How Not to Write About Parenthood

In my little corner of the world, where news about dads is scrutinized as closely as the play-calling of Joe Gibbs, there's been a huge buzz around a first-person piece of daddyhood in this month's Men's Vogue. Penned by Pultizer Prize-winning war correspondent Charlie LeDuff, it details one man's move from the stereotypically macho to the saccharine-sweet.

And while I think it is absolutely fabulous that LeDuff is loving at-home fatherhood and can't help but talk about it, the article is nonetheless symptomatic of everything wrong with first-person writing about family life, and it serves as a useful guide for what magazine (and newspaper) editors ought *not* to do:

1. The mere act of becoming a parent and experiencing the joy of raising a child is not, in itself, interesting. Parents probably already know that joy. Those without children probably don't want to hear additional prattling. Living an interesting life doesn't change that much, nor does being a good writer. Nor being a man, for that matter.

2. If, for some reason, you must publish a navel-gazing piece on the joys of parenthood, try to shoot for someone other than a professional writer. Writers in general, and journalists in particular, can flit in and out of the workforce far more easily than Joe Sixpack.

3. If, for some reason, you must publish a piece on the joys of parenthood, try to shoot for someone with more than one kid. LeDuff wrote about his life with one 11-month-old. That's hardly enough time to even begin to scratch the surface of the joys and frustrations of parenthood, let alone tackle balance issues.

4. Can we just give the judgmental stuff a rest? LeDuff rolls his eyes at the children at the park with their nannies and makes the Flanagan-esque boasts that "My child will never call someone else Daddy," as if finding balance is simply a matter of willpower.

5. Along those lines, let me quote documentary filmmaker Dana Glazer: "If a media article, segment, essay, whatever, does not include a discussion of gender equity, real work/family balance, then it's skirting the deeper issues at hand."

It's great that a professional writer is using a wonderful but low-risk sabbatical to spend time with his infant, but he could spare us the broadsides against go-to-work parents. I've said this before: All I want is an honest discussion about balance and the various ways to get there. Pieces like LeDuff's only make it more difficult.

By Brian Reid |  November 15, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Conflicts , Dads
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First! (chomp)

Posted by: nonamehere | November 15, 2007 8:02 AM

Second!

Posted by: sharonw | November 15, 2007 8:17 AM

Ah, geez, Brian, deal with it!

"If a media article...does not include a discussion of gender equity...then it's skirting the deeper issues at hand." Say what? I'm not a huge fan of LeDuff's article, but he's allowed to write what he wants to. If the magazine thinks it will cause people to read it and they'll make money they're allowed to print it. Simple as that.

On another note: "Men's Vogue"????? I never knew there was such a thing; nor can I ever imagine myself reading it other than for a good laugh.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | November 15, 2007 8:21 AM

"If, for some reason, you must publish a navel-gazing piece on the joys of parenthood, try to shoot for someone other than a professional writer. Writers in general, and journalists in particular, can flit in and out of the workforce far more easily than Joe Sixpack."

Leslie, I find this pretty rich, coming from you. I just finished Mommy Wars, and it's overwhelmingly dominated by professional writers. In fact, out of the 26 women included in your book, only 5 of them appear to have careers outside of writing. And I think almost all of the "stay at home moms" you included are writers who continued freelancing while they were "at home."

I do agree with you, though, that reading about freelance writers who have "given up their jobs" to stay at home isn't all that interesting. I kept wishing as I read Mommy Wars that you'd included some women who were in other professions before they had kids.

Posted by: newsahm | November 15, 2007 8:23 AM

Ok, sorry. Didn't see that Brian wrote this one.

Posted by: newsahm | November 15, 2007 8:24 AM

Separate topic: Brian fawningly quote Glazer, whose article fawningly quotes Brian! Um, not like that's a coincidence or anything.

All together now:

"I quote you. You quote me.
We're as happy as can be.
With a great big hug and a link from me to you,
We'll get Leslie to quote us too."

Okay, my lyrics stink. Oh, Songster, that's your cue - you're better at this than I am.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | November 15, 2007 8:31 AM

My first thought when I read that piece was, "that guy is a professional writer?" I could barely get through it; in fact, I didn't get through it. From the quick skim I did manage what I took away from it was that he's home with his daughter mostly because he sees it as some sort of career break that he's romanticizing to rationalize walking away from such a rock star career. How noble of him to give up such an exciting, high profile job so his wife can finally have a chance to do her "dream job" AND his daughter will never have to call another man daddy. Of course, he hastens to add at the end of the piece, he knows he'll be going back to work "someday." I get the feeling it's going to be sooner rather than later, at which point he can start writing about how his daughter is so much better off in daycare because of all the socialization and stimulation it provides and how she would never have gotten that at home with a parent.

And as for his comment about "a man at home with an infant is out to sea with a compass," not knowing how much to feed, how much she should sleep, etc. Um, welcome to the world of most new mothers--I can't name one who didn't have these exact same worries.

And amen to your comment about his low-risk sabbatical; isn't he in fact still working as evidenced by the fact that he wrote and published this piece?

Posted by: maggielmcg | November 15, 2007 8:35 AM

I think it is important to see more pieces regarding men who are finding the pure joys of being a parent. It helps encourage other men to find ways to spend more time with their children at home. As more and more families choose to have both parents work rather than one of them stay home, it's important some people get back to what is really most important - spending time with and helping raise future generations.

Posted by: nojunkmail4me | November 15, 2007 9:05 AM

"If, for some reason, you must publish a piece on the joys of parenthood, try to shoot for someone with more than one kid."

While we're trying not to judge, maybe we can avoid judging people on the number of kids they have.

Let me get this straight. Never accept advice from childless people because they have no clue. Also avoid advice from people with one kid. And, well, if they haven't been through the teenaged years, they're clueless. Does this mean that the only people qualified to give advice are the Duggars?

Advice from different people is applicable at different times in your life. If you can't graciously accept advice without throwing out "I've got it so much harder than you do, you have no idea," maybe you've got bigger issues and could use the advice of a professional.

Posted by: Meesh | November 15, 2007 9:11 AM

LeDuff's article is just additional proof that stay-at-home dads are the new media darlings. And it's about time! We moms need to get on with the business of parenting and working, and let the MSM dig into the lives of the SAHD (SAD?, that's sad).
I wrote a piece about his on my blog, WiseIdeas, which you can read at
http://www.typepad.com/t/app/weblog/post?__mode=edit_entry&id=40089920&blog_id=1403481

MJ in SF

Posted by: mjcallsf | November 15, 2007 9:12 AM

Somehow, I felt the article was as much about the guy and all his professional achievements and illustrous career as it was about staying home with a baby.

And what's up with the negative language about people who don't stay at home with their baby and "fob her off on a stranger" or leave them with Latina nannies who are supposedly loved more by the babies than the parents are?

Also, life's not all that black and white for most of us. It's not usually a choice between an exceedingly adventurous career, country-hopping and deadline-fearing and a dull, stay-at-home experience. There are a lot of in-between jobs that would prevent a father from his kids calling him "uncle".

Posted by: StickyNote | November 15, 2007 9:27 AM

Brian: nicely put on all counts.
I thoroughly enjoy your insights on this blog.

Posted by: kim.passafiume | November 15, 2007 9:30 AM

ANOTHER article trashing working parents? I guess this one is different because it was written by a man.

Posted by: atb2 | November 15, 2007 9:37 AM

Brian, stick a fork in yourself, you're done.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 10:08 AM

"a man at home with an infant is out to sea without a compass..."

Mommies have the mother-daughter-sister-aunt-grandmother network, thousands of years of biological engineering and 9 months of hormonal preparation to assist them with the emotional challanges of caring for an infant.

Besides their wives, fathers have little to nothing to support them in this matter.

Posted by: DandyLion | November 15, 2007 10:12 AM

To DaddyLion,

So men do not have a mother-daughter-sister-aunt-grandmother network? How did these men come to exist without any women in their families?

And how exactly do hormones allow a woman to know how much strained green beans to feed her child?

Posted by: nac1975 | November 15, 2007 10:28 AM

Oh, that bothered me, too. A baby doesn't know how much a baby should eat? Ya, she does. She eats until she's done. Some days it's more, some days it's less. There is no one right answer to anything about raising children. Stop looking for it.

Posted by: atb2 | November 15, 2007 10:47 AM

agreed, brian. another reason why you should write a book or edit an anthology about more realistic fatherhood views.

Posted by: leslie4 | November 15, 2007 10:52 AM

It's amusing to me that Brian is bashing this guy for virtually the same things that Brian does.

1. The mere act of becoming a parent and experiencing the joy of raising a child is not, in itself, interesting.

Ummm...isn't this exactly what Brian writes about? Peppered with the occasional Leslie-esque whine about how hard balance is to achieve?

2. If, for some reason, you must publish a navel-gazing piece on the joys of parenthood, try to shoot for someone other than a professional writer.

Is Brian not a professional writer who makes his living writing and writes about parenthood on his own blog and for this one?

3. If, for some reason, you must publish a piece on the joys of parenthood, try to shoot for someone with more than one kid. LeDuff wrote about his life with one 11-month-old. That's hardly enough time to even begin to scratch the surface of the joys and frustrations of parenthood, let alone tackle balance issues.

So because Brian has two children, he is more qualified to write about being a parent than this guy? Even though Brian's children are both still young? Maybe I think that you have to have three children, one of them at least 16 years old, before you are capable of talking about balance. Maybe it should be 4 or 5 children with at least one in college.

Posted by: fake99 | November 15, 2007 10:55 AM

What a silly piece of writing this is. Advice to editors: Ignore these folks when deciding what might interest your readers.

As a father and grandfather, I love reading about how others wrestle with the endlessly complex challenge of childrearing and keeping a family together.

I used to work in construction and was a stay at home dad for a few months each winter - I'm sure this is true today in the industry - at least in the northern states. Might make a good article. And just don't show it to these folks. That way they won't swoon and the boring pedestrian nature of your audience.

A northern neighbour.

Posted by: dehall | November 15, 2007 10:55 AM

Does this mean that the only people qualified to give advice are the Duggars?

No, but i would take their advice about how to get "busy" with your wife.;)

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 10:57 AM

This is not very PC, but I just HAVE to say it. Men's Vogue? Does a subscription to that come with a vagina and a handbag?

Posted by: moxiemom1 | November 15, 2007 11:16 AM

This is not very PC, but I just HAVE to say it. Men's Vogue? Does a subscription to that come with a vagina and a handbag?

No but you do get a free fake breast that squirts milk like in MEET THE FOCKERS. ;)

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 11:20 AM

Oh, boy, Moxie, Brian's going to lean hard on Leslie to delete that comment :-)

Posted by: StickyNote | November 15, 2007 11:20 AM

The Songster is on sympathy strike with the TV writers!

(OK, the real truth is that he is in quite a dry spell, the muses have deserted!)

(and no, the muses did not visit Brian's house.)

Posted by: Songster | November 15, 2007 11:23 AM

The Songster is on sympathy strike with the TV writers!

(OK, the real truth is that he is in quite a dry spell, the muses have deserted!)

(and no, the muses did not visit Brian's house.)

Posted by: Songster | November 15, 2007 11:23 AM

StickyNote - should I have said vajayjay instead?

Posted by: moxiemom1 | November 15, 2007 11:24 AM

Men's Vogue circulation: 2-brian and leslie

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 11:25 AM

dandylion: mom was long gone and sister was absolutely no help (what's wrong with formula? nursing is so annoying and ties you to the baby and there nothing wrong with formula - oh, I don't know how you nurse that kid all the time, etc - not to mention I wanted healthier food for my kids, not to mention her idea of communication is to belittle and yell - and MIL has the same ideas about formula, and it didn't matter anyway since HER little angel got pregnant when my DS was born, so it was all about her now).
So, no I had no network, and, incidentally, was the first of my friends, near and far, who had had a kid.

So, again, where's this network?

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 15, 2007 11:28 AM

Atlmom, you sound a little bitter, probably with good reason. Most of us, however, do have at least some sort of network. Maybe not DandyLion's idealized version of loving sisters, mothers and female cousins hovering around us giving support and cooking nutritious food - but there's always a friend, a couple of relatives, perhaps, a neighbor or a newly-found fellow mom who can provide some support, don't you think?

Posted by: StickyNote | November 15, 2007 11:48 AM

stickynote: it was a godsend when I found out about the parent's association in my neighborhood - which I thought odd, since I did know neighbors, etc (acquaintances) - who had kids who never mentioned it!!! I found out from a local paper. It was weird, but great - kid was 6 months old at the time and I was going out of my mind. I found playgroups, neighborhood friends, etc, resources, whatever, that was SO helpful. But it took a little bit of time...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 15, 2007 11:51 AM

I read the article and the comments and don't see the fuss. Actually, I think it's a good thing that this guy cares so much for his child. So what if he pontificates a bit as well? Having just had my first son at 40, I can relate to the joy he feels at finally being a father. I'm not perfect but have seen Dads who are pretty bad with their children. Let's encourage the ones who are involved and loving and let the other stuff they say just slide off our backs.

Posted by: bobh1967 | November 15, 2007 11:52 AM

I disagree with you completely Brian. I think this article is great - ok, so it may be sappy, but isn't sappy part of being a parent? And I think that your comment about not being able to write about parenthood without more than one child is way off the mark. It is during that very first pregnancy/childhood that you truly realize how much your life has changed and what parenthood does to you. By number 2/3/4/... you already have some sort of clue and you are just readjusting. But it is the first one that really knocks your socks off.

I agree with the others, as well, that you commenting on this article is a glass houses type of thing - don't throw stones. It comes across making you sound petty and jealous of his skills/history/whatever and takes away from the good things you write and think.

Good for this guy for having the stones to make the decision to stay home and then to write a heartwarming piece about it for the world to read, knowing full well it might create controversy, or, at the very least, pretty hard ribbing from his friends who don't stay at home or have kids or understand any of what he is doing.

Posted by: mdsails | November 15, 2007 12:00 PM

I read another post about the LeDuff piece at The Glass Hammer (http://www.theglasshammer.com/news/2007/11/14/want-a-mr-mom-at-home/#more-172) which actually looked at broader, less...editorially oriented issues within the piece. Specifically, whether or not the stay at home dad is always a best of both worlds kind of situation for women.

I found that to be more interesting, especially within the LeDuff piece. He seems befuddled by his wife's career choice, but only too happy to "let" her try it out, affording him the option to drop a job he's tired of to go be daddy until the next adventure. Perhaps it was the way he wrote the piece, but he seemed to me to approach this change like a trite little experiment/spec piece to keep his hat in the writing ring. While taking little jibes at people for whom real work/life balance is less about choice and more about a necessary reality. I'd be interested in seeing a follow up piece by a SAHD that's a little more focused on the real issues at play here.

Posted by: bmccannn | November 15, 2007 12:13 PM

So, again, where's this network?

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 15, 2007 11:28 AM

I'm already telling my kids to go off and have their adventures when they're young but to move closer to family when they have kids. Wish someone had told me that!

As for the article, I'm inclined to cut the guy a little slack. At least he's trying and encouraging other Dads out there. First-borns can trigger excessive schmaltz in the best of us.

Posted by: anne.saunders | November 15, 2007 12:20 PM

"So, again, where's this network?"

It begins at the wedding shower where the female sociallites all gather around at work and discuss the upcoming planning of the dog and poney show and its endless details. Gifts, flowers, dresses, bridesmaids... After the honeymoon, the new bride gets to show off all the pictures and gives a detailed account of the best week of her life.

Then comes the baby-shower where, if men/boyfriends are invited, drink beer, argue sports, talk computers, politics while the women circle around, young and old and discuss their feelings, female parts, menstration cycles, and the mothers share detailed accounts of each birth that includes the number of hours in labor, the doctor, every complication, birth weight, time of day/night, weather conditions during labor, breast feeding tips, what the insurance covered... They might even mention their husbands, but that's not important.

Then there are the magazines, Urban Baby, American Baby, and Parent's something or other that have absolutely no appeal to men, nor is there any attempt to make them that way.

Husbands help out with infants, true, but the art of baby care still remains predominately a female thing.

Atlmom, I think your (and mine) posts show how society has risen to the challanges created by the breakdown of the American family. The village is moving in...

Posted by: DandyLion | November 15, 2007 12:34 PM

Remember how some posters here recently tore into "Queen Bee" bosses who don't show a modicum of understanding or compassion to female employees who are married and/or working moms?

Now it appears we need a new term for the erstwhile SAHD (Brian) who doesn't cut another SAHD much slack. Any on-point suggestions?

Posted by: mehitabel | November 15, 2007 12:35 PM

DandyLion,

You forget about the part where the woman recounts her labor and looks at the father of her child and tells him, "You will NEVER touch me again. And if you want another child, have it yourself!"

The other women in the gathering nod in agreement!

Posted by: Fred | November 15, 2007 12:43 PM

dandylion: others put together wedding showers for me - where I told them no games, I don't really want to open gifts (altho I ended up doing it) and that there would be just a civilized gathering of people (one was coed) it was nice since with all the wedding planning I wasn't getting out to see my friends so much.
no bridesmaid dresses - the bridesmaids (four sisters of bride and groom) picked out their own dresses - I had no time to do more stuff - killed my MIL tho (which KIND of silver do you want? UGH!).

Never discussed any of those things you put up there.

No baby showers for this jewish girl. Us Jews are too superstitious.

Clearly, family is changing. But I am SUCH a better person cause I moved far away from my family. Couldn't be who I am without having done that and certainly am better off for it. Living closer to them would be toxic.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 15, 2007 12:50 PM

Well, all except Ayelet Waldman who cast aside her newborn 30 seconds after delivery, having laid eyes on her husband.
----------------------------------------
You forget about the part where the woman recounts her labor and looks at the father of her child and tells him, "You will NEVER touch me again. And if you want another child, have it yourself!"

The other women in the gathering nod in agreement!

Posted by: atb2 | November 15, 2007 1:58 PM

Very good post! A lot of people here don't seem to really want to talk about balance issues (which I find strange), but while LeDuff has taken one baby step toward unbending gender, the knotty issues lie in work/life balance for all.

Posted by: kittkicks | November 15, 2007 2:02 PM

I agree with the others, as well, that you commenting on this article is a glass houses type of thing - don't throw stones. It comes across making you sound petty and jealous of his skills/history/whatever and takes away from the good things you write and think.
Posted by: mdsails | November 15, 2007 12:00 PM

I really have nothing to add since md said it all for me. I usually enjoy reading what rebeldad has to say, but today was a case where he should have run his piece past an honest friend first.

Posted by: pinkoleander | November 15, 2007 2:16 PM

Dandylion,
Your version of the women's network sounds lovely, if unrealistic. The only woman in my network is my mother. The rest of my network consists of my husband, stepfather and brothers, who came by to drop off carry out, feed and burp the baby, watch tv while I napped, bought groceries, drove me around, cleaned, and generally filled up the house while I convalesced. They did not help me breastfeed, but somehow, I did anyway. The men in your family sound pretty useless.

Posted by: Emily | November 15, 2007 2:40 PM

"A lot of people here don't seem to really want to talk about balance issues (which I find strange), but while LeDuff has taken one baby step toward unbending gender, the knotty issues lie in work/life balance for all."

I have to admit that I skimmed LeDuff's article, since it doesn't really have much to do with me other than I "get" what he's saying about spending time with your children as they grow.

However - where did someone say that he had to be writing about work/life balance? Is that all of a sudden the only topic that matters in life? That's what you (kittkicks) and Brian seem to be saying. What if I have figured out a way to NOT work and still live my life in a way that's joyful to me?? Does that make my words less important? Apparently so - apparently some people think that the only words worth reading are those that say

"OMG, it's so hard to be a working parent. I had to let my 5 year old walk to school by himself this morning becasue I'm a working parent. And then the SAHMs glared at me when I came to the PTA meeting for the first time this year. I wonder why they did that - I have been thinking about going to a meeting every day this week while I've having lunch with clients. And when I got home at 7:00 pm this evening, my daughter actually wanted my attention! How dare she!! It's so hard to be a working parent!!! How do you guys find balance??"

Kudos to LeDuff and others like him who are writing about the simple joys in life.

Posted by: fake99 | November 15, 2007 2:58 PM

My experience matches yours, atlmom. I assume DandyLion is speaking from experience, but the attendees of the coed showers I've attended never discussed any of the topics he lists. Raising our kids was never a team sport. We didn't call our moms or our sisters and they didn't offer unsolicited advice. Thank God. We decided, together, how to care for, and raise them. I certainly don't have a corner on parenting wisdom by virtue of that money- back guarantee on my fallopian tubes. It's kind of sad to think of a dad like DandyLion, or any other dad, diminishing their own roles, doubting their own wisdom, and generally thinking of themselves as second-class participants in infant care.

Posted by: MN | November 15, 2007 3:29 PM

"The men in your family sound pretty useless."


No, just not neutered like those in your family apparently

Posted by: anon123 | November 15, 2007 3:39 PM

No, just not neutered like those in your family apparently

Posted by: anon123 | November 15, 2007 03:39 PM

Is there a new contest for Jerk of the Day on the OB blog?

Posted by: MN | November 15, 2007 3:42 PM

I didn't feel like I had a network just by becoming a mom. I had baby showers - both traditional with my sister/aunts/cousins/grandmother/mom/ils and co-ed fun with my college friends. Some of those people sent cards and well wishes and visited after the baby came. My mom mopped my kithen floor and did my laundry. But that is not a network.

The network came when I went out and looked for it. Took classes with my babies, went to the park, went to storytimes, formed a baby-sitting co-op. There were dads at all of those things, doing the same things that all of us moms were - making connections.


Posted by: fake99 | November 15, 2007 3:43 PM

Leslie: "agreed, brian." Umm, what exactly are you agreeing with Brian about? That the LeDuff piece is crap? That Brian's posting isn't crap for including a circle-something-or-other of fawning references with another guy he agrees with?

Brian should write a book/edit an anthology? Why, what would he do? "Look, here's an essay from a guy who quotes me in a positive light! It's just so fab-jus!" "Look, here's an essay from a guy who only has one kid and had/has a more exciting job than me! It stinks because he doesn't address gender equity! I've had more kids than this guy, so I know more. Look, here's a link to a guy who linked to me who agrees with me agreeing with him for agreeing with me!"

Sheesh!

You want a serious balance-related topic? How about what's going on in France, with the pension-related strikes. A certain segment of populace believes that France can no longer afford its social safety net, and changes must take place. The first change will be in pensions - you can no longer work for 25 years then retire at age 50 with a full pension and live out the last 30 years of your life in comfort. If the strikes related to those pension changes don't resulted in getting the changes revoked, how long until the parental leave benefits are changed?

Posted by: ArmyBrat | November 15, 2007 3:45 PM

"Kudos to LeDuff and others like him who are writing about the simple joys in life."

You know, I'd have been happy with the article if I had actually gotten the impression he WAS writing about the simple joys. I heard a lot more ego (look at my important job), martyr (that I gave up), and condescension (so my baby would never call anyone else daddy).

Posted by: laura33 | November 15, 2007 3:47 PM

Fake99, same here. The kind of network I needed after having a baby was different from what I had/needed before. My friends are all great, but many are not in a place to have a lot of advice or insight or even sympathy about taking care of a new baby. It took a while to find people to fill that need.

Posted by: LizaBean | November 15, 2007 3:50 PM

"How Not to Write About Parenthood"


UMM. kind of like today's blog? Men's Vogue?
Hey whatcha reading? Sports illustrated on the NFL teams of today.
You? Oh Men's Vogue on how empathy bellies can get you in touch with your wife's inner conflict during pregnancy. Hey where are you going? ;)

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 3:50 PM

I agree with fake99 that it is amusing that Brian is posting about this writer, since they guy is pretty much like him, just fewer/younger kids.

It's been awhile since I took Psych 101 - is that transference or projection?

It goes to show that staying at home with kids isn't very interesting to the rest of the world, and it doesn't really matter if you're a Mom or a Dad.

Posted by: RedBird27 | November 15, 2007 3:53 PM

writers writing about writers about the problems writers face in life.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 3:56 PM

It's kind of sad to think of a dad like DandyLion, or any other dad, diminishing their own roles, doubting their own wisdom, and generally thinking of themselves as second-class participants in infant care.


MN, come on. ALL men are second class citizens, just the way things are. Pretending that it isn't, doesnt make it go away. For your info, most men are NOT pining away to get up and do diapers,feed the baby and have primary responsibilty for the infant. We do it because we have to do it, because we love our wives and babies. Not because we are gung ho to do it regardless of what MEN'S VOGUE (snicker, love that) might say.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 4:01 PM

"No, just not neutered like those in your family apparently"

Right, I forgot that real mean don't take care of babies.

I think you're on the wrong blog. Try "On Misogynists."

"For your info, most men are NOT pining away to get up and do diapers,feed the baby and have primary responsibilty for the infant. We do it because we have to do it, because we love our wives and babies."

Duh. FYI, most women are not "pining" away to do that stuff either. They do it because they're adults taking responsibility to care for another life. What's appaling is that men think they don't have a part in that responsibility.

Posted by: Meesh | November 15, 2007 4:07 PM

pATRICK wrote (ahem!): "writers writing about writers about the problems writers face in life."

Guess you didn't realize that I'm a professional writer *sniffle* *sniffle* Maybe you'd like it better if I wrote a paean to flan?

Posted by: mehitabel | November 15, 2007 4:08 PM

"I heard a lot more ego (look at my important job), martyr (that I gave up), and condescension (so my baby would never call anyone else daddy)."

Gee, now I really want to go read it!! Thanks for saving me the time, Laura, LOL.

Posted by: LizaBean | November 15, 2007 4:08 PM

"ALL men are second class citizens, just the way things are."

Ooooh, goody, are we back to where pATRICK declares that his experience is the ONLY ONE IN THE WORLD and so everything anybody says that's different is made up for policitcal reasons? Because clearly, MN couldn't possibly have any life experiences that are different and also true.

Posted by: LizaBean | November 15, 2007 4:13 PM

MEESH, uh uh. Women do that and take the primary lead because they carried that kid and it is part of the fiber of their being and self worth to be a good mom. Try to take over primary care from a new mom and see where that gets you. MEHITABEL, I like to read so I like writers just seemed like afun sentence to write.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 4:14 PM

MN, come on. ALL men are second class citizens, just the way things are. Pretending that it isn't, doesnt make it go away. For your info, most men are NOT pining away to get up and do diapers,feed the baby and have primary responsibilty for the infant. We do it because we have to do it, because we love our wives and babies. Not because we are gung ho to do it regardless of what MEN'S VOGUE (snicker, love that) might say.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 04:01 PM

Huh? On what basis would you consider ALL men to be second-class citizens? You're not usually fond of the victim mentality. I'm not sure what you think I'm pretending, but in the real world, men and women raise kids and women don't have a Magic 8 ball for how to do it. As Meesh said, we're not pining away either.

Or is your response just another way of showing your same old, same old disdain for stay at home dads? That wasn't the topic DandyLion raised, nor the one I discussed. If you want to change the topic, it makes zero sense to use one of my comments as a springboard.

Posted by: MN | November 15, 2007 4:16 PM

Know what I love about here? The upside down world of OB. I say that men primarily love cars and read car magazines and someone will spit out my second cousin is a mechanic! Women love to read car magazines! despite that the readership is overwhelmingly male. Can't have any gender differences or the illusion some have here comes crashing down. Dandylion, i totally understand why you find this place so amusing sometimes.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 4:18 PM

pATRICK, you seem to be the only one who struggles with the idea that we can all have different experiences. Of course there are men who primarily love cars, it's just that you insist that is ALL men, whereas the rest of us recognize that is SOME men, and some men (like my husband) don't give a rat's butt about cars. It's not like there is one right answer, there are millions of people and they're all different.

Posted by: LizaBean | November 15, 2007 4:21 PM

No LIZABEAN, my comment was that men in very large numbers like certain things more than women. That upsets the gender difference police here that refuse to admit that men have some general characteristics and women have some. Dandylion's post was a perfect example. I assure you that his post is much more real life than BRIAN's perusing MENS VOGUE.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 4:25 PM

"ALL men are second class citizens, just the way things are. "

That's what you said, Patrick. Note the word ALL in big, captial letters.

Posted by: LizaBean | November 15, 2007 4:26 PM

"ALL men are second class citizens, just the way things are. "

That's what you said, Patrick. Note the word ALL in big, captial letters.

I stand by that in principle. Men are not the primary caretakers of infant babies. Maybe ALL is too absolute for you, how about an enormous overwhelming majority?

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 4:28 PM

"I say that men primarily love cars and read car magazines and someone will spit out my second cousin is a mechanic!"

Actually, pATRICK, if that's what you'd said, no one would care or comment. That is, however, not what you said. You insisted that women DON'T care about cars. Because you tend to present your opinions as The Way Things Just Are - BECAUSE I SAY SO, you find yourself frequently backed into a corner of absurdity. See today for example. DandyLion's post didn't have anything to do with Brian's. But since, in he past, you've both agreed that men shouldn't be SAHDs, I suppose that's the connection. It's lame of you to have to stretch this far to make a point.

It must somehow give you comfort to dismiss all opposing experiences as The Gender Police, when, in fact, we are merely adults with a different life experience than yours. Imagine that.

Posted by: MN | November 15, 2007 4:30 PM

No, MN. Frankly you are one of the main culprits. No matter what someone will say, you will find some obscure tiny percentage of people to repudiate any gender differences. That is what is really lame.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 4:33 PM

"ALL men are second class citizens, just the way things are."

"I stand by that in principle. Men are not the primary caretakers of infant babies."

What does taking care of an infant have to do with being a second-class citizen? Seriously, wtf is the connection between these concepts?

Posted by: MN | November 15, 2007 4:34 PM

BTW, I am not against SAHD's. I am against women trying to turn men into what some women think they should be-just like women. Brian frantically seeking slights to me is just ridiculous.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 4:37 PM

No, MN. Frankly you are one of the main culprits. No matter what someone will say, you will find some obscure tiny percentage of people to repudiate any gender differences. That is what is really lame.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 04:33 PM


pATRICK, A culprit is anyone who points out flaws in overly broad and inaccurate statements, LOL? If you find precision of thought "lame", I can't change that. My comments today, and generally, reflect my experience. My experience is every bit as valid as yours, whether or not you choose to belittle it. This blog is not limited to ideas and concepts with which you agree, no matter how you'd like to restrict it. Would that you had DandyLion's intellectual confidence.

Posted by: MN | November 15, 2007 4:39 PM

MN, c'mon. You honestly believe that after birth, a new mom would surrender her primary role to her husband? Maybe years down the road if circumstances demand it, but with an infant?

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 4:39 PM


Sheeshed, who whizzed in pATRICK's Wheaties this morning? I thought I was in a bad mood - he sounds like it's that time of the month or something.

(And before anybody gets too ticked at me, I'll quote my favorite cartoon character, Foghorn Leghorn:

That's a joke, son. A flag waver. You're built too low. The fast ones go over your head. Ya got a hole in your glove. I keep pitchin' 'em and you keep missin' 'em. Ya gotta keep your eye on the ball. Eye. Ball. I almost had a gag, son. Joke, that is. )

Posted by: ArmyBrat | November 15, 2007 4:40 PM

"Would that you had DandyLion's intellectual confidence. "

Would that you had his honesty.........

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 4:40 PM

"You know, I'd have been happy with the article if I had actually gotten the impression he WAS writing about the simple joys. I heard a lot more ego (look at my important job), martyr (that I gave up), and condescension (so my baby would never call anyone else daddy)."

laura -

well, maybe like I said, I skimmed. :o)

But maybe you were seeing yourself in my post? Maybe you do complain because your daugher begs for your time? Maybe you're missing the simple joys of the look on a child's face when they have been with you all day and are fulfilled? And maybe you're missing the simple joy of knowing that what you gave up is far less important than what you gave it up for?

Posted by: fake99 | November 15, 2007 4:41 PM

Would that you had his honesty.........

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 04:40 PM

pATRICK,

Will my opinions only be "honest" if they agree with yours? No, thanks, truth isn't up for a vote.

ArmyBrat - LOL - great find. Anyone who quotes Foghorn Leghorn is A-OK.

Posted by: MN | November 15, 2007 4:45 PM

Will my opinions only be "honest" if they agree with yours? No, thanks, truth isn't up for a vote

Yep, truth is out there whether you admit it or not.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 4:49 PM

MN, you remind me of a skit i saw. A black man says 'I am the republican party". Then a hispanic man steps forward and says the same thing. Then a gay man steps forward and says "I am the republican party" Then the camera pans away to show hundreds of white men dressed identically. Just because you find some anamolies does not make it true.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 4:54 PM

"Maybe ALL is too absolute for you, how about an enormous overwhelming majority?"

Well, it would be a step in the right direction, but still a pretty pathetic refusal to accept the differences in the world. You are the one knocking other people's experiences, and somehow, I doubt you will stop doing so with that kind of thinking.

Posted by: LizaBean | November 15, 2007 5:01 PM

"MN, c'mon. You honestly believe that after birth, a new mom would surrender her primary role to her husband? Maybe years down the road if circumstances demand it, but with an infant?"

Why is that so preposterous? I did that. After my son was born, I nursed him, but my husband did most of the actual baby raising. In fact, I was appalled one day when he tried to leave me alone with the baby. I initially had no confidence that I could take care of him by myself. I went back to work after 6 weeks. My husband stayed home full time for the next 2 years.

Posted by: Emily | November 15, 2007 5:15 PM

pATRICK and MN - what happened to the pATRICK who counted his days by good MN quotes? It is after 5pm...have a virtual

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 15, 2007 5:18 PM

Why is that so preposterous? I did that. After my son was born, I nursed him, but my husband did most of the actual baby raising

Why am I not surprised at all. Just like clockwork. BTW, MN struck out with me today but tomorrow is a new day, we shall see.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 5:24 PM

"You honestly believe that after birth, a new mom would surrender her primary role to her husband? Maybe years down the road if circumstances demand it, but with an infant?"

Not long after I was born my mother became seriously ill for a few months and my father was laid off -- talk about a double-whammy of bad luck. So, yes, my father did nearly all the infant-care of me.

Posted by: mehitabel | November 15, 2007 5:29 PM

Patrick,
Sometimes, I think you must live in a nook of the world that resembles Mayberry, where there is no diversity, and where everyone looks the same, acts the same, and thinks the same. You need to expand your horizons a little.

Posted by: Emily | November 15, 2007 5:39 PM

Patrick,
Sometimes, I think you must live in a nook of the world that resembles Mayberry, where there is no diversity, and where everyone looks the same, acts the same, and thinks the same. You need to expand your horizons a little.

That's actually hilarious given your world. Where men take care of the kids and stay home. You have fallen through the looking glass emily, not me.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 5:52 PM

MEHITABEL, your dad stepped in due to circumstance, which is admirable. My thesis was someone like brian who seems to actively want to supplant the new mom.

Posted by: pATRICK | November 15, 2007 5:58 PM

But, pATRICK, my mother's mother could've stepped in -- the female network referenced earlier today -- instead.

Posted by: mehitabel | November 15, 2007 6:05 PM

I hate to say it, Patrick, but you are sooo provincial.

Posted by: Emily | November 15, 2007 6:12 PM

Emily, I think we're gradually widening pATRICK's horizons! We just have to be patient about how we go about it.

Posted by: mehitabel | November 15, 2007 6:14 PM

You know, pATRICK, I think the reason you so keen to make your experience on this universal is that it would mean you're not responsible for it. If "it's just the way things are," rather than a facet of your relationships and your commuity, then that would mean you don't have any responsibility for creating or changing that dynamic.

In contrast, if it's really true that many of us have done things differently, it would mean that you could too. That you are patently unwilling to accept that many of us have done things differently just seems so odd to me otherwise.

Posted by: LizaBean | November 15, 2007 6:16 PM

LizaBean, I think pATRICK actually wants to evolve a bit. Otherwise he wouldn't keep coming back to write(!) with us.

Posted by: mehitabel | November 15, 2007 6:17 PM

You write a judgmental piece and then beg other writers to not judge? Interesting.
http://www.DearParent.com

Posted by: DearParent | November 17, 2007 12:00 PM

When all is said and done, a man can never be so affectionate and caring as a mother Even Indian IT mothers who work for fifteen hours a day come home and voluntarily care for the family too.Often they donot want their men to trespass into their territory both physically and emotionally.
There is no gainsaying the fact that caring for infants et all is very demanding indeed.
There need be no discussion merely based on gender considerations.

Posted by: chust70yahoocoin | November 19, 2007 11:23 PM

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