My proofreading assistant

This article is an updated version of a guest post that I wrote for on James Tew’s blog Raising3daughters.

It seems like not long ago that I was reading an article about the growing number of dad bloggers in the UK. Within little over a week, I too had joined the craze and set up a blog entitled Dad’s the way I like it. I didn’t set up my blog because I thought that I had something to offer that was better and different from all the other blogs out there, but rather that I’d seen that there was an exciting dialogue going on and I wanted to participate in it.

Since becoming a dad in April of this year, and indeed in the months just before that, I’d thought a lot about what it meant to be a dad and how dads are represented in the media. I wanted to share my views on both of these issues and also talk about my own experiences of fatherhood.

Setting up the blog on WordPress before I’d even started to write my first post was in many ways the most challenging part as I spent ages trying out all sorts of different colour schemes. Selecting a name for the blog was almost as challenging as trying to decide upon one for our son. It was, however, a bit different as I decided that I’d not wait to see what my blog was like before giving it a name and our son’s names don’t form a slightly corny sounding pun.

My first post was about preparing for fatherhood and the books that I’d read about this while my wife was pregnant with our son. It certainly wasn’t read by massive numbers of people, but I was pleased to just get it out there and get my blog up and running.

Since my first post, I have blogged about topics such as representations of dads on televisionmy experience of paternity leave and the ‘blue for boys, pink for girls‘ mentality. In recent weeks, I have also talked about what happiness means to me as a parent and why I think that dads have an important role to play when it comes to supporting breastfeeding. I have deliberately tried to strike a balance between giving my views of topics to do with representations of dads and parenting and talking about my own experiences.

One of the most satisfying aspects of running the blog has been interacting with fellow bloggers and interacting and parents from around the world. Over the last few weeks, I have had discussions with parents who live in the UK, US, Australia, the Netherlands, Brazil and Singapore. As we’re bringing up our son bilingually using English and Welsh (as I discussed in a recent post), it’s been great to share experiences with other bilingual parents. The Multicultural Kid Blogs group on Facebook has been a great source of interesting ideas and posts from fellow bloggers from around the world – here’s a link to their website.

What I have found is that there’s a lot of solidarity among blogging parent bloggers, even if understandably there is not always agreement on all aspects of parenting. It’s been fascinating sharing different perspectives via Facebook, Twitter and Google+ in addition to discussing things on the blog itself.

There are so many groups for dads or parents who blog on Facebook and Google+ and I’ve particularly enjoyed being part of the Dad Bloggers Facebook group. This group is great for sharing posts, discussing fatherhood and issues to do with running a blog. Although I blog about being a dad and initially mainly interacted with fellow dad bloggers, I’ve enjoyed being part of groups that include dad and mum bloggers in recent weeks. I really like the way that the Parent Bloggers Network holds Twitter chats on specific topics on Sunday evenings from 9-10pm UK time (see @pbloggers and search for posts tagged with the #pbloggers hashtag).

One of the main challenges with blogging that I have encountered is striking a balance between posting regularly and not spending too much time posting and reading other blogs. I’d initially planned to do one post at the weekend and another one mid-week, but have decided to stick to one a week so as not to give myself too much to do on top of a full-time job and spending as much time as possible out of work just being a dad and husband.

Another reason that I’ve decided to stick to doing just the one blog post a week is that I keep on discovering so many other dad and parenting blogs that I want to read. Some of these are fairly general, whilst others focus on more specific issues such as work-life balance or bilingualism and parenting.

As our son is just under four months old and this blog is about half that age, I’m clearly fairly new to both parenting and blogging and feel that I still have a lot to learn about both. I wouldn’t say that I feel that blogging about parenting necessarily makes me or anyone else a better parent, but I would say that it has helped me to think about what it means to be a parent and what is important in life.

If you are also a parent blogger, why did you set up your blog? Feel free to let me know in the comments section below. There’s also a dialogue going on at the pBloggers network about why people start parent blogs, so why not participate in that as well. If you want to keep up with this blog, there are ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+. Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen.