Saturday, February 2, 2008

Qs&As with DoDads — Rebel Dad

"I never expected to end up a rebel," wrote Brian Reid in a Rebel Dad book proposal/manifesto (pdf file). "I have a graduate degree from an Ivy League university, a 401(k) and a marriage to a high-powered Washington lawyer. No motorcycle. No tattoos. Not even a leather jacket. But six months after my first child arrived I became part of a movement ... being an at-home father is tantamount to a being a revolutionary."

The revolutionary Reid began his blog, Rebel Dad, in 2002 when his daughter was born and he took advantage of a parental leave to stay home with her. RebelDad remains the go-to site for SAHD news as well as an online hub for daddy bloggers. Stealing time from his fathering passion, as well as his journalistic and public relations career, he was kind enough to offer some of the gleanings from his past and present by way of pointing to the future:

WD: When you began there were many fewer dadbloggers, What was the biggest challenge to starting and now continuing RebelDad?
BR: The goal at the outset wasn't actually to build a big, public blog. It was mostly just a place for me to bookmark stuff that I found interesting. ... I wanted to have a place where I could go to see everything that was being said about at-home fathers.

But as time went on, and more people stumbled across it, the community began to build — people began flagging new items to me, more blogs emerged, books were written. It's been great seeing all of these resources emerge.

WD: How are your kids involved in the site?
BR: Just inspiration. They aren't involved and, as a general rule, I don't write about them. This is in part because my personal life is pretty dull and in part because they're not old enough for me to invade their privacy in this way.

WD: What is the best thing you've learned about being a dad from working on the site?
BR: The best thing I've taken away is the passion for parenting that so many of the guys in the at-home dad community have. When you go to the At-Home Dad Convention or read some of the really good dad blogs, you can't help but be inspired to be the best possible parent you can be.

WD: Are you the SAHD you were when you started?
BR: No — as time has gone on and the kids have gotten older, I've worked more and more, to the point where I can no longer claim to be anything close to a SAHD. I've become less obsessed with celebrating at-home fatherhood for its own sake: I still think it's vitally important for both individuals and society, but I'm also uncomfortable when dads get lauded for doing the same stuff that every other parent does.

WD: What are the two or three most interesting dadblogs ... other than yours?
BR: DaddyTypes is just so well-written and funny that it's hard not to include. I love Daddy Dialectic, even when it makes my head hurt. And I read Blue Sloth, too, which strikes me as perhaps the most honest dadblog out there.

WD: A few words on how you'll continue to cure the planet of evil?
BR: As I've moved away from at-home fatherhood, I've become much more interested in the question of work-life balance: how can I keep the passion for parenting that I had when I was an at-home dad and still be the best possible worker? Right now, I have the opportunity to write on that issue every Thursday at the's "On Balance" blog.

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