Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Babytalk Magazine: 21st Century Pop

I was pleased to hear from Shawn Bean, the executive editor of Babytalk Magazine, (and an involved dad) about a cover story they were working on for their June/July issue - the 21st Century Pop - about a "growing population of dads who stay home, change diapers and blog about staying home and changing diapers." I certainly meet some of the criteria.

Babytalk Magazine, bills itself as "straight talk for new moms," but if you read their father's day issue, you will hear the creative voice and wit behind the magazine (a 21st Century Pop) and come to learn that it might just be about more than moms. Sure, most media sources are looking for good heartfelt stories on the cusp of father's day, and we will see many of those in the days to come. This story is a little different.

The four page spread goes deeper than most articles or brief news segments that cover topics about dad. There are plenty of statistics and issues discussed. The main questions addressed are "What do we really know about the 21st-century pop? And what do moms think about him?"

Forget about the guy who came home from work, patted his kids on the head, fell into a recliner and reached for the remote. Today's dad has more of himself invested in the role. He's the guy who, ahem, works at baby magazine. He's also the divorced dad sharing custody of an 8-month-old daughter. And the stay-at-home dad who works at night, the dad blogger with a devout female following, and the multiracial, multi-tasking Washington, D.C., father known to take daughters Sasha and Malia out for snow cones.

I was fortunate to participate in the article to share how NYC Dads Group is helping to tackle the minimal resources in New York City as well as gripe for a moment about the general lack (fortunately, they are growing) of resources for fathers. Growing resources in the form of dad blogs about everything, dad project sites, men's online magazines, books like The Daddy Shift, films including the evolution of dad, a national at-home dad network and annual convention in daddyshome.org, and dad groups popping up in so many cities.

Are involved fathers here to stay or is it just a trend?

According to the article: fathers participating more and more in their children's upbringing isn't a trend but a permanent shift. "More men are organizing their lives around their families," says Ben Siegel, M.D., FAAP, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, which shapes policies regarding family well being and parenting. "In the past, men have been expected to work and provide financial support for the family. More recently, many men are choosing to share in child rearing and participating in running the household."...(Mom's should) be thankful, says Dr. Siegel. "What we're seeing is more equality in the gender roles," he says. "Fathers are sharing more of the workload traditionally associated with women: scheduling doctor's appointments, doing household chores and participating in child care. Nothing but good can come from it."

I would appreciate hearing your comments, even if it's regarding the bizarre dad blog documenting his wife's pregnancy with a "tender note to their unborn child" each week...

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