Category Archives: The Daddy Fight

Hey YouTube – Dads might find it useful, too

One thing that has remained consistent in the 6 years I have been writing this blog is that society still views us Dads as secondary parents. Case in point, the new YouTube channel aimed at parents (or so their blog post says it is). Great idea to aggregate the best parenting videos on YouTube into a single collection. Very useful for parents. So, then why call the channel “For Moms”? Why not call the channel “For Parents”?

I know, it seems like such a little thing, but again and again these types of semantics are important as they reflect the underlying belief that Moms are the only ones in the family that might be interested in information about parenting. In other words, Dads don’t care.


Look, YouTube, I know it’s not intentional to shut out Dads like this. You might not have even thought about the title in these terms since it is just an accepted norm in our society that Moms are the go to person in the family when it comes to parenting. But I find it hard to believe that not a single person sitting around the table at YouTube talking about this channel did not see the title as being exclusionary to Dads? I mean, YouTube must have at least one Dad on their staff working on this stuff who might have stood up and said, “hey, wait a sec – why not me?”

And while I am ranting, why do you need to refer to your new parenting channel as a “survival guide”. Yeah, parenting is hard work and I realize you are trying to be fun and playful, but to equate parenting with being in “survival” mode? C’mon, surely we can do better as parents than simply hunker down into “survival mode” for 20 odd (and yes, at times it is really odd) years.

Sigh. The battle continues….

Surrey Dad and son banned from playgroup

Photo taken by me as an example of a stay at h...

Image via Wikipedia

I really hope someday I will never come across stories like Surrey Dad Rick Kaselj.

Rick is a fairly new arrival to daddyland, the Stay-at-home Dad world and to Vancouver. Like many Dads before him, he wanted to hook up with other parents for playdates. So Rick went online and found a group to join in Cloverdale – a group made up of Moms. But the group responded to his request with a resounding “you are not welcome”.

The email, signed Cloverdale Mothers Group, apologetically informed Kaselj that more than half of the members want the group to be for mothers only.

“I hate to discriminate,” the author went on, “but hope you can understand when it comes to the security of our children and especially since you have not been able to attend a meetup.”

What an idiotic excuse – for the safety of our children. For someone who hates to discriminate, seems like the author of the email is pretty darn good at it. And saying sorry doesn’t make actions acceptable.

If you are a Mom involved with a group that has to deal with the issue of allowing (apparently dangerous) Dads to be a part of the group, I sincerely hope you will help defend a Dad’s place in these groups.

At the very least, please realize that your actions send a message to your kids. If your 4 year old is like mine, then you know they are not oblivious. The Girl notices when I am the only Dad at a playgroup.

Nothing but Moms in a playgroup sends a message to the kids that when it comes to socializing, women are the only ones who do this with their kids. It is another subtle gender reinforcement to kids who are starting to form their gender identities that the responsibility for socialization is a Mommy’s role; a women’s role.

I know, you are thinking these kids are 4 and this is some pretty heavy stuff you are expecting them to internalize. But the truth is, they do internalize it as they struggle to form their gender roles. They are sponges, trying to figure out how society expects them to act. And they are looking to us for guidance.

This goes double for boys in the playgroup, who see absolutely no male role models in the playgroup setting. How do we expect these boys to grow into caring, nurturing fathers when potential role models get excluded from participating?

I don’t think any of this thinking was at play in this Mom groups decision. Maybe they truly felt threatened by a male in the midst. It wouldn’t be the first time Moms have felt their traditional roles threatened by a Dad. But I believe kids pick up on the underlying messages and decisions about whether to allow a Dad into a playgroup can have consequences for our children.

Thanks to RebelDad and At Home Dad for the link.

BabyCenter advertising redux

New BabyCenter ad includes DadsA few weeks back I moaned about an ad I received from BabyCenter, inviting me to join their new BabyCenter communities so I could “connect with Moms like me”.  So today I am on another website and see this targeted ad, again for BabyCenter. This time the text is different. The highlighted part says “A Lively Community of Moms (and Dads)”.

Score one for Dad inclusion.

This may seem like a minor thing to many people, but this kind of stuff does irk me. Leaving Dads out does send a subtle message that Dads are not welcome. Or at least the issues that a Dad may want to talk about are not being discussed here, thank you very much please move along.

I realize that BabyCentre is a company and will target it’s message to whomever they think they will profit from. But still this kind of small recognition does go a long way in making me feel like my input into the greater parenting world is welcome and appreciated, rather than simply tolerated.

My goal would be to see this divison between Moms and Dads be thrown out and the line would simply say “A Lively Community of Parents”. Simple and inclusive to all. But this little victory is a start.

“It’s hard to respect a man who is not willing to provide”

Oh my goodness, where do we begin with this? This type of world view is so far out of whack with my own that it is hard to take it serious enough to comment on this point of view. But I’ll give it a shot.

Apparently the preacher in the video, Mark Driscoll, is some kind of rock star amongst the evangelical right. But if you ask me (and others), Driscoll sounds like your typical everyday right wing evangelist who, like all the rest, continually use the word of God to justify and advocate their patriarchal ideals that women do not belong in the workplace and that men are incapable of being caregivers.

A man who does not provide for his family is worse than a non believer?

At home Dads are a case for church discipline?

Having a stay at home Dad in your house is a surefire recipe for divorce?

It’s all crap.

Don’t tell a stay at home Dad that they are living a Peter Pan lifestyle. Stay at home with your kids for a few weeks, Mr. Driscoll. Change the diapers, feed them, care for them when they are sick, shuttle them around to practices, comfort them when they have been hurt. Then come back and tell stay at home Dad’s they are not taking responsibility or providing for my family. Tell them they live a Peter Pan lifestyle.

And since when did “providing for your family” become synonymous with bringing home a pay cheque? Is money the only way a man can “provide” for his family? Sorry, that just does not fly with me. I provide for my family in dozens of ways that are much more valuable than simply bringing home the all mighty buck.

I am also getting tired of hearing the comment that somehow parents who have their kids in daycare are abdicating the responsibility for raising their kids and leaving their kids in the company of “strangers”. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When the kids started attending daycare both my wife and I made it a priority to get to know the daycare workers, and judging from the level of interaction we have with other parents at the daycare, many other parents make the effort as well. I know which of the Early Childhood Educators have kids, which ones have partners and which ones are single. I know what their hobbies are, what kinds of food/movies/music they like, the sports they play. Everyday we see them, we talk with them. They learn about us, we learn about them. I see them around town. These are not strangers raising our kids. These are people who live in my community. These are my neighbors, not strangers. To call them strangers is an insult.

Via At Home Dad.

Sigh – the battle continues

Got this piece of email in my inbox from BabyCenter pimping their new BabyCenter Communities and urging me to join. Because, you know, I need to to connect with Moms – like me.

In case you can’t read the line that gaffed me it says “Connect with Moms like you.” Because, you know, Dad’s would never be interested in connecting with other Dad’s to talk about their kids.

Now, this isn’t rocket science. When I signed up for my BabyCenter account, I told them I was male and gave them a whole bunch of other information so they could precision target their advertising directly to ME. Dammit – if you are going to collect my private information, at least use it correctly! Who knows? If maybe if it said connect with other Dad’s in the email, I might actually be tempted to check out the community.

You can click on the image to see a bigger shot of the email.

Mothering welcomes Dads

I (and other blogging Dad’s) have bemoaned about the complete absence of mass magazines aimed at Dads before, so I perked up when my wife handed me this month’s issue of Mothering magazine and told me to read the editorial by Peggy O’Mara.

The gist of the article is that O’Mara has come to the realization that Mothering magazine hasn’t always been a Dad friendly place and she wants to change that in the face of the changing role of Dad’s.

One of these fathers e-mailed me some time ago to say that he and some of his friends, many of them stay-at-home dads, felt left out of Mothering‘s coverage, even condescended to. Though at first I felt defensive—it is not my intention to exclude dads from the magazine’s coverage—I suspected that this young father was telling me something I needed to hear.

I replied to him, saying that while we didn’t intend to leave out fathers, Mothering is, after all, as its name suggests, an intimate conversation among mothers. I also pointed out that if women can take pride in reading men’s magazines, and even brag that they “like the interviews,” then fathers can take pride in reading a mothers’ magazine. This was evidently not the answer he was looking for—I never heard back from him, and I suspect he felt patronized once again.

Some months after this e-mail exchange, I was speaking at a breastfeeding conference in Albuquerque. During the question-and-answer period, a man in the back—I think he was the only man in the room—said to me, as he held up a copy of the magazine, “There are no pictures of men in here.” Others tried to hush him up. Later, I looked through the entire issue to see if he was right. He was.

O’Mara then goes on to say some nice things about the change face of Dad’s.

There is a new generation of fathers who are not second-class parents to their wives. They are fully present and know what to do. Just like mothers, they have to figure things out for themselves and learn from their mistakes, but more of them than ever are willing to show up and get involved.

As I read O’Mara’s responses to Dads who brought up the lack of inclusion in their magazine over the years, I felt an emotion somewhere between annoyance and anger at her patronizing responses. I commended her for doing an about face attitude adjustment realizing that, like Moms, we too desire to have those types of intimate conversations about what it means to be a parent that Mothering has been facilitating between women for years.

Okay, I hear you – the name of the magazine is Mothering so why should I expect that there be any mention of Dad’s at all? Well, because I think of Mothering as being something different, something more progressive than the likes of Today’s Parent. And as such, I like to think that those with a progressive voice are open to the idea of inclusion of those who have traditionally been seen as outsiders. And, let’s face it, Dad’s have long been seen as the outsiders in the parental arena.

So, good on you, Mothering, for realizing that there has been an imbalance. And I hope your attempts to correct it by (among other things) recruiting one from the ranks of us Daddy bloggers, Daddy Dialectic’s Jeremy Adam Smith, to help fill in the missing Daddy pieces, is embraced by the Dad’s out there who are involved and want to be part of a larger community of like minded people. I think when you get to know us, you’ll find that, while our styles may be different, we’re just as committed, capable, compassionate and caring as your primary audience.

Home Depot, what are you thinking?

Home Depot

This sign has bugged me for a long time. Last weekend I finally had a camera with me to snap a picture. First, good on Home Depot for having designated family parking, but why make it exclusive to Moms? I guess Home Depot figures that either Dads never bring their kids to Home Depot (after all, we all know that we go to Home Depot to escape the kids….nonononono), or we don’t mind walking through a 700 car parking lot juggling a one year old on one arm, trying to control an oblivious 4 year old practicing her ballet twirls behind that Land Rover with the shiny reverse lights and equally oblivious driver chatting on a cell phone. Seriously Home Depot, would it have been too much to have the sign say Parking for Families?

Canadian Moms – er, Canadian Parents website

A few months back, Rebel Dad had a great post about Dads being absent from many mainstream parenting magazines. Well, this week a new Canadian parenting site has popped onto my radar screen, Canadian Parents, and I’ve got a bit of a bone to pick with the site. Apparently, they have fallen into that familiar parent publication trap and believe that all parents are mothers.

Right off the top, one of their major subsections is tagged “Being a Mom”. Cool, but why no “Being a Dad”?

They have 6 (count ’em ) 6 Mom blogs, but not a single Dad blog. There’s a MomTalk podcast. No DadTalk. There are dozens of forums, many targeted at Moms but not a single Dad forum.

I think you get the idea.

What gives, folks? Why not just call yourself Canadian Mom?

Colbert on SAHD’s – funny or not so

First, let me say I’m a fan of The Colbert Report. Colbert’s satire is usually bang on (who else could come up with such a clever term as “frienemy” to describe the relationship between China and the West – part friend, part enemy. Brilliant).

But I am not sure how to feel about this piece on Stay at Home Dad’s. As I posted over at RebelDad, I get that the satire of the bit is established by framing it in an over the top way (“these guys are dangerous and ruining America”), but on the whole I found the execution quite condescending and patronizing. In the end I think it made stay at home dads look silly. Can’t imagine many single, 25 year old guys watching that and going “hey, that staying at home with the kids looks good. maybe I’ll give it a shot someday.”

But maybe I am being overly sensitive. I tend to be that way sometimes. Check out it and let me know what you think. The clip is below.

Housework? Dad Can Do It!

News Flash!

Men CAN do housework AND take care of kids AND run a household just as well as women.

The findings are based on the results of a recent BBC reality TV show in Britain where all the wives and girlfriends in the village of Harby were sent away on a holiday. While they were frolicking in the sun, their partners were filmed getting to grips with child care, domestic chores and community projects. And surprise surprise – the men didn’t fall on their faces.

The piece is fun, but I do have to take exception with Jemima Lewis when she says

As bachelors, they often live quite contentedly in a sea of discarded underpants, beer cans and mouldy crockery. Nothing terrible happens as a consequence: they still manage to hold down jobs, make friends – even pull off the occasional seduction.

I know it is in fun and jest, but the underlying truth perpetuates the myth that all men are slobs, which is far from the truth. Anecdotally, I have known many women who are slobs and many guys who are fastidiously clean. I’d imagine that, like many things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, but yet conventional wisdom holds that men are slobs and incapable of doing more than lying on the couch drinking beer and watching hockey and soccer…oh, wait a sec

In the meantime, good on ya Dads of Harby village, Nottinghamshire for showing a skeptical world once again that Dad can do it.