What made you decide to launch your blog, Daddy Dialectic?
I had quit my nonprofit manager job in 2005 to take care of my then 1-year-old son, Liko. Before that, I had never heard the term “stay-at-home dad.” I started meeting other men on the playgrounds and they all called themselves that. So I went online to see what being a stay at home dad was, and I found a bunch of daddy bloggers. Most were still working, but they were eager to talk about their parenting role. So it dawned on me that there was this huge evolutionary shift. In my book, “The Daddy Shift: How Stay-at-Home Dads and Breadwinning Moms, and Shared Parenting Are Transforming the American Family,” I write that stay-at-home dads represent a logical next step of fifty years of family change, from a time when the idea of men caring for children was inconceivable, to a new era when at-home dads are a small but growing part of the landscape.
That’s when I decided to launch my own blog, where I talk about the new meaning of fatherhood.
What I like about the blog is that it’s a combination of research as well as profiles of other dads, and your own life as well. revealing profiles of stay-at-home dads and their families, and poignant anecdotes from Smith’s own life. I think that the personal stories are the most poignant. I am definitely not a superdad, and I think being open about that helps people to relate to me more. People tend to relate these emotional moments to mothers, and not dads, and in some way it’s refreshing for them to see that fathers have the same emotions as mothers.
And that’s what you mean by the “daddy shift.”
Yes, it’s the gradual movement away from a definition of fatherhood as pure breadwinning to one that encompasses both breadwinning and caregiving. In today’s society, traditional gender roles don’t make sense anymore. Both parents want to enjoy time with their children, and we’re not a society anymore where the man goes off to work and the woman stays home. Essentially, the daddy shift represents an evolution of parenting, and more and more families are adopting this as a way of life. It’s crucial that these dads continue the conversation, though, and continue to talk about parenting in a positive way. That way, they’re encouraging dads to be involved fathers, which is a win/win for both the children and the family as a whole.