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men who change diapers change the world

Wednesday, 15 September 2004
We're here! We're Home! Get used to it!

More news from the Batman fiasco - . ...This quote from Matt O'Connor, a spokesman for Fathers 4 Justice "If a bunch of amateur dads are able to get around (security) without too much trouble at all, that is worrying," It's the first time I have heard the term "amateur dads". If we are good at being a dad but still don't get paid are we still amateur dads?

One group who didn't have to wear Batman-like tights to get publicity was Kevin Kellar's, Austin (TX) Dads group shown above. They continue to rack up publicity and have 80 members on board. here's the latest spot on their local station (A second window may pop up as the video starts, just close it) I have also added the video on our playgroup site.

Latchkey Kids ---> Slackers ---> At-Home dads - One survey I missed the boat on while I was goofing off this summer was also reported on late by Laura DeMarco of the Oregonian titled Gen X turns out some grade A parents and is worth a read. The premise is that the Generation X kids - the 60 million Americans now between the ages of 25-47 (I barely made the cut!) who were labeled as "slackers" in the 90's are having kids now and more of them are at-home dads. The article points out some stats sprayed to the media late last year from a Reach Advisors survey titled "From Grunge to Grown Up," which surveyed 3,020 Gen X and baby boom parents. This survey spawned several GEN-X articles in the media this spring and summer, (my favorite spin of the media reporting is from daddytypes). The survey noted that "Xers were the first generation with large numbers raised in broken homes (read: Latchkey kids). Almost one third had divorced parents, compared with 13 percent of boomers". With this background they were labeled as spoiled (read Slackers), "mocked in pop culture as lazy, selfish types who would rather spend their time moping in overpriced coffee shops than moving into adulthood." So why did they end up as at-home dads instead of slacker parents? The article quotes James Chung, the president Reach Advisors "Gen Xers grew up in the aftermath of a time of much social upheaval, in an era of rapidly increasing divorce rates and mothers rapidly re-entering the work force, Some of them want to raise their families different from the way they grew up." The bottom line: We are college-educated homebodies and our kids have more fun, more discipline and more time home with us.

Posted by athomedad at 12:57 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 15 September 2004 4:15 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 14 September 2004
Get me a beer from the bat refrigerator Robin!

BAAMMM!! I couldn't resist this story after my mention, of sports vs. dad heroes last Thursday. Today, a dad dressed up as Batman somehow managed to scale Buckingham palace to draw attention to the organization Fathers 4 Justice. Their aim is to protect fathers? rights to access to their children after marriage breakdown. Apparently Robin couldn't make it past the tight security. Batman finally left his perch after 5 hours as the cold was too much for the caped crusader. Incredibly this isn't the first time this has happened. reports that on Saturday, the London Eye was scaled by another dad from Fathers 4 Justice dressed as Spiderman. Maybe we can hire the Hulk to climb the Golden Gate Bridge for an anti Mr Mom crusade.

KAPOOOW!! "Boys Behaving Badly" is now my my favorite at-home dad playgroup name for a new playgroup out of Australia.

WHAPPP!! Brian Reid reveals his new site design and comments more on the Australian playgroup at rebeldad.

Posted by athomedad at 12:39 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 14 September 2004 12:39 AM EDT
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Thursday, 9 September 2004
Sports Heros vs. Dad Heros

If I were to hire an ad agency to promote at-home dads this would be pretty close to it. I spotted it in the August 23rd Issue of Time magazine. As the photo shows at left,It features a 1970's style baseball card but instead of Pedro Martinez of the Red Sox, we see an unknown  "Jerry Chambers". This generic "DAD" card has him ironing what looks like a pair of slacks with the his profession "Ironer" emblazed on the bottom.

The back is hilarious with stats on his "washing ironing and folding record"  with a break down of the number of clothes  he has ironed each year. They guy even irons shirts and blouses (I don't know about you but my wife wouldn't let me near her clothes with an iron) The stats are complete with his percentage of clothes "lost per load".   Underneath the stats it says "You don't have to be a hero to be a hero"   The Ad was designed by the AdCouncil to promote adoption. Their line  "You don't have to be a hero to be a hero." challenges me to think about the issue of the sports hero vs. the involved dad. In the absence of a dad or the presence of an ignorant dad,  kids will instinctively turn to a father role model to take his place. More times than not its either a sports hero or a  gang member that takes his dad's place.  In the media what gets more attention? Sports heroes, or at-home involved dads? No research needed here but it's a good reminder to me to wonder how much of a father figure I would be if I were working outside the home.

Posted by athomedad at 1:35 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 1 September 2004
Keynote Speaker Kyle Pruett - At-Home Dads' Convention
Topic: at-home dad convention
Here is the final program for the ninth At-Home Dads'Convention. Looking forward to seing you all there. It is looking to be a good one with one of the bigger names in fathering research, child psychiatrist Kyle Pruett taking the helm as the keynote this year. Yes thats him in the photo at right as he also sings opera and performs professionally. Maybe if a few of you bring your guitars and we buy him a few drinks... Anyhow read this if you are interested in his musical side (scroll about half way down to read his story).

Rebel Dad plans to shake up the convention a bit with a talk titled "Sex and the At-Home Dad: Triumph, Satisfaction or Oxymoron?"

A little bland statistics news...Andrea Kay of Gannett News Service served up this article about Mothers and More who found that about 71 percent of its stay-at-home mom members plan to return to work. Dr Bob Frank asked the same question on his survey of At-Home Dad Newsletter readers back in 1996. 37.8% Said they were definately going back outside the home, 25.3% said they would work at home and 23.6% were not sure.

Posted by athomedad at 7:33 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 18 December 2004 4:28 PM EST
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Thursday, 26 August 2004
Ninth At-Home Dads Convention Lineup
Sorry for the long break but well.. the kids are out of school and I just dont have the time yet. I will be up to speed Sept 7th or so when the kids are back to school. Just wanted to note that a tenative lineup for the ninth At-Home Dads'Convention is out and I wanted to keep you up to speed. There will be very little change from what you see here.

Posted by athomedad at 5:08 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 1 September 2004 5:32 PM EDT
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Friday, 2 July 2004

Sorry for the lack of posting lately, kids are out of school & family issues are taking up time. I will not be posting much during the summer. We have had a furoius thread going on the message board about the kids being home during the summer or weekends while the spouse is still working. In one post a reader writes of the weekends: "Me being the kitchenbitch (self elected title) still does all food and plays host to the paycheck person (sounds grim, but I actually enjoy it most of the time, thus we decided this role change. But I really wonder sometimes WHEN we do have weekend .. And with this initial Vacation post (of course I thought immediately this will be the post of a panicked AHD who things he cannot control the kids if wife is 2 weeks out of town) I realized that having wife as a 'stay at home princess' for 2 weeks must be quite a challenge!"

The convention At-Home Dad Convention is still being shaped up. Kyle Pruett will be the Keynote speaker. Dr. Kyle Pruett is an international authority on child development with a special interest in fatherhood and its effects on children. Dr. Pruett is the author of the award-winning book The Nurturing Father, and was the host of the Lifetime Cable series Your Child Six to Twelve with Dr. Kyle Pruett.

Posted by athomedad at 10:18 AM EDT
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Monday, 21 June 2004

Posted by athomedad at 10:38 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 16 June 2004
Coming to your home soon.... reality.
Topic: tv shows
I spoke today with an ABC staffer working on a new show titled "The Swap" And they would like one of the readers of the newsletter to get the first shot to do the show. (This is based on the show "Wife Swap" which has been hugely popular in Britain and has made it overseas.) The full details have not been worked out yet but they will either have a dad head up another family or you can "swap" your wife to another family.... they may even do both formats. Now, messing around with a family is eerie to me and I don't know if I am up for advertising this idea, but with a huge audience that ABC will surely command, maybe one of us can help put a dent in the Mr. Mom myth that still exists today.

The requirements? They are looking for an at-home dad who is married, has kids 6 years old or older, and has a "strong personality" (in other words we are looking for the Rupert of at-home dads). You would also need to commit to 10 days during this summer (exact shooting times are still undetermined). The show will be aired on ABC in September. Interested? Or know someone who might be? Send an e-mail to Guy Merrill. Their site about the show is down as they are switching servers today but ought to be up by tomorrow.

While on the subject, another major network may present their own at-home dad reality show since they dont want to miss the boat. They have already filmed 24x7 the life of an at-home dad gone haywire. This one may also appear in the Fall, I can't tell you too much yet as I am still talking to the assistant producer about it, but I will keep you posted.

Posted by athomedad at 2:31 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 18 December 2004 4:28 PM EST
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Friday, 11 June 2004
This at-home dad has not left the arena

When the avalanche of Father's Day at-home dad articles started coming out in the early 90's you just had to be an at-home dad for the media to come knocking at your door. Even though we still see the standard Fathers Day article, the media is starting to demand a little more. For example St Petersburg Times reporter Robert King wrote this piece about Elvis Impersonator Kenny Grube of Florida who happens to be an at-home dad. The best benefit: he can play for free at his daughters elementary school.

The Marian (CA) Independent Journal interviewed Austin Murphy who wrote the recent book How Tough Can It Be? The interview is actually a little funnier than the book which isn't saying too much. I'm looking forward for the next wave of Father's Day articles this coming week. If you see any worthy of sharing to the readers send them my way.

Monday, 7 June 2004
Book Review - How Tough Could It Be?

How Tough Could It Be%3FWhen I got the review copy of How Tough Could It Be by Austin Murphy, I liked the snazzy cover of a man in apron holding a mop and a soapy frying pan. Timed to come out in time for Fathers day, the publisher probably figured the cover alone would snag a bunch of moms and moms-in laws to buy a copy as a quick gift and a nice spike in their Amazon Rating. The premise of the book looked great too: Austin Murphy lives the rush-rush life of a writer for Sports Illustrated and takes off 6 months from his job and switches places with his wife (so she can live a similar rush-rush life) to care for his 2 young kids.

The first thing that surprised me was that his kids were both going to grade school during his six month "Experiment". To be honest, I'm not sure what's so amazing about staying home for 6 months with two kids who are in elementary school.

OK, I read on, maybe the book will be ?laugh out loud funny? as the book flap says. I am still waiting to hear him talk about his kids, but it sounds like he has more problems with his wife than his kids. He starts by making you wade through pages after page of his wife's allergies to certain foods, and the elaborate recipes to please her taste. The book then turns into a venting tool telling us that his wife Laura doesn't notice his cleanup chores (he even has to clean the house for the house cleaners who come to his house 12 times during his 6 month stint). The I-don?t?get respect whining continues throughout the book ad nauseam. When she finally gives thanks for making dinner he remarks "It seems like a lot of work for six words of praise." Later in the book his wife, accurately reflecting his thoughts says "...You're feeling the resentment that ninety-five percent of moms feel every day, where you think to yourself, "It's like I do every f-----g thing here"

OK? I?m still waiting to hear about his kids, but he wanders off even more by writing about the Iraq war, even filling the pages with a transcript of Secretary Ridge's directives on what to do due to the latest terrorism warnings.

When he finally writes something about his kids I felt I was reading a screenplay for a TV Family sitcom, you know the predictable half hour night time numbing sessions that get Cancelled after a few episodes. For example, he writes of his "adventures" with his kids during a disastrous trip to Las Vegas, where the only good time the kids have is watching the same Harry Potter Movie 3 times in their hotel room at the Flamingo. Even ice cream sundaes turn the kids into a catastrophic tantrum as they didn?t get sprinkles. Or there?s the expensive birthday party (which he prepares for 6 weeks) for his daughter celebrated at a climbing gym. He spends $22.50 for 9 custom invitations, $214 for an "American Girl" Dollhouse (plus $35 to have it express mailed), $25 for an "Art Kit", $180 to use the climbing gym, and $70.00 for plates and cups and "treat bags" That?s $546.45 so far not including the $20 worth of candy bars he grabs because the girls are "starving" before they have their cake. (The last birthday party I had for my son, his friends played in the back yard, had cake & ice cream, and a few presents. Jesus, doesn't anyone do that any more?)

Contrary to the title of his book, he finally admits how easy he has it, "I'm still no more than a day-tripper, an actor immersing himself into a role. I?m not a real mother, but I play one on TV."

I will applaud his efforts to volunteer several times for his kid?s schools, something that dads need to do more often. One event was a variety show which came out so well that he finally gets his long sought after praise from the mothers - praise that he had so much trouble getting from his wife.

Not recommended: If you want something "Laugh out loud funny" for Father?s Day get Dave Barry's "Complete Guide to Guys? If you want something written with passion about their kids, get Samual Osherson's "The Passions of Fatherhood" (one cent on Amazon!).

Posted by athomedad at 2:18 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 7 June 2004 10:20 PM EDT
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