I am excited about today’s post for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I love people who are funny.
Two, I’m enamored with Dads who are open about fatherhood and are willing to write about it. Maybe because Mr. Wired Momma excels at many, many things but writing and being overly communicative about adjusting to life as a father, isn’t one of his things, so I find it really intriguing when another Dad offers up a confession or two.
Three, I’m writing today about a friend and local blogger. Adrian Kulp, hilarious talent behind the widely read blog Dad or Alive, also holds the distinction of being the only DC man who can call himself a Listen To Your Mother DC cast member, and today can add published author to his resume. Adrian has a brand new book out: Dad or Alive: Confessions of an Unexpected Stay-At-Home Dad. Not only is he is living my dream of being a published author, I like him a ton – so I’m just super excited to share this interview with him and spread the word about his must-read book on fatherhood.
First about the book. Adrian’s publisher sent me his book last month. It arrived the day before I had to fly to Pittsburgh for a work trip. I was super excited to sit alone on the plane and just read and I knew from reading his hilarious blog that it was going to be a great read. Let me first say, what I didn’t expect was to be LAUGHING OUT LOUD on the plane.
When it comes to humor, there is the more normal kind of funny when reading – the one where you sorta just quietly laugh or smile – and with that, I feel the writer has succeeded; they make you feel better for just having read what they’ve written. And trust me, I respect that kind of writing because I know how hard it is to write humor.
But then there is the kind of funny where you bust out laughing. You might even be snorting. And you don’t care because it’s that funny. There were parts of Adrian’s book, which took about 2 seconds to suck me in btw, where I was likely snorting. On the very quiet plane, let’s not forget.
And while we are talking about emotional extremes, he also made me tear up. Note: I don’t love crying, so I don’t always come by that one as easily as maybe I would a giggle or a small laugh.
When the book first arrived, I admit, I chalked it up as a book for Dads. Mr. Wired Momma himself said “I think I’m going to read it” – which also intrigued me because he is a man who generally doesn’t read about parenting (it’s safe to say I’m not sure he even reads this brilliant and world renown site on parenting) – but he could tell it appealed to him. But I had the first go at it because I wanted to share it with my readers (see how you come first?).
What I didn’t expect was how genuinely fun and interesting it would be, as a mom, to read a book written strictly from a dad’s perspective. All too often, we are reading other women’s blogs or books about parenting or a pediatrician’s guide. If you are anything like me, you probably haven’t read a ton written strictly from the dad perspective. Adrian nails it – both in his honestly and his ability to recount small but important details that bring you back to that moment in your transition to parenthood.
Honestly, one of my favorite parts of the book was the chapter on the delivery of his daughter, particularly the level of detail involved in setting the scene, including his likening a doctor to Randy Jackson and coming ill-prepared without his birthing play list. He not only transported me back to that moment in my own delivery (though we had no one even remotely similar to Randy Jackson in our delivery room) but I also enjoyed rehashing those moments from a Dad’s perspective.
Look, I want to get to my actual interview with Adrian, which he rightfully noted didn’t give him a chance to be funny because I instead asked him serious (and totally nosy) questions. So let’s cut to the chase. This book is a no-brainer gift for Father’s Day. It is not just a book for “new dads” because any dad can related to what Adrian shares. It’s also a book for moms. Especially nosy ones like me, who enjoy hearing from a man’s perspective, and also for anyone who loves to laugh. The other thing about Adrian’s book is this – his life hasn’t gone as planned. Has anyone’s? It takes courage to put it all out there and share the roller coaster of emotions that come with becoming a parent for the first time, hitting career bumps, adjusting to life in a totally different way than you’d ever imagined, and being able to laugh at yourself along the way. So please, read on to hear about life as a Stay-At-Home Dad but also – let’s support this fabulous local blogger and author – and pick up his book on Amazon right here for $11. You absolutely will be glad you did.
With that, let’s hear from Adrian:
WM: How did you pull off writing a book while being at home full-time?
ADRIAN: This was really tricky. It took some major sacrifices from me, and my wife. I had almost a year to write the book, but spent the first six months ‘percolating’ about it. The second six months were spent writing on paper towels at naptime, falling asleep on the toilet and staring at my computer screen with bloodshot eyes at 2am.
WM: Is the fascination and intrigue with SAHD’s waning as we are seeing more and more men around during “business hours” – whether it be because they have flexible work arrangements, work from home, or are SAHDs? Or no?
ADRIAN: I hope not, otherwise I might not sell a second book!
Truthfully, I think that while full-time stay-at-home dads are more prevalent (we’ve doubled in the last decade) these days, our numbers are relatively low.I don’t know that the fascination and/or intrigue is waning perse, even though it’s been thirty years since Mr. Mom came out. I think we’re still struggling (as a group) to defeat the stereotype that pegs us as ‘bumbling and aloof’. Kind of a shame.
WM: Can you really call yourself a SAHD when you authored a book and maintain a blog?
ADRIAN: I don’t know what I am anymore… some kind of freak, maybe. I’m sure that there are plenty of other parents out there that are taking care of their kids full-time and also pursuing an interest or career on the side. I wonder how they classify themselves?
For the longest time, I was introducing myself ONLY as a stay-at-home dad, because that’s my job for ten hours a day. It wasn’t until a few months ago when my wife interrupted me and said, “You’re not just a SAHD, you’re a writer. You get paid to write.”
I guess the bottom line is, these days when someone asks me what I do, I have to tell them all of it. Being a stay-at-home parent for two toddlers won’t ever get ‘glossed over’ in conversation just because it doesn’t sound glamorous or pay big bucks – it’s one of the toughest jobs I’ve ever had.
WM: What was the adjustment like for you – transitioning to being home after such a demanding career in LA?
ADRIAN: I actually talk about this in my book. I didn’t do so well. Perhaps it’s because I’m a guy… I don’t know. My position was eliminated unexpectedly when my daughter was only a few weeks old. I didn’t see it coming. My life went from 150 miles an hour to 2, in a flash. My pride, self-esteem and self-worth were all challenged. It took me awhile to understand the importance and value of what I was doing. And I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t find myself a little depressed while I was trying to figure it out.
WM: Do you find the balance of work at home is shared between you and your wife? Women tend to gripe that their husbands don’t do as much as they do on the home front – whether they are full-time working moms or part-time working moms or SAHMs…so I’ve often wondered how it plays out in situations where the dad is home.
ADRIAN: Are you trying to get me divorced… or killed? What kind of question is this?
It’s difficult to say where my job starts and stops. I don’t get in my car and go to an office. The whole house is my office.
Sure, I gripe. I sometimes feel like I do the same freakin’ thing – week in, week out. I’m constantly doing laundry, dishes and picking up after people.
Do I think the balance of work at home is shared? Yes. Do I think it’s shared ‘equally’? No. But I wouldn’t expect that. My wife works A LOT. Is the work shared equally when we’re both home? Yes. I do as much as I possibly can during the day, so the little time that we have together at night when I’m not writing, can be spent relaxing and hanging out together.
Thank you Adrian for your honesty and indulging my questions. Here’s the bottom line – Adrian’s book is an excellent, honest, hilarious and entertaining read. Please pick one up for the dads in your life. Be sure to follow Adrian on his blog Dad or Alive, or find him on Facebook. And as always, I’d love for you to hit “Like” on the old Wired Momma FB page while you’re at it.