
- Prostate Cancer Foundation
- LIVESTRONG, The Lance Armstrong Foundation
- Awareness & Education
- Global Action Plan
More About Movember
Movember – a global movement
Since its humble beginnings in Melbourne, Australia, Movember has grown to become a truly global movement inspiring more than 1.9 Million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to participate with formal campaigns in Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, the UK, South Africa, Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Belgium and the Czech Republic. In addition, Movember is aware of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas supporting the campaign and men’s health cause across the globe, from Russia to Dubai, Hong Kong to Antarctica, Rio de Janeiro to Mumbai, and everywhere in between.
No matter the country or city, Movember will continue to work to change established habits and attitudes men have about their health, to educate men about the health risks they face, and to act on that knowledge, thereby increasing the chances of early detection, diagnosis and effective treatment.
In 2011, over 854,000 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas around the world got on board, raising $126.3 million USD.
Any time we have a babysitter for the evening we are reminded that we have a bit of a complicated bedtime routine around here.
It’s not difficult, but there are a lot of steps to it, and when written out it can look a little bit… daunting. I’m sure I’ve written about it on here before, but the gist of it is: “Doot-Doots,” sippy cups of milk, teeth-brushing, “night-nights” in the mirror, spelling their names on their bedroom door, bedtime prayers, hugs and kisses all around, with all sorts of silly little details smooshed in and around all of the aforementioned steps.
Because our boys are such creatures of habit, we find that honoring their routine as much as possible leads to bedtimes that are generally pretty drama-free. So, we keep doing it. All of it.
Anyhow, for a long time now, the final step before I leave the room is a little bit of whispered “talking about our day” that I engage in with Tucker (who just turned four years old) after my wife leaves and Coltrane (nearing 2 years old) lays down to sleep (usually).
We talk about what we did that day, who we saw that day, what was our favorite part of the day, etc. In addition we talk about what sorts of things we might have in store for the next day and days ahead. It’s a really nice little moment of calm in a day that can sometimes feel like living with two small tornadoes, and probably my favorite part of the whole routine.
But if you’ve ever met Tucker, you know one absolute truth about him: the boy can talk. And talk. And talk.
After a while, I was starting to see that our little bedside chats were really going too long. Sometimes we’d talk too much and it would wake up (or keep up) little Coltrane. Other times I simply had stuff I needed to get done. And of course I worried about setting a precedent of really long talks that would be a hard habit to break from the routine if needed some day.
Inevitably, Tucker would intentionally stall my leaving, by asking question after question after question.
I started warning him when he was almost “out of questions” for the night, so he could really think about what he wanted to say. Then he’d ask the same sort of final question, generally about whether the swimming pool at our apartment was going to be open or not. Ah, summer, I miss thee.
One night, recently, after I told him he could ask one more question, and he said “Okay, well, maybe we can go swimming tomorrow if the pool is open.”
“No, the pool is closed for the fall, Tucker. Well, goodnight, sweet dre–”
“No, I still have a question!”
“I told you, only one more question. That was it.”
“That wasn’t a question. It was a statement!”
Needless to say, I had to start rewording my “warning” to say “you can ask one more question, or make one more statement.”
Still, he tries to stall me and trick me into letting him ask more.
“But tonight I have two questions, and two statements!” he bemoaned the other day, as is becoming part of the routine.
“Well, you’ll have to save them until morning,” I said, like I now do almost every night. “You can only ask one more question, or make one more statement. What’s it going to be?”
“A question,” he replied, sticking with the usual script.
“Okay, what’s your question?”
“Weeeeeell… the first part of my question is–”
“Wait wait wait. ‘First part’?” I asked. This was new.
“Yes. It’s a two-part question, Dada.”
What’s the bedtime routine like in your home? Do you have a favorite part?
For a long time I’ve considered both of my boys to be, all things considered, “good eaters.” Battles over food are fairly few, and they’ve both been willing to try (and sometimes end up liking a lot) many different, sometimes surprising foods.
That said… they are still toddlers. And given the choice, what they want to eat seems to be the same thing every toddler wants: something other than what I’ve made.
I imagine even the most adventurous toddler’s meal selection would look something like this.
Does this look familiar? What sorts of foods are the “go to” requests for your kids?
I had such a great weekend at the 17th Annual At-Home Dads Convention in Washington, DC.
Leading up to it, I know that one of the most common questions I (and many of the other dads who attended) have been asked about the convention is some variation on “What do you do there? What would you talk about?”
Having never been before, I was never really sure how to answer that, but it turns out that answer is really not that complicated.
We talk about parenting! We talk about the strategies, struggles, and successes. We talk about potty training, teaching your kids about bullies, and how to get them to eat their veggies. We talk about developing good communication with your spouse, and about finding, starting, and building a local dad’s group. We talk about beer and sports and movies and George R.R. Martin and how to plan a toddler’s birthday party without going insane.
You know, parenting!
To top it off, we get to do this in a way that helps drive home not just the importance of what we do as dads, but also that we’re not alone in doing it. This sort of community support is one of the things that most at-home dads are lacking where they are, so a weekend like this to recharge and get connected with a community from across the nation is huge. HUGE.
Here are a few of the highlights for me…
If all goes according to plan, I will shortly hit the road to Washington, DC, for the much-anticipated 17th Annual At-Home Dads Convention being held there this year.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m very excited to get to go, both as a first-time attendee and as a panel member (I will be part of “Moving the Conversation Forward: Using Media to Change the Perception of At-Home Dads” alongside Matt Schneider and Lance Somerfeld from the NYC Dads Group, Matt Peregoy from The Real Matt Daddy, and journalist David Worford). It’s going to be great to get to meet several dads I only know online, and make several new friends while I’m at it. Good times await!
More than anything, this is a great chance to get refreshed and inspired to be the best dad I can possibly be.
This will be, by my memory, the first time I will be apart from the boys for more than a few hours. It’s going to be strange not having someone begging me for a snack, to take them to the potty, change their diaper, fix them a meal, play blocks, read a book, snuggle, break up a fight, explain where babies come from, take them to the park or the zoo, or let them ride on my back while I pretend to be a T-Rex.
I’m gonna miss them.
But HUGE thanks to my wonderful wife and the best in-laws I could have asked for, for helping make it happen.
Also, I’m hoping to be there in time to participate in a Huggies-sponsored Community Service Project, and for every Facebook post on their wall and/or tweet at @Huggies posted about this event or thanking Huggies for sponsoring the Convention, Huggies® Every Little Bottom will donate to a baby in need. Please join in!
DC, here I come!
More than just as a chronicle of my own experiences as an at-home dad, or outlet for my opinions, I really love it when this little blog helps dads want to be more engaged in parenting, and in the wider conversation about parenting.
One of the things I have learned though is that a dad doesn’t have to be doing what I am doing, the way I am doing it, for the reasons I am doing it, to be a highly involved, heavily engaged, active and loving father.
I’ve been thinking recently that it would be nice to open the floor of the Daddy Doctrines up to more guest posts, to bring a wide range of perspectives, experiences, and opinions — not just from other at-home dads, or even just dads at all, but from anyone with something to share that helps engage more dads in the parenting conversation.
Kicking things off is my friend Neil Newman, one of my fellow Lehigh Valley Club Dad dads. Neil has written a nice piece about his transition to being the primary caregiver for his kids, how it has challenged him, and how he is learning to appreciate the challenge.
Swallowing my Pride . . . and Savoring the Flavor!
Neil A. Newman
I used to be one of those guys. I was raised to be one of those guys.
Not intentionally, but it was in the genetic make up of the sub-culture that I was in. I was raised to be the provider, to make sure my family was financially sound, to work hard, make a living, and be the best father I could be when I was not assuaging the desires of the career I chose to follow. In the end, however, this did not work out.