As promised, the results of the Craigslist experiment:
Life goes on, happily!
A year and a half ago, I started reaching out online to all recycled dads around the world via this blog. But that was a pretty illogical way to start, considering that almost no one knows what a recycled dad is, or even that the term exists. (I literally cannot think of any search string other than “recycled dad” or my name that would reliably bring this blog up on page 1 of a search result.)
So I’m trying what I should have tried in the first place: I’m putting an ad on Bay Area craigslist to see if any other recycled dads in in the area want to hang out. Yes, in person.
I’ll post about what happens, even if it’s nothing.
If you have a moment for a little experiment, do a Web search for “recycled dad.” You should see a link to this blog somewhere on the first two pages of results. (As I write this, I have something in the #9 position in the Google results for this phrase.)
But as you’ve probably noticed, traffic here is a little light. Here’s why: No one is searching for “recycled dad.” Why would they? This special segment of the dad population is not commonly referred to by that term — or by any succinct term, as far as I can tell. (If there were such a term in use, I’d have made that the name of the blog and everyone would be coming here.) So I have found it necessary to offer a term of my own.
“A term of my own” is sort of misleading because, as I said in an earlier post, I did not coin the phrase “recycled dad.” But I think it’s a great, memorable phrase that aptly describes us — the audacious few who have dared to re-enter the parenting cycle at a point in life when our peers are prying the caps off cold pilsners to celebrate the fact that all their offspring are finally (or nearly) out of the nest.
Frankly, I’m surprised that this term has never gotten enough exposure to attain ‘household’ status. Hopefully we can remedy that.
To see things in perspective, realize that other kinds of nonstandard dads had to go through this same identity crisis. For example, there must have been a time when “stepfather” wasn’t a word, when a guy in that situation had to refer to himself as “the husband of someone who already has kids.”
It’s just our turn, that’s all. And the way out of this crisis is clear, simple and painless.
If you fit the description of a recycled dad (even if you don’t like that particular term), contact me so I know you’re out there. If you’re not already connected to other recycled dads, I’d like to help you. And if you are already connected to other recycled dads, I need you to help me!
Maybe you don’t fit the description yourself but you know someone who does (your friend, your dad, your brother?). If so, let him know there is a name for what he is, and point him here.
If a guy doesn’t know what to call the group he’s in, he will have a very hard time finding others who are in it.
The top blogging gurus recommend kick-starting a blog by releasing a killer e-book, preferably a how-to guide. They explain that if a “free guide” is well written and useful, it can help establish a blogger’s expertise and bring lots of traffic to his or her blog.
In this case, the killer e-book would be an authoritative guide to recycled fatherhood. In addition to extolling what is great about this experience, it would identify all the common hazards and prescribe safeguards and solutions for all of them.
That won’t work here — not at this stage, anyway — because I have no special expertise about the problems or the solutions. I only have theories based on common sense and my own experiences. So if you’re a recycled dad, you are as qualified to write that “free guide” as I am.
In any case, I would not presume to impart ‘advice’ to anyone who reads this blog. My intent is to give recycled fathers a place to share their wisdom with the rest of us.
In lieu of a book of answers, I’d like to share an AMAZING FREE QUESTION: What’s the main challenge you have faced as a result of being a recycled father, and how have you dealt with it?