The 21st-century pop is a tale of two daddies.
While the 21st-century pop may be the latest in parenting technology, there are still plenty of fathers in need of an upgrade. One in three children live in a fatherless household. "We have more absent fathers today than at any point in the past," Warren says. "In these cases, the definition of fatherhood has been reduced to the act of conception." In addition, many of the dads who are home aren't sharing any emotional insight with their partner and family.
This dilemma caught Ryan Marshall by surprise. A freelance photographer living in Orlando, Florida, Marshall is a stay-at-home dad to 10-month-old Tessa and his 5-year-old stepson. Last year, Marshall decided to point the lens at his wife's baby bump. He started a blog (pacingthepanicroom.blogspot.com) to chronicle her weekly growth; each snapshot was accompanied by a tender note to their unborn daughter. ("Week 31: You are still knocking in the belly all the time and we have been watching you move Your mama continues to feed you loads of fish, almonds and strawberries.") What began as an album for family and friends became something much bigger. Thanks to the attention of American Apparel (which highlighted the blog on its website, and sent clothes for the photo shoots) and a plug in Glamour, the blog took off. At its peak, it was getting 25,000 hits every day.
"My readership is mostly female," Marshall says. "I've gotten a lot of notes like, 'I wish my husband could see things the way you do.' You feel bad for the person because they're not getting the communication they need."
What mom can do: "Women have two choices: They can live with it or nudge him to do more," says Dr. Siegel. "When fathers care for children, there are amazing benefits that accrue to both fathers and their children. For those fathers who have not participated as much in raising their children, it's never too late to change behaviors. This will help fathers become closer to their children no matter when they increase their involvement."
Even as researchers and writers try to categorize and encapsulate him, the 21st-century pop continues to grow, change and gain ground. He is everywhere: in line for day-care pickup, wearing a baby sling at the grocery store, awake at 3 a.m. for a feeding, and sitting back in his office, happy that you finished reading his magazine article.