Editor's note: Andy Hinds is a stay-at-home dad to twin girls born in June of 2009. Before the kids were born, he made a living as a freelance carpenter and adjunct English professor. While watching his kids, he writes at his personal blog, Beta Dad, as well as DadCentric, Aiming Low, and several local print publications in his current hometown of San Diego. He also wastes time on Facebook and Twitter.
If you have a child and an Internet connection, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re familiar with parenting blogs. These are more commonly known as “mom blogs,” since the more popular ones like Dooce and The Pioneer Woman are written by parents who happen to be women.
It’s far less likely, however, that in your online travels you’ve stumbled upon a “dad blog.” Sadly, as is the case in the world of print and television, dads’ voices are not nearly as prominent in the parenting blogosphere as are moms’. The good news, though, is that even though dad blogs don’t draw nearly the readership that mom blogs do, there are hundreds of them, and it’s just as easy to peck their URLs into your browser window as it is to type "dooce.com."
"Why on earth," you might ask, "would I want to read some father’s ramblings about raising his kids?"
I started reading dad blogs (and mom blogs) as soon as I became a father, so I don’t know what it’s like to be a dad and not have access to a community of parents who are fascinated enough by the enterprise of child rearing that they would share their stories, theories, joys, and frustrations with one another. When I started my stint as a stay-at-home dad to twins almost three years ago, I was aware of the possibility that I would feel isolated and maybe even trapped, especially during those first months when interactions with other adults were rare and punctuated by feedings, screaming, and diaper changes.
But during naptime, I could always get on the Internet and learn, laugh, or just vent in the interactive world of the dadosphere. (Full disclosure: I also started my own blog, Beta Dad) I suppose I could have gotten along just fine by calling parent-friends, reading books, or maybe meditating during these days alone with my uncommunicative bundles of need. But it was a great salve for me to read stories of other parents -- both those in the throes of new-parent anxiety themselves, and seasoned veterans I could look to for advice -- and to interact with the people who congregate around their blogs.
With such a thriving community, then, you might wonder why dad blogs aren’t as popular as mom blogs. Sure, they offer a space in which dads (and moms) can communicate and commiserate, but do they lack the drama, activism, and controversy that mom blogs are famous for? Certainly not.
Dad bloggers reveal gut-wrenching personal stories. They rally the troops and go after brands, advertisers, and sometimes other bloggers who traffic in stereotypes of dads as being congenitally incapable of the most basic parenting tasks. There are even longstanding grudges between dad bloggers, which tend to flare up from time to time and, in Internet-speak, bring teh dramaz.
The reason for dad blogs largely languishing in obscurity, it would seem, is that most dads don’t feel compelled to read about parenting, and most moms (who do read about parenting -- a lot) prefer a woman’s perspective. And perhaps there are parents out there who are interested in men’s perspectives on parenting, but just don’t know where to look.
So where do you start if you’re interested in what men on the front lines of parenting have to say about their experiences? One strategy is to simply Google “best dad blogs” and start clicking on links that look interesting. That’s how I started finding my people. When you discover blogs that you like, look around for a “blog roll” where authors share links to other blogs that they like. Soon, if you’re not careful, you might find yourself up in the wee hours writing comments like, “That’s EXACTLY what happened to me the first time I tried to change a diaper in a men’s room with no changing table and the other twin strapped into the Baby Bjorn!”
What are some of my favorites? Well, you can’t go wrong with DadCentric,which was chosen by Parents magazine as their favorite dad blog. It’s a group project manned by a crack team of funny, talented, irreverent writers -- and me.
Dad Wagon is another group dad blog that has been recognized by Parents magazine, which deemed its writing “a little better than most blogs.” It should be a little better, considering the three NYC-based journalists who vent there also write for some of the most respected newspapers and magazines in the country.
How To Be A Dad is a relative newcomer to the dad blogging scene, but has had a number of viral posts that you may have seen shared on Facebook, including the hilarious “instructional diagrams” of sleeping positions that are sheer torture for parents who choose to share a bed with their babies.
Cry It Out is a classic of the genre, written by San Francisco stay-at-home dad Mike Adamick. Mike is a brilliant freelance writer, a triathlete, and an ace tailor who sews dresses, costumes, and jockey silks for his horse-obsessed daughter.
Sweet Juniper, written by Jim Griffioen, is a collection of stories, photos, and rants from a inventive, imaginative, and often grumpy stay-at-home dad raising his kids in “America’s most dangerous city” (Detroit).
This list has barely scratched the surface of the great wealth of dad blogs out there, but it’s a “way in” to the world of diverse perspectives represented in the dadosphere. If you’ve always wondered what dads think about, or if it never occurred to you that we’re thinking about much of anything, do yourself a favor and start clicking around in the dad space.