MS. REBECCA SHEIR
As more and more men stay at home to take care of their kids, daddy blogs are becoming pretty popular with fathers sharing their thoughts on everything from diaper rash cures to co-sleeping strategies. Lauren Ober introduces us to one such blogger, who's turned his experience of fatherhood into kind of a cottage industry.
MS. LAUREN OBER
Adrian Kulp likes to call himself an unexpected stay-at-home dad. The Rockville father of two worked in Hollywood for years, booking comedians and developing television projects for celebrities like Adam Sandler and Chelsea Handler. But then the economy tanked and Kulp's job ended.
MR. ADRIAN KULP
So my wife and I discussed it and she was essentially working as a vice-president in TV on the reality side and I was on the scripted side. And we were both essentially the same level. So I was lucky enough that she was successful in her own right to afford me the ability to stay at home.
With his professional life in flux, Kulp took to the web for a little creative release. He started blog called Dad or Alive as a way of chronicling his experience as a first-time dad. Over the years, his blog has become a business enterprise of sorts, with brand partnerships and a spin-off book that came out in May. Sony Pictures recently optioned the movie rights for the book titled Dad or Alive: Confessions of an Unexpected Stay-at-Home Dad. Not too bad for a guy who didn't know the difference between a Boppy and a Baby Bjorn just three years ago.
Tell me what your first couple weeks or months were like when you were staying home with Ava and you were transitioning from working full time.
It was difficult for me. There was a pride issue there. There was loss of confidence and self-esteem. You know, it was challenging mentally and emotionally thinking, okay, I just went from making this much money and driving this car, and hitting these meetings and having this very busy schedule to okay, I'm sitting in the living room staring at a 10-week-old baby girl that's not going to talk back to me. What am I doing? So there was a big learning curve there, but I think I eventually, with the help of friends and family, came to realize the importance of what I actually was doing. You know, that is was and is one of the most important jobs you can do.
As a stay-at-home dad in Los Angeles three and a half years ago, there weren't many of us. You know, when I was going out to the playground or going for walks or going to the store or wherever we were doing, you know, it was me being the only guy in the Mommy and Me class. Not that I was looking for a big support group, but there were really no other guys. So I started the blog essentially as a way to find others that were maybe in my same position. You know, other parents, specifically dads, that I could commiserate with. You know, we could just share stories and trade knowledge and stuff like that.
So I started the blog and after a few weeks it caught the eye of a literary agent in New York and she essentially said, you know, look, I love these stories. I think, you know, maybe there's a chance that we can get you a publishing deal out of this.
Wait, after you'd only been doing it for a couple of weeks?
A couple of weeks, yeah. I think that visibility is a huge thing. And the big advantage I did have going for me was that I did have a well-established social network in Los Angeles, specifically in entertainment.
What do you think the appeal is of the stay-at-home dad because, obviously, women have been staying home with children for a long time. So like, what makes you special?
I don't know that it's anything that makes us special. I think that it's years and years of us not doing something and all of the sudden there's a larger group of us doing it. So it's kind of like, you know, let's all gather around and see if they can either fall on their face or be successful at this. Forever it's been the dad is the breadwinner mentality. You go to work, you put food on the table, and that's your job. That's what you do. Yeah, but times have changed. So you're finding a lot more men as primary caregivers.
Your experience in comedy has sort of helped you laugh some things off. What do you sort of have to slough off, like, oh, that's not a big deal?
There have been a million things. My daughter peeing in her pants in deli line at the Safeway while we were potty training. Normally, I may have gotten really frustrated and annoyed with that situation. But you can't do that. You know, sneaking a marker into bed and coloring on the slats of their crib and I come in at 3:00 in the morning to realize the entire inside of the crib is plastered with blue marker. Stickers are the enemy.
I always see the minivan that drives by where the parent has clearly given up, where, like, every window is papered in stickers, except the rear window.
I think their mentality is probably let's just let them do it. We'll wait it out and we'll clean it up once. But yeah, stickers are the enemy.
What do you feel is, for you, the best part of your job as a stay-at-home dad?
Well, I mean, first and foremost, let's be honest, I have no boss essentially, aside from my toddler who tries to manipulate me. I don't have a schedule. and my schedule is whatever we make it. I mean, those are two gleaming advantages and positives, but I think overall being able to spend time with them and influence them and watch them grow and watch them develop their personalities. It's just incredible. It's amazing. I know I'm lucky to be able do it. This isn't what I intended, it's not what I expected, but I've really warmed up to it. I, certainly, love it.
I'm sorry, did you just moon me? Great, no pants. Great, no-pants mooning. That was a paycheck right there. I don't get paid on Fridays. I get paid at 4:31 on a Tuesday with a bare-butt mooning.
That was blogger Adrian Kulp talking with reporter Lauren Ober. And if you're curious about Kulp's book, about his parenting adventures, you can hear him read excerpts from it on our website, metroconnection.org.
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