Over the summer, I spent a lot of time on daddy blogs. You know: the male equivalent of the explosivley popular mommy blog genre. Turns out this is almost as hot a category, if judging by the proliferation of new entries. Men who spend a lot of time with children feel a great urge to share the experience. Reminds me of something from my and Lev Grossman’s recent article, Fatherhood 2.0:
Once upon a Darwinian time, a man was the one spearing the woolly mammoth. And it wasn’t so long ago that a man was that strong and silent fellow over there at the bar with the dry martini or a cold can of beer–a hardworking guy in a gray flannel suit or blue-collar work shirt. He sired children, yes, but he drew the line at diapering them. He didn’t know what to expect when his wife was expecting, he didn’t review bottle warmers on his daddy blog, and he most certainly didn’t participate in little-girl tea parties. Today’s dads plead guilty to all of the above–so what does that make them?
Though some are years into the experiment, many of the daddy bloggers exhibit the wonderment of explorers in an undiscovered land. This makes sense: unlike women who learn to be moms by imitating their mothers, these men had few of their fathering practices imprinted upon them by their own fathers. So in many ways it really is a new world, and when man discovers a new world, man records it.
A lot of the daddy blogs were highly readable, well written and just plain funny. Most referenced their children by code names (Devil, Three) and their wives too (MRS, My Lady). A number talk about sex. Many diverge from the professed topic of parenting and veer into reviews of video games, thoughts on politics and sports trivia.
Up until a few hours before the presses rolled, we had planned a box highlighting some of the best of these blogs in the magazine. Alas, Britney happened, and the editors decided our readers would be far better edified by a morsel of information about fathers who win custody. So here below is an extended version of my daddy blog roll.
Daddytypes: Greg Allen, a Washington–based work-at-home filmmaker, says he created this product blog as a “Gizmodo for dads.” Recent gear: crayons that don’t roll away, and a minivan even hipster dads can stomach.
BlogFathers: This lively group blog’s contributors are ranked as Bosses, Capos and Goomahs (approved mommy bloggers). Recent posts include a debate on teaching religion to children and an ode to SpaghettiOs.
African American Dad: Blogger Keith Morton, whom I interviewed and whom we photographed for the piece, posts about the challenges and rewards of raising a black family in New York City. And on the whole fruit-juice debate.
Rice Daddies: This is another group blog run by Jason Sperber, who appears in the opening photo in the article. It features Asian-American dads talking about all manner of topics not necessarily specific to Asian dads. I promote it here even though a poster named Henri totally dissed our article. Just to show how objective a journalist I can be.
Mitch McDad’s World: You probably guessed his last name isn’t McDad, but his first name isn’t Mitch, either. I promised I wouldn’t blow his cover (though as someone who makes a living on her writing, I never understood this pen name thing; if you write, and write well, why not take credit for it? It’s not like you’re sharing state secrets). This blog is probably my favorite–a well written, sharp, funny and insightful glimpse into the life of a highly involved daddy.
TV Single Dads: This site isn’t a blog so much as a compilation of all the TV shows over history that have featured single dads. That’s the web for ya–a niche for everyone. It’s hosted by this really nice guy named Jim O’Kane, whom I also interviewed for the story. He’s the single dad of two nearly grown kids (thus the niche interest). But check it out, particularly if you’re a NickatNite kinda guy.
Shotgun Daddy: He doesn’t post that often, but this was one of the blogs I was drawn to by its hilarious title (“Shotgun Daddy: Because someday there will be a boy who will want to date my daughter”). Best post: on his father-in-law’s passing.
Poop and Boogies: A lot of other daddy bloggers like linking to this site, and it was named third-place winner in the 2006 BestofBlogs. I suspect it has all to do with the brilliant title and its banner, designed to look like a Campbell’s condensed soup label. The guy is clearly not a writer, but his enthusiastic and frequent posts are fun to look at. Here’s probably one of the best raison d’etres for a blog name (sic):
My dad and mom used to have some interesting ways of dealing with the nine kids. My personal favorite was when one of us would ask at dinner, “Mom, what’s in this?”. My father always replied. “POOP and BOOGIES. Shut up and eat it.”. Not the same as “there are kids starving in China” but we got the message.