Saturday, August 08, 2009

Figuring it out

Daddy Dialectic, I've been neglecting you.

The irony is that more people have been coming here than ever before, thanks to publicity associated with my book The Daddy Shift. During the past two months, it's been covered in national radio programs like Here and Now on NPR and The Current on CBC, national newspapers like USA Today and the New York Times, local newspapers like the San Francisco Chronicle and The Dallas Morning News, sites like Salon.com and iVillage, many TV news and talk programs, and lots of other places. It's even been reviewed respectfully in the right-wing City Journal.

I'm now a regular guest on WNYC's The Takeaway, talking about parenting issues. I got to meet an amazing group of stay-at-home dads in New York City (thanks again, Lance and Matt!) and I've been able to talk with parents all over the country--including the truly decent and thoughtful group of parents who called into Wisconsin Public Radio. This probably sounds like fun, and it has been, but a lot of work stands behind all these interviews and events.

The rest of my work life has been extremely busy--chaotic might be a better word. I served as lead editor for two new anthologies--the first of which, The Compassionate Instinct, will be out in January. There was also bad news: In June, I was laid off from my job as senior editor of Greater Good magazine and was forced, in the midst of everything else, to scramble to find a new job. I'm relieved to announce that I succeeded--I'm now editor of a new website (set for launch in the fall of this year) about the culture and economy of sharing and cooperation.

In the end, however, I think the roots of the neglect of this blog have been more personal than professional. Incredibly, Daddy Dialectic is now almost four years old. My son is five. "Your blog used to be great when it was all about you," said my friend Mike when I saw him in New York. "Now it's kind of boring." Mike's not a parent; he meant that he's not interested in the research and ideas and media I've turned to covering; he wants to hear more about my existential struggles as a dad.

Today, I'm still struggling in many ways, but the struggles are of a different order. When Liko was a baby and I was taking care of him for seven hours a day, blogging--writing about those new experiences as caregiver--helped me stay sane. Now I'm engaged in an intense balancing act between work and home--in five years, I've gone from breadwinning dad to stay-at-home dad to work-at-home dad (which is what I am today), and the blog, which was so important to me, feels like one more thing to juggle.

And my son has kept on growing. When he was a baby, he had baby problems, and the struggle was all about me and my efforts to adjust to a new identity as a parent. That made for interesting writing. Today, we're figuring out the school thing. My son was recently diagnosed with a mild case of sensory processing disorder, so we're trying to figure that out. But I don't want to blog any of this; my son is becoming a real person, separate from me, and I think he deserves some privacy.

Which isn't to say that this is the end of Daddy Dialectic. The contributions from Tom and Chicago Pop and the other dads who blog here continue to blow me away, and I love helping them to reach a wider audience. I've just been in a state of transition, personal and professional, and I'm not sure yet where the blog fits in for me. Now that The Daddy Shift publicity is subsiding and I have some stability in my work life, I think I'll figure it out.

5 comments:

chicago pop said...

Thanks for this. I hadn't thought about what happens when infants/toddlers become little kids who might want a little privacy. I hope you manage to find a balance between that legitimate concern, and continuing a type of writing that can still dig down into the issues that all parents face.

chicago pop said...

(...and I agree with your friend in NY that blogs are best when they are "all about you" ... the only problem is, sometimes the "you" is just pulled in so many directions, or so worn out, that it's hard to get it to sit still long enough to take picture of it, if only for a post on a blog...

Anyway, that's just me making excuses. More to come!

daddy clay said...

It's good work, in all its forms and complexity. So keep it up. The DadLabs guys will be here whenever you have the chance to post. So see you around!

Drake Studebake said...

Glad that you are back. The world needs more daddy bloggers!

www.ohshitimadad.com

CK Lunchbox said...

Jeremy, what you say about neglect and your current balancing act expresses exactly my feelings of concern in re-entering the corporate world again. I have children that require additional help in their education too and my fear is, that in the hustle and bustle of job responsibilities, they will receive less than the attention they will need. I suppose just being aware of it, however, means my wife and I will try our best despite the circumstances. Thanks again.