I’m smack dab in the middle of Texas at Dad 2.0, a conference organized by and for dad bloggers, who, while a relatively smaller posse compared to mom bloggers, enjoy the benefit right out of the gate of not suffering the diminutive “daddy.” So I was already in a good mood before I got here. Also lifting the mood is the fact that most dad bloggers are men who care a lot about pushing at the edges of modern fatherhood, making space in the discourses of parenthood for men as engaged caregivers rather than stoic providers or bumbling babysitters, thereby making more space for men who aspire to be engaged caregivers rather than stoic providers or bumbling babysitters. Implicit in this project, for many (though by no means all), is the work of expanding received understandings of masculinity.
In other words, a ton of these guys are up to the exact same things I’ve been up to here at LD for years. Though we’re chipping away from different positions, we’re still at work on the same monolith, trying to carve out a wider understanding of who parents are and can be. For their part, and despite their positions of seeming normativity (most in this community and at this conference are white;
haven’t met a gay dad yet psyche! Lazy Dad inna house!) they’re redefining fatherhood. For my part, I’m chipping away at a bit of fatherhood and a bit of motherhood, and in the process pointing out, through lived experience, the vast overlap to be found between the two when you’re bound by neither designation. Even if for many of these guys their paternity and legal legitimacy are unquestioned, their credibility as compassionate, even competent caregivers is often not a given. Dad bloggers are changing that, either implicitly or explicitly, and with each blog post and each new reader, most are elbowing out just a little bit more room for people in the next generation such as my full-spectrum boy child, should he chose to be a parent when he grows up, as well as for both of my kids, should they co-parent with a man.