In Search of a Role Model

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

Ever since I transitioned from my life as a freelance writer/at-home dad to a full-time worker, I've spend a lot of time wondering if I really have this balance thing down, if I'm doing right by my kids, if I'm performing well enough at work. What I'd love is a role model for 2007-style fatherhood.

But there's no one telling the 21st-century dads what their lives should look like. This is a blessing and a curse. The bookshelf is full of mother-authors vying to promote their viewpoint that moms should stay home or moms should work or moms should "sequence" or moms should home-school and so on. These would-be role models for how moms ought to be tend to be shrill and antagonistic, but at least there are some models for motherhood floating around out there. For dads, there's not much - no one is wagging a finger at me, but I also worry that no one is paying much attention.

One of my favorite dad bloggers (and an erstwhile colleague from my pre-kid days) is Paul Nyhan who blogs for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He wrote a post a couple of months ago titled "Super Dad is Not So Super," that makes essentially the same lament:

Many dads are more involved with raising their kids, yet still feel pressure to earn the most bread. They do more housework, but often don't put their careers on hold. Perhaps the most misunderstood challenge is that dads feel the traditional pull of those old habits - golf, softball, running and watching football, basketball and baseball.

The problem is that there isn't time for that old dad lifestyle and these new demands. And while it may seem easy to jettison long hours at the office, golf clubs, running shoes, and sportswatching, the fact is these habits and expectations built up over generations don't die easily.

Paul is clear that he's not complaining about missing the occassional football game or round of golf. The unease goes far deeper."

The easiest way out of this, of course, is to check my gender at the door and to embrace all of the deep thinking that mothers are doing on the subject. And I'm making a go at that - I read Judith Warner and Ann Crittenden and the Wall Street Journal's Juggle blog and pretty much every word that Leslie writes.

But no matter how gender-neutral I try to be, I still have to live and work and parent in the real-world, which (unfortunately) still considers dads and moms differently. So I'm curious - do any of you know of fathering gurus out there that offer any kind of roadmap to modern fathering?

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  January 11, 2007; 8:15 AM ET  | Category:  Dads
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First!!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | January 11, 2007 8:20 AM

Brian, I think you are pretty much a pioneer plotting the roadmap of modern fathering. I do know you're not alone, because I hear about the statistics from time to time, but it's such a small number that I think you must often feel like you're alone. At least on this blog, I hope you know you've got lots of people reading about your life and what you're doing, and rooting for you.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | January 11, 2007 8:26 AM

Fantastic post, Brian. I actually have to think about your question (imagine that) for a little while before blurting out an opinion.

Posted by: Proud Papa | January 11, 2007 8:38 AM

"So I'm curious - do any of you know of fathering gurus out there that offer any kind of roadmap to modern fathering?"

My friend, I'll say it clear
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and ev'ry highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Regrets, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way

I've loved, I've laughed and cried
I've had my fill, my share of losing
And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way,
"Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way"

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!

Posted by: Frank | January 11, 2007 8:49 AM

Brian


Besides you, I know no SAHF.
Maybe you should write a book about it.

Posted by: scarry | January 11, 2007 8:57 AM

As far as father figures, I've had a few good ones, but quality time was still hard to come by with them, which may be why I am closer to my mom. My dad was absent until I was almost an adult, and my stepfather was a great dad, but a long-distance trucker, so it was hard for him to do a lot of parenting...which was especially bad for my stepsister, who refused to acknowledge my mother as an authority figure, and with her biological father gone, it was hard for my mother to discipline her.

But I know good role models are out there. My boyfriend's father is his hero, and has laid a great groundwork for how an involved father should act. I know when we have children, he will be every bit as involved in their lives and activities that I will be, if not more so. (In fact, he's worried about my level of involvement with our children!) He's said many times that he doesn't want to go as far in his career as he could because he wants to be a good father. And I know for a fact that golf and Vegas vacations with his buddies won't matter nearly as much as putt-putt and Tahoe vacations with his kids.

We're still really far away from the marriage-and-kids thing, but when it happens, I'm so grateful that the father of my children will be my partner, and not just leave the dirty work to me.

Off-topic: here's a topic I'd like to see in this blog. How do women lose baby weight? There was an article in the Post yesterday entitled "She's not fat, she's a mom." But fitness is very important to me, and since I only recently decided I want kids, as well as recently discovering the genetic proclivity I have for a pear shape, I wonder how women on this blog who went back to their pre-baby weight did it. I know many women will say gaining weight is a trade-off, and they're happier the way they are post-baby, and that's fine for them, but I'd be extremely unhappy as an out-of-shape person, so I'm wondering...how do women on this blog lose baby weight? I'm not trying to hijack this thread; I love today's topic! But it's an idea for a guest blog or for Leslie, should anyone decide to tackle it in the future.

Posted by: Mona | January 11, 2007 9:00 AM

"Besides you, I know no SAHF.
Maybe you should write a book about it."

Oh, I'm sure he is thinking about it.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 9:01 AM

Does a role model have to be Author of a book or columnist? I have a suggestion for a role model, Dick Hoyt. Go to http://cjcphoto.com/can. Mr. Hoyt is the father of a severly disabled son and has pushed and towed him through 85 marathons. I don't think Mr. Hoyt sits around lamenting missed golf opportunites or career advancements or "inner unease" - he seems to be content helping his son. He sounds completely selfless, which is rare in society today. Perhaps people should look outward not inward on how to improve the lives of their families.

Posted by: cmac | January 11, 2007 9:02 AM

"Besides you, I know no SAHF."

Maybe you should get out more.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 9:09 AM

The role model doesn't have to be famous -- heck, if the guy next door seems to have his family life and work life and social life and inner self all in working order, I'd love to hear about it.

Posted by: Brian Reid | January 11, 2007 9:11 AM

Welcome to our world Brian! :)

"But there's no one telling the 21st-century dads what their lives should look like."

It's just as tough to have "choices" than it is to NOT have choices. There may be a lot of books regarding women's lives as parents and balancing it all, but as you know from reading this blog- it doesn't simplify things! Believe me, it's no picnic having thousands of opinions re: what your life SHOULD look like.

I think men, as a whole, are doing a great job in 2007 as fathers. Instad of looking toward a book written or a blog posted, just look around you, what fathers do you NOT want to be like- who do you look up to?
Do you want to be the workaholic millionaire dad? Do you want to be the baseball coach dad? We see these, and all types of fathers, everywhere.
I know a few (ok, just 2) stay at home dads from my SAHM days. They were absolutely wonderful. No problems getting dirty, goofy, and sweaty with the kids. They didn't gossip or stand around. True, they didn't really cook, etc as the moms did, but they brought something special to the table that shouldn't be overlooked.
I think that message, whether SAHD or working dad, should be sent loud and clear. That there IS a place for dads other than mowing the lawn and going to work (or playing golf). Dads can work a good job, but not be obsessed about it, maybe pass up on certain jobs requiring travel or long hours; dads can read a story or play tea party just as well as Mom.
Balance your life with your wife's, not just with your kids, maybe. There are a lot of variations- isn't this why we all question and stay up at night wondering if we're doing the right thing?

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | January 11, 2007 9:12 AM

As the father of pretty new children, I really, really can't wait for them to be older so I can take them golfing, fishing, running, and watch football with them. For now all those are pretty much on hold or severely curbed, and have to admit it hurts. I enjoy sitting on the floor knocking down blocks - to a point, and I know it's good quality time with them, but man, I miss golf and skiing and meeting friends at a bar.

Posted by: dad | January 11, 2007 9:15 AM

OK, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the reason there aren't very many public role models on modern fathering (I've racked my brain and can't think of ONE) is because as guys we very much keep to ourselves on this topic. Maybe out of embarassment, maybe because we resist telling other guys how to live their lives or maybe because we would be indignant to any feedback/criticism we received on the behavior we're modelling. Whatever.

I do disagree with the Frank Sinatra approach of Do It [Your] Way and don't look back. The problem with that is you don't allow room for the possibility that [Your Way] isn't the best or only way.

By the way, I saw that a poster implied that your definition of Modern Fathering would be purely SAHF, and that's not my read of what you are saying. My read is that you are speaking to the basic conflicts at the core of modern fathering -- "Many dads are more involved with raising their kids, yet still feel pressure to earn the most bread. They do more housework, but often don't put their careers on hold. Perhaps the most misunderstood challenge is that dads feel the traditional pull of those old habits - golf, softball, running and watching football, basketball and baseball." -- regardless of whether Dad is working part-time, full-time or not at all.

I DON'T think the right answer is embracing the support groups and ideologies designed to bolster Moms. I personally find them to be decidedly unsympathetic to the problems of a Modern Father. And sympathy for us is not their primary mission, so I can't really criticize them for it.

I suppose the only real "new" idea I can offer would be that the notion of Dads supporting each other (for example, jointly blowing off steam with other Dads on an overnight to Atlantic City) might work better than a "role model" anyway. We can help each other 'informally' by keeping each other's stress down and making us happier for our families, which might provide a better result than trying to hit each other over the head with "here is what I know, you should try my way." I'll put up with that from my own Dad, but I would have to be at the end of my rope before soliciting that information from a peer. It's a common "guy" weakness.

Posted by: Proud Papa | January 11, 2007 9:18 AM

I think the conflict men feel when they become parents is a big reason why there are so many single women raising children. The father suddenly realizes that --being-- a dad takes up a lot of the time that he used to have for his own entertainment, and making that mental switch takes some getting used to. If they are unable to make that change, they end up leaving/divorcing the mother of their child and distancing themselves from the raising of the child.

It takes a mental "growing up" to realize and accept that your life is going to change, and that you won't have as much time as you used to have for your own pursuits. That can be a big shock, especially if they discover they'll be a parent at a fairly young age before they've had time to mature emotionally and psychologically.

Brian's right, though. There aren't many fathers making public dissertations on how to be a dad in this modern age. When I become one (soon hopefully!) I suppose I'll just go with what feels right to me and my family.

Posted by: John | January 11, 2007 9:25 AM

As the father of pretty new children, I really, really can't wait for them to be older so I can take them golfing, fishing, running, and watch football with them. For now all those are pretty much on hold or severely curbed, and have to admit it hurts. I enjoy sitting on the floor knocking down blocks - to a point, and I know it's good quality time with them, but man, I miss golf and skiing and meeting friends at a bar.

Posted by: dad | January 11, 2007 09:15 AM

I am right there with you buddy. Like I said, I think the answer would be to grab the boys one Friday night and drive up to AC. Won't change the day-to-day of having little one, but could give you a couple months recharge. Especially if you win.

Posted by: Proud Papa | January 11, 2007 9:29 AM

Ever see "Very Bad Things"? That's what happens when guys are on their own in Vegas/Atlantic City.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 9:34 AM

"Besides you, I know no SAHF."
Maybe you should get out more.

Should I go knock on all the doors in my neighborhood on my lunch break? Should I send out a questioner? Post a flyer maybe, that reads "Scarry needs to get out more, looking for SAHFs." I didn't know any when I worked in DC and I really don't know any now that I live in the Midwest. How many do you know?

Why don't you give me some suggestions on the topic? I usually don't go around asking people if they work or not because I find it rude.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 9:35 AM

"I suppose the only real "new" idea I can offer would be that the notion of Dads supporting each other (for example, jointly blowing off steam with other Dads on an overnight to Atlantic City) might work better than a "role model" anyway. We can help each other 'informally' by keeping each other's stress down and making us happier for our families, which might provide a better result than trying to hit each other over the head with "here is what I know, you should try my way." I'll put up with that from my own Dad, but I would have to be at the end of my rope before soliciting that information from a peer. It's a common "guy" weakness."

While I agree that dads should support one another and actually advocate for being a good father, why does it have to be in Atlantic City on an overnight trip?? Why do men have to gamble or drink to "support" each other? WHy not, instead, hang out with men that are good role models? I wouldn't hang out with a woman who neglected her kids or didn't pay child support- maybe we should start shunning the men in society who do this??

As for that common guy weakness of not listening to authority. It's been a luxury of men to make the rules- that's changing in family life- you just have to get over it and become selfless like the majority of moms have to! We sacrifice and compromise- now it's YOUR turn as well.

You want a specific example- my husband. He should be a role model for all fathers. He doesn't need gambling trips or strip clubs or bars to have a social life. Does he sometimes wish he COULD do those things again? SURE! So do I! But he doesn't because we're grown ups and life changes after having a child. We both realize that. I thank my lucky stars that he does. I'm also grateful that he changes diapers, wake sup in the middle of the night, cleans, does luandry, plays w/ and reads to our daughter. I could go on, but we are true partners...Men are simply going through what women have had to do for years. Just accept responsibility and grow up! Your kids will be MUCH happier, healthier, and more productive in society as a result.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | January 11, 2007 9:38 AM

I have no problem being the full time breadwinner and chief lawnmover and auto mechanic. My older child, who is an adult now, appreciated my "traditional" role as a father. My child at home also understands and appreciates it.

BTW, my spouse does work parttime.

Posted by: the original anon | January 11, 2007 9:39 AM

"I think the conflict men feel when they become parents is a big reason why there are so many single women raising children. The father suddenly realizes that --being-- a dad takes up a lot of the time that he used to have for his own entertainment, and making that mental switch takes some getting used to. If they are unable to make that change, they end up leaving/divorcing the mother of their child and distancing themselves from the raising of the child."


This is incredibly sad and unfortunately true. Divorce/single motherhood is the NUMBER ONE reason that women and children live in poverty. If fathers would just stick around and GROW UP we wouldn't have a lot of the problems in society that we have now.

Women don't have the luxury to suddenly realize that parenting is tough and leave. Can you imagine??? What is it in men that makes them flee? I just don't understand.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 9:44 AM

Geez, a little hard on a one time trip to AC, no? I don't think PP is advocating that be a father's primary social life. And I don't think a solitary night drinking and gasp, gambling, makes one morally corrupt. Can be fun, just as a girls night out for mom can be fun.

Posted by: dad | January 11, 2007 9:47 AM

Great topic, Brian. And it's one, I'm sad to say, I haven't thought about as much as I should. My husband is definitely more involved than my father was, he works full time, does housework, and has also given up as much of himself and outside interests as I have. I obsessively read some of the same authors you mentioned, but my husband just doesn't seem all that interested in looking to other men (or women) to blaze a path or write him a roadmap. Maybe that's just a personality difference?

Posted by: Lawyer Mama | January 11, 2007 9:48 AM

9:38:

"WHy not, instead, hang out with men that are good role models? "

- The point of today's post is that those people aren't easy to find, and I would argue it is tough to evaluate this of a random guy you meet on the street.

"As for that common guy weakness of not listening to authority..."

- I didn't say an authority. In fact, I said I DO listen to my Dad. I said guys have a hard time being dictated to by a peer. I have no definitive reason to believe that a peer's way is better than my way. Is that unreasonable?

"...get over it and become selfless like the majority of moms..."

- I'm sorry that's just not helpful. Brian, this would be why I don't believe seeking support from the Mom-centric groups is a worthwhile thing.

"..my husband. He should be a role model for all fathers."

- Begging your pardon, your husband is a stranger to me. How can I know this for sure?

"Men are simply going through what women have had to do for years."

- Ibid, not helpful.

"Just accept responsibility and grow up!"

- Ibid, not helpful.

I am sorry if I appear defensive, but you seem to have assumed that I do not eagerly and wholeheartedly provide love and support for my family. It's simply not the case.

I do hang out with men who I believe are good people, but all us Dads of young kids are buried by the dichotomy of trying to be the best possible "modern father" and still be able to fulfill the "classic" roles of chief breadwinner and lots of recreation. I think you equate the recreation part with being single. It isn't, necessarily. Guys historically did that as married men, too. And some married guys who still live that way give the rest of us no end of crap. Now, your solution seems to be "so what, suck it up, my husband does." Bully for him. I suck it up too. I'm just looking for a way to be at peace with it. Sorry if seeking that peace makes me appear smaller in your eyes.

Posted by: Proud Papa | January 11, 2007 9:56 AM

Good resources for SAH dads are more likely to be in blogs/web sites than published books.

Check out http://www.slowlane.com/ as a starting point.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 9:59 AM

What is it in men that makes them flee? I just don't understand.

maybe because women are such shrews? maybe women should be a bit smarter and not get pregeant until they are sure that thier worthless man might stick around!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 9:59 AM

I think you will find your role model in a church basement trying to get 30 boys to finish a merit badge, or on a baseball diamond reminding a first grader to watch the ball, maybe at a pool peering over his reading glasses to read the stopwatch on the swimmer in the lane.

He may be taking a vacation day to pack his elderly mother into the van for a trip to the doctor, or standing around at an airport talking to his kids on his cell when his flight is snowed-in.

I don't think you'll find him addressing the Senate or the nation or on the cover of any magazines or books. He's too busy living his life to do that stuff.

Remember the phrase, "if you meet the budda on the road - kill him?" If you 'see' the role model Dad being touted as such then you'll know he's not the one.

Posted by: RoseG | January 11, 2007 9:59 AM

RoseG, wisest comment so far.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 10:03 AM

"There aren't many fathers making public dissertations on how to be a dad in this modern age."

I don't see that there's anything wrong with that, though. I just sat here thinking about all of the men I know who are either SAHDs, do very part-time work from home while their wives are the main bread-winners, or who work a reduced schedule along with their wife to give them alternate days off with the children, and none of them are vocal about their situations. That doesn't mean that they're not an example for both their children and the public as a whole, though. Simply by *doing* what they're doing they're demonstrating what a "modern father" does.

After thinking about this a little more, it occured to me that the SAHDs that I know do a great job at achieving the balance that seems to allude so many SAHMs. They serve on non-profit boards; write, edit, teach music lessons from home; go with their children to public events (book readings, concerts, etc.). They're not home complaining that their lives have been reduced to poop and The Wiggles. I wonder why that is? Are men who make the decision to stay home naturally more at peace with that decision?

Posted by: momof4 | January 11, 2007 10:07 AM

I just went back to work after maternity leave. My husband is taking off this month with the baby. On his work voicemail and e-mail autoresponse, he specifically says that he is on paternity leave. One of his (female) coworkers thinks that is inappropriate, i.e. none of anyone's business. However, he thinks (and I do too) that the only way it can become normal for fathers to do things like that is for people to see that they are doing things like that. So I guess my husband is doing his small part in working to change the dominant paradigm.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | January 11, 2007 10:19 AM

"Besides you, I know no SAHF."
Maybe you should get out more.

I don't know any SAHF either. As a matter of fact, I only know a few SAHM.

Posted by: xyz | January 11, 2007 10:29 AM

roseG - Exactly what I was trying to get at in my post but I did not spell it out so eloquently. Being involved in your children's lives, the community and being a good son/husband/father rank up there with me. My dad used to take me out and explain the constellations on a clear night, ask me to keep him company when he was walking the dog (to get me out of my mom's hair) pick up my friends and take us out to the park. He is/was a great dad. I must say though - he did get his timeout at the local establishment on Friday evenings - so his "man" time did not suffer. He never went to AC.

You don't have to run marathons to be a family man - you just have to be there.

Posted by: cmac | January 11, 2007 10:31 AM

"For dads, there's not much - no one is wagging a finger at me, but I also worry that no one is paying much attention. "

Trade ya, Brian! :-) As a mom, it's frustrating that we seem to get damned whatever we do, whereas dads seem to be praised whatever they do (want to work 80 hrs a week? "what a good provider!" vs. "why did you have kids if you were just going to let someone else raise them?" Want to work less and spend more time at home? "he's so devoted to his kids" vs. "why did you bother to get a degree if you weren't going to use it?"). I'd happily settle for being left alone to figure it out by myself! :-)

In all seriousness, though, I agree that the changing roles and expectations can be very hard. I hate to generalize, but I am going to do it anyway: a lot of the men I know are like my husband, who is an engineer (and was clearly born for that job). He wants precision and clarity -- just tell him what needs to be done, and he'll execute it, quickly and well. So if that's your personality, then you tend to be more comfortable with the clarity of one specific path to follow, with a series of clearly defined tasks to accomplish along the way to "succeed." And I imagine you would feel lost and very, very frustrated to have that path change mid-stream, and no longer be able to identify some specific task or path you are "supposed" to follow. And you're right, that in some ways, the "new" responsibilities to spend time with kids/household tasks is just being added on to the old expectation of being a good provider, which is not easy.

Personally, I think there are millions of dad role models out there -- I see them every day running carpool, coaching soccer on Saturday, buying groceries while trying to keep a 2-yr-old restrained in the cart, holding a sick baby in the doctor's office, leaving work early before their wife's head explodes from annoying child overload, etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum. Almost all of the dads I know are like that, doing their absolute best to strike a balance that works. The key isn't the specific list of tasks that they do, or the specific number of hours they work or spend at home. The key is that they have good hearts, value their families, and take their responsibilities seriously (however they have decided to allocate those responsibilities within their own families). And I think there are millions and millions of men like that out there -- they just don't make the nightly news, or publish self-help books, or go on talk shows bragging on themselves.

Posted by: Laura | January 11, 2007 10:33 AM

RoseG - love your commments! and Proud Papa, I second you in being not-entirely-enthused about sahmbacktowork's post - I don't think the solution is for men to "suck it up" and do what women have already been doing - especially since I'm not exactly convinced women have been doing it "right" ...
I am single, and my dad was pretty traditional, so it's harder to draw from my own experience. We had a neighbor when I was in college who was a stay-at-home dad and also a fantastic cook and housecleaner - so they pretty much practiced role reversal, which I don't think is the goal here either.
Hmm - like other posters have mentioned, I don't know how important it is to have someone visible on a large scale - I would say that my personal role models (as a mother) are not famous people or women who have written books, but women who I have actually had in my life where I could see the "results", not just hear their words.

Posted by: TakomaMom | January 11, 2007 10:34 AM

PS -- I totally agree that dads need time to blow off steam with friends -- even a weekend in AC if that's what floats their boat. Just because you get married and have kids doesn't mean you're dead.

Posted by: Laura | January 11, 2007 10:35 AM

Proud Papa- I think my original post was a little terse- I in no way meant any offense to you in particular- just responding to the issues you brought up.

I was just saying that men are having to go through what women have been doing for years. Women have been balancing a "traditional" role and a working role for a long time. I just think it needs to be put in perspective. Maybe men will appreciate women a little more now that they have to go through the same things? I hope so- and I also hope women can appreciate men more.
And, I think there's a big difference between men's AC outings, etc as opposed to women getting their nails done or grabbing a cup of coffee.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | January 11, 2007 10:38 AM

I like Proud Papa's suggestion of a night/weekend out for Dad. Maybe Atlantic City isn't everyone's idea of fun, but just substitute fishing/camping trip, overnight cycling trip, snowboarding, rock climbing, out of town sports event, etc. I know my husband and lots of our dad friends have done all of these things since we and they have had kids (kids in question range in age from 13 to 2). At least once a year I take a trip with my gal pals and he takes a trip with the guys - doesn't have to be big and expensive - just some time away on a weekend to get a bit of respite from family obligations and to recharge the batteries.

Posted by: cmc | January 11, 2007 10:39 AM

I did not feel like being first today!

Posted by: First Comment | January 11, 2007 10:40 AM

I've noticed that all the engaged, working the kiddie trenches, involved dads I know are kinda dorky.

And it doesn't bother us at all.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 11, 2007 10:43 AM

I have a friend who is an awesome dad. His wife works much longer hours than he does. He does most of the cooking and transporting of his daughter to all the various activities. He takes her fishing, canoeing (sp) and to ball games. He does it all quietly and with great joy and affection.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 11, 2007 10:49 AM

Why in the world do you feel the need to be " gender neutral"? This tired mantra is ridiculous, there are natural differences between men and women. There is nothing wrong with different priorities or expectations. Rather than try to suppress your masculinity, revel in it. This will probably enrage the feminist hens here, but so what.

Posted by: pATRICK | January 11, 2007 10:51 AM

I was raised by a single mom - dad was one of those selfish ones you all are talking about who couldn't deal with the responsibilities of fatherhood and kinda snapped. (In fact, he's over 60 now, and has never snapped back!)

In our society, I just see so much "I want, therefore I should HAVE" that I think that bears a lot of the reason for walkaway dads/moms. It's human nature, true, but our society has become so increasingly me-centric that it's really no wonder that so many marriages break up, when the individual parents see THEMSELVES as the only thing that matters and THEIR happiness as something to be achieved at all costs, to heck with the consequences on the family unit.

Posted by: StudentMom2Be | January 11, 2007 10:52 AM

To SAHMbacktowork

"And, I think there's a big difference between men's AC outings, etc as opposed to women getting their nails done or grabbing a cup of coffee."

Why? Please elaborate.

Or, do you think the equivalent to guys going to AC is the time women spend "with the tennis pro"?

If we are going to throw silly stereotypes out there, let's go all the way, right?

Posted by: Balt Dad | January 11, 2007 10:53 AM

Anyone know what the h#ll pATRICK is talking about?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 10:56 AM

I don't think men are nearly as introspective as women about this stuff. Most men I know don't feel the need to apologize for their choices or dwell on them really at all. They also don't seem to need the approval or validation that a lot of women seem to need.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | January 11, 2007 10:57 AM

A good friend of mine is a great dad. He has a 6 year old daughter, works full time and has a group of friends he sees regularly. Time is defintely a crunch for him. His daughter comes first, so he's with her most weeknights and makes every school or daycare event. But he also makes time to see friends and do things he enjoys doing.
But those things don't make him a great dad -- that's just scheduling. It's the way he pays attention to his daughter's development, the way he gives her a set of choices {"You can draw for 5 more minutes before your bath or you can draw for 3 minutes. Which one do you want?") but keeps control, the way he asks her at bedtime to name three good things that happened that day, the way he controls his impatience and frustration and shows her a calm face even when she challenges the boundaries he set for the 10th time in an evening. Being a good parent isn't about devoting every spare moment to your child. It's about helping them become healthy adults, and part of that is showing your kids that you take time for yourself.

Posted by: Admiring friend | January 11, 2007 11:00 AM

My husband could serve as a pretty good role model. He stayed home with our son for the first three years. At the same time he was working toward his bachelor's degree. Now he's working as a French teacher and is looking forward to our son being old enough to participate in soccer and other sports so he can coach.

I think it might have been easier in some ways for my husband to take on the SAHF role because he is not originally from this country and he really wasn't interested in the traditional gender roles. However, I give him a lot of credit because he came from an extremely traditional society where a man would NEVER be the one to take primary care of a child.

Posted by: kathycoulnj | January 11, 2007 11:00 AM

OK, I just had to share a story from my 2.5 year-old last week (her dad is a SAHF, and I was a SAHM before that).

My daughter is in a phase where she likes to label people as girls or boys. After one such labeling episode, I mischievously asked her what girls had that boys don't have. She thought seriously about it and then declared, "Girls have toys, and boys cook."

Posted by: Neighbor | January 11, 2007 11:00 AM

"I've noticed that all the engaged, working the kiddie trenches, involved dads I know are kinda dorky."

How very high school of you.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 11:02 AM

Warning: Standard disclaimer applies (even though I know I'll get beaten up some regardless due to topic)

To SAHMbtwork: You said: "As for that common guy weakness of not listening to authority. It's been a luxury of men to make the rules- that's changing in family life- you just have to get over it and become selfless like the majority of moms have to! We sacrifice and compromise- now it's YOUR turn as well."

Not to pick a fight, but pretty skewed analysis there. Let me offer another way to look at it. If you want to engage stereotypes, men are taught obliquely and directly that they are meant to be leaders. Leaders in their work, communities, and families. We are looked at as final authority figures in many ways. My wife and I share discipline with our kids, but make no mistake, when she needs the big guns--they go to Dad. If as a man you feel internally as well as urged externally to take the drive to lead the herd, then how frequently are you going to stop and ask your peers if they think you are heading in the right direction?? It's just hard to expect to have it both (all) ways.

And since we're on stereotypes that might shed light on the topic at hand, women more frequently reflect choices beforehand, and seek affirmation afterward for their choices than men do (sort of the flip side of the coin). Hence the men to women ratio on blogs like this, for instance.

While we are here, I'll move on to a pet topic of mine. Since women seek more consensus, and more commonly prefer to take less chances (seek the safer choices), they probably leads to better average results. Distributions more in the middle of the curve. That leaves more men in the risk taking, either extraordinarily successful, or drastically unsuccessful. I've read a few articles that point this phenomenon out when watching women making stock investments, for instance. But I suspect it holds in many other areas, too. Education seems to be another area where it holds. I've occasionally wonders how much this accounts for the disparity of dramatically successful males in business, etc., instead of the standard presumption that they must have gotten ahead BECAUSE they are men, or they somehow gotten unfair gender breaks. What they don't spend much time showing is that for every Bill Gates, there are many more men versus women who are homeless/ troubled/dramatically failed.

Don't have time to review this, so forgive the misspells/grammar. A meeting calls...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | January 11, 2007 11:02 AM

I am the mother of two, grandmother of two, and I have been reading this column for a long time, but this is the first time I have felt compelled to comment.

My husband got a pink slip while I was still in the hospital from the birth of our first child. We both stayed home with our daughter for the first six months or so of her life. For those first six months, we were BOTH parents, we were BOTH homemakers, cooks, nurses, launderers, etc. When we both went back to school after the birth of our second child, my husband was the primary caregiver for years, as I worked days and went to school in the evenings. After we both took on professional careers, he routinely stayed home with sick children, cooked dinner, etc.

You said it yourself: "The easiest way out of this, of course, is to check my gender at the door." We applied that lesson for our entire childrearing lives, and now my daughter is applying it with her husband and their two children. She has a degree in child development, and wisely sent my son-in-law to a parenting course when their children were tiny. To the extent you want to find a role model, look for a good "parenting" role model, ignore gender. Your children will be the better for it.

Ultimatly, the best answer is to become the role model, yourself. This is what professional women have had to do for themselves. This, really, is what all parents have to do.

Posted by: grammy | January 11, 2007 11:03 AM

What about Brad Pitt?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 11:04 AM

Brad who?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 11:06 AM

I don't have time to read all the comments today. But I have to say I only know a few SAHDs. I read about a lot of them or hear about them from TV or this blog. I but I only know a few. I have to say 2 out of the four I know would not be considered good fathers or mother substitutes. One guy had two children. Oldest was in full time elementary school and the younger one was age 3. Younger child went to preschool 5 days a week and day care following preschool. Why if you are a SAHP, do you then need preschool? I could see if you are a member of the rich and famous club but if you are an ordinary family living on 80K a year, why would you ever pay the price for additional day care over preschool. Also older child went to summer camp. SAHD refused to drive her, so they had to pay for extra bus transportation. I still don't get what his role is in the family except for grocery shopping. Also the other guy has two kids. One is in HS and younger one in 8th grade. Kids still takes two public buses to get to their private school. Thier bus commute is 45 minutes one way. Why doesn't he just drive them? They are all two car families. When you politely ask what these men do for their families, you get the same response. They grocery shop and watch the kids. How much watching are they really doing? Evidently watching kids does not involve transportation. I know this is a small sample and in no way reflects good SAHDs. But these are 1/2 the cases I heard about. The other two (good examples) is my own brother and another guy. Brother stayed home for 9 months. Took care of the kids very well. Did all the normal parent stuff, very involved with kids. His wife's only complaint is that he does not clean house very well. No surprise. I could have told her that. Brother went back to work in November. He said it was very boring SAH. Other guy makes violins in his spare time. Had a degree from Harvard. Now makes 8K a year. Hmm, good investment? Anyway, violin making business is not so hot. No duh. Stays home and takes care of baby. Very good loving father. Terrible cook and housekeeper according to his wife. Wife thinks his 8k was not worth the day care cost. She will stick to hamburger helper and a good influence on her baby. Brian, you sound like a great SAHD. I wish you could give some lessons to people.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 11, 2007 11:07 AM

What about Brad Pitt?

what about him? Sorry, but he is not a real person, he is a rich, pampered star.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 11:07 AM

I meant she went to preschool and day care. I don't know if you SAH why you need DAYCARE too.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 11, 2007 11:11 AM

One more comment: Being a good dad doesn't mean being a perfect person. The great dad I mentioned earlier is one of the sloppiest people I know, chronically runs late and is chubby. All those traits drive his wife nuts. But he does try to improve on all those faults. I remember the bathroom at his first house when he was still a bachelor (shudder). He's light years ahead of that now. But he'll never be neat. He enjoys sports, but loves eating just as much, so I strongly doubt he'll ever be slim. It's all about priorities. Let the less important stuff slide a little.

Posted by: Admiring friend | January 11, 2007 11:11 AM

Role model? who needs it for over half of the fathers in this country, who have had the privelage of being run thru the divorce court, and as a result only see our children two days every two weeks, just enough time to say hello and goodby and after a while they all but forget you.Role model, the scream queens of this country have seen to it that we don't need one.

Posted by: mcewen | January 11, 2007 11:12 AM

"Why if you are a SAHP, do you then need preschool?"

Because public school kindergarten has very limited patience these days with kids who don't already know how to walk in a line, raise their hand when they want to speak, and all the other conventions of going to school. If you don't get your kid acclimated to that sort of thing - not to mention acclimated to spending several hours with his peers instead of at home - before he goes to kindergarten, he's going to be at a serious disadvantage.

Posted by: Lizzie | January 11, 2007 11:14 AM

Foamgnome, you say "Why if you are a SAHP, do you then need preschool?"

I was a stay at home mom for years, and my son went to preschool three mornings a week. We did this so that he would have opportunities for socialization and would start to have an idea of what school would be like. As a former teacher, I strongly believe preschool is necessary in most cases for children to kind of hit the ground running when they get to Kindergarten. (I think there is a lot of researching that backs up that argument.)

Posted by: WorkingMomX | January 11, 2007 11:15 AM

I think some of the assumptions that underlay modern Dads' worries may be invalid. For example, many modern dads worry about being the primary breadwinner, even though their wives have full time jobs. This creates a vicious circle that results in unhappy husbands and wives (in my opinion). "Breadwinner dad" ignores household duties and childcare in order to do more breadwinning, increasing the burden of childcare/housework on mom, who undergoes lower career success due to reduced help with family obligations, resulting in dad feeling more pressure to be a breadwinner. Lather, rinse, repeat. The underlying problem is in dad's assumption that he is the breadwinner. If both spouses have full time jobs with benefits, then both are breadwinners. So dad should stop worrying so much about breadwinning and help more with the housework, enabling mom to succeed in career and continue to share the burden of breadwinning.

Overall, I feel that the solution to both dad's and mom's balancing worries is to make sure that each person gets some of what s/he needs. Some moms love taking care of children and don't need dad to do much of it, but they might feel they need lots of beautiful china to be happy. Some dads don't mind doing laundry but feel they need to play football every weekend to feel happy. I think spouses have to communicate honestly and be unafraid to say when their needs are going unmet, but also be willing to stretch sometimes to meet their partner's needs.

Posted by: m | January 11, 2007 11:16 AM

StudentMom2Be, I actually something of the opposite in our society. It seems that it has become so childcentric! I agree that there was a "me" phase, but I think that has past. Now it seems like you're defined by your children. Seen the "Bump watch" in Hollywood, anyone? And all the stuff that is marketed for children and parents! It's nuts! Now, I know that I might be sensitive to this because I don't have kids, but in this case a parent friend of mine actually pointed this out.

Which leads me to my opinion on this discussion: There aren't a bunch of men clamoring to become father role models because men have not been and are not now identified solely as fathers. Men are bankers who have kids, CEOs with pictures on their desks. Men's personalities are not wrapped up in fatherhood. Women's are. For women, it's perfectly acceptable to be just a mom. Not so for men. Their identities are often wrapped up in their carreers. This is certainly changing, but even now it's rare to hear of someone on this blog say "my husband stayed at home for the first three years and then just couldn't stand leaving his baby with someone else, so he started volunteering instead. He's just got so much fatherly instinct." It's weird for men to be authorities on parenting--women have that market cornered.

Posted by: Meesh | January 11, 2007 11:16 AM

Working momX: That was a mistake. I corrected it above. I meant why does she got to day care if he stays at home.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 11, 2007 11:17 AM

StudentMom2Be, I actually notices something of the opposite in our society. It seems that it has become so childcentric! I agree that there was a "me" phase, but I think that has past. Now it seems like you're defined by your children. Seen the "Bump watch" in Hollywood, anyone? And all the stuff that is marketed for children and parents! It's nuts! Now, I know that I might be sensitive to this because I don't have kids, but in this case a parent friend of mine actually pointed this out.

Which leads me to my opinion on this discussion: There aren't a bunch of men clamoring to become father role models because men have not been and are not now identified solely as fathers. Men are bankers who have kids, CEOs with pictures on their desks. Men's personalities are not wrapped up in fatherhood. Women's are. For women, it's perfectly acceptable to be just a mom. Not so for men. Their identities are often wrapped up in their carreers. This is certainly changing, but even now it's rare to hear of someone on this blog say "my husband stayed at home for the first three years and then just couldn't stand leaving his baby with someone else, so he started volunteering instead. He's just got so much fatherly instinct." It's weird for men to be authorities on parenting--women have that market cornered.

Lastly, because men are not judged solely on their parenting, they are much less likely to fall into dispair when someone criticizes them. They are congratulated for just making it in parenthood. Moms, on the other hand, feel bad hearing that because, hey, it's your one job and you should know this stuff. Women internalize the criticism because we identify as caregivers. Men can shrug it off because they've got other roles to exceed at.

Posted by: Meesh | January 11, 2007 11:19 AM

I am a woman, but my idea of 21st century fathering is molded mainly by my father.
My mother was a SAHM and my father worked full time. Very traditional.
However my father was a very involved parent. He was not at the greens or plopped in front of a football game on his weekends or evenings.
No, not at all.
He was there helping us with our homework, teaching Sunday school classes, Den Father at my brothers' Cub scouts, Attending my sister's recitals and helping me put together my latest "experiment".
He also went to the parent teacher nights and new what was going on with us in school, knew our friends, and was always there...even when he wasn't because of his job.
And yes, his career did take a back-seat to his family.

Posted by: preggers | January 11, 2007 11:20 AM

Stupid double post. Ignore the first...

Posted by: Meesh | January 11, 2007 11:20 AM

Foamgnome, I did see that after I posted. Sorry for the confusion!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | January 11, 2007 11:20 AM

"As the father of pretty new children, I really, really can't wait for them to be older so I can take them golfing, fishing, running, and watch football with them. For now all those are pretty much on hold or severely curbed, and have to admit it hurts. I enjoy sitting on the floor knocking down blocks - to a point, and I know it's good quality time with them, but man, I miss golf and skiing and meeting friends at a bar."

Me too! I was excited to have "children", problem is I got a "baby". I was pretty bummed about that. I am a much better kid mom than a baby mom. I enjoy interacting with them more than I did the baby stuff. Now that they are 4 and 6 life is a lot more fun. Dh takes son golfing and to basketball games. I'm enjoying playing sports and talking with him. Dad is also enjoying my daughter more. I'm enjoying doing "girlie" stuff with her. What's really interesting is that I find play with my daughter to be much more intuitive. I know how to play dolls, it requires a lot more thinking to create the "great pirate battle". I think that dad feels this way too. I do miss the baby stuff too now that its gone.

I also think that dads should find their own way. For us to think that involved dads should be involved in the same way that moms are is as silly as women defining themselves in the same way that men have for eons. We have different skills and talents and they each bring value to the parenting table. I love SAHDs! I love the way that they do things differently. I love how little they stress and how little they do the stupid comparing and competing that is so common among SAHMs in suburbia. I have a SAHD in our ballet group who is so intersting to talk to and he loves how everyone expects him not to be good at the job. If the kids are clean, happy and well behaved - he's a hero - if they are dirty and miserable then he's just meeting expectations. I think its a great attitude and he has great kids. I do think it must be lonely for them as I think a lot of SAHMs exclude SAHDs.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 11, 2007 11:21 AM

I get the pre-school part, but not the daycare after pre-school. Most SAHP parents will have thier child in school mornings or a few days a week and then pick them up. Guy sounds rather lazy to me.

OK, so I may be bitter or just disappointed at my child fathers lack of involvement, but I am truely shocked that a parent can just walk away and not at all be curious about a person that they created. It could be a male thing in that they do not have all of those hormones raging that bond them to the child, but it is truely an out of sight out of mind situation that I am dealing with. Funny thing is the he has another child that he adores, and is involved with (live far away) considering himself a great parent.

When we were kids my parents were young and poor, my dad worked night and my mom worked days (did attend part-time preschool becuase I begged to) until we were in elementary school. This equal work/involvement was just something that I grew up assuming that all men did. My mom was a better cook, but my dad allowed us to do fun things during the day.

Posted by: single mom | January 11, 2007 11:22 AM

I apologize in advance for the OT comment, but I wanted to respond to a question of Mona's from yesterday, and I didn't think shed go back through the 500+ posts!

You asked if you should get a smaller carrier for one of your cats...the main thing is to get one that's airline-approved to go under the seats. I had a medium-size one and it fit under fine, since it was a soft carrier. Just be prepared that it takes a few hard shoves to get it under the seat!

Oh, and if you're not sedating the cats, I'd try to get an aisle seat. My cat never complained while flying when I was on the aisle, but the few times I had to sit next to the window he cried a lot more. Hope it goes well!!

Posted by: AG - to Mona | January 11, 2007 11:24 AM

Foamgnome, you said these were "these are 1/2 the cases I heard about." Did you know these guys personally? I suspect there could be some reporting bias-- that is, people could talk about them more because they are examples of bad SAHFs. They do sound like a few bad, pampered SAHMs I know-- and I heard more about them, too, because they acted so entitled.

I know many SAHFs-- mostly because when you are one, everyone wants to introduce you to another one. They've all been great, in my personal, anecdotal experience.

Posted by: Neighbor | January 11, 2007 11:25 AM

Foamgnome:

The SAHDs you describe (sending their kids to preschool, their older kids on the bus, etc.) describe at least half of the SAHMs I know. That kind of behavior is certainly not exclusive to men.

WorkingMomX and Lizzie -

Foamgnome posted again clarifying that she meant preschool *and* daycare and not just preschool. But I have to take exception to your comments about the necessity of preschool for success in kindergarten and research backing that up.

The only research that supports your statement is about low income, at risk children who benefit from a high quality preschool program. And even then, there's not much to show that the benefit continues on after the children have been in school for a few years - i.e. after the 3rd grade or so. For middle and upper class families who are providing their children with enriched lives at home, preschool does not give the child any additional "edge" when they reach regular school age. A better indicator of success in school is how much the child is read to in their preschool years.

My 6 & 4 year olds did/do not attend preschool. Instead, we take classes together, do swim lessons & gymnastics, belong to playgroups and have playdates, go to library storytime, belong to an indoor park. My 6 year old is at the top of her first grade class academically, socially, and behaviorally. It took her absolutely no time to adjust to the classroom experience when she started half day kindergarten last year. It doesn't take very long (like seconds) for a 5 year old to learn to walk in a line and raise their hand when it's your turn to talk - and if it does, there's a problem beyond what preschool can solve.

Posted by: momof4 | January 11, 2007 11:27 AM

These are guys that are married to women that I know. And the one guy is my brother.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 11, 2007 11:28 AM

What about Will Smith?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 11:29 AM

good post texas dad of 2

Posted by: pATRICK | January 11, 2007 11:29 AM

Will Smith homeschools his children.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 11:30 AM

I would never be a SAHD! Just does not fit my personality. Pls contrast this with sterotype.

Posted by: the original anon | January 11, 2007 11:30 AM

Momof4: I wasn't saying she needed to be in preschool or not. I was just saying why would you then pay for day care if you supposely SAH. I don't know any women that SAH and then pay for day care on top of that. But maybe you know wealthier people then me. I do live in Fairfax and I know a fare number of SAHMS. None of them send their kids to day care on top of preschool. Now they do go to 800 lessons a week. Like gymboree, kindermusik etc... I did take DD to gymboree all last year and determined besides having fun indoors during the winter it is not that great. I think it is the kind of program that impresses parents and gives their kids a chance to get out of the house. They really don't socialize much under 3 years of age. But most of the moms and a few dads, just sat around and talked and tried to prevent their kids from killing themselves. But they did not send the kid to day care on top of that stuff.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 11, 2007 11:31 AM

"Role model? who needs it for over half of the fathers in this country, who have had the privelage of being run thru the divorce court, and as a result only see our children two days every two weeks, just enough time to say hello and goodby and after a while they all but forget you.Role model, the scream queens of this country have seen to it that we don't need one."

mcewen, I'm sure that this is a kneejerk reaction, so it's forgivable. I am a feminist and very aware that dads get the short end of the stick in divorce court when it comes to child costody. No question. And as a feminist, it's my perogative to point out that those divorce laws are based on antiquated notions of a man's role and a woman's role in child rearing. I believe that the laws should be revised. So maybe before you blame the "scream queens" (which I can only assume are feminists), please realize that we might want the same things.

Posted by: Meesh | January 11, 2007 11:32 AM

Single Dads Praise Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin has become a hero to divorcing dads after announcing he's planning a book about how to beat America's legal system when splitting from your wife. The star admits he's often patted on the back by weary fathers who have spent a fortune fighting the system in an effort to see more of the children they had with ex-wives - and given up.

Baldwin, who fought a much-publicized and bitter battle with ex Kim Basinger over custody of their daughter Ireland, intends to release his new self-help guide next spring - and angry ex-husbands cannot wait to get their hands on it.

He says, "I'd be sitting in the first class cabin of a plane, I'd be in a bar, I'd be in a restaurant, I'd be somewhere, I'd be in a line at the baseball game, and I became a kind of... lightning rod for this issue. Men would come up to me and say, 'I fought and fought and fought and I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless units of my own psychic energy on this whole thing and then I finally quit,' and I would be heartbroken."

Baldwin will offer tips about pre-nuptial agreements and divorce battle fight plans in an effort to help other fathers beat the system and win more time with their kids in custody battles.

He adds, "I saw that no matter how much conciliation I brought to the table and how much I had hoped for on the other side... the attorneys were calling all the shots and they were just going to run this thing right into the ground. They didn't care."

Posted by: Alec Baldwin Kicks Butt | January 11, 2007 11:33 AM

Educators pipe in if you can, but I read that even reading to your child is not a significant indicator of academic success. That is the educational level of the parents and the type of parents that was the strongest indicator. So all those trips to the zoo, reading Thomas the Train book a 1,000Xs, and all the extra lessons are really not significant factors in academic success. All the studies that I have heard about says that preschool gives children a small edge, at all income levels, for only the kindergarten and first grade. After that the non preschool attending kids catch up and there is no difference. So no lasting difference. In statistics, we call that a time sensitive factor.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 11, 2007 11:35 AM

For what it is worth, my father and mother had a viable work schedule that ensured he was home much of the school/work week and spent a LOT of time with us.

She worked M-F (40+ hours). He worked F-Sunday (40 hours [double on Friday, single on Saturday, double on Sunday, overtime if/when possible]). This meant there was only one day a week that they relied upon a babysitter.

He's 60 and has the same work schedule. Now he takes care of my sib's kids for love and money.

Posted by: MdMother | January 11, 2007 11:39 AM

Texas Dad of 2,

I became a little confused reading your comments because you labeled certain characteristics as "stereotypes", then subsequently seemed to consider those stereotypes as innate characteristics. I agree with your initial characterization that they are best described as stereotypes, particularly comments akin to women value consensus. My perspective on this board is a little different than yours. I see lots of women here who are quite fine with their choices and couldn't give a rat's patooty whether some other woman (or man) agrees with, and validates, those choices or not. Some people are never happy until everyone agrees they are correct, but they represent the insecure and belligerent extreme.

As increasing numbers of men become actively involved in raising their daughters, and more men, perhaps, opt to be the primary at-home parent, than maybe those men will encourage greater risk-taking. I will agree with you that, to the extent SAHMs might have a more traditional mind-set generally, they might be more safety-at-all-costs focused and promote less risk-taking than a SAHD would promote. The goal of life is not to avoid every activity at which one might fail or get hurt.

Father of 4, I have another spin on your dork comment. The SAHDs I know, and have known, are guys who measure "success" on a different scale than the one which labels as "most successful" the guy with the fastest car, the most impressive job title, the highest income and the hottest second wife. They don't care whether their choice to stay home exposes them to disapproval from guys like pATRICK who think they are insufficiently masculine. Not sure that makes SAHDs dorks, or just non-conformists.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 11:39 AM

AG, thanks! I will definitely be on the lookout for a soft carrier when I book my flight and prepare for the move. :-) Hope you and your kitty(ies) are well!

Posted by: Mona | January 11, 2007 11:40 AM

TO foamgnome - Did you read that in Freakenonomics? I have also read that 50% of out IQ is predetermined, so what were are working on developing is the other half and perhaps the desire and motivation to learn and be curious about the world around us when we read, go to the zoo, park, etc...

Posted by: single mom | January 11, 2007 11:41 AM

#1, Ireland Baldwin is an atrocious name.

#2, Kim Basinger is single???!?!?!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 11:43 AM

What is wrong with a beautiful wife and fast car?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 11:44 AM

I used to be a teacher of 1st grade. There is an ENORMOUS difference in kids who went to preschool and those who did not. 90% of the kids from preschools knew how to follow directions, share, and listen. They were even more creative as a whole. Some kids are fine without preschool, but as a general rule, preschool helps. And, maybe academic success evens out, but the social angle REALLY sticks.

I used to see my kids grow up from 1st grade until they left the school after 6th grade. It's hard for kids to catch up socially once they're labelled "bad" or "annoying" or "weird" by the other kids. Now, I'm not saying it's right for the kids ot do this- but the kids who don't have friends in 1st grade are not going to have many in 5th or 6th. Kids need to be able to function in groups- so they will do well in school and eventually be able to work with a team at work.

Preschool is invaluable for the vast majority of kids.

Posted by: VAteacher | January 11, 2007 11:45 AM

Foamgnome -

My comments about the "necessity of preschool" were directed to Lizzie and WorkingMomX.

I agree that daycare on top of preschool when there is a SAHP is silly. But considering I know plenty of SAHMs who, while they don't necessarily do *daycare*, have some sort of a regular non-preschool child care situation for their children (a teenage mothers helper, a regular babysit exchange with a friend, a mothers day out program, staying after preschool for the lunch program, etc.), I just don't think that it's a concept that's only practiced by SAHDs.

Posted by: momof4 | January 11, 2007 11:45 AM

"All the studies that I have heard about says that preschool gives children a small edge, at all income levels, for only the kindergarten and first grade."

This is pretty much true, but I'd also argue that parents screw themselves into the ceiling trying to provide benefits of much more questionable value - some get het up about their kids not playing with plastic toys, some get het up about their kids never consuming anything other than breast milk for the first year of their lives, et al. Since there is a demonstrable value to preschool, however small, why not just go with it?

And, for the record, it's not just a matter of telling a five-year-old "Stand in line." There's a difference between telling them something and their doing it as a matter habit. My sister teaches kindergarten and she has said more than once that the kids who come to her with a few months of preschool under their belts are better off for it.

Posted by: Lizzie | January 11, 2007 11:45 AM

Will Smith has kids by 3 different women. Yes, he appears to love them all, but it is easy to have time to show your love for your kids when 70% of every day is not consumed with figuring out work, travel to/from and feeding them.

Start the Role Model search elsewhere.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 11:45 AM

singlemom:no, I have not read that book. But these statistical models show that even given genetics, those extracurricular activities are not significant (statistically speaking) in determining academic success. I think the results were surprising to everyone involved. The point being, kids are more interested in emmulating the people around them, mainly their parents. As long as they see you reading, getting degrees, and putting a high regard to academic success, they will try to be like you. That the actual reading is irrelevant to the model. We take our kids to gym, zoo, the museum because that is what we like to do. But we also do it because we think it is beneficial to them. The research says, if you just go to the museum without the kid, it has the same effect. Do you see what I mean?

Posted by: fomagnome | January 11, 2007 11:46 AM

Having a different shape after you birth a baby isn't the same as being out of shape. My daughter is one month old and I am in better shape than before I got pregnant. But my body is definitely different, even tho I am much healthier and weigh less, thanks to regular exercise and a good diet. I'm sure breastfeeding doesn't hurt.

Posted by: To Mona | January 11, 2007 11:46 AM

Will Smith has kids by 3 different women. Yes, he appears to love them all, but it is easy to have time to show your love for your kids when 70% of every day is not consumed with figuring out work, travel to/from and feeding them.

Start the Role Model search elsewhere.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 11:47 AM

What is wrong with a beautiful wife and fast car?

Posted by: | January 11, 2007 11:44 AM


Nothing, and that's not what she said. She said that SAHDs may be less inclined to buy into the presence of either or both of those factors as indicators of success.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 11:48 AM

On the other hand, since we have so many great mom role models already- why don't we try and get them to talk about the dads more? I think a large part of the issue is the MOTHER's expectations or lack thereof for the father...and the father just slips into that role.

More father role models would be great, too. But since parenting has so long been focused on the mother, I think mothers can and will have the most influence on this issue.

Posted by: Liz D | January 11, 2007 11:49 AM

momof4: I see your point. Like I said in my example, plenty of SAHMs seem to just load their kids up with lessons, play dates, and other things. I don't talk to them about mother's helpers or moms days out. I think if I SAH I might know more about their typical day. I guess that is how researchers come up with SAHPs, on average, only spend 2hours more a day actively engaged with their children then working parents. Hmm, we need to work on both some Moms and some Dads. I just was amazed with the extraordinary price of day care here in DC, that someone who SAH would pay that. Like I said, they were not rich, 80k/year.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 11, 2007 11:50 AM

VAteacher -

And how many of those kids who didn't go to preschool and were "bad", "annoying", or "weird" were from low income families who didn't have the resources to give their child an enriching life outside of school? Or had parents with low educational levels themselves so they didn't understand or know what their child needed to be successful in school? How many of them had never been in a group situation with other children? How many of them had never or rarely been read to?

Posted by: momof4 | January 11, 2007 11:51 AM

Ireland Baldwin is an atrocious name.

They are Irish Americans, they like the name, who cares if you do.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 11:52 AM

Isn't lot of what people are talking about as role model behavior just what people are supposed to do. Isn't a dad supposed to spend time with his kids and treat his wife kindly?

As Chris Rock would say: You're not supposed to be in prison. You are SUPPOSED to be a good dad (it was much funnier when he said it)

Posted by: moxiemom | January 11, 2007 11:52 AM

Pierce Brosnan?

His wife died of cancer and he became a single dad

And he's James Bond

And pretty handsome

Seems like a cool role model to me!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 11:54 AM

I don't think that qualifies them as insufficiently 'masculine". When you try to suppress your identity as a man in order to satisfy some kooky feminist ideal, then I do think you are a dufus. I laugh at your comment since I often do many of these things myself in parenting but I have no intention of turning into ALAN ALDA to satisfy some politically correct nonsense. Fast car beautiful wife, that was a good one. God forbid you should want those in life. HAHA

Posted by: pATRICK | January 11, 2007 11:54 AM

momof4:Just out of curiousity, why do you choose not to send them to preschool. Most preschools, not the one my DD attends, is like one stop shopping. You get the reading groups, the field trips, the early reading readiness and math etc in one place. DD gets all that but she is there for speech delay. The other stuff is just a bonus. But again, she is in a special education preschool to help kids learn to talk. Not your typical preschool. If she wasn't speech delayed, I was planning to send her to a normal academic preschool.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 11, 2007 11:56 AM

pATRICK, just curious. what is it about a guy staying home with his kids that involves "suppressing his identity" and being "politically correct"? Is that not an acceptable option for a dad who wants to do so? Maybe I'm missing the oppression here.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 11, 2007 11:58 AM

Where is the other one? He has two to Jada and his first to a wife who didn't want to be married to him any more. From what I read in a magazine though, they still remain close. So does Will Smith have 4 kids?

Will Smith has kids by 3 different women.

Posted by: scarry | January 11, 2007 11:58 AM

Pierce Brosnan ..........sounds like a bed warmer to me. I wouldn't kick him out of bed for eating crackers.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 11, 2007 11:59 AM

But I have a fast car and beautiful (first) wife! They both make me happy!

Posted by: the original anon | January 11, 2007 11:59 AM

The gist of my post was this underlying current from some that men's pursuits were less important, oppressive to women and in general a bad thing. I.E. wanting to play golf on the weekends, doing things that interest him should somehow be thrown out because of his family. I think ALL adults need adult activity men and women. All in moderation.

Posted by: pATRICK | January 11, 2007 12:02 PM

"Pierce Brosnan ..........sounds like a bed warmer to me. I wouldn't kick him out of bed for eating crackers."

I can't think of many reasons to kick Pierce Brosnan out of bed! :)

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 12:05 PM

A banner post: 12:02 PM. pATRICK's first sensible post. I'm waiting with baited breath to see: is it his last?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 12:05 PM

Pierce Brosnan ..........sounds like a bed warmer to me

Sounds like you are considering a person only as a sexual object! Is this againt the tenants of feminism?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 12:05 PM

The absolute best male parent role models I know are a gay couple raising the nephews of half of the couple. The two boys were about to be taken from the mother by social services due to truancy, neglect, etc. and were absolutely wild when these men took them in and committed to raising them. The older of the two boys is now a teenager, and not only is he one of the most respectful children I know, he's gentle with kids, a willing helper, and trustworthy with most responsibilities. He's also on the honor roll and taking advanced classes. The younger is still in elementary school, and is respectful, playful, friendly, and a bit of a ham (he loves the children's choir). Their 'dads' are both teachers at our church - one in the elementary class, one in the combined middle/high school class that I co-teach. One of the two men is back in school, so he's the full time parent at home much of the time. The other works in education, and is undoubtedly helping to raise lots of other young people there.

I think a lot of the 'role model' work isn't in being some paragon, all the other stuff aside. It's about being there, about being present and ready to work when needed, about caring and taking responsibility, and about being emotionally as well as physically present with your family (spouses and kids). None of that is precluded by working full time outside the home, or by staying home full time, or some combination of the two.

Posted by: RebeccainAR | January 11, 2007 12:06 PM

well, pATRICK, there's something on which we entirely agree. Thanks for the clarification since I couldn't figure out what was irritating you.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 11, 2007 12:07 PM

I have also read "Freakonomics" and Foamgnome, I think it's right up your alley. You should definitely check it out. Fascinating reading.

I maintain that reading to a child is one of the most important things you can do. When I used to teach first grade, I found that children who were read to at home had a much easier time learning to read. In fact, it was almost like a switch flipping with many of them. They got it much more quickly than those for whom books were a "new" thing.

As I never taught Kindergarten, I can't speak directly to the experience of a child who never attended preschool vs. a child who did. But I will say that my colleagues who did teach that age group would frequently point to whether a child had preschool or not as to how well or poorly they adapted. Speaking from my own experience with my son, I saw him learn to take direction from others, learn more about taking turns and sharing, etc. His preschool experience has been wonderful.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | January 11, 2007 12:08 PM

Can someone explain to me what the "sequencing" is that Brian refers to? I thought I'd seen all the articles, but that term is unfamiliar to me.

Posted by: KLTA | January 11, 2007 12:08 PM

There are few things more sexy than a man who loves his children and wife. That's why every mom has a favorite Wiggle, even though they aren't physically attractive. What great dads they would make - or maybe I need to get out more.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 11, 2007 12:10 PM

foamgnome -

Just as background - my older children (now 12 & 15) went to preschool. At the time I was working full time and they were in daycare as well. When my 3rd child was born 6 1/2 years ago I became a SAHM.

Our reasons for not sending our younger children to preschool are

a) I worked hard to be able to stay at home (saving, paying off debt, etc.) and to me, that means that I will actually be with my children full time instead of sending them off to preschool (or any of the other childcare arrangements listed above) and

b) because I am with them full time, I'm able to provide them with everything that preschool would. Like I said above, my children experience everything socially a child who goes to preschool does, and we homepreschool for academics.

And before the "you're smothering your child and he/she will be a blubbering mess the minute you leave them in kindergarten without you" crew comes out of the woodwork, there are also plenty of times where they have play dates without me and they're fine - they're also very well socialized with children of all ages because of their older siblings and the fact that they have grown up spending time at their sibling's schools.

Posted by: momof4 | January 11, 2007 12:11 PM

Workingmomx: I will have to look at the book. I still obviously read to my kid several times a day. But if we don't get the 100 reading of Madeline before bed, I don't sweat it. I actually let her take the lead. She seems to love to be read to and read herself. Funny enough for a kid who is speech delayed, she does have sight recognition of a lot of words. I was amazed when I realized that. But I read sight recognition is not the same thing as reading. If I ask her different letters, she only gets them right 1/2 the time. But she recognizes certain words on a page. Funny.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 11, 2007 12:12 PM

Pierce Brosnan ..........sounds like a bed warmer to me

Sounds like you are considering a person only as a sexual object! Is this againt the tenants of feminism?

Posted by: | January 11, 2007 12:05 PM

I'm usually not in favor of the grammar or spelling police, but if you're going to be snarky and anonymous at the same time, please note that the word you want to use for this inane insult is "tenets" and not "tenants". Tenants lease property. Tenets are opinions, principles, doctrines, dogma, etc., esp. one held as true by members of a profession, group, or movement.

and the answer to your ill-framed question is, there's no indicator whether the poster waxing on about Pierce Brosnan is a feminist or merely Thierry in disguise. In any event, if the poster claims to be a feminist, the explanation for the inconsistency is that even feminists have bad taste in significant others on occasion. See Hillary.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 12:12 PM

momof4: Some SAHPs I know don't do preschool for one of two reasons 1) cost or 2) against school in general. You seemed to not fall into either category. So I was just curious.

Posted by: foamghome | January 11, 2007 12:15 PM

I'm usually not in favor of the grammar or spelling police, but if you're going to be snarky and anonymous

Thank you for the correction. I noted that you posted anonymously also!

I did not think that feminist ever made bad choices in regards to men. "A women without a man is like a fish without a bicycle."

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 12:18 PM

What on Earth is a feminist anyway? I can't lust after someone because I believe in equal pay for equal work? Sounds silly to me. Am I to be asexual because I'm a modern woman? Seems it should be the opposite!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 12:20 PM

BTW, who is Thierry?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 12:21 PM

moxiemom, I was with you until the Wiggles reference. I am in the camp of moms who think they're the stupidest non-entertainment to be foisted on us since Barney. I'm sure they're wonderful people and all other appropriate disclaimers apply. Can we put the Wiggles in the column of things we don't all have to agree on to retain our Mom membership?

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 11, 2007 12:22 PM

Both of my kids are in a montessori preschool which has been fabulous. I'm a college educated SAHM and love spending time with my kids, however I think they have gotten so much more from pre-school than I could have given them.

Just because I know a lot doesn't mean that I know everything and can fulfill every need that they have. Their teacher has been teaching for 25 years and brings all of that experience to the table. The same way that I talk to other parents to get advice or ideas, I look to their teachers to bring something different to the table. My husband brings different things to their lives as well. Teaching is a skill and just because you know how to do something does not mean that you know how to teach it. This is not meant to slam perple who opt out of pre-school just an explanation of why we do it and what we get from it.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 11, 2007 12:22 PM

Yes, NC Lawyer I think you can be a FINE (meaning terrific) mom without loving the Wiggles. That said, I'm also pretty relieved that they are out of the Wiggles phase and I never have to hear "Crunchy munchy honey cakes again." its like a virus.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 11, 2007 12:24 PM

My DD does not like the Wiggles and only slightly tolerates Barney. Her big thing as always been Madeline and Angelina Ballerina. Now she likes SS. She is a brand new 3 year old but liked these shows last year. She did not watch TV till around 1 1/2. But I always just attributed to the fact that the Wiggles and Barney do not really tell a story. They just sort of dance and stuff.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 11, 2007 12:24 PM

Already posted on yesterday's blog, but I think Brian's post today follows beautifully on Leslie's yesterday.

It's interesting that relatively few men weighed in yesterday. I know many women who have decided not to have children and are very comfortable with that. However, I also know many men in their 40s/50s who probably never really made a decision either way, and are now desperate to have children. Since our society no longer pressures men to form families as it once did (in the 50s, a man with no wife and family was automatically "you know, funny," or a "momma's boy" or otherwise "not quite right"), young men can put off thinking about it for a long time. Would be interested in hearing more from the menfolk on this topic.

Posted by: Jill in Denver | January 11, 2007 12:25 PM

For the most part, a 6 year old can teach a 4 year old how to tie shoelaces better than an adult.

At these ages, kids learn more on a playground than in a classroom

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 11, 2007 12:29 PM

Workingmomx said 'I strongly believe preschool is necessary in most cases for children to kind of hit the ground running when they get to Kindergarten. (I think there is a lot of researching that backs up that argument.)'

Actually, the research is pretty clear. For children from 'economically disadvantaged' families, a high quality early childhood experience makes a big difference. Thus we have Head Start and other subsidized programs, because otherwise low income families would be unable to afford high quality early childhood programming.

For children with disabilities, early childhood special ed programming can make a huge difference as well.

For the rest, there is no empirical evidence that early childhood programming has any affect on later school performance. I am not sure, but I think there is research suggesting that children who attend preschools and daycare centers prior to kindergarten miss fewer days of kindergarten due to illness--because they have already been exposed to and built up some immunity to the community's viruses.

But I am not suggesting that sahps shouldn't send their children to early childhood programs. As a single parent, I used full day programs. I suspect that if I had been a sahm, I would have used a half day program.

Posted by: single mother by choice | January 11, 2007 12:38 PM

Jill, I think more guys would weigh in, and earlier in the day, if Leslie didn't go to such lengths to characterize the issues on which she comments as mom-issues. Breast-feeding columns aside, most of the topics she raises are parent issues, or couple issues, rather than exclusively mom issues. From what I've seen, When the flavor of the existing comments becomes more open, more guys join in.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 11, 2007 12:41 PM

momof4 said "They're not home complaining that their lives have been reduced to poop and The Wiggles. I wonder why that is? Are men who make the decision to stay home naturally more at peace with that decision?"

I think this has something to do with the weight of cultural baggage. We all have nasty jobs to do sometimes, but there's an emotional difference between a nasty job that you chose and a nasty job that landed on you because your gender or your race has historically always done it.

For instance, my DH rarely cleans the bathroom. I got angry at him for this and he was quite surprised--he pointed out that we do put in equal amounts of time on housework and he wondered why it mattered which tasks. I said the bathroom felt more demeaning to me because it's the dirtiest and it requires the least skill. "His" tasks include most of the higher-skilled ones such as carpentry and caulking, even though I am also capable of these things.

He pointed out, fairly, that it isn't as if he gets enjoyment out of caulking--it is just a neutral thing that needs to be done. He's been doing it by default because it was his job in his family's home also. He was completely willing to clean the bathroom sometimes in exchange for some other task taking similar time.

When I thought about it, of course cleaning the bathroom isn't actually demeaning in and of itself--everyone has a bathroom and it needs to get cleaned somehow, and if you do it often enough it isn't even gross. It's just symbolically the lowest task and I was bothered that it fell to me, the woman, as it traditionally fell to my mother and before that, her mother (and before that, a maid in her grandmother's house...) I don't even mind doing it, I just want my DH not to take it for granted that it's my role and not his.

I think it's these things that SAHMs feel most conflicted about. They're jobs that need to be done, and they are not really demeaning jobs, but they've been assigned a very low symbolic value. A SAHD may approach these jobs with a cleaner slate because he likely hasn't had to watch people like him being looked down upon for doing these things.


Posted by: worker bee | January 11, 2007 12:43 PM

Pretty sure Will Smith also had a child with high school girlfriend.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 12:45 PM

My daughter has never seen The Wiggles or Barney, or even Elmo, in her 3+ years on this planet. If it's so annoying then why do you let them watch it?

Disney and PBS Kids are awful- I highly recommend Noggin

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 12:47 PM

Isn't Noggin "pre-school on t.v." there's a cost effective solution! Just kidding. We limit the kids t.v. but I like Noggin for the quailty of the programs and absence of commercials.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 11, 2007 12:49 PM

We like sprout network at our house.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 11, 2007 12:50 PM

Wow. I never considered that cleaning bathrooms was demeaning and required the least skill. It's just a chore. I don't like housework at all but I never ranked them in order of skill. I would actually rather clean bathrooms than cook dinner since dinner is a daily occurrence and bathroom is weekly.

If you actually think in terms of demeaning and skill level, where does diaper changing fall? I was able to change my sister's diapers when I was seven.

My husband must have the most demeaning chore of all since he is the one who cleans the dog poop from the yard.

Posted by: to worker bee | January 11, 2007 12:58 PM

I don't understand why "modern" Dad's can't enjoy an occasional round of golf, or an occasional game of poker or whatever other sterotypical male thing it is that they might want to do?

Its when it is done to the point of harming the family (or the marriage) that its a problem, and I would assume that good men/dads would not want to do that.

Just as I assume that good mothers/wives do not want to shop (stereotypical femal behavior) their families into the poorhouse.

And it seems the female equivalent of the boys weekend in AC seems to be the girlfriend's weekend at the expensive Arizona Spa or New York shopping weekend ... and no - not just for ultrarich people. For people making middle class livings ($50K+) in the midwest.

What I think seems to be left out on this blog - is the admission that not everyone is perfect! Just because people have a child, doesn't mean they're going to be great parents. The father may abandon them, in some cases - the mother may abandon them, someone may smoke/drink/swear to much, someone may be to obsessed with work to pay attention to their child, someone may be to obsessed with their child that they smother them...

I think we all know these are not great parents, so why do we keep trotting these stereotypes out as though anyone actually thinks these are behaviors to emulate?

And enough dissing on the previous generations of Fathers.. maybe the rest of the country's Fathers were horrible - but mine (79 years old at the moment, so he's of the age of most of the men you paint with the "workaholic uncaring father" brush) was awesome. My mother was SAHM - by choice and in fact agreement - when they got married (1950's) they agreed that my mother would work for 2 years and then no matter what - my father would support the family. And he did. He was a Sr. Chemist at a major company (so low middle management) -and he didn't drink (neither parent does), go out with the boys, didn't swear, did throw the baseball for us, did come to orchestra performances, did teach us how to ride a bike, did hug and love me - every day he could.

I'm sure a lot more fathers were good fathers. And I'm sure a lot of the men who were workaholics and alcholics and yelling at their children just weren't great parents - and it was probably known at the time that they weren't! It wasn't "Normal". Not that these men were "bad" men - just potentially very authoritarian "my way or the highway" dads.

Why is it that so many on this board seem to want to bolster their opinion at the expense of someone else... It seems that so many here are sure that the way they are doing things is the only "right" way - and feel necessary to attack anyone who disagrees.

And for the record, since it does seem to matter here and I am not a regular poster, I do not currently have children - though perhaps one day I will.

Posted by: Michigan | January 11, 2007 12:58 PM

"Breast-feeding columns aside..."

Hey NC Lawyer, I am always up for a bf column!

Posted by: Fred | January 11, 2007 1:00 PM

Isn't television bad for kids? We weren't permitted to watch TV until we were 12 years old and then for 1 hour per day. And my parents vetted the programs!

Have there been any studies on the benefits of these so-called educational programs for children?

Why would anyone let there kids watch the ones that are basically commercials? Why would anyone watch this crap with their kids??

Posted by: EJ | January 11, 2007 1:00 PM

My husband smokes. He is a good parent with a bad habit. He is not a bad parent.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 1:01 PM

To the poster who wanted to know about men and waiting to have children:

I'm in that boat. I married when I was 23 years old and fresh out of college, and at that time neither of us wanted children. My wife wanted to go back to school and we were just getting on our feet financially, and neither of us really felt mature enough to raise a child at our age.

We bought our current house back in 1990, and looking back now that would have been the ideal time to have started a family, but neither of us really gave it much thought.

Until lately. We talked about starting a family after a friend of ours had a baby, and discovered both of us had been thinking about asking the other, but since so much time had passed, had assumed each of us hadn't changed our minds. Surprise!

Now we're trying, and I feel now I'd give almost anything to have those 15 years back. I just hope it's not too late...

Posted by: John | January 11, 2007 1:04 PM

Do you have kids EJ?

Posted by: moxiemom | January 11, 2007 1:04 PM

You're worried that "no one is paying attention"? Frankly I'm relieved. Right before our first kid was born my wife and I had a fight because I wasn't interested in reading all the books on parenting she kept giving me. She took is as a lack of interest in participating. My point was that each one said something different and made you out to be a criminal if you didn't follow their advice to the letter, and that I'd had enough of that growing up in the evangelical South. She dropped her complaints when I jumped into parenting with both feet. I took a bunch of time off when our daughter was born a few years ago and then again when the twins were born last fall. I was already working 4 tens and started going in a 5AM to get my work done and get home in time to pick the kids up and get dinner made on the days we both work. This still requires logging in a few hours from home after everyone's gone to bed during those crunch times at work. It's understood around my office that I both get my work done and occasionally have to take off on a moment's notice deal with the kids when something happens during the day. They've been copasetic with the latter as long as I hold to the former. This works for me and my wife (though I'm sure she'd be happier if I were neater) whether or not it would work for someone else is beyond me, and frankly seems a bit presumptuous to ponder.
I'd much rather make my own way than be forced down a path, and it's a relief not to get disapproving looks because the crumbs from that muffin I just bribed our oldest daughter with to keep the peace at the grocery store keep are still on her clothes. When I do get a chance to get together my guy friends we tend to talk about sports, politics, our wives and yes our kids but the focus is more on what they're up to not on how we're parenting them. This is not because it's taboo; it's just off of our radar.
Sure I occasionally think wistfully about the old single guy days get bummed out. Once upon a time I used to spend the bulk of my free time ski mountaineering (70-80 days a year) now I'm lucky if I get in more than a couple of ski days a year and most of that is lifts or logging roads. But if you'd asked me 5 years ago what my best ski day ever was, I'd have talked about long descents down mountain faces or porpoising through waist deep powder. Now it's a quick run down a logging road with our (then only) toddler on my back giggling and screaming "faster, daddy faster" the whole way back to the car.

As for being gender neutral: as long as there are spiders in our house it just ain't gonna' happen.

Posted by: SeattleDad | January 11, 2007 1:06 PM

Most demeaning and least skill bit of housework? I suspect that Leslie thinks it is folding clothes. Can we have a confirmation on that?

Posted by: Fred | January 11, 2007 1:06 PM

"Why would anyone let there kids watch the ones that are basically commercials?"

Because you want your kids to be tuned in to the popular culture of their peers. In some cases, peer groups don't care when one of their member is clueless regarding a whole extensive variety of references, but generally, they do.

There's a difference between letting your kid watch TV for 12 hours a day and letting your kid watch TV in moderation.

Posted by: Lizzie | January 11, 2007 1:07 PM

moxiemom

Yes, I have kids and grandkids and I don't park 'em in front of the TV.

Posted by: EJ | January 11, 2007 1:08 PM

re: dorky dads are usually happy and successful because they haven't relied on their looks and who they dated to get ahead. Two words: Bill Gates. Ultimate dork.

Posted by: cmac | January 11, 2007 1:09 PM

Whoah EJ calm down there. I don't think anyone mentioned "parking" their kids in front of the t.v. T.V isn't poison. Just as I enjoy watching programs that entertain me, my kids do as well. Do we watch t.v all the time, no, but I'm guessing that while your kids and grandkids aren't watching t.v. that doesn't mean that they are reading Proust all day either.

I'm not trying to raise a Nobel Prize winner. I'm trying to raise balanced, happy kids with full lives. That includes a great deal of academics, play and many varieties of entertainment. You have made a broad and unkind assumption.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 11, 2007 1:15 PM

Thank you, John, for your post, and best of luck to you. Any child you have will benefit from the strong relationship you and your wife clearly have.

Posted by: Jill in Denver | January 11, 2007 1:16 PM

Seattle dad - you sound terrific. You've got some pretty lucky kids and you are giving a gift not only to them, but to their children as well.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 11, 2007 1:17 PM

From "The Women Song"

"and I can fight in combat
but I can't kill a spider"

http://humor.beecy.net/menwomen/womansong/

A pretty funny song poking a satirical finger at women. Yes, there is a corresponding "Man Song"

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 1:18 PM

"Isn't television bad for kids?"

I always thought so (one of those things my mom beat into me). But I think I've gone over to the dark side. My daughter never cared much, but my son LOVES Laurie Berkner -- as in, stands completely transfixed in front of the DVD player, hardly blinking, for as many times as I'll play it for him (boy is going to marry a redhead who wears orange pants). Didn't mean for it to happen (got DVD for daughter for long car trip, he saw and was enraptured). But it did, so now what? I limit it (once on weekdays, maybe a few on the weekends if we're just hanging out), but he gets VERY PO'd (as only a 14-month-old can) when I won't play it for the 87th time. I'm thinking this cannot be good. . . .

(not to mention that my head will explode if I can't get "Victor Vito" out of it soon).

Posted by: Laura | January 11, 2007 1:18 PM

12:58, it could be just me... maybe everyone has their own version of the most demeaning job.
To clarify, I can't say it ever bothered me when I lived alone. It only bothers me now to clean up DH's shaving cream splashes and dirty handprints on the towels!
We both clean the catbox and neither of us finds that demeaning, but then, the cats don't have the option of cleaning it themselves.

Posted by: worker bee | January 11, 2007 1:19 PM

Seattle dad, I forgot to mention that you sound as sexy as a Wiggle.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 11, 2007 1:19 PM

"Because you want your kids to be tuned in to the popular culture of their peers."

The popular culture of the kids' peers doesn't include watching television, so it's a non-issue in my house.

I wasn't "tuned in" to the popular culture of my peers as a kid - Bobby Sherman, David Cassidy, etc. Did I miss something?

Posted by: EJ | January 11, 2007 1:19 PM

Stephen Hawking

Posted by: Ultimate geek nomination | January 11, 2007 1:20 PM

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000226/bio

No hard to look it up.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 1:20 PM

My 18 month old loves his baby einsteins. And, I find them a lot less annoying that Wiggles and Barney and some of the other stuff on TV. He seems much smarter, more curious and talkative for it. So I don't think him spending some time every day with those is a big deal.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 1:20 PM

my daughter likes Wonder Pets and Jimmie Netron and sometimes Danny Phantom.

Posted by: scarry | January 11, 2007 1:24 PM

"The popular culture of the kids' peers doesn't include watching television, so it's a non-issue in my house."

Then there you go. I personally hate TV and can't talk about West Wing, Sopranos, or anything else television-related to anyone at work (except for baseball). It's not much of a disadvantage. If your kids' peers don't watch TV and that medium has no currency with them, then no problem. If your kids' peers do enjoy TV, then it's harmless to let your kids watch enough so that they have a working knowledge of it.

It's TV, for God's sake. It's not like you're sending them out to deal crack.

Posted by: Lizzie | January 11, 2007 1:24 PM

Wiggles are insidious. Fun but insidious. By the way, I don't usually agree with NC LAWYER that often if ever, but at least he or she has the guts to post their name when they slam me about something. I can respect that as opposed to the anonymous cowards.

Posted by: pATRICK | January 11, 2007 1:25 PM

Note to self: "stop sending them out to deal crack..."

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 1:25 PM

Lizzie, the Discovery Channel IS crack!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 11, 2007 1:25 PM

"stop sending them out to deal crack..."

Sending them to clubs to deal powder is much more lucrative.

Posted by: Lizzie | January 11, 2007 1:27 PM

We watch the ever annoying Sponge Bob in our house - and Scooby-doo. My kids would much rather be outside and this warm winter has significantly decreased their TV viewing.

We watch dvd's on fri or sat nights too. I watch the weather channel. Husband watches the History (Hitler all the time) channel and Discovery channel.

Posted by: cmac | January 11, 2007 1:28 PM

Fred, I was speaking of the average guy poster and you, certainly, are anything but average. Plus you have the ability to channel Fredia when we need a bfing expert. But don't you read Leslie's column sometimes and roll your eyes at the mom-itis of it all, as though moms have a premium on all parenting and childcare thoughts, experiences and challenges. Maybe I'm the only one it grates on, or maybe it's just that I watched two horrifyingly depressing basketball games last night and it's put me in a foul mood.

Leslie strikes me as someone who doesn't take time to ponder the relative demeaning-ness of one task over another. She just pitches in and does 'em.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 11, 2007 1:29 PM

My AF daughter told me recently that what she remembered about TV watching in our house was dad saying, "It's news time." That and history and science on PBS.

Posted by: Fred | January 11, 2007 1:29 PM

The American Pediatric Association recommends that children under the age of two watch no television. After the age of two, no more than one hour per day. I have an article from a british journal at home that suggests an increase in the incidence of ADHD in children who watched television before the age of two. If I can find the refernce I will post it.

Posted by: Food for thought | January 11, 2007 1:32 PM

I live alone so I do all the household tasks including killing wolf spiders (the size of a small dog by the way). They all suck. I just wish people wouldn't come into the house during the day and mess it up then disappear just before I get home from work as it is immaculate when I leave in the morning. Does anyone else have this problem?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 11, 2007 1:32 PM

I watched the Sopranos on A & E last night. This is the first time I have seen this show. Boy, Tony's mom sure puts a guilt trip on him! This may become my must watch show after House, 24 and My Name is Earl.

I do read some of the more hilarious comments to Fredia. (for those newby here, my wife is a BF consultant and I unfortunately know more about BF than any male civilian should know)

Posted by: Fred | January 11, 2007 1:36 PM

I live alone so I do all the household tasks including killing wolf spiders (the size of a small dog by the way). They all suck. I just wish people wouldn't come into the house during the day and mess it up then disappear just before I get home from work as it is immaculate when I leave in the morning. Does anyone else have this problem?

Huh?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 1:36 PM

"Husband watches the History (Hitler all the time)"

Ditto here, plus the Miltary channel. War, war, war!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Liz | January 11, 2007 1:36 PM

***I just wish people wouldn't come into the house during the day and mess it up then disappear just before I get home from work as it is immaculate when I leave in the morning. Does anyone else have this problem?***

KLB, I know just what you mean. These people have a habit of leaving my clothes on the floor right outside the shower. I keep complaining about this to my wife, but she insists I should just pick them up, rather than sharing my righteous indignation. ;-p

Posted by: Proud Papa | January 11, 2007 1:38 PM

KLB SS MD,

Yea, It is those damned dustbunnies that men are genetically incapable of seeing.

Posted by: Fred | January 11, 2007 1:38 PM

"Husband watches the History (Hitler all the time)"

Ditto here, plus the Miltary channel. War, war, war!!!!!!!!

Beats WE channel, cry, cry, cry all the time!

Posted by: the original anon | January 11, 2007 1:41 PM

RE: wolf spiders

My mother told me this story about those spiders.

When I was still a baby, she was waiting up for my dad who was working a late shift. The only light on in the room was one right over her chair, and she kept hearing a scratching noise in the darker part of the room. Finally she saw a HUGE spider crawl out from under the TV.

Grabbing one of my dad's steel toed shoes lying nearby, she gave it a good whack and killed it. She then discovered that wolf spiders carry their young on their back, and hitting it caused the hundreds of little wolf spiders to leap off and go running in every direction!

She screamed, grabbed me and took off into the bedroom, refusing to come out until my dad returned and cleaned up as many of the little spiders as he could find (which wasn't many by that time).

Posted by: John | January 11, 2007 1:42 PM

There is also research that associates 'screen time' (TV, videos, video games, computers) in kids under 3 with increased incidence of autism. They haven't been able to prove the TV watching CAUSES autism yet, but that's enough to worry me.

Posted by: KLTA | January 11, 2007 1:44 PM

Food for Thought, even if there is a link that corresponds TV under 2 and ADHD, I would say that would be more of a reflection on a parenting style rather than TV causing ADHD.

I would have no problem getting the experts to diagnose him as ADHD, but I'm not going that route.

My solution is to get him as much exercise as possible, and it does the trick quite effectively.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 11, 2007 1:46 PM

My husband watches History & Military channels everyday.

He also attends an annual 3 day Civil War reenactment. He has tons of fun! I went once when we were first engaged. I am interested in a lot of history topics, but the Civil War isn't one of them...

Posted by: Liz | January 11, 2007 1:47 PM

To 1:01pm,

Yes - exactly your husband smokes and is a good dad with a bad habit..

And you know he's a good dad! Done. The point is that everyone points to these small things as if to say that "x" or "y" makes you a great parent or a bad parent. (I was using excessive smoking/drinking/cursing as examples) but we all know there's a lot more to it.

A LOT more. All stay-at-home parents are not automatically great. Some are, some aren't. All go to work parents aren't awful - some are, some aren't -- and it has nothing to do with their decision to go to work or not.

So why do we use that as shorthand for caring or not caring? For being selfish or not selfish..

We all know there a hundred different personality traits (thousands) and behaviors that make people "nice/friendly/good" .. yet on this board we're always saying "he worked too much, he was horrible", "she put her kids in daycare, she was terrible", "She stayed home with the kids, she was terrible"...

So yes, I'm sure your husband, who happens to smoke, could be a great dad... I'm sure my husband, who pays too much attention to ESPN at times, could be a great dad if we ever have kids.. I'm also sure that there are men out there with neither of those annoying (to us) habits, who may be terrible fathers - for totally different reasons.

Its all really very complex, and when we blame it on simple little factors we generalize and offend and minimalize what's really important.

Posted by: Michigan | January 11, 2007 1:50 PM

"stop sending them out to deal crack..."

"Sending them to clubs to deal powder is much more lucrative"

Good point, and hey, it's money toward their college funds! :)

Okay, bad me, back to work....

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 1:51 PM

To KLTA: As a parent of an Asperger child (or two), I'd venture it's more likely that kids with certain disorders are, in general, more fascinated by TV. It's repetitious, predictable and extremely visual. Therefore, some kids are more likely to seek it out. Those kids tend to be 'on the spectrum' as we say around here.

There's a correlation there, surely, but not the causation you're implying.
Given that there they're in the process of finding actual genetic markers for certain autism variants, it's highly unlikely that it could be environmentally induced after birth. (Though I believe Bruno Bettelheim would disagree with you on that. He's the one that blamed the 'refrigerator mother' for the whole thing.)

Posted by: Armchair mom | January 11, 2007 1:53 PM

Is the AAP going to come watch my 2 yr. old while I take a shower? Just wondering.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 11, 2007 1:53 PM

Speaking of TV, when does the next season of American Idol begin? It's been a long time since I've watched TV.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 11, 2007 1:54 PM

My nephew is an excellent SAHD. Aside from taking care of two boys and running their Boy Scout troup, he does all of the cooking (including canning and making his own bread and jelly). I don't know about his housekeeping skills, but he does seem to keep things picked up and I hope he doesn't clean the bathroom with straight ammonia any more.

Making time for hobbies isn't a problem. Nephew like to camp and fish, so he just takes the boys along.

Posted by: WMA | January 11, 2007 1:55 PM

KLB SS MD, my husband tries to kill the spiders, but I stop him to grab them and take them outside. Unfortunately, our dogs seem to think this is a fun game and usually eat the spiders I set free.

I used to love TV as a kid, but now I realize how much crap is on TV (who watches those horribly repetative sitcoms anyway? You know, with the ugly doofus husband and the pretty but scrappy wife?). We pretty much stick to Animal Planet (go figure) and A&E and Discovery.

Posted by: Meesh | January 11, 2007 1:55 PM

my ex was a SAHD for almost 5 years while he also worked on his college degree... Yeah, it was tough when he was actually in school juggling.. but when he wasn't taking classes.. I know I had "expectations" that he'd do more around the house and with the kids.. Of course, we know what happens when our "expectations" aren't met. Then he started to do Civil War re-enactment events leaving on Friday night and returning late Sunday afternoon. And he'd wonder why I'd get upset over this.... Even after we divorced many many years later, he stated "what was wrong with me going away every weekend - lots of other people did it". He never got it really - how to spend true quality time with the family and your children. He never looked forward to teaching our kids how to play ball, fish, or enjoy Civil War details... He did look forward to pleasing himself... and that is a big reason the family and marriage broke.

Being a dad and loving and spending time with your familiy can be such an awesome thing. But when your thinking - your attitude - says "wow - I wish I was doing things with my buddies instead".. well. that is when you start feeling disappointed and agitated.. There is nothing wrong with going out with your buddies while the kids are growing up; just don't make it the main thing of your life versus your family.

And trust me - the kids will be gone soon enough and out the door - and you'll wonder - what happened? you have lots of time after the empty nest.. trust me.

And what is my ex doing? Starting a new family - a baby due anytime now. Unbelievable. I"m sure he'll be a super wonderful dad this time around learning from the first experience.

Posted by: supported SAHD | January 11, 2007 1:55 PM

Maybe someone already posted this, but the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends no tv for kids under 2 and only an hour of "educational" programming thereafter for toddler years. There was also a great article recently in the Boston Globe from a child development specialist about active vs. passive learning. Note: both of these observations are posted without comment - I just found, particularly, the Boston Globe article fascinating and helpful for my own daughter. I'll post the link if I can find it.

Posted by: SMF | January 11, 2007 1:56 PM

Moxiemom, couldn't your two-year old just play nearby while you shower? Mine usually sits on a little stool looking at books, next to the shower. I think all comes down to whatever the child is used to.

Posted by: Ajax | January 11, 2007 2:00 PM

Here it is: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/living/articles/2006/12/02/kids_dont_get_building_blocks_of_learning_from_high_tech_play/

Sorry - it talks more about toys than tv, but I still thought it was interesting.

Posted by: Globe Link | January 11, 2007 2:03 PM

My 4 year old daughter is in the middle of a phase where she wants to watch Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in Chinese (no dubbing), for the 200th time. Not only is permitting 20 - 30 minutes of CT, HD, on occasion, not going to lead to the downfall of western civilization or her personal ruin, we think it's fascinating that our daughter thinks it's the coolest movie in the universe. We saw it for the first time together so I could explain whatever needed explaining. Frankly, I think she likes guys with fast horses which could spell trouble in the future.

Last night, she watched the Duke/Ga Tech game with me. The proper ACC indoctrination must start young. This is my version of the Atlantic City trip. Before we had kids, I was the girl who could win any bar bet relating to pro football or college basketball and my knowledge was routinely underestimated by guys who didn't know me. After 11 years out of pocket, I don't even know the coaches of the pro football teams any more (but I continue to insist on having a fantasy team, go figure). In 2007, my husband and I decided balance means more wood-working, fishing and golf for him and more trips to the gym, basketball, football and SportsCenter viewing for me.

EJ, We prefer to raise our kids with enough supervised space and lattitude to determine their own interests without taking whole categories of commonly encountered entertainment off the table. Parking is a pretty inflammatory gerund unless you have an ax to grind.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 11, 2007 2:04 PM

"Husband watches the History (Hitler all the time)"

Ditto here, plus the Miltary channel. War, war, war!!!!!!!!

We didn't get Military channel with Adelphia because it was too expensive to move up a tier, but now we are comcast so it may be included in the basic package. My husband would love it.

Oxygen channel is not viewed at our house.

Posted by: CMAC | January 11, 2007 2:04 PM

Re: spiders.

As long as I am around my son will love me because he is terrified of them. I am now, and maybe always will be, his hero. Few things compare to being able to vanquish real monsters.

Posted by: MdMother | January 11, 2007 2:05 PM

'Moxiemom, couldn't your two-year old just play nearby while you shower? Mine usually sits on a little stool looking at books, next to the shower. I think all comes down to whatever the child is used to.'

Does anyone ever use a playpen? Or shower when the children are sleeping? Or shower when the other parent is home?

I can remember showering with a crying baby in crib or playpen. I needed the shower to drown out the noise of the crying :)

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 2:07 PM

"The American Pediatric Association recommends that children under the age of two watch no television. After the age of two, no more than one hour per day. I have an article from a british journal at home that suggests an increase in the incidence of ADHD in children who watched television before the age of two. If I can find the refernce I will post it."

To this poster and the one who thinks tv and autism are linked (???) come on!

Kids with ADHD and autism are VERY difficult to parent. They often watch more tv because the parents need a break from the behavioral issues and tv may keep them STILL and QUIET for just a few minutes!

If you don't have a child with ADHD/behavior problems or autism, then you just don't get it.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 2:07 PM

NC Lawyer, your daughter should love both HERO and House of Flying Daggers.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 2:11 PM

I don't have a two year old anymore, I was making a point that sometimes there are simply times that you NEED the children to be occupied and when my kids were little I knew that they would be still and quiet for 30 mins while I took a shower, called the insurance company etc.. any one of the myriad things that sometimes just must get done.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 11, 2007 2:13 PM

Playpen never worked for me; both my kids hated it. When my kids were very little, I just took them plus their bouncing seats into the bathroom with me. Often, they'd fall asleep soon, to the sound of the hair-dryer, and one of them who was colicky was (somewhat) soothed by the bathroom fan for a little while.

I think there are plenty of ways to take a shower, or do anything else in half-peace, when you have small children. I personally don't like TV at all, especially for children.

Posted by: Ajax | January 11, 2007 2:16 PM

Hey all - is discussing male role models for fathers so strange to us that we have nothing to say about it? Or we just find discussions on TV watching and spiders to be more interesting.. it is not even friday yet!

I think it would be interesting to know how more on how to instill in men that their children are their responsiblity at even the most basic level. How many women are out there raising children abandoned by their fathers without any child support, or emotional support? (I know women abandon children as well, but it is large a male thing) I think that before we start asking men to stay at home and raise their children we should first instill in the fact that they are responsible for supporting them.

Posted by: single mom | January 11, 2007 2:16 PM

"I think it would be interesting to know how more on how to instill in men that their children are their responsiblity at even the most basic level"

No, that's not offensive at all.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 2:19 PM

Moxiemon, good point. I guess I just forgot that I usually take care of the important things (calling insurance company, balancing check-books, etc.) while I'm at work :-)

Posted by: Ajax | January 11, 2007 2:19 PM

Moxiemom, couldn't your two-year old just play nearby while you shower? Mine usually sits on a little stool looking at books, next to the shower. I think all comes down to whatever the child is used to.

Posted by: Ajax | January 11, 2007 02:00 PM

Pleeeeazze. No, Ajax, it's not whatever the child is used to. Each child is different. Perhaps Moxiemom's child/ren, like mine, were far too curious to stay in one place nearby looking at books for fifteen minutes without direct supervision. Given fifteen unattended minutes, both of my children would have either been eating dogfood, or climbing up to the kitchen sink to play in the water. I locked mine in the bathroom with me where, by the way, they ran the risk of encountering all the cleaning solutions since their tiny hands can fit through the gap left by child-proofing. If Moxiemom didn't have a child like yours, rejected having to bring her kids into the bathroom with her for any number of reasons, and decided that 20 minutes of tv worked like a charm to preserve his/her safety, how much should we all micromanage the appropriateness of her choice?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 2:21 PM

Moxiemon, good point. I guess I just forgot that I usually take care of the important things (calling insurance company, balancing check-books, etc.) while I'm at work :-)

Posted by: Ajax | January 11, 2007 2:21 PM

"Hey all - is discussing male role models for fathers so strange to us that we have nothing to say about it?"

Yup, Brian's topics usually run out of steam pretty quickly. The group finds something more interesting to discuss. That's the nature of a blog.

Posted by: DZ | January 11, 2007 2:24 PM

Single mom - I don't know how to change grown men. I think one of the best things I can do is try to instill these things in my son. One of my greatest hopes is that he will be a decent, responsible and kind man. I'm lucky in that dh is a terrific role model.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 11, 2007 2:25 PM

To: January 11, 2007 02:21 PM. I don't think I was micromanaging moxiemom's choice. I was just asking a question. I would maintain, however, that a lot depends on what the child is used to. Sure, kids have different temperaments, but they still respond to following certain routines that you set up.

Posted by: Ajax | January 11, 2007 2:26 PM

To Armchair Mom - I didn't mean to imply causality, in fact I was very careful to make clear there was no proven causal link. A lot more careful, frankly, than the original publication and the AAP have been in discussing it. Just wanted to throw it out there since others had brought up research showing other effects.

Posted by: KLTA | January 11, 2007 2:27 PM

"Yup, Brian's topics usually run out of steam pretty quickly. The group finds something more interesting to discuss. That's the nature of a blog."

Glad you point that out. Don't know why Leslie keeps on having Brian appear on the blog. His posts are not so thought-provoking.

Posted by: To DZ | January 11, 2007 2:30 PM

Ajax - I agree that routines are very, very helpful. Kids respond terrifically,now that they are older to explicit expectations. Now, when I need to do something, I clearly tell them that I expect them to be quiet or stay in the basement or whatever while I accomplish my task. Some of this is also reflective of my growth as a mom. When I had a 2 yr.old boy, I also had a newborn. I was either too tired or too unimaginative to come up with a better solution. I'm getting better at this gig as I go along. The doorway bouncer was a godsend in this house too!

Posted by: moxiemom | January 11, 2007 2:32 PM

ouch to Brian... sorry. Though would have to say that yesterday was the best that I have seen Leslie do (often they run out of steam like this one).

Posted by: single mom | January 11, 2007 2:33 PM

Having a different shape after you birth a baby isn't the same as being out of shape. My daughter is one month old and I am in better shape than before I got pregnant. But my body is definitely different, even tho I am much healthier and weigh less, thanks to regular exercise and a good diet. I'm sure breastfeeding doesn't hurt.

Posted by: To Mona | January 11, 2007 11:46 AM
~~~~

Right, that's my question: how do you stay in shape? New moms always talk about not having time to exercise. Where do you find the time?

Posted by: Mona | January 11, 2007 2:33 PM

NC Lawyer and Jill,

I'm glad that NC lawyer said it instead of one of us guys on the board.

Just from my knothole, Leslie occasionally gets those urges to offer up a topic in a way that seeks to cater to only a female response. In some of the cases, just rephrasing our changing the topic slightly could offer guys a ledge to respond, as NC points out so well. I wish I could say as much as succinctly... :~)

**soapbox on**

However, Leslie will even go so far as to say essentially "So ladies, what are your experiences?" This can only be easily read by guys as "guys, go read something else today. Your opinion not desired."

This has steamed me up enough on occasion that I actually respond anyway, just to be bullheaded. And on occasion I've steered the topic to something we can all get into. Lately, I've found that I just go on to do other things. I can't speak to how many male posters feel roughly equivalent. But let's just say at a monimum is is unwelcoming.

This is ironic on many levels, since it has been said here many times that what needs to change is societal and key decision makers (including male bosses) attitudes before we achieve real BALANCE, and yet Leslie often apparently feels some visceral need to make this a women's or mommy's only forum (breast feeding also aside--sorry Fred). Maybe she feels that every so often so must offer a woman's only forum to keep credibility amongst her female readers. Can't say. But I can't help but think that many of you would slam guys or newspapers that would do the same thing with the male/female role reversed.

Over time I've changed my mind on Leslie. I used to think that Leslie actually doing this consciously. Now I'm not so sure. Either way, it doesn't help the balance conversation, even if she has been called on it enough by now that she does make an effort to bring in folks like Brian to preserve some sort of evenhandedness.

**soapbox off**

Back to the topic matter, as I mentioned long ago, I only know one full-time SAHD. He is very involved in kids (can't speak to his home life). He is PTA President this year (taking over from my wife, who introduced us). He is a bit of a disaster on PTA, though he is very friendly and has a very nice kids, though the youngest girl is a handful. He has a son my son's age, and as they are in the gifted program together (GT students are kept together in a single class for each grade where I live) every year, so the boys have become good friends.

This guy's wife is a VP at a safety organization that is going to give her a $50k raise to $300k/year to move back to Philadelphia where they are from, so the Dad has really been stressing that the kids (especially the GT son) will not do well--for reasons that take too long to explain. He actually put on over 20 lbs over the holidays, apparently from the stress. Since he is fairly short guy and was heavy already, those extra pounds are really hurting his knees. He lives for family stuff, though I once heard he owned his own business previously.

As I mentioned before, I see the respect level for him as a guy as not what I think it should be, and it saddens me.

So that's my one data point on this topic. Can't help thinking it will help when both men and women have a full range of employment and societal choices without judgments.

We aren't there yet...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | January 11, 2007 2:33 PM

Loved the doorway bouncer! We called it the Johnny Jump Up and that is how we ate dinner everynight. My daughter would have stayed in it all day if we had let her. Son figured out how to climb out of it the first time he was placed in it. Daughter never even tried.

Posted by: cmac | January 11, 2007 2:35 PM

"I think that before we start asking men to stay at home and raise their children we should first instill in the fact that they are responsible for supporting them.

Where to begin? I know. I know. It's with the idea that anyone is asking dads to stay at home and raise their children. I understood the original topic to be, where do dads who've determined for themselves because they are grown men and get to do that, or as a result of a decision with their respective spouses, that they will be the primary at-home parent, look for advice on successful SAH-dadding. I don't believe "we" have any basis for asking dads to stay home.

Second, the child-raising isn't only done by the parent who stays home. Children are raised by working parents, SAH parents, the village, the church. etc.

Third, who the he*l is "we"?

Fourth, what's the basis for your assumption that the vast majority of men aren't fully aware that they are responsible for supporting their kids? I'd suggest you rethink the gender-based suggestion that lousy, irresponsible parenting is somehow correlated to maleness.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 2:37 PM

The 2 times I had to chase my naked kids around the neighborhood to get them back inside was a direct result from relaxing on the throne too long.

Anybody else ever had a naked kid escape?

One time, I brought my daughter up to the park and she took all her clothes off before going into the sandbox. Nobody there said a word for over a half an hour.

I love being a dad, but I will never make the role model list.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 11, 2007 2:38 PM

"Moxiemom, couldn't your two-year old just play nearby while you shower? Mine usually sits on a little stool looking at books, next to the shower. I think all comes down to whatever the child is used to."

Hahahahaha!!!!! Ajax, sorry, gotta laugh at this. My mom for years practically threw her arm out patting herself on the back for being such an exceptional mother. Her friends struggled with kids who seemed to need constant attention, whereas I played quietly by myself from a very young age, so she figured she must have been a great mom to have such a well-behaved child.

Then she met my daughter, the human electron. . . . Talk about an eye-opener! Always moving, always interacting, never still, constantly in need of human contact. Made my mother realize just how lucky she had been that I had a quiet, more introverted temperament. Yes, she really was a great mother, but she also hit the genetic jackpot in terms of easy babies.

Not saying that training and expectations are irrelevant -- it definitely takes doing to get ANY 2-yr-old to sit quietly and entertain him- or herself when you need it. We have worked on this with my daughter since day 1, and as she is getting older, I've been really impressed at how much self-control she has developed. But there's just NO way on God's green earth that at 2, she could have sat quietly on a stool for 15 minutes. Heck, even TV was completely uninteresting to her -- she just wanted memeMeME. (Luckily, I got one of the "easy" ones with my second -- knock on wood).

Posted by: Laura | January 11, 2007 2:38 PM

I just want to let you all know that I will take wolf spiders over brown recluse and hobo spiders any day! The wolf spider story was funny though. I am also not afraid to say that my husband has to kill an spider that comes in our house!

Posted by: scarry | January 11, 2007 2:39 PM

"Fourth, what's the basis for your assumption that the vast majority of men aren't fully aware that they are responsible for supporting their kids? I'd suggest you rethink the gender-based suggestion that lousy, irresponsible parenting is somehow correlated to maleness."

I have - there are bad parents of both genders, but why are there more deadbeat dads than moms? How many stories do you hear of men leaving the wife and kids and not paying support? Once this becomes a social taboo then it can be said that they have an equal place in the family.

Posted by: single mom | January 11, 2007 2:40 PM

How is this for a little bit of gender bending? I am the female president of our Home Owners Association. There is a guy in our development who calls me at least once a month asking "man" questions. The latest was what to do about water leaking thru his ceiling under the bathroom.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 11, 2007 2:40 PM

Laura, gosh, I wasn't trying to pat myself on the back for being an exceptionally effective mother or anything. Maybe my secret is that my showers are short (15 minutes? It's more like 5). I do know what you mean about, well, "active" children. My younger one is absolutely wild, too. Still, he will sit on a stool and look at books while I shower. I'm probably just lucky.

My husband and I do joke that whenever our younger one is a bit sick, he is almost like a "normal" child. Will sit in the stroller, will not hang from the chandelier or anything...

Posted by: Ajax | January 11, 2007 2:45 PM

Reply to Meesh, If in reality the scream queens of this country really want equality for children and their parents, why is The Nationall Organization for Women and all of those other tax funded womens organizations at the front of the line opposing legislation to create the very equality you talk about, look at what happened recently in N. Dakota, New York,Nevada and California. Actions speak louder than words.

Posted by: mcewen | January 11, 2007 2:46 PM

KLB SS MD,

Hey I never knew that side of you...asking "man" questions.

Do you want to come over and help paint?

Posted by: Fred | January 11, 2007 2:46 PM

I'm very interested in the topic. Brian, I would take the disinterest in this topic as a sign that the primary audience of the board (I'm guessing mostly women) don't see it as a real issue.

Ding! That's an issue in itself.

I don't want to pile on single mom, but it really is interesting that she seems to think there is a correlation between Dads finding role models and the "we" on this board banding together to "instill in men that their children are their responsiblity."

If the Dads are looking for role models in the first place, wouldn't it be a given that they recognize the children as their responsibility? Brian's blog and Single Mom's post are in diametrical opposition.

Posted by: Proud Papa | January 11, 2007 2:47 PM

Fred, I have painted every room in my house at least once (three level townhouse)with minimal help. I am short so I need someone to do the stairs as I am not ready to break my neck on a ladder balanced on stairs. That being said, no, I don't want to come over and help paint but thanks for the offer. I just finished foyer, living and dining rooms this fall.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 11, 2007 2:49 PM

"The 2 times I had to chase my naked kids around the neighborhood to get them back inside was a direct result from relaxing on the throne too long.

Anybody else ever had a naked kid escape?

One time, I brought my daughter up to the park and she took all her clothes off before going into the sandbox. Nobody there said a word for over a half an hour.

I love being a dad, but I will never make the role model list."

Too funny. I don't have a naked child, but I used to be one- my mom took a shower, came out, and I was down the street butt naked- this happened all the time. She was a great mom and a terrific role model, so I don't think naked kids precludes you from the dad hall of fame!


Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 2:50 PM

Once this becomes a social taboo then it can be said that they have an equal place in the family. - single mom

Men don't have an equal place in the family??? Boy, this is going downhill. Guys, lets go to Atlantic City. (step, step, step, slam!)

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 2:51 PM

To Texas Dad of 2 AKA The Polish Prince

Land sakes! Why do you feel the need to constantly update your resume on this blog? Past PTA President married to another PTA President, President of HOMO, and now, we really, really need to know that one of your kids has tested gifted!!!!! And, your wife calls you in when the "big guns" of discipline for your kids are needed (whatever that means)!!

Yet, you present yourself in some kind of "natural leadership" role 'cause you have the Y chromosome??

Posted by: Trixie | January 11, 2007 2:52 PM

Careful you don't scrape your knuckles on the ground on the way to Atlantic City.

Posted by: To: January 11, 2007 02:51 PM | January 11, 2007 2:53 PM

"we" is society (not only women); father of sons, fathers of daughters, mothers, etc... it needs to be instilled into society that men need to financially support their children, as well as be involved.

It just seems to be an optional thing, and when they get tired of one family and can try over by leaving and starting another.

Posted by: single mom | January 11, 2007 2:54 PM

Have fun obsessing about meaningless things that you can't change.

Posted by: To January 11, 2007 02:53 PM | January 11, 2007 2:55 PM

How many women are out there raising children abandoned by their fathers without any child support, or emotional support?...I think that before we start asking men to stay at home and raise their children we should first instill in the fact that they are responsible for supporting them.


Maybe because of the attitude of women that men cannot do anything right, can't cook, can't clean, can't fold laundry, can't change the baby properly. Maybe because in the course of divorce the woman is more interested in extracting revenge against the spouse rather than support for the child. Maybe after the divorce the woman sends the kid(s) with one change of clothes for a 1 week stay. Maybe because the woman makes it difficult and apparent in obvious and subtle ways that the ex is a total louse.

Maybe the women should think a bit more before becoming pregnant.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 2:56 PM

It takes two to become pregnant.

Posted by: To: January 11, 2007 02:56 PM | January 11, 2007 2:58 PM

"Maybe the women should think a bit more before becoming pregnant."

Or the men should think more before having unprotected sex. WOW!

Posted by: single mom | January 11, 2007 2:58 PM

But my house is on one level. It does have 10" ceilings though.

Posted by: Fred | January 11, 2007 2:59 PM

But it takes only one to prevent it.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 3:00 PM

Thanks to Brian on this. I've spent a lot of time talking to friends and colleagues about how women are doing the majority of the SAHM household stuff even when they work fulltime, but I have never seen it from the Dad's perspective. Thanks for getting me to see it from my husband's point of view.

Posted by: KLTA | January 11, 2007 3:01 PM

Sorry Fred. Just can't do it right now as I am tired of painting. This weekend a friend and I emptied out the laundry/tool room and built/installed a cabinet (7 feet tall) and a set of drawers for storage. I am not sick of that yet - need some help there?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 11, 2007 3:01 PM

Buck Naked is George Costanza's porn name.

Posted by: cmac | January 11, 2007 3:02 PM

And why can't that one be the male?

Posted by: To: January 11, 2007 03:00 PM | January 11, 2007 3:03 PM

single mom, I find your statements to be breathtakingly sexist.

I have seen no statistical support for the statement that there are more deadbeat dads than moms. Assuming for the sake of argument that such is the case, one becomes a deadbeat dad in the first place by having a court grant a mom X amount of child support per month, along with primary custody, and then falling behind on those monthly payments. I have no statistical evidence to support this comment, but I think most of us would agree that moms are far more often granted primary custody and, hence, child support than are dads. If Group A has 90% more likely to have ongoing financial obligations assigned to it by the court system then is Group B, guess which group is going to default on that debt more often? Group A. I'm not defending deadbeat dads for a moment, but I think it's a substantial leap in logic to conclude from the fact that more guys than women shirk their court-ordered child support obligation that the Responsibility Gene is missing from the Y chromosome. (Does that work, scientists? I'm way out of my topical comfort zone, here).

I am not going to pre-judge half the population based on the volume of anecdotal stories about which I might be aware.


Financial irresponsibility is socially taboo in most communities, particularly if it results in a significantly lower standard of living for the custodial parent. It sure as heck doesn't fly around these parts.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 11, 2007 3:03 PM

And why can't that one be the male?

Posted by: To anon at 3pm | January 11, 2007 3:03 PM

Single Mom, allow me to clue you in. Men don't worry about having unprotected sex because they are not the ones who get pregnant.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 11, 2007 3:04 PM

My main point is that in the process of divorce, many couples seem more bent of retribution that child rearing. Barring cases of physical abuse, both parties should focus more on the children, the decision to split has already been made.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 3:05 PM

Ajax, sorry, I didn't mean for my comment to sound like I thought you were being egotistical or trying to award yourself a prize or something (darn written word). Meant it with laughter, because I've had this conversation with my mom so many times -- I remember so clearly how great SHE thought she was (not overtly, but just sort of that subtle, "well, I must have done something right, because YOU would never X,"), and so how she really was humbled a bit to realize it wasn't just all about her fabulous parenting. (Although she really was a fabulous parent.) Just like it was humbling for me to watch all of my own expectations and visions of infallibility and control go out the window when I had my daughter (as per my postings yesterday).

Posted by: Laura | January 11, 2007 3:05 PM

How many single moms are on welfare? Of those women, how many receive child support?

How many single fathers are on welfare?

Posted by: single mom | January 11, 2007 3:05 PM

Laura,

You will find as your children grow older that you have a selective memory about your children just as your mom has about you.

For a parent and espically one with multiple children, a selective memory is the only key to survival!

Posted by: Fred | January 11, 2007 3:10 PM

Laura -yes, that's one of the great things about having children - most of what you think you know or think goes out the window once you have kids. Makes you truly open-minded, and it's one of the things I like best about being a parent.

Posted by: Ajax | January 11, 2007 3:10 PM

Single Mom, I'm sorry, I can't let 2:54 go unchallenged.

I can tell by your name you have had some tough times, that is obvious. But, I think you are inappropriately painting some of us with the broad brush that applied to your ex.

It makes me bristle that you think that we (with this we I mean myself, Brian, Texas Dad of 2, Fo4 and even mcewen and pATRICK) need some sort of intervention to teach us that we should be responsible for our kids. Yes, perhaps your ex has/had a deficiency in this area.

It is deeply offensive to assume the rest of men have it, as if we are inherently deficient.

Yes, being a deadbeat dad is a crime. But can I please be presumed innocent?

Posted by: Proud Papa | January 11, 2007 3:10 PM

Selective memory, Fred? I have no idea what you are talking about -- my kids are perfect, so I have no need to forget anything. :-)

Ajax, amen.

Posted by: Laura | January 11, 2007 3:14 PM


Most every day Fredia comes home with another story about the young couple (first baby types) who say that my child will never behave like that. No little fishermen in the toilet, no running around naked, no acting up in grocery stores and never any dirty clothes.

It is always a good laugh!

Posted by: Fred | January 11, 2007 3:17 PM

On the subject of mommies taking a shower with their kids in the bathroom...

Be careful. A 4 year old boy is definately capable of having a reaction.

Don't ask me how I know this.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 11, 2007 3:21 PM

Proud Papa - kudos to your far more gracious response.

and Texas Dad of 2, at least we now have a blog name to go with the Polish prince cracks. FWIW, I didn't find the gifted testing info gloating at all.

KLB, we suddenly need a master bath remodel since it's now apparent that the shower installed in 1987 has been leaking into the living room ceiling ever since. Are you sick of bathroom remodels, too? Your painting resume reminds me of when we sold our last house and my husband the then-out-of-work techie became a self-taught interior and exterior painter and installer of hardwood floors. His conclusion was that it's amazing how many ways you can screw up something that looks as simple as painting if there's no one around to teach you the right way, and you don't have time to wait around for the right Home Depot seminar. I look at home repair skills as resume recession-proofing.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 11, 2007 3:21 PM

Brian (and the other Dads on this blog) are part of the proverbial choir. I think he was talking about a discussion of balance issues more like what Leslie proposes for women.
There are *many* days where the discussion here is only useful to middle class (and above) white collar workers with some flexibilty. And lack of criminal conduct by mothers here is generally assumed.

I for one think the deadbeat Dad issue is an important social issue - just irrelevant for the Dads on this blog. We could bring in a guest from social services to discuss horrific women who abuse and neglect their children... but that wouldn't be any more helpful to most.

Posted by: Different Questions | January 11, 2007 3:21 PM

It is amazing to hear my late parents recount how wonderful that my 7 brothers were! Especially the baby of the family. Mom would never say this about me though!

BTW Proud Papa, can I be counted in the fathers who are responsible for their kids. I have only been this way 27 years. But I might relapse any time!

Posted by: Fred | January 11, 2007 3:21 PM

Well, nice to see the earth has returned to its axis and this blog has reverted to the standard namecalling and stereotypes (irresponsible men and shrewish women, anyone?).

Proud Papa, I defy anyone to call you irresponsible.

Posted by: Laura | January 11, 2007 3:23 PM

Sorry 'bout that Fred. 27 years? Youdaman.

Posted by: Proud Papa | January 11, 2007 3:24 PM

Yea, 27 yrs, youngest is 15, I will never be able to retire!

Posted by: Fred | January 11, 2007 3:26 PM

Trixie,

My oh my...I brought them up only because they are relevant to the story I was telling. You don't seem to mind taking an unimportant reference from a previous story in to attempt to apply what you consider an unpleasant label on me (Polish Prince), so you don't seem to have much room to complain that I offer fuller story details than absolutely necessary. Now on to the particulars you cited...

The PTA point was made to show that we know these people well, having had to interact with them frequently and over a fairly long period of time (through PTA.) Same thing about GT--it was only a shorthand to explain that even beyond PTA, that their son and ours have been together in class essentially every year since K-gard. No attempts at bragging or resume padding there...

It amazes me sometimes what people can see and choose to infer, I guessed based on their filters. But yikes...

Though discipline varies greatly by family and circumstance, and parents generally confer on serious issues, I don't think my characterization of Dads as often being main discipline routes is completely bizarre. Opinions may vary, and standard disclaimer applies.

Scarry: on the snakes and spiders scale, unfortunately Texas has both black widows and the brown recluse, as well as nearly every poisonous snake present in the US. My FIL's Ranch in SA keeps the shotgun near the door for the inevitable batches of rattlesnakes that the dogs will turn up. Oh joy...the fun down here never ends.

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | January 11, 2007 3:28 PM

Texas Dad of 2

Hey since you are "The Polish Prince" can I be the Irish Princess? I'll even wear pink. Since when is talking about the PTA a bad thing? Lots of people on this board talk about their kids and their talents or lack there of. Geez why be so mean?

Anyway, I still love both of my princes on the board, you and father of 4 of course.

Posted by: scarry | January 11, 2007 3:30 PM

"Single Mom, allow me to clue you in. Men don't worry about having unprotected sex because they are not the ones who get pregnant."

Yeah, they can just get warts or herpes or HIV. Great message. I'd rather get pregnant that get a health or life threatenign disease.


Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 3:30 PM

KLB SS MD

I just hope that you did not paint anything pink!

Posted by: Fred | January 11, 2007 3:30 PM

Father of 4, that's what really, really opaque glass and double-lined shower curtains are for. But in any event, by age 4, assuming no developmental delay or other disability, I'd hazard a guess that most kids can be left alone for 15 minutes playing in their rooms or whatever.

I don't know any naked kid stories, but our 3 year old son got up one Saturday morning at 5:30, unlocked the front door (stood on arm of sofa and leaned way over to get high enough) and went to our best friend's house a block away, rang the doorbell and she gave us a bleary-eyed call. About six months later, her daughter got up one morning before dawn and walked six blocks, across three streets, to her grandmother's house. Yikes. Good thing we were living in a really, really small town at the time. Give me naked and relatively safe over dressed and street-crossing, any time.

Proud Papa, I must second the addition of Fred to the list of responsible dads, even though, if I recall correctly, he does refer to Fredia's vehicle by a derogatory term.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 11, 2007 3:34 PM

ha, texas dad of 2 I was way more afraid of my 100 pound mom than I ever was of my dad, but like you said things vary and I do find that my daughter listens more to my husband then me.

On the snake issue, this may surprise you but I have never been afraid of snakes, just spiders, which I fear greatly!

Posted by: scarry | January 11, 2007 3:36 PM

TX Dad of 2, second the thought on the TX wildlife. Within a month of moving to Austin for law school, I went to kill a 3" cockroach -- only to have it fly RIGHT at my head (they FLY?!?!?!). Then a couple of weeks later, I found a 14" centipede climbing up the wall above my bed. And not even going to get into the fire ants. Great city, really really scary bugs. . . .

Glad I don't have to worry about those kinds of bugs up here -- worst we had was a 3" wasp, which I later found out was harmless (tho it didn't seem so harmless when it was 6" away from my daughter's leg -- you've never seen a mom move so fast!). And especially glad I now have a big brave husband to handle that stuff for me. :-) Although I'm pretty sure I drive him up the wall with the "honey, can you take care of that -- NO! Don't kill it! Take it outside!"

Posted by: Laura | January 11, 2007 3:37 PM

Thanks, NC. Glad that some folks could read my post for what it was. And it is nice to have a name to reference to my favorite name caller...though honestly I can't imagine how she thinks such a tactic makes her posts more effectice. Sorry about your headache basketball games of late. Do you like college only, or pros as well?

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | January 11, 2007 3:39 PM

Scarry, spiders are OK. Earthworms are the worst.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 3:44 PM

There are definitely role models out there (not just SAHDs) and there are groups that try to promote/support Dads. One of the most visible is PromiseKeepers; so far as I know it is very religion-based and is predominately black men. Most churches do have men's groups -- and they talk about parenthood as well as lots of other things. I agree with whoever said part of the issue is that men are not pigeon-holed into thinking of themselves solely as "parents". Many are still stuck with traditional breadwinner workaholic notions, but LOTS of men today just embrace being well-rounded people, with jobs, families, interests, etc. I see lots of them handling it with aplomb.

BTW, columnists on this blog can't win: Brian gets slammed as 'uninteresting' because he doesn't provoke; Leslie gets slammed because she does. Personally, I like Brian's columns -- he's a thoughtful guy who's interested both in sharing his thoughts and hearing others.

Posted by: VAtoddlerMom | January 11, 2007 3:45 PM

Good story about Roy here (and NC lawyer will know who Roy is):

My youngest just left on a 3 day trip to Atlanta with his swim team. Roy came out to their bus just before they left and gave them a pep talk about competing, doing their best, etc. What a sendoff!

That is a man who leads by example. He is caring, gets the best out of people, and lives his life to the fullest he can imagine (imho). He gives of himself while asking others to do the same.

Posted by: dotted | January 11, 2007 3:47 PM

How is "Polish Prince" any better or worse than "Texas Dad of 2"?

You ARE Polish and you've never denied that you were pretty much raised as a prince in your household.

Posted by: Trixie | January 11, 2007 3:47 PM

Texas Dad of 2, I never got into pro basketball -- too long a season. I'd quickly develop an interest if I had a friend who followed it, after all, for the most part, they're all the same players I follow in college, but my friends are all devoted college fans so we voluntarily limit the scope of our 5-beer expertise. My attitude with sports has always been that, if you're going to have an opinion, you need to watch 95% of the action to provide an informed basis for it -- commit yourself to the preseason and early season games and not just show up for the playoffs having listened to a couple of John Feinstein radio comments. Perfectionism and being a sports spectator is a dangerous combination. and you? what do you follow?

My husband kills all bugs when he's home, but knows I kill 'em when he's not. I suspect we both get something out of the delusion that it's His Job. The funny thing is that the girlie-girl watching Crouching Tiger is a fierce bug killer. With our son, we have to take the relocate-it-outside-to-its-environment approach. He abhors the occasional, necessary mouse trap.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 11, 2007 3:50 PM

Anyone ever notice the lull in posts around this time of day? Is it kid-pick-up time or what??

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 3:54 PM

VAtoddlerMom, I don't think the Promise Keepers are predominantly black men. In fact, I don't think the promise keepers are even socially progressive in any way.

http://www.now.org/issues/right/promise/mythfact.html

Posted by: Proud Papa | January 11, 2007 3:55 PM

Suppose so; I'm off to pick up mine right now.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 3:56 PM

'Moxiemom, couldn't your two-year old just play nearby while you shower? Mine usually sits on a little stool looking at books, next to the shower. I think all comes down to whatever the child is used to.'

Does anyone ever use a playpen? Or shower when the children are sleeping? Or shower when the other parent is home?

I can remember showering with a crying baby in crib or playpen. I needed the shower to drown out the noise of the crying :)

Posted by: | January 11, 2007 02:07 PM

Can't help it. Must respond. A playpen works okay for a 1-year-old, not so well for a 2-year-old. Showering while kids are sleeping is best but unfortunately, they don't always cooperate. Showering while the other parent is home is fine but sometimes not feasible or both are trying to get ready simultaneously. And many bathrooms don't have enough room for a kid to be sitting there looking at books. And it's just more complicated when you've got multiple kids to mess up your showering plan. Sometimes you just let a baby squawk and hope older kids don't do anything dangerous and learn to take quick (5 min) showers. Other times you go the TV route.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | January 11, 2007 3:59 PM

Scarry, sorry! I didn't see your posts until after I posted to NC.

Absolutely, you can be my Irish Princess. I have a weakness for the bonnie Irish lasses... :~) My Daughter has blond hair like her Mother, but several of my nieces and nephews have that Irish red hair from my Father's side.

And for snakes/spiders, I get both chores, which I consider part of the job description. I still have to keep my wife from killing any snake she sees. Her head may say that not all snakes are harmful and some are beneficial, but her heart says that the only good snake is a dead snake.

Laura: I see you have made acquaintance with a water bug (they look like jumbo cock roaches that fly). And along the gulf coast where I live, don't forget the dump truck sized mosquitoes, some of whom carries encephalitis, etc. Living in an amongst so much nature has it's good and bad points. But I wouldn't trade it (or the people down here) for anything...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | January 11, 2007 3:59 PM

Bringing back an o/t from a few hours ago:

moxiemom:

"Both of my kids are in a montessori preschool which has been fabulous. I'm a college educated SAHM and love spending time with my kids, however I think they have gotten so much more from pre-school than I could have given them."

I'm going to assume you're talking about what your children are learning at their school, not the social aspect of preschool (which children can receive in many other ways.)

The Montessori philosophy actually lends itself very well to teaching at home because so much of it is individualized to the needs of each student and centered around real-life skills. There are some great books about teaching Montessori in the home.

Montessori classrooms have a higher teacher to student ratio than most preschools and their schools are generally more expensive than traditional preschools. For the amount of money you spend on a Montessori education where the child is getting individual attention from an adult for only a fraction of the day, you could afford to turn a room of your home into a "classroom" complete with every Montessori educational tool known to man and give your child a one-on-one education.

I don't buy the "I know a lot of things but that doesn't mean I can teach them" argument when it comes to young children and very basic preschool skills. If you can teach them to eat with a spoon, you can provide them with early literacy skills, or even teach them to read as I did with my daughter and am doing with my son. What do you expect your child to learn in preschool that you wouldn't be able to teach them?

There are a ton of resources out there regarding home education, so if you can read Parenting with Love and Logic or What You Need to Know the First Year and apply those principles to parenting, you can also read and apply Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons or What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know or Teaching Montessori in the Home. It really isn't rocket science.

Posted by: momof4 | January 11, 2007 3:59 PM

ProudPapa - I certainly wasn't saying PromiseKeepers were socially progressive. Most of the groups I'm aware of focused on Dads are NOT, but hopefully that's just the ones I've heard of because they are today's media darlings. I would think/hope that there are socially progressive ones, too. Dads looking for support should have options that fit them best. I was just trying to get back to the question about role models and support by mentioning them and hoping other posters might know of more to suggest.

In the DC area, I've heard that the PEP (Parent Encourage Program) is pretty good - anybody have experience with it?

Posted by: VAtoddlerMom | January 11, 2007 4:01 PM

Ah, dotted, I am with you on Roy, much as it pains me to say it (and my Duke friends will tar and feather me if they identify me on this blog).

Another thing we can agree on: I hope your youngest does well in Atlanta!

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 11, 2007 4:01 PM

yuck! We may move to Texas in the near future and I'm not looking forward to flying look alike cockroaches... making my skin crawl! I'll take bears and cougars any day of the week!

Posted by: s | January 11, 2007 4:03 PM

Speaking of naked, let's talk about parents in the nude. My husband and I shower with our kids from time to time and are sometimes naked in front of them, like when we're out of the shower and getting dressed in the morning. At what point does this become inappropriate? My friend's twins are 4 and she has started bathing them separately. Seems a bit young to me, but nudity isn't a big deal for me. Thoughts?

Posted by: Off topic | January 11, 2007 4:03 PM

Awww, TX Dad of 2, you've crushed me. "3-inch flying cockroach" sounds SO much more impressive than "water bug."

Posted by: Laura | January 11, 2007 4:04 PM

Mona,

I lost all of my baby weight, and then a bit more, by the time my son was 4 months old. I credit breastfeeding with the weight loss. My weight has started to creep back up now that I'm no longer breastfeeding. My two cents...

Posted by: MAY | January 11, 2007 4:04 PM

Thanks, momof4, for some insight on Montessori. Our child just started and I'm very interested to see how its impact differs from the daycare/preschool he has been in so far.

Posted by: VAtoddlerMom | January 11, 2007 4:07 PM

Same with me - lost all my weight within a few months through breastfeeding and walks. I gained about 5+ pounds after stopping breastfeeding that I have not been able to shed these past two years!! You get extra calories while BFing (I believe 300) which you get used to.

Posted by: single mom | January 11, 2007 4:09 PM

re Mona question about weight loss...

I stayed active during my pregnancy and afterward. I ran up to 36 weeks (between 3 and 6 miles 3-4X a week) and then swam after that. I think this helped because I had lost the weight by my six week check up (although my tummy was still loose).

It is hard to find the time but we make it a priority because I am much more sane when active. I just learned to become more flexible when and where and kept up with running, yoga (did with my son - fun), and swimming (all three of us go - a class with my son and then I swim laps for a half hour while my other and my son played in the kiddie pool.

Posted by: s | January 11, 2007 4:12 PM

I know of two dads who are stay at home. One is in his sixties and lives in the Alexandria area. The other is in his mid-forties and lives in the Raleigh-Durham, NC, area. All the children of these two fathers are extremely close with their parents, are doing well in school/life, and I look up to them both as role models on how to raise children.

The main thing is that they are both even-keeled and consistent in what they expect of their kids. They cook, clean, and generally take care of the household. They are the grease that keeps the engine running smoothly.

Even though I work, I hope I can do half as good a job with my child as they have with their children.

Posted by: Working Dad | January 11, 2007 4:13 PM

Off Topic -- I had this issue at my gym for a while. I figured when the boy was big enough to look me straight in the boob, he was old enough to be in the men's locker room.

Seriously, though, my husband was never really concerned about that as much as I was. So he tried showering with her once when she was about 2, until she poked a, um, shall we say, private place, pretty hard, asking "what's that?" As soon as he recovered his breath, he put on a bathing suit.

Posted by: Laura | January 11, 2007 4:13 PM

I stepped on a slug and it popped.

Yuck!

When slugs make love they hang off a leaf by a strand of slime and twist around and around each other and fertilize themselves. When they are done, one drops ddown to the ground, and the other takes the leaf route.

I saw it on the Discovery channel once and then a week later in real life.

Not only romantic, but naturally beautiful!

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 11, 2007 4:14 PM

Texas dad of 2 you have some Irish red heads in your family, that is just lovely.

My family is actually Black Irish and I am the only one with freckles. We only had one red head in the whole family.

My daughter is also blond, which I never really expected with me having such dark hair.

Posted by: scarry | January 11, 2007 4:15 PM

"Montessori classrooms have a higher teacher to student ratio than most preschools and their schools are generally more expensive than traditional preschools."

momof4, this comment may have geographical limitations. For example, neither part of it is accurate for the area in which I live. Here, the ratio's a little higher and the cost is often more affordable than non-Montessori preschools.

That aside, and while we can respectfully agree to disagree, to say that anyone can grab a book and do just as good a job as a teacher who's gone through Montessori training and been teaching with the method for 10+ years seems a little glib and devaluing of those teachers' considerable expertise. I could grab a manual and engage in some do-it-yourself auto repairs, too, but at least if I screw it up, I'll know because my car will breakdown. How will I know if I'm a horrific Montessori teacher -- one of the core principles of which is occasional guidance but not hovering and directing the exploration. One caveat, anyone can hang a Montessori label on the front door of a building. It's not trademarked. So, a parent interested in a quality Montessori education for his/her preschooler must ask a lot of questions about the particular backgrounds of the instructors at any entity that purports to teach using the Montessori Method to make sure that he/she is not enrolling his/her child in the educational equivalent of NC lawyer's Auto Repair.

To each his own, but neither my husband nor myself have the patience or focus to be good preschool age instructors. Parent, know thyself.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 11, 2007 4:17 PM

NC. I follow pro and college (and local HS) football {it's a Texas requirement}. Also enjoy basketball, and tennis (which I play, along iwth volleyball), though the stars of tennis of late have made the game ho-hum. As a UT Longhorn alum, I follow most of what they do.

Favorite teams in order:
Dallas Cowboys
UT (anything)
San Antonio Spurs
Dallas Maveriscks
Houston Rockets
Houston Texans (sort of by default)

Laura: Sorry. But you can call them mutant cockroaches, if it's really imporant to ya... :~)

s: We still have cougars down here, in the Davis mountains (Big Bend area of West Texas near Mexico border). But come anyway, the peeple are among the friendliest you'll ever meet. People don't stay here because they LIKE the cockroaches. We offer much else as compensations...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | January 11, 2007 4:17 PM

Thanks for the info, MAY. How do you plan to keep the weight off now that you are not BFing? And a BF question in general (I hope this is not too personal) does BFing alter the *ahem* "structural integrity" of the breast?

Posted by: Mona | January 11, 2007 4:20 PM

"Scarry, spiders are OK. Earthworms are the worst."

I like them too, I used to pick them up and put them in the grass after the rain. However, i feel your pain. We don't like something!

On gaining weight and losing it: I only gained ten pounds with my daughter and she weighed 7-13, so I left the hospital in my jeans. I really hope to be able to eat more with my next pregnacy.

Posted by: scarry | January 11, 2007 4:20 PM

I love the Cowboys!

Posted by: scarry | January 11, 2007 4:22 PM

Off Topic, since I'm blind, and my wife is a nurse, nudity is just part of family life.

My 4 year old son will sometimes tell on my 15 year old daughter for walking around the house without any clothes.

I think it was around 5 to 7 years old when I began separating my son & daughter at bath time. Just too much giggling...

It's a little too late in the day for me to continue this topic since I have to catch the bus, but if Leslie or Brian post a blog about this subject in the morning, I'm sure it will lead to interesting discussion.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 11, 2007 4:28 PM

NC Lawyer, I did have two bathrooms sorta redone but I left the plumbing and floor installation to my handyman. I know my limits. I can change a shower head and do the easy toilet fixes (change flapper) but that is it. If you are doing a whole remodel may I recommend the "comfort height" toilets. Even tho I am short they are wonderful. Amazing what an extra inch or two does for ya :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 11, 2007 4:29 PM

OT, I have a blog topic suggestion: Procrastination.
How does it affect your work life balance? How does it affect your family? What things do you procrastinate on most often? And most importantly, if you are one of the awesome souls who does not procrastinate, can you teach your secrets to the rest of us?

Posted by: worker bee | January 11, 2007 4:31 PM

That's why scarry had to leave this area. She likes the Cowboys! Did the neighbors force you out with life sized pictures of Michael Irvin's career-ending concussion?

I will give $50 to anyone who gets him to retire from TV.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 4:34 PM

Worker bee, I am the president of the procrastinators club. I will send my dues in tomorrow.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 11, 2007 4:36 PM

This blog is a procratination tool for me - I guess a secret would be to stop doing it.

Posted by: single mom | January 11, 2007 4:36 PM

single mom, you're so right. Sigh. Back to running reports!

Posted by: worker bee | January 11, 2007 4:38 PM

I have always battled with my weight - usually just a stubborn 10-15 lbs or so. During my pregnancy I gained less than 20 pounds and lost it all very quickly. After I lost the weight, I just kept losing - I think a more active lifestyle (walks, running up and down townhouse stairs carrying baby, eating less)has helped. I DID NOT nurse, so I do not attribute to that, whereas a couple of my friends who did nurse are still struggling with the pounds years later! I don't know how I got lucky like this, but I will say that at 10 pounds less than when I conceived, the weight is definitley in different places, and not places I would chose. ;)

Posted by: Lucky One | January 11, 2007 4:39 PM

Slugs: If you shake salt on them they shrivel up and die.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 11, 2007 4:40 PM

Scarry, that is scary. Like 95% of native San Antonians, I am a rabid lifelong Cowboys fan.

Like engineers, football, Irishman, big tall guys. Sort of a shame we're both taken already... :~)

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | January 11, 2007 4:46 PM

Texas Dad of 2,

Must . . . not . . . respond . . . . to . . . reference . . .to . . "rabid" . . . Cowboys . . . fans.

If you're a Dilbert fan and understand that I'm a lifelong Redskins fan, it'll make sense.

KLB, "Honey, you'll never believe what I learned at work today about slugs". Ha!

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 11, 2007 4:52 PM

GO EAGLES!!!

Sorry bout that game last week Cowboys fans....haha

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 4:55 PM

Thanks for the info, MAY. How do you plan to keep the weight off now that you are not BFing? And a BF question in general (I hope this is not too personal) does BFing alter the *ahem* "structural integrity" of the breast?

Posted by: Mona | January 11, 2007 04:20 PM

Laura/Mona, I hate to break it to you, but pregnancy -- not bfing -- alters the structural integrity of the breast. They'll never be the way they are pre-pregnancy again. Sigh. but, as Ron White's routine, suggests, unlike stupidity, that's a problem that can be fixed (for the most part) with a good plastic surgeon.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 4:56 PM

NC lawyer, If you are a Redskins fan and a Dilbert fan maybe you know "must control fist of death"?
I know about the slugs because I lived in a house with a beautiful garden that was filled with slugs. We also used to put beer bottles on their sides with a couple of ounces of beer inside - they would crawl in and not come out.
I had a date with a guy one night and we were sitting on the front porch. I saw a "stick" on the step and picked it up. It wasn't a stick. I ran into the house, leaving him on the stoop wondering what the heck had just happened. No second date even after explanation.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 11, 2007 4:56 PM

Mona, I work for plastic surgeons. The breasts will usually enlarge during pregnancy (most people like this part). After delivery they can lose a significant amount of your own breast tissue and either sag or just become very small. If you don't lose too much of your own breast tissue you have have a breast lift to resuspend the breast. If you have lost volume then you either live with it or get an augmentation.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 11, 2007 5:00 PM

Or... you just get over it and appreciate your beautiful body the way it is... and appreciate the fact that your body was able to make a new person!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 5:05 PM

KLB SS MD, If I was a slug, that'd be the way I'd want to go. and yes, about Dilbert.

Clearly, loser date was seeking a girl with no remodeling skills, margarita-making skills, knowledge of slug-behavior or sense of humor. Pretty funny. I'd like to know the version of this story he tells his friends, wouldn't you?

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 11, 2007 5:05 PM

Thanks for the boob/weight info! I always find a wealth of information here on this board. I love you guys! Looking at my mom's shape, I can only hope the same fate is not in store for me. But I'm 28, and my bottom is already bigger than my top, so I am going to have to work very hard to keep from looking like her (don't get me wrong--I adore my mom--but like I said, fitness is very important to me). Thanks again!

Posted by: Mona | January 11, 2007 5:06 PM

NC Lawyer, He probably told them I was a psycho. Not the worst first date I have ever had tho. We were out to dinner and I was eating a salad. When I stuck my fork into the cherry tomato it squirted directly across the table onto his tie. Me - laughing out loud. Him - angry as it was a brand new expensive silk tie. Again, no second date (no loss there).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 11, 2007 5:08 PM

Mona, don't feel bad about looking like your mother. I had a pic of my mom when she was pregnant with me on my computer screen at work the other day. One of my docs was amazed and couldn't stop talking about how I am a clone of my mother. She is a clone of her mother. My grandmother was very wrinkled. My mother is very wrinkled. I'm scared.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 11, 2007 5:11 PM

OK - so not to scare you but when I talk about that 5-10 lbs I cannot seem to lose, I so happened to have turned 30 and quit breastfeeding within a couple months of each other and I think that between the two my body and metabolism has changed for ever. I never used to have to worry about what I eat, but now... exercise is key. As for bfing changing the consitiution of your breasts - it is largely pregnancy and all of the engorgement that causes stretchmarks and not the actual feeding. My have started to sag a bit... still do not touch skin though

Posted by: single mom | January 11, 2007 5:12 PM

I have some serious stretch marks on mine and wonder if there is some way to remove them... I really don't like them...

Posted by: s | January 11, 2007 5:32 PM

KLB SS, My favorite bad-date story is the guy I met through the Washingtonian personals back in the day when that was every late 20 year old's dirty little secret way to break out of the bar scene, work colleagues, friends I've known for years, rut. We talked on the phone several times, had a fair amount in common, arranged to meet in Old Town and as soon as he saw me, the look of disappointment was obvious. Longest shared draft beer ever. Meanwhile Disappointed Man was (not that there's anything wrong with any of this, please don't anyone be offended), approx. 135 lbs, 5'2'' with way too longish hair (had he been a professional artist or guitar-player in a band, it'd have made sense but he was an accountant), and looked at least 8 - 10 years older than what he purported to be. Honestly, while heads do not turn when I stroll down the street, I was a 7 - 8 (at the time) and this guy was a 2. I laughed with my best girlfriend over several more, better beers for the subsequent 3 hours after the date ended. Maybe silk-tie dude was a good friend of you-really-should-lower-your-expectations Disappointed Man.

So here's the end of the story, no matter what your grandma tells you, everyone I know from the DC area with a marriage or long-term non-married relationship that's exceeded the 10-year mark met their spouses or SOs in a bar. Even the two non-drinkers. We all say, restaurant, but . . . What are the odds? If it matters, most were sports bars.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 11, 2007 5:36 PM

My father was never around when my brother and I were kids. He had little intrest in my brother, and less interest in me, being a girl. Work was his existance.
I'm 23 now and my father is dying of cancer. The last time i went to visit him we spent a day together and had virtually nothing to say. We seemed like two people who didn't know eachother at all.
Before I left for the airport my father said, "If I could do it all again, I would have spent more time with you. I would have gotten to know my children."

My best advice to Dads out there: don't let that be you.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 5:41 PM

My father was never around when my brother and I were kids. He had little intrest in my brother, and less interest in me, being a girl. Work was his existance.
I'm 23 now and my father is dying of cancer. The last time i went to visit him we spent a day together and had virtually nothing to say. We seemed like two people who didn't know eachother at all.
Before I left for the airport my father said, "If I could do it all again, I would have spent more time with you. I would have gotten to know my children."

My best advice to Dads out there: don't let that be you.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 5:41 PM

whoa, nelly, that's a change in mood.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 5:46 PM

does BFing alter the *ahem* "structural integrity" of the breast?

From "La Leche League International The Breastfeeding Answer Book"

"The mother' breasts may change after weaning"

After weaning, most mothers find that their breasts return to their pre-pregnancy size. It is also common for the areola to remain darker than before pregnancy...

Some mothers' breasts become soft and flabby at first, but gradually regain their firmness after several menstrual cycles..."

The other part of the equation is that pregnancy and hormones change a women's body and that even if a woman does not bf, her breasts may change as noted by some of the above posts.

Posted by: Fred | January 11, 2007 5:49 PM

Fred, what would we do without you?

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 11, 2007 5:52 PM

What about shape afterwards... is surgery the only option other than accepting it and moving on...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 5:54 PM

"...if I recall correctly, he does refer to Fredia's vehicle by a derogatory term."


No, it is a term of endearment. Both my girls think it is funny as all get out! Remember the AF girl drives the booby twin.

Posted by: Fred | January 11, 2007 5:56 PM

you can tone muscles. You can't tone fat and breast tissue is fat. The more you tone the underlying chest muscles, you'll have a more attractive physique. But if your breasts have lost their tone, your options are surgical, or accepting it and investing in significantly better quality, more supportive lingerie. For those of us smaller than B-cup women who never really had to worry about re-shaping and lifting pre-pregnancy, it's quite a change.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 5:59 PM

Fred, AF girl can drive whatever she wants and folks will respect her. I hope you know I was kidding.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 11, 2007 6:03 PM

Well, the other dau drives the Golden Bird. I drive the "creepy" van or sometime my Infiniti.

But mom's and AF dau smal SUV are twins, same year, color, interior etc.

Posted by: Fred | January 11, 2007 6:05 PM

that would be

But mom's and AF dau small SUV are twins, same year, color, interior etc.

Posted by: Fred | January 11, 2007 6:07 PM

and the Golden Bird is . . . what? make and model?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 6:09 PM

The Golden Bird is a 90's model Ford Thunderbird. Wife and AF dau drive 2005 Ford Escapes. I drive the 96 mommy van for house repairs and the G-35 to go to work

Posted by: Fred | January 11, 2007 6:14 PM

Fred, I once had a Thunderbird. It was the best replacement car I could afford with the insurance check I got after a carjacker totaled my Sentra. Ha! It was the car that made me appreciate all subsequent cars. I hope she gets hers to last past 75K miles, the point where my engine died that final death.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 11, 2007 6:20 PM

The Golden Bird has over 100,000 miles on it. It was just here at Christmas so I checked it out and it is doing fine for a car it age. This was my late dad's car and I bought it from the estate. Pretty funny when you are the executor. Who is selling this car? Well that would be me! Who is buying this car? well that would be me!

I would suspect that your used T Bird was not taken care of by its previous owner(s).

Posted by: Fred | January 11, 2007 6:28 PM

BTW, AF dau is in Charleston SC.

Also, one of these days I will have to tell you the story of Fredia running over the motorcycle cop.

Posted by: Fred | January 11, 2007 6:30 PM

Fred, we're not looking to move ever again. But our vacations near Charleston have put it on the short list of locations we'd consider if we broke our vow of location commitment. Fredia running over a motorcycle cop? This must be a good one.

oh, and I agree on the maintenance of the Tbird. Apparantly for some folks, regularly changing their oil is a challenge.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 11, 2007 6:36 PM

Also the Fredia driving story in which the punch line is "This doesn't drive like my daddy's Mercedes."

Posted by: Fred | January 11, 2007 6:38 PM

Mona - I think that the best thing you can do is not to put the weight on in the first place. I'm not saying that you should diet during pregnancy but you shouldn't eat like you are on a Carnival Cruise like I did both times. I think when you are pregnant you only need like 300 more calories a day.

I wasn't really able to start "working out" unitl my dd was about 18 mos. I did a lot of walking with the stroller and DVD workouts, but I wasn't comfortable leaving an infant in the child care at my YMCA until she was older. I haven't the slightest idea how WOHMs fit it in except that maybe they get up at 4 am? I will also say that after 30 those pounds hang on for dear life. I really thougth I could just work out and eat sensibly to lose the weight like always. WRONG.

RE: Breast changes from breastfeeding. I nursed both kids about a year and I think it had a dramatic impact on the shall I say firmness. I think the constant expanding and contracting really did a number on them. I miss the old pair and would like to have my "girls" returned to their full upright position but I think I'd like a new sofa and some draperies more (plus I do not want implants). I still would have nursed my children - I think it is important to their health and a special bonding with mother and child so don't read this as an indictment of nursing. Just make note of an appreciate them. Also make note of the location of all other parts of your physique because there will be some shifting that really no amount of weight lifting will remedy. Small price to pay for these groovy little people. By the way, my dh is about 15 lbs. heavier than when we got married and he didn't make two people. Good luck. You'll do great.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 11, 2007 6:56 PM

Momof4 - you are right I am wrong. I will pull both kids from Montessori school now and begin teaching. Do I get to call myself a WOHM if I'm teaching or is a FICA deduction required?

Posted by: moxiemom | January 11, 2007 6:58 PM

moxiemom, perhaps when you clip your Montessori teacher nametag on, you can become one of the 200 people in the U.S. who claim a legitimate home office deducion. hee hee.

but you'll only be a WOHM if you set your Montessori classroom up in the backyard. Since we all know that when you become a SAHM, your brain turns to mush (please all note this is said sarcastically), will you then still be capable of do-it-yourself teaching? so many things to consider.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 11, 2007 7:06 PM

NC Lawyer, according to momof4 it is "not rocket science" so I'm hoping that with my mushy SAHM brain, I can step up and do it - otherwise we might hire a monkey or maybe I'll bag the whole thing and let them watch pre-school on tv, Noggin for $30 a month. So many choices, I'm glad I'm not blonde anymore or my head might explode from the sheer burden being placed on my stagnant pool of gray matter. haha

Posted by: moxiemom | January 11, 2007 7:15 PM

moxiemom, wives and mommies are supposed to be nice and soft. That's how I like them anyways.

And if it makes you all mommies feel better to know, I haven't been able to lose that pesky 10 pounds after the birth of my 4th child either. I suspect it's the beer that may be the problem.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 11, 2007 7:17 PM

Father of 4 - thanks for the laugh and good vibes, much appreciated. I too find that a good dose of hops helps the day pass and calms the nerves!

Posted by: moxiemom | January 11, 2007 7:22 PM

And if it makes you all mommies feel better to know, I haven't been able to lose that pesky 10 pounds after the birth of my 4th child either. I suspect it's the beer that may be the problem.


Father of 4, You win the prize for best non-snarky line of the day.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2007 7:22 PM

Scarry, that is scary. Like 95% of native San Antonians, I am a rabid lifelong Cowboys fan.

Like engineers, football, Irishman, big tall guys. Sort of a shame we're both taken already... :~)

hahah I like all of the above!

I liked them because my brother did. He always had to be different. One brother liked the Steelers and my poor sister liked the Browns. I chose to be a winner and like the Cowboys.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 12, 2007 8:33 AM

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