Dudes and daddying

Our meeting for moms and stepmoms at BookPeople was small, but impassioned, and one of the things we kept circling back to in conversation was... the dads in the picture. We talk a lot about the friction between the moms and stepmoms on this site, and sometimes allude to conflict with the kids... but what about the menfolk? And are they wearing britches?! (A morning is not complete without menfolk and britches in the same paragraph.) A common specter looming in conversations of late:

  •  dads who don't back up the stepmom with the stepkids
  • dads who back up the stepmom, but are then seen as betraying the stepkids
  • dads who are reluctant to enforce rules and consequences because of guilt over the divorce and lack of time with the kids (sometimes even if they're the custodial parent!)
  • dads who drive the moms crazy because their words and actions are all over the place, as they struggle with feeling caught in the middle between the two women

I've written here on this site before about how my ex, David, and I had to make some big changes as parents and get on the same page to save his marriage with Carol. So it's a subject that intrigues me: How many of you would say you're happy with the way your ex or your husband parents?

  • If you're the stepmom, do you feel the two of you create a united front? Do you leave the discipline to him? If so, does that make you feel powerless, or less stressed out?
  • If you're the mom, what's parenting like now with your ex? Can you come together to meet common goals with the kids in mind? Or is the situation between you reminiscent of your struggles while married? Have things gotten even worse after the divorce?

One interesting take on the father's perspective: a dad who came into his own as a father after he and his wife split. PBS producer and NYT essayist Joel Schwartzberg has just written a book chronicling his journey and explores "how divorce reinvents relationships with kids and improves one's evolving sense of Dadhood" called The 40-Year-Old Version: Humoirs of a Divorced Dad. I've been asked to do a review of the book and have also lined up Joel for an interview.

What would you like to ask him? What would you like for him to know as far as what YOUR experience has been like as a mom or stepmom? He's remarried, so he's living this stuff too!

Send me your interview questions at marine2marine (at sign) gmail (dot com) and we'll pick his brain.... Listen to your... radio-o-o Carol and I were up late last night, sitting on the phone together in darkened rooms, miles apart at twelve-thirty at night.

No, we're not secretly starting to see each other (ha, now that would be super-weird) -- we were simply being interviewed by CJAD/CFRB, Toronto's largest talk radio station. It's kind of hard to be "up" and coherent when part of your brain doesn't understand why you're not currently wrapped around your pillow like a lamprey, but I think we pulled it off. One thing that's nice about radio interviews is the hosts usually sound (and feel) like they've had about twelve cups of coffee, so it's easy to get sucked into their energetic orbit.

I'll put a link up later so you can hear us babbling like idiots and begging to be allowed to go to bed.

In other radio news, we're very proud to be interviewing with The Social Work Podcast tomorrow -- it's the largest podcast for social workers in the country! From the site:

Although the intended audience is social workers, the information will be useful to anyone in a helping profession (including psychology, nursing, psychiatry, counseling, and education).

Then next week, we'll be going into the studio for an interview with Radical Mothers' Voice on KO-OP here in Austin.

Fun stuff!