Saturday, October 22, 2011

Redefining the Definition of "Fatherhood" (a guest post by Matthew Peregoy)

Today's second article is by Matt Peregoy, The Real Matt Daddy. He lives with his family in Gettysburg, PA. He gave up a 70 hour work week for a national retailer to be a stay-at-home dad for his daughter and is married to a wonderful woman who "trusts me enough to give this experiment a try while she goes back to work full time." Today he talks about men who are redefining the definition of "fatherhood."



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First, I want to thank Erin for featuring dads on her blog. We don’t always get the attention we deserve (and that’s okay with most of us), and we certainly haven’t been painted in a good light by the media over the past several decades. I don’t have to tell you about the stereotypes that the media uses to categorize men and fathers. Just watch Fox on Sunday night. The thing that most concerns me, is what is being done to stop the negative connotation of the words “dad,” “husband” and even “stay-at-home dad.” The only "thing" that is going to change the minds of people and the media is dads becoming more engaged with their families. For many families, that might mean a job change or a "role swap" where dad stays home and mom goes to work. As a stay-at-home father, I felt like I was making a huge sacrifice to walk away from a career to stay at home with my daughter. It was providing, but in a different way than is traditional in America. It took me a while to be okay with that, and the key to wrapping my head around it was finding support from other guys that are doing the very same thing. So, in an effort to help change the negative stereotypes that dads face, I wanted to take the opportunity to let you know about several men that are fighting to get the good image of dad back by defending and advocating for involved fathers everywhere.

Al Watts



President, Daddyshome, Inc




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Al has been an at-home dad for 8 years and has four children ages two to eight. He is the President of Daddyshome, Inc. a non-profit organization that provides support, education and advocacy for dads who are their children’s primary caregiver. In addition to his work with Daddyshome, Inc., Al also writes for Momaha.com. Al was largely responsible, along with Dr. Aaron Rochlen, for getting TIME Magazine’s online affiliate “Healthland” to change the headline and URL of a story that claimed, “Stay-At-Home Dads Are More Likely to Divorce” (the URL was worse!). The editors of the story had an angle, and they used a study that was completely unrelated to make a wide generalization that the study’s own data did not support. Through Al’s work, the headline and eventually that URL were changed to more accurately reflect the data in the study that “Unemployed Men Are More Likely to Divorce” not stay-at-home dads. You can read about the entire situation on the Daddy’s Home Blog HERE.

Dr. Aaron Rochlen
Associate Professor in Counseling Psychology University of Texas at Austin



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Dr. Rochlen is a licensed psychologist, and a married father of two. His research has focused on men and masculinity, including men’s barriers to help-seeking, men and depression, and men in non-traditional family roles. He has published several studies on stay-at-home fathers and their families, and has appeared as the keynote speaker at several at-home dad conventions. His work has appeared on The Today Show, NPR, CNN, MSNBC.com and in publications like The New York Times and USA Today. Dr. Rochlen’s work is unique in that it studies the relationships of families with a male in a non-traditional role such as an at-home father, a nurse, or a elementary school teacher. His research is helping us understand why more men are rejecting traditional roles in our society, the impact those decisions have on their families, and what we, as a society, can learn from this shift. For more of Dr. Rochlen’s work, you can read the following articles: A Q&A With At-Home Fathers, A Recent Article for Yahoo.com, and Honey, I’m Home – Stay-at-Home Dads’ psychological well-being guaged in this new study.

Bruce Sallan
BruceSallan.com



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Bruce is a one-of-a-kind renaissance man with a big smile and a heart for adventure. He’s got a passion for family, and a determination to create great content for today’s dad. Bruce works with dads through his weekly parenting column that is written from the male perspective and is featured in several newspapers. He produces his own internet radio show as well. He has also written a book called “A Dad’s Point of View: We ARE Half the Equation,” and he even translates some of life’s best examples of this idea into a comic strip series called “Because I Said So.” He uses whatever spare time he has left to curate the discussion at #DadChat on Twitter every Thursday at 9PM EST and enjoy life’s adventures with his wife and two sons.

C.C. Chapman
Founder Digital Dads



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C.C. Chapman is the Founder of Digital Dads and the author of Content Rules. He is a family first entrepreneur with two great kids. He loves the outdoors, cooking, photography and technology. He consults with companies around the globe to help them embrace the new world of marketing and business. Mr. Chapman is frequently challenging the current trends in media that tend to portray dads in a negative way. For example, he recently went to bat with Ragu and their parent company Unilever about their recent campaign to “rescue dads” from the kitchen, but not only offering criticism, but also suggesting how they could have done it better. You can read about it on his blog HERE. No matter what he is up to, you can bet that C.C. is defending dads and, more importantly, helping companies understand how to change their definition of dad so that this negative trend can be over with.

Lance Somerfeld & Matt Schneider
Founders - NYC Dads Group



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Lance and Matt are stay-at-home dads that found themselves looking for a way to provide an opportunity for their kids to meet up and play, and not only that, they wanted to build a support network for other dads that want to be involved with their families. Two years ago they founded the NYC Dads Group, and it has rapidly grown to over 425 active dads! They do playgroup and educational events including a New Dad Boot Camp. Their site also has information about how to start your own dad's group. They have been featured on CBS News and NBC’s Today Show and in publications like USA Today and Parenting Magazine. They were recently asked to be a part of the New York City New Parents Expo. They were asked to sponsor the “Dad Lounge,” and the event planners originally wanted this to be an “escape” for dads, way off in a corner, to hang out and do mindless activities like play Xbox and sit on couches while their wives went around to the vendors at the expo. Lance and Matt did not hesitate to seize the opportunity. They said, “Yes, we will do the sponsorship, but we want to do exactly the opposite of what you’re planning. We want to show dads how to be more involved with their kids... and we want your largest booth... and we want to be in the center of the hall.” How’s that for changing the definition of dad? They showed all of the attendees and vendors just how important it is to be an involved father!

If you want to keep up with my adventures as a stay-at-home father, you can check out The Real Matt Daddy Blog.

6 comments:

Bruce Sallan (@BruceSallan) said...

I am honored to be in such good company with other dads that care and are doing their part to stop the stereotypes!

To that end, I'm moderating a panel at BlogWorld LA on November 5 with exactly that topic!

http://www.blogworld.com/2011/09/27/dads-are-parents-too/

Modern Day Disciple said...

What a great group of Dads. Not an easy choice, but I think if the heart fits the situation, one must pursue that conviction. It is so difficult in our times to have either parent stay home! Good for those with the vision to do it and do it with gusto! Thanks for posting!

BloggerFather said...

Hey, cool stuff.

Now, I don't know if Chapman was defending fathers as much as attacking from a position of power. We don't need to be defended from the rogue Ragu. And I think that's the point of it all. We don't need empowerment. Yes, being a father (and especially a SAHD) can be confusing and difficult, but we can take on the challenges.

What we do need (which is what this group of fathers you're featuring do) is to not allow marketers, the media, or even other contrarian dads to define us and limit our identities as men and as fathers. People have many reasons to want to tell us who we are, but it's up to us to ignore them or attack them for their ignorance while moving forward as we try to redefine ourselves in a changing world (which is what this group of fathers does so well).

jenny at dapperhouse said...

I love that this info is out! I meet more stay at home dads all the time and I think it is GREAT!
Stopping by to say HI From BV.

jenny at dapperhouse

Matt said...

@BloggerFather - I think CC had a two part attack on the campaign from Ragu. I think he was looking at it from a dad standpoint and from a marketing standpoint, and he made efforts to mention both of those angles. I think because of his unique background, he is in a position to do BOTH. When I say defending dads in reference to this situation, I am talking more about the fact that Ragu is perpetuating the negative stereotypes of "dad can't cook" or "dad is lazy in the kitchen too". I think the reason he chose the marketing angle is that it cuts to the heart of Ragu's business model, and it stings a little, lol. He has the background to be able to do that, and that is why he is featured here. He is using his position of power to advocate for all of the dads who would never lay hands on a jar of Ragu because it tastes horrible and they'd rather make their own sauce because they are masters of their kitchen.

BloggerFather said...

Oh, don't get me wrong, I agree with what you're saying and with CC. What I tried to say was that he wasn't defending fatherhood, because we are (and he is) stronger than some random pasta brand, and don't need defending. I thought his attack was more from a position of power that I believe fathers now have (as well as his unique professional experience).

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