Luckiest Man Alive

With good, there is bad. With greatness, there is weakness. And where there is winning, there is failure. So where do I go from here? I head to the medicine cabinet, take some ibuprophen, take a deep breath, and I get my head out of my rear and get back in the game. This is what I signed up for. This is where I wanted to be. And now, this is where I am. I’ll learn more about taking the bad with a grain of salt and taking the good as memories to treasure. I will put my family ahead of me just as much now as I did as a full-time working parent. I will praise the blessings I am given, and learn to live as the luckiest man on Earth.

As I have said before, I am finding out quickly that being a stay at home parent is not as easy as it had seemed before I started spending more time at home. There is so much than can happen in the course of one day, and very rarely will a day go the way I hope it will. Sure, we plan out a nice evening walk before bath and bedtime. But we don’t plan the trip off of the curb, the busted knee, the sudden rain, or running from the homeless dog. We plan to have a bed jumping competition, but we don’t plan on the tantrum that ends the competition before it even begins. I plan to get certain things done throughout the day, then I plan on the plans getting ruined, and something even ruins that plan.

Recently, it seems that I have found myself growing more tired and more angry as the days we have had have not lived up to my expectations. Things are rarely getting done on schedule, rarely going anywhere close to the way we planned, and of course, there is the ever present sibling rivalry. Days that I just feel like pulling my beard out and letting out the loudest yell possible are the norm. Discipline doesn’t seem to be working, diversion doesn’t work, and some days, I just want to give up and go back to working full time again.

Then I had a kind of “life changing epiphany”. It wasn’t really an epiphany at all. More of a realization that I already knew about but was ignoring. I won’t go into detail about it here but you can read a little bit about it on my blog. I have a new goal set for myself and a new outlook on life as I move on with the new year. In all the soul searching, mind searching, and the craving for something a little better than the man I am right now, a big realization hit me. Despite the bad days, bad experiences, or what have you, I am the luckiest man alive. The fact that I have life and breath makes me lucky enough. Scratch that, I am blessed to have those things. But I have allowed the bad to blind the good to the point that I have failed to see just how lucky I really am.

I have spent 10 years in the restaurant industry, with a few breaks for working car washes and a factory that made lead/acid batteries for cars, boats, and golf carts. I have worked my ass off, my mind away, and literally gone days without seeing my kids before. Well, not awake at least. They were in bed when I left and asleep when I got home. For so long I have wanted to be the one getting puked on, pooped on, dealing with the fighting, the tantrums, and all that comes with being the at-home parent. Well, okay, that’s a lie. I wanted to be home with my children, playing games, watching TV, doing all that fun stuff you read about so much or see on the television machine. Then the reality of it all set in. I signed up for a lot more than I was really prepared for, or that I really knew about.

Here I went on a selfish binge of only thinking of myself, my stress, my tiredness, me me me me me. And I was blinded to the biggest reality of it all. I am the luckiest man alive. I got to do exactly what I wanted to do and start being home a lot more often. I see my children more, I get to work with the blog more, I get to spend 5 days a week not having to worry about what time I get a break, or who is calling in, or what manager I’m going to piss off. Bartimus Prime knows where I am coming from on that one. I got to finally take a little time out of a stressful job, and be with my family. And I was stupid to think about myself.

With good, there is bad. With greatness, there is weakness. And where there is winning, there is failure. So where do I go from here? I head to the medicine cabinet, take some ibuprophen, take a deep breath, and I get my head out of my rear and get back in the game. This is what I signed up for. This is where I wanted to be. And now, this is where I am. I’ll learn more about taking the bad with a grain of salt and taking the good as memories to treasure. I will put my family ahead of me just as much now as I did as a full-time working parent. I will praise the blessings I am given, and learn to live as the luckiest man on Earth.

We are a one car, three bike, one trailer family

We have enjoyed getting out on the bike and have even started Sunday rides when the weather cooperates. Biking is a huge part of the culture of this city and becoming a bigger part of the culture of our family. We are learning from the lessons above and hope to be riding as a family for a long time to come.

Towards the end of the summer our family moved out of the shared three story, five bedroom house we were living in with another family and into a much smaller place closer to our four year old’s new pre-school. No longer living with friends meant that the free childcare we had enjoyed was gone, as well as the use of the extra cars. Since we are a one car family we had to figure out how best to get the boys to and from school. Living in Portland, the biking capital of the U.S., it seemed like getting a bike was the way to go. Since I knew next to nothing about what I would need and what to pay I enlisted the help of a couple gear head friends and we toured most of the bike shops in Portland before settling on a new Hybrid bike. A search of craigslist lead us to a bike trailer for a decent price and I was soon setup with helmets for the family and all the other accouterments needed.

We have now been riding to and from school, the coffee shop, and the playground and throughout that time there have been a couple of things I have learned in the process:

  • Make sure the tires are pumped up and nothing is rubbing the tires. This seems like a basic thing but after trying to pull a trailer up hill with tires that were a little low, it is an important one. The drag that comes with under inflated tires means dad is swearing a little more than is called for.
  • Know the best bike streets in the neighborhood. Luckily there are great bike streets in Portland and when you get on one of those streets you immediately know the difference. Busy narrow streets are tough on a bike and even tougher with a trailer.
  • Bring snacks and something for the kids to engage with. I brought a couple of books, which was good, but no snacks or water, which was bad. Listening to the little punks whine about being thirsty while I was dehydrating  myself was annoying. Next time I will have the water and the cheese sticks or fruit to keep them fueled up. I think having a bag of toys and books will be a good idea to just grab and throw in the trailer.
  • When you are fat and out of shape like me, going on a ride on the off day is helpful for your over all fitness. The lactic acid in my legs is brutal today so getting out there for shorter ride to the park or coffee shop will help me get in better shape and make that longer trip easier. At least that’s what I’m going with right now to encourage myself to get out more.
  • Helmets for everyone. Make sure you all have a helmet on, even the kids in the trailer.
  • When the weather turns bad having the right gear is important and right now I don’t have a rain coat. A light weight breathable fabric that is also water proof is a bit pricey but a necessary purchase. The boys are warm and dry in the trailer but I end up wet out there in the elements.

We have enjoyed getting out on the bike and have even started Sunday rides when the weather cooperates. Biking is a huge part of the culture of this city and becoming a bigger part of the culture of our family. We are learning from the lessons above and hope to be riding as a family for a long time to come.

Portland Dad writes over at Stay At Home Dad PDX about raising two boys as a stay at home dad. You can also find him on twitter as Portlanddad.

A NEW PHENOMENON, THE STAY AT HOME DAD

“Stay at home dad” used to be an embarrassing phrase.  But, as more and more families cope with the rising cost of daycare and the high unemployment rate, more families are opting to leave egos aside and let the higher earner of the home stay at work while the other spouse brings in the money to support the family.  These days the high earner could just as easily be the mom, leaving the dad to take care of the kids, ad often there is no choice with the limited job market.

10 years ago how many dads were in the playground after school pick-up?  In my school playground, it is 25% stay at home dads vs. moms.  But, I have to subtract he nannies, they are the majority!

That is how it is in our house.  I lost my job several years ago.  Soon after our son entered Kindergarten, it was clear an after school program would not have worked for us so I stopped job hunting and officially became a stay at home dad.

I consider myself lucky, I get to spend more time with my son. As I observe other parents in the playground, most dads, albeit not all, seem to enjoy their new status, because they enjoy their time with their kids.  That is a great by-product of this new era..

For our son, he has the security of knowing his dad is taking care of him. Now that 2 years have passed, the homework load has increased, and the stay at home parent is best equipped to start that process before dinner while the child can still focus.  That process will only become more important as the child gets older.

But here is the other issue, the household.  Who cooks and who cleans? I get to go to the gym after school drop off, I get some time to myself during the day, but who does the cooking and cleaning?  My spouse gets home at 7:30 pm, so I do feel responsible to take care of the food in our house. I include the food shopping in that chore as well. Am I demeaned by this?  I think this is the heart of the stay at home dads dilemma.

Then there is the cleaning.  Do the husbands want to vacuum? Clean the bathroom?  I know I do not like that part of the job, but it has to be done.  I was in charge of that all summer long, I don’t feel demeaned, I just feel disgusted!  Luckily I found a cleaning lady to come once every 2 weeks, this is a luxury for our family, but I just don’t have the gene for cleaning, sorry ladies!  I do fill in the week in between the cleaning lady’s visits.

I do want to do my fair share, my spouse works a 10 hour day, it is my job to do whatever needs to be done, just like the olden days when the wife did all these jobs while the husband worked.  And I do get a couple of hours to myself, but I don’t watch soap operas!

Are we appreciated?  Sometimes I get the feeling that my work is less important.  But  this is the wife complaint!  I am not the wife!  The roles have changed and everybody has to be appreciated.  I pick up the kid at 2:40 p.m. and my work day then ends at 10 p.m. That is not meant as a complaint, it is just to illustrate that everyone’s jobs are important in the house.

So how’s your ego?  Do not act like your full time job that brings in an income is all that we need to run a family.  It is not.  I do everything else and get no credit based on the $0 income.  That is where the message needs to change.  Yes, I get a break for lunch, 1-2 hours a day, sometimes.  But I work all night and WEEKENDS!  Who feeds the family on Saturday and Sunday, who does that clean up?  Me.  I am not looking for extra credit; I am just looking for minimal recognition. And I am not looking to be judged by anyone, friends or family, who think now that I do not have an income, I am a bum. Our family made a choice to not put the child in an after school program, so I do not work, I take care of the family in what is a role reversal from the old days.

This is how it works for our family, what about yours?

www.gaynycdad.com

Competing with the kids for attention

Mostly parenting is a process of squashing the selfishness that is inherent in all of us and embracing our nobler nature. Some days we are more successful than others but in raising and teaching kids we learn just as much through the process.

5:30 is anticipated in this house like nothing else. There are other important times in the day that have more weight with the boys like lunch and nap time. When we need to leave for school, or to go back and pick Primo up is another closely watched time but 5:30 is when Beautiful comes home. That is the time that it is no longer me against the kids. I have an advocate, a team mate, a colleague, and they do too. When mommy comes home they get a brand new audience for the tricks and stories that I have long grown tired of and the boys get a shot of adrenaline.

There are days, like yesterday, when Beautiful coming through that door means more to me than others. Days when it has been exhausting or hard and I need my partner, my wife. The irony is those are the days the boys are particularly glad to have their mommy home. Yesterday the boys were both feeling sick and their whining and fighting were at all time highs. I was worn out from trying to be patient, and feeling powerless to make them feel better. Those two feeling mixing together into a powerful parental cocktail of failure and shame. They are sick and I resent them for it. There is no bigger picture in that moment when you telescope into that damning truth.

Coming home into that atmosphere Beautiful comes to the rescue for the boys. She loves on them and takes care of them and makes them feel better in a way that, sometimes, only mom can do. They swell from her love like sad party ballons given new life with a shot of helium and while I am happy for the break I can’t help feeling jealous. It is that jealousy that makes me feel even worse. I mean what kind of person gets jealous of their kids for the time they get with their spouse? Most of us do I would guess. We may not admit it very often or even recognize the feelings when they arise but I bet this is common. It is common here anyway and yesterday it was on full display.

I soon came to terms with my own feelings and realized that, at this moment, the boys needed their mom more than I needed my wife. Soon they would go to bed and I would have her to myself and seeing them revived helped squash those selfish feelings. Mostly parenting is a process of squashing the selfishness that is inherent in all of us and embracing our nobler nature. Some days we are more successful than others but in raising and teaching kids we learn just as much through the process.

Portland Dad writes over at Stay At Home Dad PDX about raising two boys as a stay at home dad. You can also find him on twitter as Portlanddad.

Is this the real life, or is this just fantasy

We moved to Southern California later that year and I became a full fledged fan of the showtime Lakers. Magic, Kareem, Worthy, and Rambis hooked me and I have been a captured fan ever since.

Five weeks into the NFL season and my Fantasy Football team is already tanking it to get a high draft pick. I don’t know why I do it every year when I am not that big a fan of football but each Fall bring the promise of glory. The sport I really love is Basket ball and with preseason games in full swing for the NBA and I couldn’t be more excited. I am one of a handful of NBA fans still left in the world and at the meetings where we get together in secret I am the secretary. When I was twelve I went to my first basketball game with my dad at Memorial Coliseum here in Portland. It was the Rose Garden then but now there is a new Rose Garden. I watched the Washington Bullets play the hometown Blazers and saw a young Manute Bol launch awkward threes and sit with his knee in his face because he was so tall. We moved to Southern California later that year and I became a full fledged fan of the showtime Lakers. Magic, Kareem, Worthy, and Rambis hooked me and I have been a captured fan ever since.

Every Fall as football starts heating up so does my fantasy basketball league I have with some childhood friends. This league has been going on now for over ten years and for all of us the day of the draft is like Christmas morning to five year olds. I get disproportionally excited and my hope is over flowing. My brother is in this league, my dad won it last year, and of the twelve teams there are only two that I have not known for almost twenty years. One of the old timers, and perennial powers, has his wife leave the house on draft day so he won’t get distracted. Now I can’t pull that kind of move with my wife but I know where he’s coming from passion wise. We care about this league and each other in a way that transcends basketball, but basketball is at the heart of it. We have played pick up games at Beattie Park in Lompoc together and fought viciously over non calls and bad trades. We are a family.

Saturday is draft day and the Portland contingent will be at my house. I have the sixth pick this year and for the first time we are making this a keeper league. That means that two of the players we draft this year will stay on our team for next year. There is something even more exciting and permanent about  a keeper league that says this is going to last. Like we have dated for ten years but we are finally tying the knot. I have the sixth pick and will likely take a young guy to build my team around for the years to come. Hopefully he will be with me for a while but if not I know the rest of these guys in the league will be.

Portland Dad writes over at Stay At Home Dad PDX about raising two boys as a stay at home dad. You can also find him on twitter as Portlanddad.

A little whining from the token SAHD

Juggling three kids is not an easy task and I want some respect for it damit. Now this isn’t going to be one of those “nobody respects the stay at home dad” whining sessions but I’m getting a little cranky with the judgements. Last night we were at the library for story time. They have this time where kids can come in their jammies and have a story, sing some songs, and play a game or two. It’s pretty cute really. Since I had had the boys all day, that being my job and all, I left them in the story circle with my wife and went to browse some books. I needed the break and Beautiful needed the time with the boys but the people around the circle gave me the head shake. I heard a “typical man” as I walked out into the stacks and it pissed me off.

I am used to the comments at the checkout stand when I come through with the boys and the checker comments that I must be giving mommy a break. Or when we head to the zoo and the ticket taker says it must be Daddy’s day out with the boys. It’s all part of a lack familiarity with any situation they don’t see on TV but my ability to smile and deflect is wearing down and I am starting to just amuse myself at their expense. I say that mommy left us for a carnie with small hands. We still can’t go back to the circus without so much pain. I told the guy at the Zoo that I wasn’t there of my own free will, they had taken me prisoner and would kill me if we didn’t see the elephants STAT. I once told a checker these weren’t my kids, I was trying to get the family discount and that lead to an awkward conversation with security so we don’t use that line anymore.

It’s sad really that me taking a break from being the primary care taker for the boys makes me look like every other dad at the library. Either they aren’t there at all, or they are sitting with a magazine waiting for the play time to end. I know that the fault lies mostly with the dads that make up the rule but for one of the exceptions it’s getting a little old.

Portland Dad writes over at Stay At Home Dad PDX about raising two boys as a stay at home dad. You can also find him on twitter as Portlanddad.

Even the Stay at home dads need balance

The Work/Life balance takes on a different meaning when your a stay at home dad. For us Work is the family and life seems to be a complete unknown to me. I am not finding a good balance right now for a couple of reasons I will try to illustrate.

When we started this blog there were three stay at home dads in the Revolution but now that the dust has settled a bit I find I am the only one still going. I feel like I need to stand strong and represent the cause in a sea of great working dads, but at the same time the numbers seem a bit more balanced. While there are more and more men staying at home to raise the kids, whether by choice or necessity, the numbers are still pretty low. So as one out of the ten dads here at DadRevoltion being a stay at home dad fits more in line with the country as a whole. So far you have read some posts on balancing kids and work or balancing kids and your spouse but as an at home dad that balance looks more like balancing kids with a life outside the house. So far I have to say I am failing at finding that balance but there are a couple of reasons for that.

First off from some of my previous posts you probably worked out that I live in Portland Oregon, but that hasn’t always been the case. I was born in Portland but grew up in Southern California. I moved back to Portland two and half years ago after living the previous five years in Indianapolis, Indiana. While living in Indy I was also a stay at home dad and finding that balance of kids and personal time was much easier. I had friends that I hung out with, community projects I was involved in, and plenty of sporting events and concerts to attend. Here in Portland I haven’t found those friends, time for the community involvement, or extra money for various entertainment options. I know that all of those things will come eventually but right now my free time is spent at home reading or on the computer instead of out of the house. That always being home starts to manifest in a feeling of being trapped or stuck. Those feeling build on each other and bleed into my interactions with the kids and with my wife and I am far less patient than I should be.

Adding another kid to the mix has played a big part as well. When we just had one, and a baby at that, it was much easier to get out and about with friends. Now with the two boys it becomes more work to go out with them, and a good deal of planning to find a way to leave them at home. I am also a lot more worn out from caring for my two boys plus the third little monster in the mix that I look after during the week. After a long day of running around with them, cleaning the latest art project, or coming up with three meals a day I don’t have a whole lot of metal energy to come up with something for me to do on my own. I feel like a lot of my creativity is taken up in the day to day tasks of raising the boys leaving me void of ideas for things to do myself. Trying to think of what to do is much harder then just not doing anything so apathy wins out and I pick up the computer instead of meeting a friend for coffee and conversation that doesn’t involve me asking anyone to take their hands off their penis.

When Beautiful comes home from work I don’t want to just clock out, slapping her hand on her way into the house noting that it is her turn to get into the ring and wrestle. I know you working dads know what I mean here, that transition is tough and as much as you want to get right in there and get your parenting on you need to shift gears and ease into it. I feel guilty turn the kids loose on my wife so I stick around too long instead of finding time in there for me. I need to be better at successfully making the hand off and then getting away, even once a week, to recharge. When every minute is about the kids I come to resent them for not having any time for me and that isn’t fair to them. They need me to get away and find more outlets to recharge as much I do. That balance will always be weighted far more in the direction of home but I need to be better about finding those times away that really are for me. Now I just need to come up with ideas for what those are.

Portland Dad writes over at Stay At Home Dad PDX about raising two boys as a stay at home dad. You can also find him on twitter as Portlanddad.

Beating the heat in the city – Water Fountains

Finding places to stay cool in the city is an important part of a parent’s job, especially in the summer. I have found that Water Fountains offer a unique blend fun for the kids and simpler tracking for a stay at home dad with three toddlers to keep track of.

Even in the NorthWest we get some hot days. I know it’s hard to believe, what with the reputation of never ending rainy days and tall evergreen tress but we are at the beginning of 90 degree temperatures like the NorthEast. When the weather warms up like this the boys and I go out in search of water to cool ourselves down. There are a number of great pools in Portland but when it is just me and three kids a pool is a bit bigger than I can handle. So instead of hitting up the pool we find one of the many great fountains around town where a stay at home dad can do better to keep tabs on three toddlers.

Rock Climbing at Jamison ParkThe best of the fountains in Portland is the Jamison Square Fountain in the NW neighborhood called The Pearl. We have been to this one many times letting the boys run through the large pool of water and climb the stone slabs where the water trickles out. The pool fills and then drains every ten to fifteen minutes. The moms there seem to think I need extra help because there is no shortage of advice for me on how to deal with the boys. I take it and smile, I know they mean well. The boys love to run in and out of the water in ever growing circles.

Next to our house is Overlook Park and on Wednesdays in the summer there is a Farmer’s Market in the park and the small fountain is turned on during the market. It is a great place to grab some produce and baked goods while the boys run through the streams of water with the other neighborhood kids. There are usually one or two parents on our block trading off kid watching duties while the other parents grab their pallets of strawberries and fill a growler of Organic beer. Though this is a small fountain having their friends from the block makes this a favorite as well.

Waterfront park along the Willamette river has the mother of all fountains that the kids love to play in but is often so packed that it’s not that fun for dad. The Bill Naito Legacy Fountain is in such a beautiful location and should be part of any visit to Portland for people with kids. There are sure to be plenty of kids to play with on warm days.

Finding ways to beat the heat and stay cool while still getting out and about with kids are an important part to exploring your town. Where do you go locally to get a break from the hot weather and let the kids have fun? Would love to hear about the places that you love in your city

Portland Dad writes over at Stay At Home Dad PDX about raising two boys as a stay at home dad. You can also find him on twitter as Portlanddad.

On the road with toddlers

Last Summer Beautiful and I set off on a road trip with our three year old and one and half year old sons, from Portland, Oregon to Indianapolis, Indiana. We needed to get back to the house we owned in Indy to turn it over for our new tenants and we also needed to get out of town for a little vacation. The thought of driving 36 hours in a small car with small children is enough to inspire night terrors in the best of parents but for some reason we thought we could handle it. We were right too, we did handle it. It was a great trip for a number of reasons and I think your road trip can also be great with a couple of these tips:

  1. Have in car entertainment – We brought the laptop and a stack of movies with us, along with an electrical converter to plug the laptop into the cigarette lighter. I know a lot of the cars and mini-vans have the entertainment built in but if not you can easily use your laptop or portable DVD device. We built a little platform for the laptop in between the front and back seats so the boys couldn’t reach it and so that it would stay stable. We also brought the audio out of the laptop and into the speaker system of the car to give the boys a surround sound experience.
  2. Make the stops fun – We had to make a stop about every 2 hours for bathroom breaks, food stops, or just to stretch out restless toddler legs. We would try to make one or two of those stops, especially around meal times, a fun stop. In Spokane, Washington we played in the water fountain down by the river and in South Dakota we found a playground that was a full size old western town. By making the stops fun and getting out and running around a bunch the boys were good and tired when we did drive.
  3. Drive while the kids sleep – We would take advantage of the times that the kids were sleeping by continuing to drive. That meant driving later at night and sleeping in and playing in the morning. We would pass up on our own bathroom breaks if the boys were asleep and we could get some precious miles in. Our schedule had us on the road around 10 AM with a movie going. Then a lunch stop and play time around noon. We would hold off on the after lunch movie and hope the boys fell asleep for a nap and that would take us to dinner time around 5 PM. Dinner and some play time would get us back on the road at about 6:30 or 7 and we would get the boys in the jammies and start another movie. After they fell asleep we would drive until midnight or 1 AM. The best driving was always when they were sleeping and Beautiful and I could listen to The American Life and just watch the road.

It takes a bit of planning to find the stops, map the route, and make sure that you are prepared for dealing with kids on the road but it can be a nice way to travel. That trip last summer was a great time for our family and we will definitely be doing it again, if not this summer then the next. Happy trails!

Portland Dad writes over at Stay At Home Dad PDX about raising two boys as a stay at home dad. You can also find him on twitter as Portlanddad.

Sharing the love: Living Room Forts

Having grown up with a father that built high rises and suspension bridges I knew a thing or two about the proper way to build a fort and used a lot of those tricks yesterday. First we gathered lots of blankets, sending the boys to raid the guest rooms and linen closets for supplies.

Before heading out to the boat that would take us off shore we had to go over some safety issues first. How to get in and out of a basket for helicopter rescue and how to swing on a rope. Now I understood the basket rescue part, but didn’t know why maneuvering a rope swing was necessary for life out on the platform. Would we be swinging around like Tarzan from deck to deck? We made the thirty minute ride from the shore to the oil rig and while my dad slept on the deck I tried to ward of sea sickness in the back of the boat. We arrived and I quickly learned why we needed to know how to swing on the rope. To get from the boat to the platform in high seas we needed to grab up as high as possible when the boat was on top of a swell and then swing over to the deck. Grab too low and the boat crushes you against the frame of the platform. I grabbed up high on the rope, at the top of the swell and then started my swing over. For some reason I instinctively wrapped my legs around the rope, like it was tree swing at Culaby Lake. When it came time to let go on the other side my hands released and I slid down the rope taking a large knot square in the sack. I fell over with tears in my eyes from the stinging pain of my balls in throat. At the safety meeting the job foreman asked who the kid was that rang his chimes getting off the boat and I raised my hand as he thanked me for making he week.

After that rough start I settled in to working with my iron worker dad. This was not the first structure we had worked on together but it was by far the biggest and most complicated. Building with my dad has always been something I have enjoyed and am eager to enjoy with my boys. Yesterday the boys and I worked on our biggest project to date, a living room fort. Having grown up with a father that built high rises and suspension bridges I knew a thing or two about the proper way to build a fort and used a lot of those tricks yesterday.

First we gathered lots of blankets, sending the boys to raid the guest rooms and linen closets for supplies. Then we moved the chairs around the living room to create a nice solid skeleton for the structure. I was shouting out order and calling the kids terrible names so they would get the feel of a real job site. I feel it’s part of my job to give them the full experience.

We ended up with a long fort along the banister that had two entrances. There was a tunnel on one end that only the little guys could get in and a bigger entrance in the back that daddy could squeeze into. It was surprisingly spacious inside and with the smaller pillows and blankets from the kid’s beds, a comfortable space. We spent most of the afternoon in the fort and Primo decided he would nap there instead of his bed. We kept the fort up all day until this morning and brought the laptop in to watch the basketball game. After bath time mommy read the boys book in the fort and we had to draw the line at sleeping there for the night. I could tell that they loved this time as much as I had when building forts with my dad and none of us got tagged in the junk for our troubles.

Sounding off -The media’s perspective of Stay at home parents

Okay, I was just reading through an email I received from HAPO  – Help A Reporter Out.  The email lists numerous stories that reporters are writing and need some input on. It appears to be a great resource. Well today I ran across a story that someone was writing on moms who are leaving the work force to stay home with their children.  This is a great topic because there are a lot of families making the decision to have a parent (not just the mom) stay home. While the article is targeted at mom’s and about mom’s and even looks as if it might be supportive of the idea the first sentence in the request for information is: “Are you a previously ambitious woman who is giving up your career goals to focus on family?”

WHAT?!! “previously ambitious”  COME ON, you can’t really mean that a women or man who decides to stay home is no longer ambitious, can you. How can you write an article talking about changing goals and refer to one goal as less ambitious than another. This type of language is absolutely demeaning and in appropriate and I can’t believe women are using it to refer to stay at home mom’s and, I guess, dads. I imagine dads who choose the role of SAHD are considered complete sloths because they don’t have work goals and they really aren’t qualified to be the primary care giver. (Pleas note the irony dripping off the previous statement.)

The fact is my wife is not just a “Domestic Engineer” she really is the CDO – Chief domestic Officer. Her roll in our household is vital and we couldn’t operate without her performing the role. She does everything from ensuring the kids get everything they need for life and school to ensuring that when I get home, I can spend quality time with the kids. There are numerous schedules Mel coordinates and she does it strategically with tact and style. Vacations and  trip planning, medical services and coordination of insurance, social engagement, household inventory control, quite frankly the list could go on for day’s and it takes supper ambition to do it all.

The fact is there is a bias in the media against Stay At Home Parents. As far as the media is concerned it’s bad enough when a women stays at home, but a man, well a man is considered less than manly if he makes the choice. It’s time this perception changes. The media needs to start focusing on the value and importance of stay at home parents. If they do then perhaps they will not only bring the proper respect to women who make this choice for their family but also to the men who make that choice. In today’s world it’s a choice to stay at home and those families that make that choice are deciding to sacrifice lifestyle for family. Isn’t that something to be respected.

The Revolution will not be televised, but it will be tweeted

There is a growing group of men that are not only doing their fair share but are stepping into roles that have too long been defined as only for women. To me Dadrevolution embodies that change in what it means to be a father today.

I remember the first job I ever had mowing the neighbors lawn and cleaning out stables where they kept two horses. I was 10 and the work was hard but the money was great, I was living large getting all the candy and soda I wanted. From about that age on I have worked in one field or another from working the counter at the local Baseball Card shop to working off shore pressure testing welds on oil derricks in the Pacific ocean. Most recently I have worked in the Software industry training folks, testing new software, and providing technical support to the savvy as well as the technophobes. While I have had some success in all these jobs I never saw any of them as a carrer until my wife and I had our first son and I got the opportunity to be the one at home with him. When he was 6 months old my wife went back to work and I quit my software job to come home and raise the boy. I had found my carrer, the job I could see myself doing and doing well for years to come. During that time home with my son I started writing about my experiences as a stay at home dad in a blog, mostly for family and friends.

A year later when a series of unfortunate events led us to move back to Portland, OR from the midwest and for me to go back

to work while my wife had our second son. We cruised along in these roles but they were unnatural and forced and in the summer of 2009 after losing my job we decided to go back to what works for our family. Me at home with the boys and my wife in the work force connecting with adults and being challenged with providing for us boys. when I came home again I got back to writing about those experiences in a blog called Stay At home Dad PDX and you can read more about our family there. So that is where we are now, me raising our 3 year old Primo, our 2 year old Segundo, and looking after our housemates 1 year old whom we lovingly call The Charge. We are an unconventional band  of dudes in a local sea of stay at home moms and nannies at coffee shop music times and play dates in the park.  I am excited to be part of this talented group of thoughtful dads that aren’t leaving the parenting to the mommies. There is a growing group of men that are not only doing their fair share but are stepping into roles that have too long been defined as only for women. To me Dadrevolution embodies that change in what it means to be a father today. These aren’t the detached dads from yesterday but engaged and active fathers who are looking to change more then diapers, they are looking to change the lives of their kids.

Dad Revolution: A fatherhood manifesto

No matter our differences in geography, ages, the number of children we have or whether we are WAHD, SAHD, single dads, adoptive dads, etc… We are simply dads united in solidarity based on one principle: We love being fathers, and want to share this love with the world.

April 4 of 2009 was all at once the happiest, most exciting and anxiety-producing day of my life.

It was the happiest because I got to fall in love instantly with my beautiful daughter Tessa.

It was the most exciting because I waited nine months to finally meet her, hold her and tell her how much I love her.

It was the most anxiety-producing because now that Tessa was here, I was a father for real now. I was a first-time father a month away from my 37th birthday. I was also a first-time father that was going to be a stay-at-home dad. Most scary though was that I was a first-time father who wasn’t really confident he was cut out to be a good father.

When I started my dad blog, Stay At Home Dad in Lansing, this past December, my original intention was to write a living testimonial about my life as a new father and stay-at-home dad. I didn’t really have an audience in mind so much as I was doing it more for my daughter Tessa than anyone else. However, I never expected the added bonus of finding the positive and supportive online community of dads that I have found in the ‘daddy blogger’ community. I didn’t expect to see not only the high number of dad blogs out there (even in relation to the huge number of mom blogs), but also the high quality of content I found in reading dad blogs. This inspired me to do more than share my own parenting story, but to also try to showcase and support other dad bloggers as well through my weekly Dad Blog reviews.

I’ve been impressed by this online brotherhood of dads who have supported each other no matter our differences in geography, ages, the number of children we have or whether we are WAHD, SAHD, single dads, adoptive dads, etc… What stands out so much in the dad blogger community is the comraderie and solidarity we show simply as dads united by one common bond: We love being fathers, and want to share this love with the world.

I’m really pleased to be part of the Dad Revolution, and excited to see what comes of this project. I’d like to think of the work of this ‘revolution’ and the fourteen dad bloggers featured on this site as a new fathering manifesto. As part of a new generation of dads, we are striving to redefine the “traditional” and antiquated approaches of our own fathers, grandfathers and so on. Due to our own sense of self-entitlement and male privilege, fathers have stood comfortably on the outside looking in for far too long. I hope you will join us as the members of the Dad Revolution share their stories about what fatherhood means to them.

The Dad Revolution Begins…

When I volunteered to go first here at Dad Revolution, I was really just making up for all those times I slouched deeper into my chair to avoid being called on at school. I figured now that I am an adult – a father and husband to boot – it’s time for me to start taking on more responsibility. I never imagined a few months ago that I would be swept up by this revolution, but just a short time later I am the first of this motley crew of dads to step onto the virtual soapbox.

Writing about anything and everything encountered by an urban dad on my blog New York Dad’s Blog has been an unexpectedly pleasant way to connect with other dads who are stepping into their parenting roles with a very different perspective on life than our dads and grandfathers. This is not to say that only those of us who write about our experiences are “good fathers” – we are certainly not saints; nor is there a set of rules or level of engagement needed to qualify as such. It does not matter if you are a SAHD, WAHD, 9-to-5 Dad or any other “type” of dad, the importance of the Dad Revolution is a break from the past and a decidedly new way of being a parent. Many of us are newbies, others are veterans, some feel more clueless than others (I know I often do), but we all do our best as do countless other dads that you and I will never hear or read about.

Everyday as a father and parent is a challenge and a joy, none of which you can correctly predict or fully comprehend until you live it yourself, despite what others may tell you even before your first child is born. We do, though, understand each other – on a parenting level at least. This is the driving force behind the Dad Revolution, in my opinion. The dads involved understand that despite all the differences and distractions that might separate us in any other context, when it comes to “Daddyhood” we speak the same basic language.

My son is the best thing that ever happened to me and to be perfectly honest it is only thanks to having found my soul mate who had no small role in bringing us this gift. We do everything for him and wish to give him still more. No matter what I am doing during the day at work, commuting or at home I think of him – even when he is driving us crazy. I am thankful that I get to be with him at night when I get home before he goes to sleep. I am glad that he says “Daddy” just as often as he says “Mommy”. No it’s not a competition, but a desire to be there in a way that past generations of fathers were not, could not or did not want to be there for their kids. No judgement, either, just a different way of looking at and living life. I like to think of it as progress – the true catalyst of all revolutions.

My idea of a Dad Revolution is not about replacing or overthrowing anyone, but rather changing a mindset that has placed fathers on the fringes of parenthood, much through our own fault and neglect, for too long. We are here to stake a claim on our long lost half of the parenting equation and make sure that our stories are told.