“Did you see that link I sent you today?” my wife inquired, placing a bottle of freshly-pumped breast milk in the fridge.
I looked up from the boob-funnels I was washing in the sink as bewildered as the seventh graders I’d stumped similarly all day, searching my exhausted mind for the answer. At four months old, the Twins were still rarely allowing us more than three hours of continuous slumber, making us bumbling idiots more often than not.
“I’m sorry, which link? Remind me.” Having vaguely drawn the line between today and other days in my sluggish mind, I could now narrow the possibilities to 3-4 links, as my wife sends me multitudes of information daily, ranging from infinitely fascinating to a notch above “waste of time,” but much more often the former.
“That stay-at-home dad article. From the newspaper.”
“Oh, right, that one. Yeah, I did.” Since our recent decision for me to quit teaching for stay-at-home fathering and Ph.D.-ing, my wife had taken to sending me SAHD resources during the workday, partly to show me there were lots of dads in my situation and partly (as I learned months later) because she was secretly terrified of me being in charge and was covertly boot-camping me up to snuff. This particular article was one of countless SAHD-penned rants about how when out in public during work hours, people don’t often understand why the kids are with their father, asking such intelligent questions as “Are you on vacation?”, “Where’s their mother?”, and even “Did you lose your job?”
“What’d you think?” my wife prodded.
“I don’t know. It was all right.” I gently adjusted the Baby Bjorn strap so as not to wake the napping son ornament on my chest. “I guess it was kind of funny, but not all that different from stuff already out there.”
“True,” she overemphasized, and fell silent.
Huh. That was weird. Where’s she going with this?
“You know,” she continued. “You could do better.”
I chuckled. “Damn straight, I could.” It was nothing against the author. As someone who’d studied writing for years and had taught it for half a decade, I just knew if I’d put my mind to it, I could have written the pants off an article like that.
“No, I guess what I mean is…You should do better. You should write about being a stay-at-home dad. I think you’d be really good at it.”
“What, for the newspaper? I don’t even have anything published. Usually they want clippings. As a matter of fact, I haven’t even finished anything in years. If I were to do that, I’d at least need to start a blog or something to show I can actually write.”
“So start a blog.”
I sighed. “A blog? I dunno. They always just seem so self-indulgent to me. There’s like kajillions of them out there and everyone seems to passionately believe that people they don’t even know are interested in their normal, everyday lives–that their “loyal readers” are hanging on their every word. It’s just…the parent blogs I’ve seen just aren’t very interesting. They’re like diaries recounting mundane events of the day, like all of the errands they ran or how many times the kid pooped. I feel like if you’re going to put something out there, don’t make it a freaking diary. You should make an effort to make it entertaining.” (Before any fellow bloggers break into a cold sweat and start looking for torches and pitchforks, please keep reading.)
“So make yours entertaining.”
“Huh.” She had a point. But still, I doubted myself. After all, putting myself out there (and putting the perfectionist effort into it I knew I would) meant the very real possibility of failure–a sad little hole in the Internet only read by my wife and my mom. “I don’t know. Do you really think people would be interested in that?”
She smiled. “I do. But you’ll never know until you give yourself a shot.”
24 hours later…
My daughter kicking wildly from my Baby Bjorn-ed torso, I paced antsily in front of the couch, where my wife pored over pages I’d penned during my prep period at work, a manifesto that would become this fine publication’s Twintroduction. I knew she’d give it to me straight. As an English major, she’s never been afraid to tell me when a brainchild needs more work, so I braced myself for slightly disappointing (yet dead-on) constructive criticism. But as she finished, a faint smile graced her lips.
“So?” I panicked. “What’d you think? It’s not that bad, right?”
“It’s great. I love it.”
“Really. I told you you could do this.”
“…It is pretty good, huh?”
“So when are we posting it?”
“Like, for people to read?”
“Isn’t that the point?”
“You really think it’s ready?”
“Yep. I just said it’s great.”
“Okay. Well, I guess I’ll just post it right now then?”
“Sure. Put it up. See what happens.”
“Okaaay…” I made my way to my laptop, pulling up the sacred text.
“So which name did you settle on?” she inquired.
“Nice! But do you think people will get it?”
“Doesn’t matter. I have to call it that. Last night Franklin Delano Roosevelt appeared to me on a Flaming Pie and said, ‘Tomorrow, May 4, 2011–a date which will live in Twinfamy–you shall suddenly and deliberately attack your word processor and publish your first weblog post.’ To which I replied, ‘They’re actually just called “blogs” now.’ Squinting, he said, ‘That’s ridiculous.’ I nodded. ‘I know, right?’ Glancing down, he continued, ‘So it looks like I’m sinking into this fiery filling here, so I’d better get going. Good luck with your New Deal.’ ‘Vintage FDR!’ I chuckled as he flew away, grabbing every Super Mario Brothers coin in his path. And then I woke up.”
“There’s no way that happened,” my wife snarked.
“I know what I saw,” I persisted, hitting the “Publish” button.
“You know, if this thing blows up, you have to tell everyone it was my idea.”
. . .
One year later, I wouldn’t say this fine publication has necessarily “blown up” as I’m still waiting for my movie/action figure deal, but I will say it’s grown to much more than I ever thought it would. Looking back, this was one of the best, most fun, gratifying decisions my wife has ever made for me.
And as it turns out, there are some fantastic parent blogs out there after all. They may not be perfectly optimized to pop up in your Google search, but like a great indie band, are best discovered by word of mouth, just a few of which include: Daddy’s in Charge?, Founding a Father, Daddy Knows Less, I’ve Become My Parents, Dads Who Change Diapers, EduDad, The Rookie Dad, and Manhood v. Dadhood.
I most certainly want to thank you, O Loyal Readers, for the incredible support, comments, and genuine care you’ve shown for the past year. You’ve made this a blast, and there’s no way I would have kept this up if it hadn’t been for you.
But more than anyone, I want to thank my wife. In addition to encouraging me to write again after a too-long dormancy, she not only is Twinfamy’s official editor and typo-snatcher, she also is an endless supply of inspiration, from her Fecal Soul Patches to projectile Diaper Bullets to road rage rants to whispering meat nothings, she’s been a great sport for allowing me to share our shenanigans.
I couldn’t have done this without you, Babe. You’re the best.
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If not, expect a visit from FDR tonight to set you straight.