I’d considered creating a blog to record my experiences as a stay-at-home dad (SAHD) to my two-year old twins, Libby and Henry, and their baby sister Maggie who is four months old. Most times I dismissed the notion because it bored me to think about it. If I wasn’t interested, why bother? After reading some entertaining SAHD blogs, especially sweet juniper (featured on the new parenting site Babble), I reconsidered.
Wouldn’t you know it, two days after I cautiously launched my blog, Time magazine’s James Poniewozik rolled out an article, “Too Cool For Preschool,” condemning the whole idea of parent-blogs in general and Babble in particular. The focus of the article is Neal Pollack, the author of Alternadad, "a novelist and erstwhile punk-rock frontman, [who] sets out to make sure that in a world of Disney and Barney, his baby Elijah, now 5, will be cool (and thus that Dad will remain so)."
I’m no alternative hipster, being 50 and all. I don't expect the kids to mirror my tastes, as this would involve rimless spectacles and a Philip Roth anthology, but in my own way, like Pollack, I filter the culture my children are exposed to. If the kids are watching TV, so am I. I try to draw the line at programs that are too didactic or cloying. Yes to Wallace and Grommit, no to Dragon Tales and The Wiggles.
Poniewozik deplores the bullying narcissism of hipster parents who culturally force-feed their offspring. “Moms and dads can be unique, creative individuals after they have kids. It’s being a unique, creative individual through your kids that’s disturbing.” I suppose it’s correct that being a SAHD to two toddlers and a baby makes me feel unique or at least unusual. Living through my kids? I don’t know. Usually we associate that term with a pushy coach/parent who wants their kid to achieve a goal they failed to reach.
We all live through our children, isn’t that the idea? By raising them we transmit our traditions and prejudices along with our DNA. Growing up involves consciously rejecting or adopting what our parents value. However much we rebel, most of us become recognizably like our parents in spite of ourselves.