Dear Men Who Have Discovered Parenting Is Hard and Are Being Paid to Write About It on Major Platforms on the Internet,
Welcome to parenthood!
I address you as men, because Daddy Blogger may be interpreted as pejorative, a kind of reverse sexism revenge of the long-scorned and dismissed Mommy Bloggers. But maybe you’re leaning into all this, taking the advice we never would, and embracing this new and novel role of writing about parenting and your kids on the internet for money. As a woman who has long written (largely for free, mind you) about parenting on the outer-corners of the Internet, I want to offer you some advice.
Please ignore people who may (but probably won’t) scorn you for taking time away from parenting and not paying every last moment of attention to your children in order to write about your experiences taking care of children, that are and always have been yours. As a man, it’s important to keep a part of yourself, of your identity as a writer, from the time before the pandemic, from the time before you had to devote yourself relatively full-time to parenting your children.
And as for those accusations of exploiting your children for money, well, times are tough and you need to provide however you can during this period of economic uncertainty. You’re a dude, you can’t be expected to provide your labor for free, and there needs to be some tangible, monetary reward at the end of this long parenting tunnel. So write away and cash those checks—you’ve earned it.
Be sure to bring the same gravitas to what some would consider frivolous topics such as nap time, or the 100th re-watch of Elmo’s World, or the quality of various types of boxed mac and cheese, as you did to writing about esports, the latest hipster dive bar, or the most recent release from a band no one else has ever heard of, or the TV show you’re sure will be canceled because no one else is sophisticated enough to understand it. Your worldly perspective will certainly bring a unique angle on what could be considered mundane territory otherwise, especially when a woman, or maybe even an entire blogosphere of women, said it first.
Keep on discovering and talking about those things that have not yet been discovered or written about (by men) about parenting. No one has ever experienced existential angst the way you certainly have when watching Caillou. No one is more progressive in embracing gender fluidity as you when you allowed your daughter to dress you up as a princess for a Frozen sing-a-long. No one is as disappointed in the education system as you are as you try to explain New Math to your child. Your penis has given you a truly insightful and original view of all of these and more experiences of parenting full time; having largely experienced the world as something ordered to your convenience and pleasure before These Trying Times, you are uniquely positioned to point out how the ways in which we are expected to make do are so terribly unfair and constraining.
But above all, once this is all over, maybe cede some space on major publishing platforms for women who have been doing this forever and have been writing about their experiences for just as long but have been refused space on mainstream publications because the topic is too niche, or not interesting, or banal, or only written by a part-time freelancer because they also have to parent and should just be grateful for the exposure.
Or not. I know that once professional wrestling is back to live shows, those spaces will disappear, filled with more important matters. Take advantage while you can. If this experience has taught us anything it’s that being a father is universal and speaks to all of us, while the experience of being a mother is, well, not. And if your wife makes a big deal of taking the kids for the hour or two it takes you to write, cut her a little slack—it’s hard out here for all of us right now. At least have the courtesy to thank her in the acknowledgments of your inevitable six-figure advance memoir of your experiences during these difficult times.