Canadian Dad Podcast - Chris Routly

Canadian Dad Podcast – Ep. 6 – Children’s Author & Writer, Chris Routly

This week on the show, I spoke to stay at home dad, blogger at and the author of the new children’s book,Sometimes You Need a Jellyfish“, Chris Routly!

We discussed his journey from a career in graphic design to life as a stay at home dad, blogger and author. Chris also talks about his work with the National At-Home Dad Network and the new Portland Dads Group that he is co-running. 

Chris is a great dad and great writer, PLUS he knows the exact date that Marty McFly goes into the future and we talk a bit about how the internet is always getting the date wrong!

Finally, I am happy to introduce the first ever sponsor for the podcast! If you would like to take advantage of a one month free trial at Reading Eggs, you can go to and sign up! I have been using this service for about a year and my kids love it. 

What Exactly Is A “Trophy Husband”?

It’s no secret that the number of Stay At Home Dads is on the rise. It’s also well documented that the role of the father has evolved dramatically over the last 20 years.

As a shift working Dad who is home with his kids for a good portion of the time, I had never really thought of asking for recognition for the time I spend with them. After all, I’m their Dad and also, I’m far from perfect.

While watching an ABC Nightline story on Stay At Home Dads the other night, they kept referring to the Dads as Trophy Husband’s and it threw me for a bit of a loop. In fact, a few of the points made in the 5 minute piece were slightly off putting.

I feel it’s best that you watch the clip before I continue, so my points will at least have some context.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

I watched it a couple of times and even took some time to think about how I felt about it. No ones likes people who overreact in a public forum, so I’m going to quietly make my points and move on.

The first thing that happens is predictable video of Mr. Mom with Michael Keaton, followed by a more updated but equally ridiculous video clip from “What To Expect When You Are Expecting”. Not a great start and it got worse when I heard the reporter’s opening quote.

“Today’s stay at home dad is a new breed. They push strollers with swagger, like those dads in What To Expect When You Are Expecting”.

So today’s Dads are the stereotypical movie imbecile’s, who let their babies eat cigarettes, play in the dryer and swim in toilets? Good to know. I’m used to the movie buffoon thing, it’s increasingly more annoying but I get that it’s still a movie and they need to be funny. This was supposed to be a real story about real dads and didn’t need the ridiculous reference in my opinion.

The story goes on to say that Moms on the playground refer to these Dads as “Trophy Husbands”. Which parks are these? Who are these women? I’ve been to the park with my kids a whole bunch of times and I’ve never had anyone refer to me as a Trophy…In fact, I usually end up very much ignored to play with my kids, which is perfectly fine with me.

They quote a study that says more men are staying at home because women are beginning to value high paying jobs more than men do. I don’t doubt the results of the “high paying jobs” portion of the survey but it really shouldn’t be used as an explanation as to why there are more stay at home dads. There are daycare’s after all and I think more men are just realizing how amazing it is to spend more time with their kids.

I know a few stay at home dads and a lot of dads who work jobs for a living as well. None of them are the bumbling idiots from the movies or the Al Bundy’s from TV. They’re not even the Dad from the Oscar Mayer Commercial, who thinks letting his son play with a chainsaw is a good idea, among other things. Many other things…

Most of the Dads I know are just normal guys who like to spend time with their families. They are not looking for any kind of special credits or awards. Sure, it’s nice to be complimented every now and then but we’re no different than Mom in that regard. We do the things we do for our family because it’s our family, not to become trophies for our wives or kids.

We just want to be parents, not a special exhibit at the zoo. It’s great that the new age of Dads is coming to light in the media, I just wish it didn’t have to always come with the asterisk of a clip or reference to Homer Simpson. After all this writing, I’m not sure I’ve answered the question of what a Trophy Husband is. I guess my hope is that it’s not a thing at all.

Let me leave you with an example of what I’m talking about. Here’s a video that was done right and captures real dads talking about real stuff, without the cliches. It’s really great and I hope it’s the start of a trend in recognizing that we’re not the Dads from the television set.


Is This Really The ‘Rise Of The Dad Wars’ Or Just A Ploy?

I’m a Dad. I love my kids and they make me smile. Look up, there’s proof! I’m pretty good at it too.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about Dads and their evolving role in the parenting landscape. It sounds as if us Dads are rising from the ashes of mediocrity and claiming our stake as equal partners in the raising of our children with the Moms of the world.

I was recently invited to participate in an interview for, for a piece entitled “Rise of the Dad Wars”. The article was about Stay At Home Dads and the different challenges they face as primary caregivers, who also happen to be men. You should note that while I’m not a SAHD in the traditional sense of the word, I am home more than 75% of the time so technically I qualify…

To give an example of how green I am to the blogging world, I had never heard of Salon, nor had I ever done an interview before, so my excitement level overshadowed my ability to ask any questions about the upcoming article. Something I have since learned to do.

When I woke up on the morning the article was published, I was surprised to see a couple tweets from some Dad bloggers who I have a lot of respect for, congratulating me on the mention. I think this was about the point I started to panic about who I had interviewed for and exactly what it is that I had said about being a Dad. I think I was just hoping that I hadn’t said anything to embarrass myself or other Dads.

Upon reading the article, I was happy with my contribution and even got the closing quote, which was very (insert smart person word) Awesome! More tweets began to roll in throughout the day and I even found out that the geniuses behind the popular site Dad Labs were discussing it on their live stream that day.

The point of this post however, is not to gloat about being featured in a high ranking news article (okay, maybe a little), but it’s to take a realistic look at what this Dad, at least, feels about the way I am treated in public while alone with my kids.

What followed the article was a strange phenomenon for me. I got an email to do a radio interview about it; and then another; and then another after that. One of them even gave me this line of advice, “Make sure you say the part about feeling alienated at the play groups”. Huh? But I told you that I don’t feel like people treat me differently when I’m out with my kids. That ‘alienated’ line was just a minor observation. Why are they trying to focus only on the negative stuff? War.

Could it be that I am the only one who feels like when I take my kids to their swim class or play group, I am actually getting envious looks from the Moms and not Dagger Eyes? No War.

Sure, when I go to the park or the local Sippy Cup Café, I am surrounded by groups of Moms, most of whom are there together, and I ‘sometimes’ feel like an outsider. But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t just walk over and say hi to them. It’s not their responsibility to make sure the ‘Dad’ is invited into their private circle of friends. No War.

I also get unsolicited parenting advice from people I do and don’t know. Last time I checked though, any man or woman who’s ever had children (or a mother-in-law)((Not my mother-in-law though)) has received unsolicited parenting advice, so rule that one out too. No War.

Really, if you think about it, the majority of the hoopla surrounding Dads lately has been created by the corporations and the media. Look at the Huggies “Dad Test” ads. Dads, myself included, were insulted by the concept that the “toughest test imaginable” for Huggies’ products was: Dads, alone with their babies, in one house, for 5 days. Of course we were going to take action; we don’t like to be seen as imbeciles. War.

Point is, this Ad had nothing to do with Moms or even other Dads seeing us in a negative light, it was simply a marketing error. No War.

**Please note that I’m not trying to bash on Huggies here, because they showed remorse and humility by showing up to the Dad 2.0 Summit in Texas to take the wrath from all the Dads in attendance. They then changed the ads to a more suitable and acceptable portrayal (In my mind at least). **

The newest commercial that has Dads questioning a company’s marketing strategy, is from the folks at Proctor & Gamble. The commercial in question, seen below, seems like a spot for the upcoming Olympic Games and really doesn’t promote any sort of product. The only real information we get is that P&G supports Moms, which is fine by me because I love Moms and both myself and my children have great ones.

The issues that some Dads have with the commercial are as follows. First, where are the Dads?? I love Moms and would never take away from anything they do as parents but as an involved father and a child of an involved father myself, I would like to think that, on the whole, both parents would be involved in the responsibility of raising a child who becomes an Olympic athlete. War.

Secondly, and this one applies to both Moms and Dads, the ad implies that being a parent is the “hardest job in the world”, when in fact, being a parent isn’t a job at all. This is pointed out in excellent detail by blogger Beta Dad in this article at DadCentric. Double War.

So you see folks, if there is a ‘Dad War’ brewing somewhere, it doesn’t seem to be between Moms and Dads or even Dads and Dads. I’ve never been asked to move to the back of the bus because I boarded alone with my kids. No one has ever asked me to leave a play group until my wife shows up. I certainly don’t get sad stares or offers for help while pushing a high chair with my foot, while holding my son’s hand and carrying a tray full of food at the local McDonald’s

The Dad Wars seem to be like some mythical creature, created and maintained by major corporations in conjunction with the media. When I leave the house alone with my kids, I’m more concerned with remembering lunches and diapers than I am with how I am being perceived as a father.

That’s just my take on it though. As they say in business, Results May Vary.

As a father, do you ever feel like you are being discriminated against when you are out with your kids by yourself? I’d love to get some different point of views on it because I just don’t see it happening around me.

Moms, do you find it “creepy” to see a Dad at the park by himself with his kids? What goes through your mind? Please Share!