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7/19/11

It's A Mom's Mom's Mom's World

Look Moms, I'm not trying to start anything. In fact, my beef isn't even with you. I love all of you. Well, almost all of you (the ones regularly featured on Nancy Grace are an exception). Without Moms, us Dads would be nothing. In fact, we wouldn't even exist as fathers if it wasn't for your intense physical and emotional labor. But as an involved parent who actively seeks out information, advice and community engagement on the topic of parenting, I've found one truth to be self-evident:

Dads are getting the short end of the stick.

Whether it's online (both websites and social media), in print ads or on television, fathers just seem to get no respect (feel free to repeat this sentence in a Rodney Dangerfield voice). As I continue to dive deeper and deeper into the Dad blogiverse, I've found that we are a strong and constantly growing demographic. There are many fantastic Dad blogs and Dad-centric information sites started by fathers who clearly have a passion for fatherhood and family. But part of that is because we've HAD to do it. Nobody else is providing a venue for us, so we've created our own individual sites to encourage participation, speak our minds and let our voice be heard since nobody seems to want to welcome it.

Let's face it: the big-name companies and brands have shafted us. I'm not going to name names, but if you have ever sought out information on parenting or products for babies and children, you know what I mean. Mom this. Mom that. Mom Central. Mom Gear. Mom Chat. Mommy Blogs. Momoirs of a Geisha. Xavier's School for Gifted Momsters. No matter which website you turn to, there's a special area, if not multiple areas, devoted to the livelihood of Moms. And then there's social media. Oh, the Mom-centric social media universe. It's almost sickening how much fathers are blatantly disregarded, when we could instead be encouraged to participate and bring another important perspective to the discussion.

Papa's Got A Brand New Diaper Bag



So what about Dads? Don't we matter? I have a newsflash for all of you parenting and child-product-related companies out there: expecting fathers have questions too. We are scared shitless of what's happening during pregnancy, even though we may not be carrying the child. And once we have the child? Yep, still have questions. Still looking for answers, still looking for a way to identify and learn as we navigate through parenthood. Why does nobody seem capable or prepared to meet this desire? Additionally, believe it or not, Dads do in fact spend money on and research products for our children. In fact, though I can only speak for myself, I do a LOT of online research about products before I buy them. But few major websites have 'Dad Essentials', or 'Dad Product Corner'. But you can sure as hell bet that they are there for Moms.

And then of course, there are the classic television ads with a father nowhere in sight, or the one that does exist is a bumbling idiot who seems to be barely functional. I'd say that I'm boycotting all the brands that over-focus on Moms and neglect Dads, but I don't think there'd be any products left for me to try. Dads change diapers. Dads dress and feed their kids. Dads play with their kids. Dads even clean the house! (I know, jaw-dropper) As hard is might be for you modern-day 'Mad Men' to believe, there are involved fathers out there that would scream for joy to see a commercial geared towards Dads instead of the run-of-the-mill, cheesy Mom-centric ad.

Look, I'm in Marketing. I get it. The Mom (and especially Stay-At-Home-Mom) segment is the Marketing executive's dream target audience. And you know what, I'm not wanting to take anything away from Moms. I recognize that they make significant household decisions, that they play an integral role in family life and are especially inclined to be involved with brands they use and participate in online communities. But companies and brands better start recognizing that Dads play an important role in our childrens' lives as well, and we deserve a bit of attention too.

I brought up my frustrations on Twitter today to one website in particular. They responded by noting that they do have one blog written by a father on their website. Yep, ONE Dad blog. You know how many blogs they host that are written by mothers? TWELVE. Now does that seem like balanced coverage to you? Look, I'm not even asking for a 50-50 split here. If we could hit the 25% mark and have 3 blogs representing fathers on this site, I'd be jumping for joy.

Maybe I'm being overly sensitive. Maybe as an especially involved, proud father, I'm irrationally expecting my needs to be met by parenting websites and child product brands. But then again, is that irrational? Is it so unfair to expect the scales to be slightly tipped so that fatherhood can be given a little bit more recognition and coverage? I would tend to say no. And I believe there's an army of Dad bloggers standing strongly behind me that would agree.

1 comments:

You're 100% right with this Pat. Like you said we do the same things as moms, but barely get mentioned. It's silly. Good post man. I'm glad you write a blog, because you say what I feel, without me having to think about what to say, or write it.

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