‘Captain Dad’ Finds The Funny In Parenting
Filed by KOSU News in Art & Life.
November 3, 2011
When moms see cartoonist Pat Byrnes on the playground with his daughters, he says, they often check the sex-offender registries on their cell phones.
Byrnes is a stay-at-home dad who created the “manly blog of stay-at-home parenting” — it’s not Mr. Mom, he explains, it’s Captain Dad.
His challenges are “pretty familiar to anyone that spends a significant amount of time around their kids,” he tells NPR’s Neal Conan. “The little things become big things, and it can be frustrating and maddening, and then you laugh at how ridiculous it is,” he says. And then, he turns some of those moments into cartoons.
There are more than 150,000 stay-at-home dads these days, according to the 2010 Census, but Byrnes says there’s more to it than that. “There are a lot of dads that kind of share the responsibility,” he says. “I mean, I know at least two firemen [who] work their, you know, 24-hour shifts. They got a couple of days. You know, they trade off with the mom. So that’s becoming more and more common where dads are, you know, manning up and taking care of the kids.”
On finding the perfect dolphin costume for his daughter, Rebecca
“There are a lot of shark costumes out there. And so a lot of people were saying, ooh, look at the shark. And, of course, Rebecca had to correct them all the time …
“She just fell in love with dolphins. So she reads dolphin books. She has … two dolphin pillow pets. We went to the dolphin show at the Brookfield Zoo. She’s just always been crazy about dolphins. She speaks in the language “dolphinito” … I wouldn’t even try to imitate that. It’ll kind of blow apart all your electronics.”
On his respect for Moms
“Women have been saying for generations that it is the toughest job in the world, and I think can speak with the authority of a man on this subject. They were right. Girls, you are right.”
On how he transitioned from at-work to at-home dad
“I started out as an aerospace engineer, so I worked with a bunch of, you know, crazy, nerdy men. And then I was in advertising after that, so I worked with a bunch of crazy people. And then for, oh, probably about 13 years before the kids came, I was working freelance, so I was kind of reclusive already and prepared for that part.
“Being a cartoonist … you know, the fact that I have flexible hours and I kind of work in the interstices of life anyway, it made sense that I’d be the guy, and there was really no arguing it.”
On how others treat his stay-at-home dad status
“I’ve … only been razzed by one other cartoonist for, you know, being too busy changing diapers to draw cartoons. But, you know, it’s a cartoonist. It’s probably a joke to begin with. Other than that, I mean, I heard one comment … about what I was doing, saying, ooh, that’s not really accepted. And occasionally, you know, people write online about how evil it is in destroying the fabric of our society for men who stay home and take care of the kids.” [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]