A stay at home dad finds support online

IT'S A DAD, DAD, DAD, DAD WORLD

Illustration by Matt Pamer. Illustration by Matt Pamer.

After my first son was born some four years ago, I briefly thought about starting a blog to document staying home with him, but then dismissed the idea. I wasn’t yet ready to “come out” as a stay at home dad, but when my wife became pregnant again two years later, it was finally time to embrace the role. Plus, I was having difficulty re-
calling many of the details of life with my first boy. With another on the way, I wanted to make sure there was a record. A blog seemed like a good way to kill two birds.

So a year ago I signed onto WordPress and then the attendant Twitter, and unwittingly joined the hundreds of dads—there are tons more moms doing it—that share their experiences online. Initially I posted almost every day, about favorite places to play, day to day events, even easy recipes—and although I’ve since scaled back, it’s still therapeutic. There’s great physical and intellectual isolation in spending all day with your children, but posting about the triumphs and tribulations of fatherhood makes me feel like part of a greater whole, especially when someone writes back.

“It is definitely a great feeling when people leave you comments or tweets saying they have been there, or when people offer advice, or even just let you know they read a post, and they are thinking about you,” said John Taylor, another stay-at-home dad blogger.

A resident of Lebanon, Virginia, Taylor operates under the handle of DaddyYoDude and until recently was one of the more prolific members of the online dad community. “I spent at least 40 hours a week on all the projects I worked with,” Taylor said. This not only included his personal blog, but others like Dad Revolution and Good Men Project. Then in July, he suddenly announced that he was retiring from blogging to focus more on his family.

“Time is precious, and has to be spent on priorities,” he explained. “That’s one thing that can get hard when you start seriously blogging.” I haven’t had that problem. Other than quickly composing a few hundred words each week, I spend little time on the blogosphere. I do, however, frequent Twitter, where I follow more than 100 parents, mostly dads (and am in turn followed by them).

Twitter’s also where I have actually connected with other fathers. For instance, one April afternoon, I was walking through Lee Park with my 4-year-old when he suddenly declared that he had to pee, frantically hopping up and down and clutching his crotch. I looked around to see if anyone was watching and then let him go right there behind a giant oak tree.

As he finished, I tweeted: “Can I get arrested for letting my 4-year-old son pee in a public park?” Seconds later came a reply from a dad named Zach Rosenberg, who lives in California: “I’d say probably worst case is a citation. LET ’ER RIP!”

This was not a profound exchange to be sure, but that’s not what I was looking for, just a little affirmation, and that’s what I got from the online community of dads. It’s good to know they’ve got my back.

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