Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dad Blogging - The Good Stuff

If you are a parent blogger reading this you probably have already heard, and read, much about how 2010 has been dubbed The Year of the Daddy Blogger. And yes, for better or worse this has been a year when dad blogs and dad bloggers have been in the parenting spotlight like never before.

As many of you may know, there have been some spirited discussions recently about whether we, as a collective are living up to all that we can be.  I'm not here to weigh in on that topic.  I'll leave that discussion for others to tackle.

Rather I want to, at least briefly, change the focus of the discussion. Personally I would rather people be talking once again about what is currently going right with dad blogging.
With that in mind I want to highlight a few aspects of Dad Blogging that make me proud to call myself a dad blogger.  If you would, please take some time and share what you like about Dad Blogging in the comment section.  It would be much appreciated.

So, that said, here are 5 things that endear me to Dad Blogging.

1. Community - I have been blogging about being a father for nearly 3 years now. I have been reading dad blogs even longer. Lots of them. One theme that I have heard echoed over and over again is that often dad's find it difficult once they become fathers to interact with, and maintain close friendships with other men. There seems to be something about us, as men and fathers, which makes it hard for us to take the time to talk to other guys face to face about our experiences. This is only magnified once we have kids.  I am no exception.

However, amongst the Dad Blogging community I have found a group of fathers who, although I have yet to personally meet more than a couple of them, I can open up to. To be genuine with. It would have seemed a foreign notion to me 10, or even 5, years ago to count as friends a group of guys with whom I have never met.  But with this community, that is exactly the sense I have.
2. Exchange of ideas - As I mentioned, my being a member of the dad blogging community has meant that I have spent a large amount of time reading the entries of other dad's who post about their parenting experiences. Amongst the thousands of posts I have read, I have been exposed to some pretty amazing ideas and approaches about how to deal with the everyday issues that arise from raising kids. Already, there have been several occasions while raising Lukas where I have gleaned and used something valuable from the experiences another father shared.
3. Mutual Support - Along with the sense of community I mentioned earlier has also come a support network. I see it everyday. A dad will write a post about a tough situation he is facing in his personal life,  and instantly there are several responses via his comment section offering support and advice.  Additionally, there will often be an exchange of emails, phone calls, or both seeking to provide support.  The Dad blogging community is tight knit and very supportive.  Especially to newcomers.  If it weren't for the kind words of some veteran bloggers, I might not have continued past my first couple of months.  Now that I have been around a while, I try to do the same when possible.
4. Crossing Boundaries - One great aspect of the dad blogging community which I don't think gets highlighted enough, if at all, is the fact that those who participate come from widely varying backgrounds. Whether it be differing political beliefs, racial makeup, socioeconomic disparities, or pure physical divides such as geographical location, those differences that we all have get very little play in the world of Dad Blogging.  We are rarely Democrats or Republicans, black or white, rich or poor.  We are just dads, working hard to raise our kids while and tell our stories.  And lending support to those who would do the same.

5. Changing Perceptions - Telling our stories, one day at a time, the Dad Blogging community is making a difference with how father's are perceived in today's society.  How much of a difference? I don't know, but I'm fairly certain that with each new post we are chipping away somewhat at those old perceptions, while replacing them with ones of strong, confident fathers.  And, with group sites like Dad Revolution, Dads Talking, and Dad Centric among others expanding our reach, we are garnering more attention with each passing day.  To me, that is a terrific thing.

These are just a few of the reasons I love being a part of the Dad Blogging community.  I have obviously only touched on the tip of the iceberg, but not to worry.   I'm pretty sure my fellow dad bloggers will have my back, and fill in some of the blanks.

How about you readers?  What do you enjoy about dad blogs?


Anonymous said...

I love all the cold hard cash I get. I'm rolling in it.

James (SeattleDad) said...

@DC - You too? I left that out because I thought it was only me.

Didactic Pirate said...

I agree, and I think you articulated it perfectly.

1. Yes to Community: I agree that it's weird that I now consider several guys friends whom I haven't actually met in person.

2. Yes to Idea Exchange: As a Dad who has many, many Not-Awesome Days, I get a lot out of the advice I receive from other Dads.

3. YES to Mutual Support: I wish I'd started my own blog earlier, when my daughter was even younger. Man, could I have used you guys when she was a toddler.

4, and 5, and many more: Hell yes.

Thanks for writing this. Especially considering The Year of the Dad Blogger ends in a couple months. I hear that 2011 has already been deemed the Year of the I LOVE MY CATS! Blogger, so it's important we enjoy this while we can.

Homemaker Man said...

Nice piece.

I like the community too. Especially on those dark days when I haven't been out of the house for a bit and the kids are crushing me, I can open the computer and find a little solace.

Also, dads online seem much more at ease with being dads than IRL. So that's nice, too.

SciFi Dad said...

@Didactic Pirate: I'd be OK with the cat people; I heard it's the year of the inter-species marriage blogger.

Personally, it's the diversity in dad blogs that keeps me interested. Whereas many of the mom blogs out there are a split between (or a combination of) funny shit my kid did/said and things that make me emotional about my kids, I've found dad blogs approach things more like a discussion rather than a story to be told, and that works better for me.

Portland Dad said...

Those are all reasons I am enjoying this group. I think you're right about too much being made of who we are not and posts like this help remind us of who we are. Thanks James

Unknown said...

Good stuff. Whatever year it is, I say we keep on doing what we're doing.

Anonymous said...

Kuddos! Love this post! Once again I think it is great to be reminded of why we are here in the first place. I don't mind being labeled a "dad blogger" one bit. It is what I do. I am a dad.

The community around the growing number of dad bloggers is amazing. I have never met any of you face to face, but the community is still strong and the connections with other dads have been great.

No matter what year it is, I am proud to be a part of the dad blogging community and the community of dads online at large.

Great post sir!

Kevin McKeever said...

The groupies are nice perk.

Kevin McKeever said...

Even those of you with the scratchy facial hair.

Beta Dad said...

Good stuff!

I've been blogging and reading blogs since pretty much the moment I took over childcare when my wife went back to work. So I've never felt the isolation that some dads apparently do. I joke about how much time I waste online, but it really does keep me connected to grownups with similar (but incredibly varied) experiences and interests.

Being involved in this community might give us a skewed sense of how involved in parenting most dads are, but it's a good kind of skewed. And maybe it will rub off on the non-blogging masses.

Anyway, I totally misunderstood the "year of the daddyblogger" thing. For some reason I thought it was "year of the leatherdaddy blogger." Oh well. It's too late to return these sweaty chaps now.

WillBinMN said...

Great job! I'm not a blogger, but I have found the Daddy Blogger community to be fantastic. I've connected with many Dads on Twitter and I regulary read 25 - 30 blogs each week. It's a great way for me to hear how others handle things and to remind myself I'm not the only one going through this stuff. Thanks to all of the Daddy Bloggers for sharing their lives with me.

Otter Thomas said...

I think you got is exactly right. Most people I hear from say the community aspect is the best and often most unexpected aspect of blogging.

TwoBusy said...

What I appreciate about dad blogging is what I appreciate about any blogging:

Good writing.

Everything else worthwhile - the sense of community, the shared experience/perspective, the Brinks trucks that unload piles of cash into my driveway like so much mulch every day - springs from that.

Michael said...

I'm kind of an unexpected father after years of battling infertility. I used to blog almost exclusively about beer. Then I turned to baseball. Now, I've got something that is like I vomited all of it out onto a virtual screen - dadhood, fertility weirdness, beer consumption, baseball, and whatever madness comes my way.

I like to read all of your blogs so that I know I'm not the only one doing my best and yet still feeling like I'm totally screwing up.

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Didactic Pirate - Love that. I used the Year of the I Love My Cats Blogger in a tweet about this post.

@HomemakerMan - I agree. I suppose that is because we enjoy it enough to write about it.

@Scifi Dad - Good point. Although the former is more what my style is so it's a good thing we run the gambit.

@PortlandDad - Yes, I thought the discussion was getting away from what we are doing well. I wanted to provide a counterbalance.

@The Holmes - Yeah, hopefull we wont all just shut down come 2011.

@The Daddy Yo - Yes, the community is an amazing and support thing. Glad to see it's growing and am trying to support newer members.

@Always Home - It gets a bit tough to get out the door of my house with all of them waiting out there though. Esp those with scratchy facial hair.

@Beta Dad - The year of the Leather Daddy Blogger was a couple years ago. Not well publicized and ultimately quite a disappointment.

Yes, I agree. Skewed, but in a good way.

@WillBinMN - Wait. You mean we have someone who reads who is not related to us, or another dad blogger? Wow, that is progress.

@Otter - Totally agree. I like that we are not so competitive.

@TwoBusy - Good writing makes the difference. The Brinks truck pulled up outside my door once. Turns out he was just looking for Whit's place.

@Michael - Yes, we have great diversity of topics. Anyway, I know what you went through. We spent years with the same battle. That's why I am a 43 yo dad of a preschooler. Thanks for stopping by.

Dan Dad Does said...


I really agree with you on Point #4 - Crossing Boundaries. In the "real world" we tend to hang out with people who have very similar views, interests and beliefs - that is natural. What I find cool about the Dad Blogger world is that you find people because you like what they write. You do not know their race, their religion or political party - none of that matters, you start by connecting over some writing.

I am sure if you put together all the people I follow online in the Dad world and put them next to my friends in the offline world - the groups would look different and that is cool!

Captain Dumbass said...

I like the street cred and the ladies.

CWBuckley said...

I enjoy the whole realm of dads who blog, regardless of whether they are dad-bloggers. It's important to reflect from the perspective of the dad on other arenas besides fatherhood.

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Dan - If only the rest of the world operated the same way.

@Captain - To reslly gain the street cred, you need to wear your 'I am a Daddy Blogger' T-Shirt when you are out in public.

@Chris - I have been as guilty as anyone about writing solely about parenting. However, I have been trying to diversify a bit lately.

Michael said...

James - 43 is the new black, I hear.

Congrats on making it through all that mess. We did four rounds and all of them failed. Then we had three kids even though doc said 1 in a million chance. Go figure. $50,000 joke on us!

Vincent | @CuteMonsterDad said...

Being a Dad. Whew. Am I right? :) Seriously, the dynamic of the Dad community bodes well for future generations. As much as providing childcare can pose challenges, I'm humbled by the privilege to make a difference. With other Dads in the mix, I know I'm never alone in this journey. Thank you all for that.

Jack Steiner said...

Aside from the many perks and the chicks dig dad bloggers I do it for the community.

Made more than a few friends through blogging and it is much appreciated.

Funny how effective this medium can be, but as someone once put it on my blog- it is targeted socializing.

Reach out and click someone.

Ordinary Dad said...

As a recent blogger myself I have to say at first I was missing out on all the community, it was just me in my little corner of the world. Until one weekend I wrote a tiny post about my thoughts on the dad blog community and was blown away by the response. Since then I've been getting more involved, especially on twitter where all the actions at. And I"m excited about to see how that site will be revamped and and whatever other way there is to get involved in this community. There are truly some great dads out there
I like having a 'conversation' about being a father everyday, it's a good way for me to refocus on being a dad, and to get some great tips, and to have others support me when I ruin dinner

Idaho Dad said...

What do I enjoy about dad blogs? Well, you said it already, thus saving me a lot of typing.

I seem to remember that when I first started my blog 6 years ago, I wondered if there were other dads who were going through the same thoughts and feelings as me. It didn't take long for that question to be answered. So, reading the dad blogs has definitely increased my level of confidence in the most important job I'll ever have.

Papa K said...

I wouldn't change a thing you've said... although I don't consider myself a full time "daddy blogger" I still enjoy conversing with cool daddies such as yourself.

"Exchange of Ideas"? Hmmmm.... kind of like the beer exchage...

ericdbolton said...

Yeah, what they all said.. Sorry I'm late for the party.. Great post James..

Whit said...

Did you just call me old?

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Michael - We just did one round, but it was so bad we decided to adopt. Then, of course we got pregnant. Slightly less expensive joke on us.

@Vincent - It certainly is great to find that group of guys experiencing the same issues as you are.

@Jack - I havn't heard the targeted socializing theory before, but it makes sense.

@Ordinary Dad - Glad you did. It is always nice to get a new voice added to the mix.

@Idaho Dad - Wow, 6 years. You might just be Dad Bloggings 'Adam'. Unless you can name an ancestor from the community.

@Papa K - You are a Dad Blogger. You just diversify. And keep it hilarious. Good stuff you put out there.

@Eric - Thanks man.

@Whit - Veteran. I said Veteran. You know, like Jaime Moyer. And yes, I am older.

Anonymous said...

I've been blogging for about two years now (soon after we found out we were pregnant with our son), but I had no idea how large this community was, and I hope to become more a part of it.

These two years for me have just been describing my adventure as a Gen Y dad, without much attention to the sharing of ideas and mutual support from other dad bloggers because, frankly, I had no idea there was such a large community.

I've started following quite a few dad blogs and hope to get more involved!

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Millenialdad - Thanks for stopping by. I clicked on over and read your latest post. Great stuff. I will add you to my blogroll.

Are you on Twitter too?

Ty's Adventures said...

Hi, Dads! I'm Ty!
I'm not a Dad, or a Mom...I'm (barely) an 8 year old kid who stopped by to let you know my Mom, Tracy & I like hearing your take on life with kids. It's nice to hear another male perspective on things...other than my own & all these GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS! Keep it coming, Dads!
& if you're ever in the need to revisit an 8 year old boys adventures, stop by & say hi!

Keith Wilcox said...

I'll agree with everything except the support bit. Yes, some bloggers do support each other -- but only as long as nobody feels the other is getting more traffic, or is otherwise somehow getting ahead. Then it turns into a stupid assed cat fight. Some of them are a bunch of pussies :-) HAHA

Father Knows (Travis) Best said...

I enjoy the way it forces me to bring humor to father-related situations that in the heat of the moment make me want to throw a die-cast race car through the living-room window.

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Ty - Very cool man. I will be over to visit. And maybe someday you will be a daddy blogger too!

@Keith - Thankfully those are the minority of the guys out these.

@Travis - Yes, that is so true. Get your frustrations out by posting something funny. I agree. Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

I'm with DC Urban's all about the Benjamin's. And by Benjamin's I mean the $.64/month Ad Sense pays :)

Dad on the Run said...

I've just been doing a little poking around on your blog and I like a lot of what I see. This post helps me to see the benefits that I can one day enjoy from blogging. I started a blog up, mainly for myself but would love to get more from the community of dad bloggers? Check me out if you have room under your wing. I'd love some feedback on where to go and how to get my blog "out there". Keep up the good writing!