Today we're talking with Alan Tapley, author of Confessions of a Househusband
FQ: So, howís life in Stay at Home Dad Land these days? How are the kids?
Life is really good. Iím not sure whether it was when both kids mastered potty training, started school full-time, or my new margarita recipe, but I have finally learned to accept and embrace my stay at home dad status. I donít care what your job is, everyone needs time to learn their trade and become comfortable with their environment. And the kids are great. It is extremely gratifying to see how well my kids are doing and what terrific children they are. As I have said before, take personal credit for all the success your children have now, because when your children are adults, and in therapy, youíre going to get most of the blame.
FQ: Youíre a funny writer, Mr. Tapley. Who are your role models for humor writers? Who are your favorite comedians?
For me, comedy writers, as well as comedians, have to be smart, edgy, and honest to capture my attention. Steve Harvey, Jon Stewart, and Chelsea Handler have writing styles that mirror their comic abilities. I think, in retrospect, I probably should have become a well-known comedian before writing my humor book. That could have helped sales.
FQ: What was your process for writing the book? Did you take notes during playdates? How much of Confessions of a Househusband was written during naptime?
Naptime was too inconsistent. I had plenty of opportunities to write during naps, but it is hard to write when the occasional baby monitor, diaper incident, or fussy child takes priority. My process was to write down notes on Starbuck napkins, random sheets of paper, and a journal, then hit my office with a computer and a bottle of wine after the entire family was asleep. And I had to make sure the house was clean, quality time was spent with my wife, and the dishwasher was running for the next morning. Hardly a quiet villa in Tuscany.
FQ: What was your wifeís reaction to your book? Was she surprised by any stories? Does she have a newfound appreciation for your job?
My wife was extremely supportive of the entire writing process. She was proud of the fact that I had completed the project, and realistic enough to know that the book was simply sketches of my life as a househusband, and not a reflection of who we are as a whole. As for the stories, my wife simply laughs at all the frustration and negativity I portray. She appreciates all that I do, but itís real hard to feel sorry for a man who spends two hours a day at the gym, and all summer long by the pool.
FQ: Any funny anecdotes that happened after your book was published that you would have included had they happened prior to publication?
Girl Scouts is one area which would have been added. I attended my first Girl Scout meeting recently, and depending on my wifeís schedule, could be a co-leader if required. Can you earn a badge for channel surfing or beer brewing? Iím walking around the neighborhood in the middle of winter with two kids, unemployed, selling cookies door to door, describing the difference between the Lemon Chalets and the Dulce de Leches and I donít get a cut? My kids are crying because they need to sell 72 packages to earn a badge that I canít get to stay on their uniforms anyway. Where does it say in the handbook that you have to iron or stitch those things on? Whatís wrong with duct tape?
FQ: What would you tell any fathers considering staying at home with their kids?
I would tell them itís a risk. Understand that the gap in your resume is going to be difficult to explain when you go back to work. Cleaning toilets, changing diapers, folding sheets, and not getting a paycheck is depressing. Daytime television is not really targeted towards the male viewer. Your wife will be wearing the pants in the family, and all your friends, neighbors, and in-laws will remind you of it. You have to have an immense amount of patience, anger management, and the ability to laugh at yourself. Finally, I would tell them to enjoy every minute of it. As a father, you have the opportunity to build a relationship and help shape your childís future. In a world where fathers are often absent, you have a real chance to make a difference.
FQ: Tell our readers about your upcoming novels, A Grape Off the Vine and Hampden County.
First of all, itís a nice relief to write novels. I shared more than enough about my life in Confessions of a Househusband, itís time to hide behind some fictional characters for a while. A Grape off the Vine is a comic novel set in rural town Nebraska. Itís the story of a thirty-six year old metrosexual with a taste for fine wine, scented bath salts, and InStyle Magazine who finds himself alienated in a town full of beer-in-the-can drinking, tobacco chewing, Wal-Mart employees. In an attempt to deal with the death of his mother, multiple failed relationships, and his search to belong, Kevin Doolidge finds himself in the care of Dr. Sally Hagan, the only therapist within twelve counties, who is also a fugitive with faked credentials, a good heart, and a dependency on anti-psychotic drugs. Hampden County is another comic novel that takes place in a small Southern town filled with retired mafia, corrupt politicians, undercover agents, and three friends involved in a dangerous game. There is no release date on either novel as of yet.