Awhile back, in 2012, Babble announced that I was the Greatest Dad Blogger Who Ever Lived or something along those lines. Memory. Who can trust it? But it was something about being #1 and 3 or 4 people agreed but hordes of people launched attacks at the groundless nature of Internet lists and, to tell you the truth, I usually agree with those critiques unless I win, in which case I embrace them as indisputable scientific facts.
But 6 months or so after Babble nailed it, I wrote a silly little post about my desire to annul my identity as a Dad Blogger and I did that because I have a long history of being a provocateur and I have a natural tendency to resist being lumped into groups, especially if the group makes me feel weird or icky.
Now of course it’s impossible to take a group of 100s of guys and form an accurate opinion of them that embodies all of their individual characteristics, but after joining a Facebook group of Dad Bloggers, I was dismayed to discover that a large portion of them seemed to have formed a mission to deconstruct the Bumbling Dad myth and assert their equality in terms of being just as important and capable parents as mothers. Worse yet, for me, this desire was largely geared toward achieving more fair and just portrayals in the media.
And I’m not really sorry to admit that these aims are not very high on my list. It’s not the time, in my opinion, to take up arms for anything construed as the male plight. The environment? Yes. Women? Yes. Minority groups? Yes. Men? Seriously? So I wrote a post with my tongue in my cheek about relinquishing my Dad Blogging crown and I also maybe a little bit called all the Dad Bloggers “a horrible collection of delusional men with questionable writing skills,” to which some of them took great offense and still call me names (almost a year later).
I’m sorry, Dad Bloggers. To be fair, you’re not horrible and probably not delusional. Those were mean things to say and I shouldn’t have said them. My bad.
So then I spent the last year writing about whatever I wanted and, sometimes—often—I would still write about my kids and why not? My kids are a huge part of my life and writing about life is about the only thing I can write about apart from death, and I write about that too because death is wicked cool. So then yesterday I received a very nice email from a woman who flattered me with lots of praise and announced that she was going to feature me on her company’s website in a post about their, oh my God, favorite Dad Bloggers.
Here I had to ask myself why this idea of myself as a Dad Blogger makes me feel so twitchy and weird and I think it comes down to the quirky notion of parenting as an isolated topic. The way parenting has become such an exalted thing that warrants its own section in the bookstore, creating the inevitable necessity for “parenting experts” who then create—and I mean invent—a huge gulf of distinction between what good parents are and what bad parents are and, subsequently, more and more subgroups of good and bad parents.
It’s a racket.
It’s an illusory construct of righteousness that categorizes people who have kids in a vertical hierarchy with “bad parents” at the bottom and “good parents” on the top when the reality is that we’re all just a bunch of people with kids who live all kinds of lives on a horizontal plane. The moment we buy into the vertical hierarchy, we create a relatively new desire to be a really super good parent or, worse, the best parent ever. Instead of just wholeheartedly engaging the difficult and rewarding task of raising kids, we add the new dimension of measuring how well we’re raising kids against the standards dictated by the latest craze in parenting books while comparing ourselves to other parents in the quest of being the most awesome.
And you know what sucks? The kids aren’t even the bottom line in this madness. Make no mistake. This is all about parents, how they feel about themselves, and how they look to others. A natural progression of this malady is 1000s of bloggers writing blog posts that seek to distract us with stories about children while implicitly impressing us with what wonderful parents they are.
But do I, so prickly and critical, implicate myself as well in this mass of mirror staring parents? Of course I do. Exploring these ideas is largely a conversation with myself about where I’m at, where I’ve been, and where I’m going. And what I’ve discovered for myself is that I’m, by default, a parent raising kids who isn’t overly concerned with the adjective attributed to my parenting. I jumped in this game because I love writing, and the adjective attributed to my writing I’ll simply leave to the people who read the stuff I toss into the world.
Read more from me at Black Hockey Jesus.
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