Dad Blogger, Redux

I’ve spent a lot of the last nine months, the non-blogging months, finishing grad school. I’m done now. Hi, I’m Dr. Shawn Burns, Ph.D., and now I don’t know what I’m doing.


I spent the spring finishing the writing and editing of my dissertation, while Adrian finished pre-school, and Erin finished first grade. I attended my commencement on Father’s Day, before I defended. I  defended on my birthday, in early July. I revised and submitted my dissertation to the university before the end of July (and before San Diego Comic-Con, which was my little reward for finishing that project). My dissertation was approved by the registrar at the end of July.

And yesterday my degree was conferred, officially. So it’s all official. There are no take-backs. I’m have a Ph.D. and I can never not have a Ph.D. again. Hooray, me. Now what do I do with it?

I am on the job market, but in a very limited way. We are not going to move, so I am not going to chase tenure-track jobs out of a very close geographical area. The story was different when I started grad school, and before we had kids. But reality is what it is. I will only look for jobs close to home, instead of making a home close to jobs. This year it’s looking like there are five or six positions for people with doctorates in my field, but there are zero for people with my specialty. So I won’t be getting any of those jobs.

Now I find myself back at the beginning, where this space started, as a stay-at-home dad with a blog. Back then it was a choice: I took a year off in order to stay home with Erin after she was born, and I wrote about what we were doing, which was all new for me. This feels like less of a choice. Like I have less right to identify as a stay-at-home dad if I am just not participating in the workforce for now, until something comes along. If I am still researching and writing and building a C.V. and portfolio in order to be hired, I don’t get to be in the club anymore. I’m not sure if there was even a club back then, or if I was in it, but I definitely don’t feel like I’m in one now. Who needs clubs? What are the stay-at-home dads up to, these days? What are dad bloggers doing? Is blogging stupid?

Is personal blogging stupid? Professional blogging? I tried to blog professionally for a while a few years ago, and the experience made me quit writing on my own blog, eventually. I didn’t like producing click-bait, participating in controversies, or trying to come up with the most facile, shareable content. I don’t know how to blog like the bloggers do today. I’m not even particularly funny when I blog. I’m funnier on Twitter.

So here I am in this space again and it all feels like a jacket I haven’t worn since I gained or lost weight. But I have time again, and a need to write things. I still have stories. Would you like to hear a story?

Catching Up (No Photos)

It’s been a busy few months around here. Birthdays, trips, solo-parenting stints, medical procedures, working, avoiding working, working again. I stopped blogging in the middle of recounting our road trip (it started to feel like homework instead of blogging), and I couldn’t write anything else without finishing that first, which meant I didn’t write anything at all. I don’t know why it would have been so terrible to inject a post about taking a walk, or the end of kindergarten, or Adrian’s birthday in the middle. But I couldn’t, and I also couldn’t keep writing those road trip posts.

Every now and then I start to dislike blogging. I had a couple of months of that just now. And the less I wrote on my own blog, the less patience I had with other people and their writing and what I was convinced were transparent tactics to get me to click their links or participate in controversies or whatever the hell people think it takes to be a successful blogger. I’ve tried all of those kinds of blogging, and I’ve walked away every time. This time, my very own blog felt like that, which bothered me even more than trying to make a slideshow so a corporate blog could get ten times the clicks per post.

It took getting my wisdom teeth out, and being forced to not stress about anything else for a few days during recuperation, for me to finally just write words and press “publish” and get it out of the way.

Anyway, how are you?

(P.S. Since Google Reader is going away, or is already gone, you might want to change the way you read, or don’t read, this blog. There are other readers out there, like Feedly or Old Reader. You could also subscribe via e-mail (THERE’S A BOX OVER THERE TO THE RIGHT YOU CAN FILL OUT), though I can’t promise that some night I won’t write three posts, then write nothing for two months. I’m like that.

There’s always the easy, way, of course: Following me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. If you’re just interested in a way to keep track of when a post goes up, Facebook is probably for you. I only use it for blog links.)


Your Stupid Pitch of the Day

An email I received this morning opened with these first two sentences:

“Hi Shawn,

Are you a Mom with an idea for a great new product?  Mompreneur’s are taking the business world by storm and The Women Inventorz Network can help you take your idea from pipedream to successful business.”


Let’s see if we can spot the mistakes, shall we?

1. No, I am not a mom. I’m a dad. Way to read an e-mail address. (backpackingDAD at backpackingDAD dot com; it’s also in the blog name, for those who need extra help).

2. Nor am I a “Mom”. Why is that even capitalized? I don’t mean to disparage moms here, but it’s not a nationality.

3. “Mompreneur” is not a word. However, if it were a word, the plural form would surely be “Mompreneurs” and not “Mompreneur’s”.

4. “Inventorz”. Oh, just kill me.

So, to sum up: dads are Moms, Moms are Mompreneur’s, and Mompreneur’s need an inventorz network.

Good night.