21st Century Dad
One Dad's Thoughts, Ideas, and Feelings.
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Good Dad or Good Employee. Pick One.

May 15th, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

You Need to Buy Low and Sell High, Stanley!

Photo: foundphotoslj

What does it mean to be a father today? Cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead said that fathers are “a biological necessity but a social accident.” That might have been true for generations past, but the fellow dads I’ve met in person or in the blogosphere are nurturing, caring, and as involved as ever. These men really do everything except breastfeed.

It’s a wonderful feeling to be a 21st Century Dad. I take pride in being there for my daughter. I have been to every doctor visit with her so far. I play with her every day. I change her diapers. I feed her (now that she’s been eating solids) and clean up too.

Much of this “nouveau dad” talk is centered around babies and toddlers. There’s a teenager living here too. Teens may want more autonomy from their parents, but when he needs a dad, he’s got one.

Sometimes I feel like working a job gets in the way of being a good dad. Some would argue that working at that job is a big part of being a good dad. The people in charge are from the generation where fathers were breadwinners then came home and planted themselves in front of the TV while mom cooked dinner. How many of them did the feeding, clothing, bathing, and diapering?

Flex time, telecommuting, and other concessions are being made, but that’s only anecdotal knowledge to me. Tales of men being treated poorly in the workplace abound. I know two men who were recently fired because they had the nerve to ask for paternity leave. They were granted that leave with smiles and congratulatory remarks. To add insult to injury, poor job performance was cited as the reason for their dismissal upon their return to work.

I make it my business to see what “21st Century Dad” turns up in the search engines. I found this great article about dads and their blogs. The excerpt below sums everything up perfectly:

In 2006, dads are feeling pressure from both sides. At home, many dads carry heavier parenting loads; they face their own traditional expectations, while at work they face baby boomer bosses who believe the job comes first, according to Joan Williams, director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.”

The flexibility I need isn’t there in a 9-5 job. What would happen if I told my boss, “Can I take the afternoon off so I can take my daughter to the pediatrician?” I’m sure the boss won’t like it. Being a dad today is harder than ever.

Relief from the 60, 55, 50, 45, 40 hour a week 9-5 job is out there in non-traditional arrangements. Freelancing is frowned upon, but has plenty of advantages. When the baby is sleeping, a lot of work can be done. Work-at-home dads with older children can get the bulk of their job done before the kids come home from school.

You can’t change the world overnight, and you can’t do it by yourself. I believe in changing the world one child at a time. We teach them values. We provide them with nurturing environments in which to grow up. We teach them how to become better people. They, in turn, positively influence all the people they encounter. The best way to do this is with both parents hands-on. When you have a generation of fathers doing this, the possibilities are endless.

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Taking a Quality Time Time-Out With The Baby

May 2nd, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

Twilli and Mommy model the new podaegiWhile I have some time between daytime contract jobs, I decided to spend most of the day yesterday with Twilli. We had a blast hanging out together all day long. I even helped out Renee by taking pictures of her new podegi baby carrier (pictured here). Yes, that can be considered working on the blog, but it was still time I spent with the baby. Today, it’s back to work full force!

Twilli is incredibly fun to be around right now. As she approaches the 9 month mark, her awakening to the world around her continues at an alarming rate. She is recognizing more within her surroundings. She is using her newfound, albeit limited, mobility at every chance she gets.

I learned a lot just by indulging a little in her. It felt great to spend an extended period of time with my daughter. I have to work a little harder today, but it was worth it.

Regardless of your schedule, make the time to be with your baby. I tell people all the time, “she’ll only be a baby once.”

The quality time I spend with Twilli is a spiritual and emotional boost. How many of you remember the old computer game F15 Strike Eagle? There was a glitch in the game that allowed you to continue flying even though you’ve run out of fuel. Pressing any of the number keys 1-9 and the “A” key (for afterburner) made the engines fire a short puff of propulsion. The smile, a moment of discovery, a squeal of delight as I make a goofy face, or a funny moment is like those little puffs of propulsion that I need just when I think I’m totally out of gas.

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State of the Blog Address for April 2008

April 6th, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

Longtime followers of my blog have noticed an ebb and flow in my posting schedule. Part of it can be attributed to taking a full-time job, most of it is due to the ongoing battle with entropy. Entropy sucks.

Fortunately, I am winning, but it’s a hard-fought battle when you are juggling the demands of working full time, maintaining side ventures and being a good dad.

Building a Better Blog

Right now, I do not feel I can post daily. My goal is to post 3 times a week. As I get a handle on better time management practices, the posting frequency will increase. I have more ideas than time right now. On days I do not post, I develop ideas for future posts and stay in touch with my fellow bloggers.

When I started this blog, I made a list of topics I planned to cover. My original intention of being a blog of general interest to fathers today has remained. What I have found is that some of the topics I wanted to cover are being covered so well by other bloggers focused on those areas.

Frugal Dad has been a daily hit ever since I discovered him. Being financially responsible raises the quality of life without falling into the trap of keeping up with the Joneses. Being frugal resonates with my inner MacGyver. I get to rely on ingenuity more than money to meet my needs.

From Mike – Here is the story of a father sharing custody of his two daughters and fighting his way out of debt. I will continue supporting him in any way I can. His heart is in the right place.

Brave New Leaf – The arrival of a baby spawns a green movement in many households. It’s a slow process here, but greener practices are actively being pursued. I ride my bike and use public transit whenever feasible.

Lee Doyle – This is an extreme circumstance. I am constantly encountering good men interested in being good fathers despite divorce or separation and the inequity of the laws surrounding custody and child support. In a bizarre twist, a good friend of mine is being penalized for overpaying child support one month!

Some of the topics I’ve covered include cooking, family photography, work-life balance, care and feeding of infants, and stepchild relations. I also post some personal diary type things. Sound off in the comments and let me know what you like, what you don’t care for, and what you want to see from me in the future.

Building a Better Dad

I started a full-time job after being a full-time work-at-home-dad. As a responsible family member, I have to continue improving on things. In my most recent shift, I improved the amount of money coming in, but I gave up proximity to home.

The ultimate setup would be to earn the money I need while working from home. Pay-per-click ads, donations, and affiliate sales serve that end.

In the mean time, I will keep my ear to the ground for a job opportunity that is a.) closer to home, b.) pays more money, c.) offers more job satisfaction, d.) provides all or some of the above.

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Is Working a Second Job Right For You?

April 3rd, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad
Photo: Valentin Mosichev, iStockphoto.com

Many people have worked two jobs to help make ends meet. Mike at From Mike.com contemplated it for a while. My buddy Joe currently works two jobs. It’s a popular ingredient in many triumph over adversity stories. Sometimes it’s a necessity, but let’s explore possible alternatives.

Let’s talk about Joe first. He has a beautiful baby girl that he doesn’t get to see as often as he should. He works two jobs and has an insane commute to both of them. I admire his fortitude, but it must put a big strain on him and his family. His wife works full time and cares for their toddler too.

Joe works about 20 hours a week at his 2nd job, which is about 50 miles from his home. His main job is about 30 miles away. That’s a lot of time in the car each day.

He justifies it by saying it’s another $12,000 a year. Okay, you’ve got me there Joe. I’d love to have $1000 more each month, but at what cost?


When I studied computer programming, I had one teacher that would never give a grade of 100% on an assignment if it was a computer program. He reasoned that you can always write the program better. I’ve always believed that all processes are subject to improvement. Income generation is definitely worthy of putting under this microscope. I don’t want Joe’s life, and Joe probably doesn’t want it either.

Spend Less Money – Frugal Dad takes this approach. Spend less and you’ll have more money. His blog serves up real advice that really works toward that end. Cut out unnecessary spending, and hundreds of dollars appear in your bank account every month! The much vilified daily latte is only the beginning. You can then use that money to pay down your credit card debt you racked up trying to keep up with consumerism!

Look for Work-at-Home Opportunities – Guys like Bob at Operation Bob chronicle such money making opportunities for the work-at-home-parent. If you’re already blogging, consider monetizing it. When you enter the blogosphere, there are literally hundreds of “make money online” offers out there. I’m skeptical of most, but Bob continues to expose the ones that are worthwhile.

Build Multiple Small Streams of IncomeSteve Pavlina advocates this in his article and podcast, 10 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job. One thing he talks about is cultivating multiple streams of income. If one dries up, it’s not a big deal. You can shift your energy to another one and make up the slack. If you get fired from your job, you’re screwed (at least temporarily). Your one and only source of income is suddenly shut off.

Leverage One Of Your Hobbies – I already mentioned blogging. You can participate in Google AdSense and hope to convert clicks. Do you enjoy photography and own a DSLR? Become a contributing photographer on one or more stock photography sites.

Creating My Multiple Streams

I just recently started a full-time job. A large chunk of my time is traded away for money. I’m still adjusting to this schedule and slowly implementing some time management tactics. Last night, it was already 10pm before I sat down at the computer.

As an avid photographer, I am exploring the stock photography route. I made a half-hearted attempt last year, but it’s time to revisit and beef up the portfolio. I also need to start marketing myself as a freelance photographer too.

This blog is picking up momentum, despite my abbreviated posting schedule. I employ contextual advertising, affiliate promotions, and I ask for donations. Turning in my 2-week’s notice is just a matter of building traffic now.

Why am I doing this? The extra money would really help out. 🙂 A part time job with set hours will take me away from my family longer than I need to be. It’s a lot of time to trade away for only a few precious dollars. It costs money to go to work. Joe spends a good portion of his earnings on gas. There is little to no potential for that job to be intellectually stimulating.

The initiatives I have in place are scalable, can eventually replace and exceed my job income, and can be done on my own time. My chosen activities are things I enjoy too. It’s bad enough to be working for someone else for 40 hours a week. A part time job would still pay more than my current efforts, but my earnings here are only a matter of devoting some more time and waiting for seeds to sprout.

Slacker Dad

March 27th, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

 No, I’m not really a slacker. I am still finding my way through this new routine and schedule. It’s been a little rough. I’m out the door at 6:30 am on days I take the bus.

After pondering my circumstances for about 8 nanoseconds, I determined that I have a strong preference for the work-at-home-dad lifestyle. Right now, the job provides a much better paycheck than being a WAHD.

This is the first time I’ve ever had anything resembling an exit strategy when starting a new job. The irony is, my goal is to end up back where I was before I found this job, except with more money.

I continue to harbor delusions of grandeur. Maybe I can pull this off. I’m aiming to post 3 times a week. And when I say 3 times a week, I want it to be quality content, not these “having a 9-5 job takes time away from blogging” posts.

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