Our “spotlight” articles take a minute to highlight someone in the community of dads who we at THE FATHER LIFE think is noteworthy. This time around we’re shining the spotlight on Robert Barron, author of the “daddy blog” at howabouttwo.com. What really caught our eye here is that howabouttwo.com is purportedly valued at over $14,113.50. We didn’t even know that a blog’s value could be quantified, let alone measured to such an exact amount. There must be something here truly worthwhile. And thus we come to the bio questions, to be followed by a high-value blog entry. Maybe we’ll all be a little richer for the reading.
THE FATHER LIFE: Let’s get the full picture here: Who are you? Family? Education?
Robert Barron: First and foremost, I’m a father. I may fit within a number of other titles – eldest son, big brother, husband, uncle, Gen X’er, writer, biker, etc., etc. – none of them describe me better or are more important to me than ‘father.’ Three years ago, at the age of 36, I finished my BA in English – Creative Writing. I was on the 20 year degree plan, but finished in 18. I’ve always been something of an over achiever when it comes to education.
TFL: Aside from “professional blogger,” what is your professional background?
RB: Part time freelance writer, full time computer geek.
TFL: How did you get started in blogging?
RB: Why does it take 100 million sperm to fertilize one egg? Because not one will stop and ask directions.
If men won’t stop and ask for directions, how are they going to ask about raising their children?
As I’m sure you know, Today’s fathers are more involved in their children’s lives than any other generation. Rather than just being the bread winner and disciplinarian – as was common with our fathers and our fathers’ fathers – they’re taking active parenting roles. From classes on how to be a dad, to daddy blogs, to daddy playgroups, to opting to be stay at home dads, the 21st Century dad is hoisting his child high above his head (remembering to lift with your knees) and shouting, “I am Daddy! Bring me the diaper bag!”
While fathers’ attitudes about parenting have changed, their feelings about asking for help or directions haven’t.
But they will read about it.
Which is how I discovered daddy bloggers – as I was trying to understand the in and outs of impending fatherhood, without directly asking anyone.
TFL: What’s the story behind the name of your blog?
RB: The simple answer is that we were having twins. But that is not the complete story.
When I decided to join the ranks of the daddy bloggers, I wrote a week’s worth of posts about our trials and tribulations in getting pregnant, which could have been a two-year-plus blog all on its own (for whatever reason I thought having a few posts in the can would act as some sort of buffer – HA! I blew through that the first week.).
I’d spent so much time writing the initial posts, I hadn’t had thought about a name for the blog. So when I went to set up the blog, I drew an utter blank on what to call it.
Unable to come up with anything even remotely entertaining, I took a break and went to visit my then two year-old nephew, Wyatt (who appears frequently in the blog under the alias Gunslinger), to give him a small trinket I picked up at the local five and dime store.
Wyatt talks like his tongue is tied in the middle and loose at both ends. At the time, Wyatt had just started using a new phrase any time he was given a treat. Whether it was a cookie, a toy, or a vitamin, he would smile, look at the delight, then look at the giver of said delight and ask, “How about two?”
Out of the mouths of babes, a blog title is born.
TFL: Where to from here? What’s your long-term goal for your blog?
RB: My dream for HowAboutTwo? is to turn it into a syndicated newspaper weekly humor column, a la Dave Barry or W. Bruce Cameron, and offer the daily blog content as an add on for the papers’ websites.
Even further out than that is to leave a mark on the web that will embarrass my children for decades to come.
Whether the blog makes their cheeks red with embarrassment or pink from laughter, I will continue write about our fabulous journey as a family.
And now, a sample post from howabouttwo.com:
Secret Baby Handshake
I am, among other things, what you might call a ‘biker.’
P.Pie and I have spoken at length about the motorcycle and it is our consensus that I have been riding a long time (longer than I’ve been driving), I’m cautious, I’m careful, and I will continue to ride.
In the biking community, there is a natural camaraderie; a shared interest in a sport that not everyone can do. While it’s not rocket science, it is a skill that not everyone has/wants. This kindred spirit is expressed in a friendly wave, or a nod of the head as two ‘bikers’ pass each other.
If you ride, you know what I am talking about.
If you don’t ride, the next time you’re out, watch for two motorcycle riders passing each other. While the nod/wave doesn’t happen every time, it happens more times than not (many things get in the way – turning/signaling/traffic/etc).
Smokers share the same type of solidarity. One smoker will have no problem approaching another smoker, asking if they can ‘borrow’ a cigarette. For better than half of my life I was a member in good standing of this association.
While I disassociated myself more than three years ago from the group, I am still approached by the wayward individual looking to take communion with me. In fact, you may have been approached by a smoker, asking if are part of the ‘community’.
It is a group that is hard to get away from. And the dues are quite pricey, and continue to go up.
There are other ‘groups’ that are more or less known; some you might even call secret societies.
Yes, even the Girl Scouts of America can be considered a secret society.
According to Merriam-Webster, a secret society is defined as “any of various oath-bound societies often devoted to brotherhood, moral discipline, and mutual assistance.”
So by that definition – substituting ‘sisterhood’ for ‘brotherhood,’ of course – the Girl Scouts are an oath-taking, due-paying secret society operating directly under the nose of Americans everywhere.
Not only successfully operating (have you ever heard of a den of Girls Scouts closing down?), but operating with the help and guidance of our mothers, sisters, girlfriends, and wives.
But that is neither here nor there, and truly off the point (one might even think I liked to spout off about nothing at all).
Anyhoo, back to my point; if motorcycle riders, smokers, and girls between the ages of 7-14 can have a wave, a communion, and a cookie, respectively, shouldn’t soon-to-be-parents have something?
Maybe a specific waddle or even a shake of the belly could serve as a wink and a nod to people in the know.
It suddenly occurs to me that perhaps there is such a knowing nod, but I haven’t had anyone to introduce me to said nods.
Jesus, pregnancy is tough.
Ben Martin is the CEO of THE FATHER LIFE. He lives with his wife and five children in the Rochester, NY, area.