Last year, when we inaugurated our Top 50 Dad Blogs list, we praised dad bloggers for “changing the way we think about fatherhood.” Indeed, a number of our favorite bloggers on this, our second Top 50 list, insist our thinking needs to be changed. They describe themselves as advocates for fathers, taking to their keyboards in order to counter dominant cultural stereotypes of dad-as-incompetent-buffoon. (You don’t believe them? Tune in to most any family sitcom on most any night of the week.) Others on the list aspire simply to entertain us with funny, relatable tales from the trenches. A few write to work through the shattering grief of losing a child or spouse.
This list features straight dads, gay dads, working dads, stay-at-home dads, geek dads, single dads, and more. In a culture where the dominant conversations around fatherhood center simply on whether dads can deign to change their kid's diaper, it's refreshing to see these guys take the public perception of parents into their own hands. We are again struck by the variety of their voices and experiences, which itself puts the lie to the notion of any one “typical dad.” A lot of our favorites from last year are back, while many worthy entrants are making their debuts. We hope you’ll enjoy laughing, crying, nodding, and discovering along with them as much as we have. As dads' online influence grows, this list will only become more and more difficult to curate — and that's a good problem to have. If you think we missed any of your favorite dad bloggers, nominate them here. – Barbara Spindel and the dad blog panel
49 / 50
- #2 Most Useful
Kevin Hartnett is a thinker. On his Growing Sideways blog, the freelance writer, who lives with his wife and two young sons in Ann Arbor, Michigan, excels at taking a typical moment from family life and coaxing many possible meanings from it, chewing it over and viewing it from different perspectives.
Take that time in the pediatrician’s office after his toddler son, Wally, had received four shots and was screaming his head off. Kevin had finally gotten them out the door when his four-year-old, Jay, announced that he needed to use the bathroom. They hastily returned to the doctor’s office. After Jay peed, Kevin, screaming baby in his arms, again tried to rush them out, but Jay “felt moved for perhaps the very first time” in his young life to insist upon meticulously washing his hands. At the time, Kevin felt sure Jay was intentionally pushing his buttons. Reflecting on the incident, however, he decides that it’s possible Jay “was bowled over by the presence of a stool he’d never climbed, and a short sink designed for little people just like him.” In the end, he doesn’t let Jay completely off the hook — the kid does seem to enjoy getting under his dad’s skin — but he observes, “My tendency to perceive conspiracy in everything Jay does is one indication, I think, of the way in which I’m maladapted to be a father.”
Like many thinkers, Kevin can be a little hard on himself, but we think Jay and Wally are very lucky indeed.