Excited to say that I, Russell Peterson aka DayParentDad, was featured today in the Financial Times of London as an at home dad who has successfully returned to work.

According to Emma Jacobs, the author of When stay-at-home fathers rejoin the work force, “Architect Russell Peterson used to say that waiting at tables and cleaning a combine harvester were the hardest jobs he had ever done. Then he became a stay-at-home dad. ‘It far outstrips those,’ he laughs. ‘It’s a tough job.’”

In the article, Mr. Peterson goes on to say that after selling his successful architecture firm and staying home for 16 years with his children, it was almost impossible to get an interview at a firm. He said, “One of the biggest areas of discrimination,” he says, “is towards dads coming back to work.”

Ms. Jacobs concludes the article with, “Despite the difficulties, Mr. Peterson maintains that the experience of being a stay-at-home dad was valuable not just to his family but also his work, improving his understanding of how people relate to the built environment.”

Being an at home dad has made me a better architect.
 
 
As the dad of two daughters, I've never understood the fathers who rarely show up or don't attend their daughters activities: not one soccer game, dance recital, or swim practice. Why have a child? It might not be your interest, but it is theirs which makes it yours. Just because you are male and she is female, doesn't mean you should use historical social norms to excuse your participation in the raising of your child. Three years ago I had a heart attack. I missed my daughters' dance show. Even though I had attended 90% of their activities, I decided I was never going to miss another performance or game. After all, I didn't know how much time I had left. None of us really do. Upon further reflection, I decided it was more than that. So, I came up with a list of positive things a dad should do with his daughter before she leaves the nest or in my case goes to college.

  1. Hug your daughter and tell her you love her. Multiple times. Daily.
  2. Attend every open observation, practice, game, recital, etc. Give her flowers. When appropriate.
  3. Let your daughter paint her bedroom when she is older. Buy her good brushes. Throw them away. Don't cry.
  4. Ride with her while she drives the car. Don't criticize her driving. Compliment her at least once.
  5. Create a painting together. Hang it in the living room. No matter what it looks like.
  6. Find a sport to do together once in a while such as fishing, soccer, hiking, etc. Give her some tips. Then just be.
  7. Buy her a cell phone. Program your number in it. Title it "24/7 Availability".
  8. Bake her a birthday cake. Frost it. Looks don't matter.
  9. Buy her a puppy or a kitty. You won't regret it.
  10. Have a tea party with the dolls or the stuffed animals. At the small table. In costume.
  11. Go swimming with her. No matter your body image.
  12. Paint your toenails with her. At least once. When she is young.
  13. Go to a double feature. Romance movie followed by a science fiction flick. Cry at one of them.
  14. Share hot cocoa and toast with her late at night. Dunk the buttered toast. Listen.
  15. Take pictures of her doing things. Before she is too old to say no.
  16. Go shopping with your daughter and buy her a dress. Don't look bored. Treat her to lunch.
  17. Take her to the daddy daughter dance. Get a corsage. Buy the campy photo.
  18. Tell her you are proud of her. Be specific. Several times a week.

I'm sure there are others, but this list works for me. It covers art, sports, shopping, creativity, conversation, love, food, admiration, security and empowerment. We have so little time on this planet that dads shouldn't let history, established social behavior or society dictate what they can or cannot do with their daughters. Live a little. You may want them to fly home to the nest some day.

Copyright BartzPeterson LLC DayParentDad.com
Shared painting with my daughter. Yes it is in my living room. Copyright 2014 BartzPeterson LLC DayParentDad.com.

Get This Great Tshirt For Your Girl!

 
 
By Russell W. Peterson

Journalist Mark Simpson coined the word "metrosexual" in 1994. He claims these guys are clothing and grooming obsessed. They live in metropolitan areas and spend their money on image shopping. Now he now says metrosexuals are a dime a dozen and there has been an evolution to a new man: spornosexual - a mash up of sports and porn. These dudes are obsessed with their body, fitness, abs and selfies. They spend their money on physical training and have no need for shirts.

But there is another branch to the male evolutionary tree. It has taken longer to evolve; its numbers have grown dramatically in the past several years. I'm talking about the stadosexual: a mashup of stay and dad in stay at home dad. They spend their money on their families and wear gifted t-shirts. Although according to the National At Home Dad Network there are nearly seven million dads who stay at home at least one day per week and two million who do on a weekly basis, this breed is a bit more elusive to spot. 

I could say that stadosexuals aren't obsessed about their clothes, but that wouldn't be true. They are doing the family laundry nearly 24/7. There is always a pile of Mount Neverend clothing on the sofa needing to be washed or folded. Concern for their family's attire is only overshadowed by the stadosexuals need to wear the most advanced graphic designed t-shirts they've been given for father's day, Christmas and birthdays.

I could say that stadosexuals aren't obsessed about grooming, but I know many of these men spend countless hours changing diapers, washing babies, wiping up their muddy sons, brushing their daughters' hair, and painting their own toenails while playing with their girls. I'm sure they get to shower a few times a week.

I could say that stadosexuals don't live in metropolitan areas, but many of them do. Yet, many do not. They are a bit elusive. They are generally disguised as a babysitter pushing a stroller or camouflaged by a child they are carrying in their arms. The next time you see one make sure you tell them that their baby sitting disguise is working.

I could say that stadosexuls don't shop often, but we all know that isn't true. Children eat hordes of food, so weekly stints at the local market or warehouse store are very important to them. Typically you will find them in the fresh produce aisle during a week day with one or more children testing vegetable freshness or crying or screaming or behaving. Sometimes it is hard to tell.

I could say that stadosexuals aren't obsessed with their bodies, fitness or abs, but they are. The messages men are getting in media and advertising are as bad as what society has been selling to women for decades: thinner and leaner with more definition through shredding, eating less carbs, consuming more protein, training like a rock star and running a daily marathon. If a stadosexual does these things he will definitely have the muscle-defined super hero body of the comic book movie era. This is most definitely what a spouse and child wants from the stay at home male.

As mystifying as many of these traits are, there is one common trait I've witnessed in all stadosexuals: the ability to nurture their children and provide a loving home environment for their family. Not really a new breed of man, just one that is one the rise.

(Russell Peterson is a stay at home dad, architect, entrepreneur and some times lifestyle blogger. He lives in Minnesota with the trophy wife, two smart stiletto wearing daughters, three territorial cats and two escape artist dogs.)

Photography assumed in the public domain unless otherwise notified.
Picture
The metrosexual poses in his natural environment.
Picture
The spornosexual displays shirtless as usual.
Picture
The stadosexual blending with family camouflage.