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men who change diapers change the world


Wednesday, 8 December 2004
Is there life after kindergarden?
Is there life after Kindergarden

I was cruising through the many dad journals today and found a post in Homo Domesticus  written by a Texas dad  who is home with his 6-year old son Jacob.  With his son in the first grade, he found himself in discussions with his wife that you may/will have once your kids are sitting in school buildings six hours a day. He writes,  "Trish and I decided that I would get the rest of the year to decide what I wanted to do with myself."  what's funny is that like Jammer,  I have had the same discussion with my wife from time to time, even one last night. She said "so what are you goals for the rest of your life?"  I felt a little defensive, since I didn't do the best clean-up job yesterday and she cleaned the breezeway that was littered from a Christmas party we had last weekend. But on the other hand I even wrote a chapter on it in my book on it with a few dads praising the benefits of staying home,  but then again you can wonder in a weak moment....  the kids aren't here, am I really helping them?? After a talk about the benefits the kids get vs. the finances, and an agreement that we would re-visit the issue in a year my wife understood. But I needed more proof. 

Now imagine this fine boy below (that's my 9 year old son son David) looking at you...  and having this conversation... 

 

   Q  What would you think if I was not home all day?

   A  I'D HATE IT! 

  Q  Why?"

  A  Because you wouldn't be home!

  Q  Why do you want me home

  A  I don't know

  Q  What don't you know?

  A  I like the feeling that you are home and I like the feeling when you are home when I get home

     That's good enough for me, I'm staying home.


Posted by athomedad at 1:57 PM EST
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Tuesday, 7 December 2004
A cool guy to invite to your next playgroup.
Topic: work at home dads
Stuff to do at home while your kid is throwing up

This morning I interviewed John Patrick of Livonia, MI while he was rocking his 4-month old son with his foot. He was plugging away at his computer, making updates to one of those web site ideas that start with a whim and has gone out of control. Patrick started staying home a few years back when he and his wife didn't want to stick their kid in daycare. With some time, and a little computer experience from previous jobs, he took his love for 80's style music and started a music band web site Motor City Rock. It's the typical web success story as he starting out listing a bunch of local Detroit 80's bands and started getting 30,000 hits a month. Since then he has added over 700 Detroit area bands and spends 3-4 hours a day keeping it going. In the last 10 months he's gotten 1.8 million visitors. What's unusual is that even with this traffic the site is ad-free and he generates no money from it. "I don't want to to take anything away from the bands who have done all this work." He says, "but I am running out of money to pay for all the bandwidth." He was approached by the University of Michigan to use their servers but they got spooked by the amount of .mp3's on the site, even though all the bands have authorized him to offer them for free download. "A lot of the 80's music is from tapes hidden under these guys beds and would have rotting out anyhow" He finally found a fan of the site to use their servers and is planning a re-design. To make money he may accept donations in the future on his site. He also held a benefit to raise money and did so well they want him back. "My son knows what I'm doing and is pretty cool with it" I do all my work in the morning from 7:30-10:30 and find time to do the vacuuming, cleaning and cooking. My son entertains me in the afternoon and I save the time at night to be with my wife. All Detroit playgroups should take notice and invite this guy to your next "dads night out".

A few news snippets I've been saving:

Screen cleaning at-home dad: Mark Snaza of Minnesota tried to use baby wipes to clean his screens. it didn't work so he made a better wet towel for the job and made a business out of it.

Make money from bad people: Stewart Abramson of Pennsylvania makes some bucks from people (telemarketers) who bother him on the phone. He calls himself "a stay-at-home dad who works as a business consultant in his home".

Former at-home dad Unlike the Census Todd Goldade seems to have a gut feeling there are more at-home dads, in this report from WDSU-TV in New Orleans, "Goldade made the decision to be a stay-at-home dad and let his wife continue her education at Columbia in New York. "Back then it wasn?t a big hot thing to be a stay-at-home dad, but now it?s getting more popular," said Goldade. (Does the US Census know about the last two people I mentioned?)

Bizarre at-home dad headline of the week: "Paraplegic Stay at Home Dad, Plans on Building a Million Dollar Health And Wellness Business" in this story there is absolutely nothing about his kids or his disability, but lots of info on "a liquid nutritional solution that contains the best working adaptogens on earth. This product is backed by 40 years of government funded research and years of clinical testing...blah, blah... arrrrghhh!! (sorry)

An at-home dad Jeopody question: Question: The last person to be defeated by Ken Jennings before he ended the longest winning streak in TV game show history? Answer: Who is stay at-home dad Rob Kimbro of Princeton, N.J?

New Playgroup listing today from Wisconcin: Kris Nalker of Stay-at-home dad of Kenosha and Racine (KRDADS)


Posted by athomedad at 12:23 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 7 December 2004 5:45 PM EST
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Monday, 6 December 2004
do stupid dads on TV = stupid dads?
New Page 1 Verizon

Prompted by a single letter of complaint a commercial that had been airing for months with no complaints suddenly got the negative attention treatment by Glenn Sacks host of his radio show His Side. Associated Press's David Crary decided to do a piece on it. The story was picked up on Nov 9th and was given wide coverage by the media that week, hitting about 200 dailies for a week long news cycle.

View Verizon Commercial
(Windows Media Video - 338KB)

About 3 weeks after the news cycle had ended on the negative publicity, Verizon finally caved in to the one-article week long media assault and pulled pulled the ad last week. It's questionable weather the commercial was nearing the end of it's it's cycle anyhow, but I don't think they will be volunteering that info.

When I first watched the commercial I could see how it would strike a nerve...if you were a dad. It did bother me a little at first when the smarty pants mom says to dad "Tom leave her alone" in a dismissive way with the full support of her daughter. A little degrading? Well yea, but doesn't this sometimes happen in real life for moms and dads alike in a "bad moment"? When dads look at the commercial it make then feel stupid, so they naturally don't like it. I showed the verizon commercial to my sister and she loved it, she though it was hilarious,, I said why? she said, "it make the mom look smart!" mmm ok I then called my 12-yr-old son, John into my office and he liked it too, why? It made the kid look smart and he's a kid so he's must be smart too!

OK well then we need equal time, here it is, you might have seen it, the wife tries to trash her husbands Toyota Tacoma over a cliff , but in the end it escapes without a scratch. Watch it here. Now admit it dads wasn't it funny?? Well I made my sister watched it, Guess what she hated it, it made her feel stupid.

It's not that smart looking dads are on TV any less, it's just that they get less attention.. There are ads depicting good fatherhood, too we just aren't paying attention to them Good families simply make boring media copy and it doesn't sell. Case in point the ad below, it a wonderful ad by New York Life showing a loving relationship between father and daughter. You might have seen it but the media isn't about to draw attention to it. .

View New York Life Commercial
(Windows Media Video - 338KB)

One dad "Kevin" at our message board sums up the negative attention of the Verizon ad, " I've seen the commercial - and I think getting one's jockeys in a bunch over it is just taking things a little too seriously - or too personally. I'm think skinned when it comes to that sort of thing, though. I read the article and when I did, all I could see in my head is a scene from 'Overboard' when Kurt Russell says to Goldie Hawn 'Lady, you're so [bleep] bored you gotta invent [bleep] (things) to [bleep] (complain) about!'

You probably noticed I've added a map to my site to make it easier to search around for playgroups. Check it out. Some playgroup updates: Nat Heffeman is rebuilding his Lexington, MA playgroup, he's down to "just 2 members right now; myself and a neighbor. I'm starting a recruitment drive to get some new blood into the group" .- If you live in his area sign up!! e-mail him at.. hefferman@rcn.com . Also welcome Stuart Unger who is starting a second playgroup after moving. You can e-mail him at about his new Louisville At-home Dads (LADS) group.


Posted by athomedad at 9:46 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 16 December 2004 11:46 AM EST
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Thursday, 2 December 2004
sex and non-sex will get you sex
Topic: sex
The survey says

I promised a few posts ago to mention some of the dads feedback at the at-home dad convention, but got sidetracked by the US Census and the media's mishandling of the at-home dad numbers. We had about 80 dads show up this year, and a tad over 50 commented on the convention. The general consensus was that this years keynote speaker, Kyle Pruett was the best ever with 45 dads rating him as excellent. Many wished he stayed longer and several wanted him back next year for an encore. I agree.

Also receiving positive comments was Rebel Dad's Brian Reid, a newcomer to the keynote speaker scene. (You can check his comments here) His talk was titled: The Keynote/Discussion We?ve All Been Clamoring For : Sex and the At-Home Dad: Triumph, Satisfaction or Oxymoron? The dads (and a few moms) clamored over to check out his presentation. He was able to hold the floor for the 45 minutes with the dads wanting more. One dad was impressed that he was able to talk about sex without getting too crude. (There were a few off-color jokes thrown around which didn't bother me, although one dad complained about it after the talk.) In talking about how at-home dads can get more sex, one mom said, "when my husband cleans up the house, and has that supper ready for her on the table that's all I need... I am ready [for sex]!!!"

"Are you having good "non-sex?" was one topic, He elaborated with this statement from his presentation, "What I miss is that we used to lie in bed (especially on the weekends) talking and just really bonding". This is true and in more cases than not will lead to more sex.

Brian did a great job in getting the dads to open up. One particularly quiet dad who was seated away from the audience by himself at the back of the room finally spoke up. He was listening to one of Brian's questions about how much sex [and "non-sex"] the dads were getting when he proudly yelled out, "I found the best thing to do is nothing, I don't expect anything and don't even try to come on to my wife. I started this 2 years ago and my sex life has never been better" as the dads were taking this in, one dad near the front row jumped up, turned around and quickly and shouted in an enviously-jealous-but-sarcastic way, "YOU BASTARD!"

The crowd roared and Brian had the crowd. Good job... can we pencil you in for next year?


Posted by athomedad at 2:09 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 22 December 2004 12:41 PM EST
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Wednesday, 1 December 2004
Who's that man messing with my blender?
Topic: tv shows
When wife swap first started sniffing around for families several  months back I suggested to the one of the assistant producers that

When wife swap first started sniffing around for families last summer I suggested to the one of the assistant producers that they try an at-home dad swap. They inched ahead a few weeks ago when wives were swapped and one at-home dad stayed put as his wife took off. (His new wife made him get a job). Tonight at 10pm (EST) ABC's Wife Swap does a daddy switch tonight at 10pm, where one of the dads Zev Paiss of Boulder Colorado works at home with his wife and cares for his two daughters  Zipporah, 5, and Halonah, 6.  I spoke with Zev and his wife this afternoon and found that the producer first called him last June and he said no, as his wife though it would be "too chancy". They persisted but he still said no, but added "too bad you don't swap a dad!" Finally they called back again and offered to switch dads and he bit on the offer.

Even if you are not a fan of reality shows you will enjoy watching this "part time" at-home dad Zev trade places with a Kenny Davis. (He is shown at left with Zev's wife Neshama). Davis a 10 hour-a-day motorcycle mechanic from Colorado Springs. Davis has a girlfriend, with three teens at home (12,13 and 16). 

When asked the most striking difference between his family and the "new" one, he immediately said,  "My 5 and 6-year old kids do more chores then his three teenagers do!"  Apparently the Davis's yard was a mess so he made the teens clean it up. "They seem to have more pride for their yard after they cleaned it up" 

ABC's short description?  The husbands hit the road-and the skids-when an environmentalist dad whose family is focused on communal living and saving the planet swaps lives with a hard-living, leather-wearing biker dad with his 'born to be wild' family. 


Posted by athomedad at 2:41 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 1 December 2004 2:42 PM EST
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Tuesday, 30 November 2004
Five brand new reasons why you are not an at-home dad.
Topic: Census Figures
I came home from the children




The media came a calling today wanting to know why there are only 98,000 at-home dads left in America. The census released a new report this afternoon which included a 98,000 number that was actually released two months ago from 2003 numbers. The number was down from last years 105,000 stat from their June 2003 report (these numbers are from actual March 2002 data, Are you still following me here daddy?). I'm sure you are a little confused and I'm sure part of it stems from me using too many run-on sentences in my rush to throw this out. In any case most reporters (with the exception of those of the caliber of Marilyn Gardner at the Christian Science Monitor) who report on these press releases stop reading them at the 98,000 number and the inevitable headline "MR. MOM GOES BACK TO WORK!" may be shouted to us in tomorrow's USA Today. I tried to explain that a difference of 8,000 dads is statistically meaningless, the 98,000 number even more so because it excludes dads at-home full or part time (1.4 million), dads with wives who didn't work the entire 52 weeks (besides sick days, ect), and single fathers to name a few. Of course those in the know realize this is old news.

The new news is that In today's report the census has come up with 5 brand new reasons why you may not be an at-home dad. Please deduct the following dads.

  • ill or Disabled (455,000 dads)
  • Retired (108,000 dads)
  • Going to School (90,000 dads)
  • Could not find work (111,000 dads)
  • Other (157,000 dads) (What are these other dads doing? I'd like to see another break down on this..)

Include these dads in and you have 1 million dads easy... and we haven't even touched the dads who work at-home.

In the last ten years, I have talked to just about every type of dad that has been excluded by the census who consider themselves an at-home dad. They don't seem to love and care for their kids any less then the dad who says on a census form that they "wanted to be home to care for home and family". As the census explains in today's report "Estimates of the numbers of stay at-home fathers caring for children under 15 are based not on the parents activities as childcare providers but rather on the primary reason they were not in the labor force for the previous 52 weeks." So the number starts at about 2 million working and non-working at-home dads, then when all the criteria is met we end up with the 98,000 figure. With the same formula the number of at-home moms are estimated to be 5.4 million. Go figure.


Update: USA Today was the first out of the gate this morning with the headline: Census: 5.4 million mothers are choosing to stay at home with a short tidbit on the US Census report. Reporter Sharon Jayson did manage to get one quote for the dads from David Molina, an at-home dad to twins near Phoenix, who tried working but stayed home "It was not worth it," he said. "It was a rat race. It got to the point where both of us were having to stay later at work than we could and we would call each other at 4:45 and say for the other to pick up the kids."


Update #2:   Peter Grier and Sara B. Miller of the Christion Science Monitor chime in on the  Incredible shrinking US family and the 98K number "The Census Bureau judges that there are only 98,000 true stay-at-home dads in the whole country, despite the number of cinematic depictions of fathers who lose their jobs and find happiness ferrying kids to school and constructing art out of toilet-paper rolls" ....

Note: Right in middle of the  same article while discussing households the Monitor had a blog moment by writing  "Sponges living by themselves in a pineapple were statistically insignificant and thus were not included in the Census figures. That would be "SpongeBob SquarePants," a Nickelodeon production"

 


Posted by athomedad at 10:36 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 1 December 2004 6:28 PM EST
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Monday, 29 November 2004
I'll have some prolactin with lactation on the side please.
Topic: at-home dad convention
New Page 1 Some notes from the convention I promised

Some notes from the convention I promised you - Veteran at-home dad researcher Kyle Pruett of the president-producing Yale U delivered the at-home dad convention keynote speech. Although It was weighed down with research data and words like "prolactin" no one whined or took a nap. It's because he's a pretty funny guy, didn't show any diagrams like the one at right, and he knows his dad stuff. (If the diagram excites you, click on it and you can learn everything there is to know about prolactin.)


Pruett talked about the piles of studies on the hormone level changes in a dad's body before and after he becomes a father.
One hormone, prolactin, (which helps moms produce milk) was up 20 percent in new dads while testosterone levels dropped.. He mentioned one study that was well covered by Psychology Today ??researchers asked couples to hold dolls that had been wrapped in receiving blankets worn by a newborn within the preceding 24 hours. (After their wives gave birth, fathers held their actual baby.) They listened to a six-minute tape of a real newborn crying and then watched a video of a baby struggling to breast-feed. The investigators took blood from the men and women before the test and 30 minutes later. What they found is startling: Men who expressed the greatest desire to comfort the crying baby had the highest prolactin levels and the greatest reduction in testosterone. And testosterone levels plummeted in those men who held the doll for the full half-hour.?

Pruett's 4 main talking points:

"What I found out was what you are doing is all right and that you do not have to have a sex change to do it"

"Babies respond better to higher tones, but once they are upset they respond better to a lower voice, so [the dads] should get up when the baby cries at night"

We are genetically wired to be good fathers just as moms are - In his book The Nurturing Father he writes "We know for certain that men can be competent, capable, creative caretakers of newborns. This is all the more remarkable given that most men are typically raised with an understanding that they are destined through some natural law to be ineffective nurturers. . . . The research on the subject, some of it now decades old, says this assumption is just not so. And it says it over and over again, in data from many different discipliners.

When your wife disagrees with you she is right also - Pruett notes while mom and dad will handle the same situation differently they are ?both right? in their actions. For example he says "Fathers are more likely to encourage their kids to tolerate frustration and master tasks on their own before they offer help," he explains, "whereas mothers tend to assist a fussing child earlier." With this balance the kid understands that he need to take risks but he knows to be careful the next time he wants to steer the sled off your breezeway roof.

I?ll add a few notes about some of the other dads at the convention tomorrow.. - Pete


Posted by athomedad at 3:38 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, 18 December 2004 4:25 PM EST
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Thursday, 25 November 2004
Looking for something?

Happy Thanksgiving guys. I almost didn't make it to the at-home convention this year. I've been caring for my nine-year-old son who has been wheelchair bound the last 6 weeks due to leg surgery (to correct one leg longer than another). I ended up watching the Red Sox Yankees series from the Boston Children's hospital in the wee hours... I could even see the Citgo sign out the window. My son will be back to school next week so I promise I will be back to my blogging game. I will give my thoughts on the convention and a bunch of other at-home dad news. You may have noticed that I've begun adding to my at-home dad blog list. If you would like to be included let me know.


Posted by athomedad at 1:33 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 28 November 2004 12:39 PM EST
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Wednesday, 6 October 2004
Extreme Stroller walking

Looks like at-home dad Michael Zorek has taken stroller walks to an extreme level. A few years ago this New Yorker started requesting to have his 4 month old Jeremy's picture taken with celebrities he has meet in the city. It started out with the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis and Tiki Barber. Over the next few years with the help of attending book signings, charity events, and political campaign stops his kid mugged with Howard Dean, Spike Lee, Julie Andrews, Bill Clinton, Ringo Starr, Billy Joel (at right), Halle Berry, Sarah Jessica Parker and on and on. As the pictures grew he threw them on is web site "Who is that with Jeremy" he's claimed to have 425,000 hits as of today. Asked in an interview by AP reporter Rebecca Miller weather he is exploiting the child, he says "I don't want people to think we're monsters and that I drag him around and thrust him at people," he said. "I ask people if I can take their picture. If they say no, they say no." Besides, he says his "snapshot days are numbered.... He's starting preschool, which will cut down on his celebrity-trolling excursions."

At-Home Dad Playgroup Updates: We have a new playgroup in Lincoln, Nebraska, And Marc Allen is now the new playgroup leader at the Delaware At-Home Dad Association (DADA) calimazoo@netzero.net taking over for Stuart Ungar, thanks for the service Stuart!


Posted by athomedad at 10:33 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 28 November 2004 12:40 PM EST
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Wednesday, 22 September 2004
The Stay-at-Home Dad Handbook

An at-home dad book I have been working on has finally been released. Those that I promised a copy to will get it by the first week of October. I have stories and quotes from many dads that have been in the At-Home Dad Newsletter, active in the playgroups and websites. Here is a list of those people. Thank you so much to those that contributed. Although it's billed as a "handbook" the several stories submitted by dads, some humorous some heartfelt, will distract you from the "handbook" implication. If you read a copy I hope you enjoy it, let me know what you think. If you would like to actually be an author of a profitable parenting book on fatherhood, it's pretty easy, you just have to be Bill Cosby. His book Fatherhood which according to slate.com started the round of huge advances for the big names. If you still want to try, here's a poor overview of what you need to know. The Proposal - Submitting the idea is easy, getting the publisher to say yes is not. You or your agent (if you have one) will peddle your idea to a bunch of publishing companies, in my case 30. I got back 29 vague rejection letters that went something like this: Although we felt that, Peter has a nitch audience we are discouraged by the past performance of fathering books but we do hope you find a home for it (read: we don't think it will make money). One of of the publishers may bite, which in my case was the Chicago Review Press of which I am grateful. The Advance - This is the fun part, on the strength of your proposal idea they actually give you money before you have even written the book. Of course you may have to settle for something less than the million dollar Bill Clinton-ish advances. Writing the book -That's easy, just write as you go. When your baby is doing something, like say, projectile vomiting, don't clean it up right away! Write down what you are seeing and feeling while the vomit is still fresh in your mind. That way the experience is written raw and is believable and funny. The editors love that stuff. The First Draft, The Second Draft, The Third Draft - After submitting your "final" copy (you will be asked to re-write it over and over until you are totally sick of your own book.) it is then the copy editor's job to edit out all the good parts you wrote about projectile vomiting. Naming the book - My title was picked out of a few choices. When I submitted the manuscript to my publisher I offered the title, Men who Change Diapers and the Women who Love them. I thought was it was pretty clever until they they started tossing around the four magic self explanatory "how-to" book title words like, manual, guidebook, survival guide and handbook. (Amazon has 144645 titles with "handbook" in it.) Thus we went from the Men who Change Diapers title to The At-Home Dad Survival Guide which lasted a week until it gave away to the final mainstreaming title: "The Stay at-Home Dad Handbook" which you will likely find in the book stores nestled between the Stay-At-Home Handbook and The Stay-at-Home Parent's Survival Guide. Promoting the Book - I've just started doing that now, I will keep you posted on my progress in future posts. If you still want to write a dad book, I'd be more than happy to help you out through the book process by e-mail or at the At-Home Dad Convention. -Pete

Posted by athomedad at 1:46 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 28 November 2004 12:43 PM EST
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