Three New Zealand dads struggling to find parenting related information specifically for fathers have created the website DIYFather.com, a place for fathers to learn more about parenting. The three also co-wrote “Call Me Dad,” a manual of sorts for new fathers that takes a unique look at parenthood from the dad’s point of view.
DadsDivorce.com editor Matt Allen talked with Stefan Korn, one of the driving forces behind the site and the “Call Me Dad” book, about his work and fatherhood in general.
First off, let’s talk about DIYFather.com, a site for fathers and parenting. What was your motivation behind starting the site?
I basically found out I was going to be a dad three years ago. I never wanted to be a dad actually, but I wanted to do the best I can do. So I started to look around to see what was available to prepare me for my new role. Not a lot appealed to me. The books were very condescending and badly written for dads. They were always written for moms and added a section for dads as an appendix or something.
I also couldn’t find much on the Internet with any relevant information for dads. There were others here in Wellington (New Zealand) who felt the same way. We got together and decided we need to do something about this. Our site is written for dads by dads.
What do you hope dads can take from your site?
I hope they’ll be involved and participate fully in their role rather than hand everything over to the mom. It’s a really cool role to be in. But it’s difficult, tough and there are tricky situations you have to get through. Fatherhood is as much about growing yourself as a person as it is helping your child coming into the world.
We want to help dads be the best you can be. The more involved you are, the better for your child and yourself.
You mention being a father is a “cool role.” What’s the best part of being a dad to you?
I like the randomness of children. They are unpredictable and they often surprise you with things you never would have thought of. For instance, the first time my son had chocolate with a mint inside, he said he didn’t like it because it tasted like his (mint) toothpaste. It’s just so funny the connections they make.
What are some of the more popular features of the site, what are dads out there appealed to?
For our younger dads, it’s surprising but the most popular article is on teething and describing the teething process. I just did some research, put an article together about teething sequences and now it is consistently the most popular article people are searching for. It’s surprising, but it goes to show dads want to know what’s going on and get the information straight. We offer really practical stuff.
Obviously, our site deals with a lot of single dads. So what do you find single or separated dads want to know the most?
What comes through a lot on our site is dads wanting to know what they can do with their kids when they have parenting time. If you only get a limited time with your kids, you want to know what you can do to make that short time count. We offer more practical tips and advice for dads rather than dealing with the complex legal issues.
It’s a father’s perspective on parenting, especially starting from when you find out you’re going to be a dad through the first 12 months after birth. It’s like a translation for dads. If you read other standard works, a lot of those books and the language, descriptions, humor, and what they focus on are very much geared toward moms. We flipped that on its head and said let’s specifically focus on what fathers need to do during the different stages.
Those other books talk about breastfeeding for the mom. But in our book we write about as the father, what do you do when your partner is breastfeeding? How can you support her? It’s a special bonding experience for the mom and child, so how can you bond with the child during this stage?
The book takes every situation you’ll be in as a father and looking at it from a dad’s point of view.