The Today Show aired a progressive segment this morning on stay at home dads & working moms. The segment, intelligently titled The Modern Family, included a more personal spotlight on my family (as opposed to a focus on the NYC Dads Group)- my wife Jessica, my son Jake, & I were all willing participants. This segment had the promise to start shifting the at-home dad conversation moving BEYOND Mr. Mom…and I thought the Today Show did a really nice job of delivering on that message. Yep, included my bit about being termed “modern men” or “involved father” as opposed to some other terms splashed around by the media.
At the segment’s outset, Hoda commented, “if you’re tuned in today from home and taking care of your kids, there is a good chance that you are a dad.” Thanks for recognizing that fact! The piece included equity in hearing both sides of the modern family story – my wife sharing her two cents on the emotional piece of being away at work everyday and me describing what life is like on the daddy-front. There was balance on the different perspectives and range in discussing some of the rewards/challenges. There is a lot to dissect from this packaged segment that included a back to the studio live discussion with authors Jeremy Adam Smith (groundbreaking author of The Daddy Shift) and Stacy Kaiser (How To Be a Grown Up). Truth be told, it was awesome to be included in a segment including Jeremy Smith because he truly understands the big picture here – just read his book.
I would have subtracted the use of Stacy Kaiser, especially throwing out her view on dads feeling emasculated (getting old already), but I understand the show was going for equity on this one. That said, I will praise Smith for disagreeing with Kaiser, and clearly stating that “the big story here is the degree to how the stigma (of at-home dads) is disappearing. The dads are not alone on the playgrounds anymore and they are forming communities…providing options for dads.” Even host, Willie Geist, concurred in his closing comments that the “stigma is starting to crack a bit.”
I am not an expert, but will offer my food for thought here. If you are considering becoming an at-home dad (an extremely challenging role, but with limitless reward), there are three main factors your family should consider:
1. You have to really want to do it! Sure, you might be nervous about it, but you have to want it and embrace it internally.
2. Your wife/partner has to completely support the idea! They have to stand behind you the entire time – for good & bad.
3. Financially, your family has to be able to budget properly and make things work with the support of a single income.
*All three factors need to be present for your role to be most successful.
Lastly, for those of you that watched the segment, welcome to NYC Dads Group: The Destination for Involved Fathers as They Navigate Parenthood by offering interesting thoughts, quality content, news articles, and playgroup information. This blog is an extension of a meet-up group of nearly 250 active fathers who enjoy meeting weekly and spending quality time with their children during the day. I know the segment mentioned the NYC Dads Group is an at-home dads group, but we are much more than that. We welcome all involved fathers – expectant dads, working dads, dads who work part-time, teachers, etc.
As a participant in the segment, it is not always easy to praise it properly or critique it. Please share your comments…