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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 when the economy tanked, Kulp's job ended and he found himself at home with his infant daughter, a raft of poopy diapers, a mountain of dirty laundry, and no clue what to do. With his professional life in flux, Kulp took to the Web for a little creative release. He started a blog called Dad or Alive as a way of chronicling his experience as a first-time dad.
Over the years, the 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. In his spare time, Kulp is also serving as a producer on a reality show about stay-at-home dads in Texas. Not too bad for a guy who didn't know the difference between a Boppy and a Baby Bjorn just three years ago.
On what the first couple of months were like as a stay-at-home dad: It was difficult for me. There was a pride issue there. There was a loss of confidence and self-esteem. It was challenging mentally and emotionally thinking I just made this much money, I was driving this car, hitting these meetings and having this very busy schedule to OK, I'm staring at a 10-week-old baby girl who is not going to talk back to me. What am I doing? So there was a big learning curve there. I eventually, with the help of friends and family, came to realize the importance of what I actually was doing. That is was and is one of the most important jobs you can do.
On why he started his blog: As a stay-at-home dad in Los Angeles three years ago, there weren't many of us. When I was going to the playground or going for walks or going to the store or whatever we were doing, 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 who were in my same position. Other parents, specifically dads, that I could commiserate with. Or we could just share stories and trade knowledge.
On what makes stay-at-home dads unique: I don't think it's anything that makes us special. I think it's years and years of us not doing something and all of the sudden there's a larger group of us doing something. It's kind of like let's all gather around and see if they can fall on their face or be successful at this. Forever it's been dad is the breadwinner mentality. You go to work, you put food on the table, that's your job. It's what you do. But times have changed, and you're finding a lot more men as primary caregivers.
On how his career in comedy helps him laugh things off: There are a million things that I can laugh off. My daughter peeing in her pants in deli line at the Safeway while we were potty training. Normally, I could have gotten really frustrated and annoyed with the situation. But you can't do that. Or you know, sneaking a marker into bed and coloring on the slats of their crib and I come in at 3 a.m. to find the entire inside of the crib is plastered in blue marker. Stickers. Stickers are the enemy.
On the best parts of being a stay-at-home-dad: I mean, let's be honest, I have no boss essentially. Except for my toddler who tries to manipulate me. I don't have a schedule. My schedule is whatever we make it. 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 do it. This isn't what I intended, this isn't what I expected, but I've really warmed up to it. Certainly, I love it.
[Music: "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" by Funk Pioneers from Funk Phenomenon]
Audio of Adrian Kulp reading an excerpt from his book, "Dad or Alive: Confessions of an Unexpected Stay-at-Home Dad"