Pick up a copy of today’s Wall Street Journal and you might glimpse a headline on the front-cover: “Domestic Dads Do it Their Way.” Dig a little deeper to the front page of the Personal Journal section and see: “At-Home Dads Make Parenting More of a ‘GUY’ Thing” by Sue Shellenbarger.
First Sentence: “MR. MOM is DEAD.”
Well, why we don’t quite think we’ve arrived at the point where the media will stop using the synonym Mr. Mom for stay-at-home fathers or acronym SAHD for stay at home dad … we do think that the journalists who “get it” (reads Sue Shellenbarger of WSJ, Alex Williams of NYT, Lisa Belkin of HuffPost, & others) are moving BEYOND Mr. Mom and digging deeper into real issues and angles through the fatherhood lens.
This article had depth. Shellenbarger did her homework – she spoke with at least fifteen dads in our NYC Dads Group community including several of their wives to uncover some consistent themes. She moved outside of the urban jungle and interviewed several members of the Triangle Dads Group in North Carolina as well. Some topics discussed were that some at-home dads may plunge into DIY tech or construction projects, take the kids on walking tours of Home Depot or on adventurous excursions, or overhaul the household budget. With their children, do at-home dads roughhouse at the park or gym, flex the daytime schedule rather than sticking to routines, or encourage kids to take more risks?These were just a few of the areas explored with interviewees.
Let’s dissect today’s fantastic piece by Shellenbarger, the Work & Family columnist over at the Wall Street Journal whose journalism we’ve admired and respected for quite a while. She plows into her piece with the angle of how at-home fathers are shaking off old gender-related stigmas and putting a distinctly masculine stamp on the American home life. It navigates way beyond the fluff piece of proud dad changing a diaper and is a complete 180 degree turn from the “bumbling idiots like we are sometimes portrayed.” The piece by itself seeks to be a voice for parents as we redefine what it means to be a “good dad” in the 21st Century which is right in our sweetspot.
If we want more journalists to truly understand that at-home fathers are shattering stereotypes everyday we need to SHARE articles like these displaying confident, competent, active, and nurturing dads are embracing their roles to be the best dads they can be. Whether you’re like Bryan Grossbauer, a good friend and active member of our NYC Dads Group, taking both kids on a walk through the woods to dig for worms so they don’t get “cabin fever” or like Niel Vuolo, another active member of our group and contributor to our blog, who involves his children in their Do-It-Yourself home renovation projects, or like Ian Worthington who uses modern technology to keep his parenting life organized – these men are focusing on their strengths and fitting their children into their lifestyle.
Even though many of the dads in our NYC Dads Group community contributed their time to this article and weren’t mentioned, please know, that your loud and positive voices helped shape this article – thank you!
Pat Byrnes says
My only thought is that I wish this piece didn’t come out until June. I’ve been using that line on my blog for two years, and it’ll be in the introduction to my book coming out in time for Fathers Day.
But for our common cause, not my own self-serving hucksterism, I guess I agree that it’s good to get the word out that guys can do this job as well as anyone. Just differently.