by Yvonne DiVita <<<< We're on Facebook... didn'tcha know!
I have a friend who writes a parenting blog. It’s a great blog, full of eating healthy, educational musings and advice and other kid topics. It’s a group blog with other writers who feel their comments on parenting are important. The difference about this parenting blog is that… it’s written by a Dad. And, the other members are also Dads. These are men who care about their children – they take them to the doctor, they shop for them, they read them stories, they go to parent/teacher conferences. In essence, these are the other half of the parenting equation, and they’d like a little recognition, please.
“Aren’t Dads important, too?” my friend asked me one day during a conversation about how ignored and neglected Dad bloggers are.
“Of course!” I said. But, then I began to wonder – I may think Dads are important, but the consumer brands paying daily homage to Mom bloggers don’t seem to feel that way. Dads are routinely ignored in their sales and marketing messages. Why is that?
In the early days of blogging, before the popularity of sharing thoughts, experiences and career advice online became not only acceptable but sought after content, even Moms felt ignored. It seemed that the prevailing 20th century idea of a Mom was more connected to Betty Crocker than Anne Mulcahy . Moms who blogged weren’t being asked their opinion. They weren’t being sought after as brand ambassadors, and they certainly weren’t courted as conference attendees or speakers. Moms were the silent majority. When they did get noticed, it was likely in a story asking why anyone would pay attention to them –Moms talking about poopy diapers and baby formula – who wants to read about that?
Fast forward to 2012 – today, Moms are among the most sought after voices on the web. Moms are courted as attendees at various conferences sponsored by brands hoping to tap into those consumer voices and their growing online influence. Moms are offered trips, free product, cash and recognition as the largest consumer group in the world. Today, the brands care highly about those conversations talking about diapers, baby food, sleepless nights, education, and more. Moms have arrived.
Somehow, in the rush to make the Mom connection, with each brand trying to outdo the other in securing the best Moms in the nation (we’ll debate what that means another time – the ‘best Moms’ – as opposed to the ‘worst’ Moms?), brands have more or less pushed the ‘other’ parent in the parenting equation aside. Dads, as everyone knows, take their orders from Mom, so, brands don’t have time to waste on them. It’s Mom, Mom, Mom all the way. If you don’t believe me, just look back at this year’s Olympics and the prevailing message shared by one of the top consumer brands we know: P&G. Their Proud Sponsor of Moms campaign was front and center throughout the Olympic games.
“In my house, I do the shopping," my Dad blogger told me. “Sure, I have a list my wife made, but I’ve contributed to the list. My wife works, and I stay home. This is a two-parent family. What’s so hard about recognizing that in marketing and sales?”
Indeed. Why are we dismissing Dads – when they are so very important to the parenting equation?
I have to wonder if the men in my friend’s community, the Dads who are feeling neglected and ignored, will finally be recognized in 2013 or 2014 because they’re out there making some noise. I’ve said on my blog, Lipsticking, more than once, that Dads are extremely important to the parenting equation. Now, I believe it behooves Moms to start sharing that story – as much as they share their own.
Here’s what my blogger friend said on his site, Dads Talking, “We Dads would love to be seen as a parent and not just as Mom’s assistant. We are not seen as a parent and that irks me. I even amplify that message when I mentioned to someone the other day that was trying to be like one of those “Supermoms”. We are constantly compared to the real parent, Mommy. Moms are trying to be treated more like Dad and we Dads want to be moms, but in the eyes of society neither of us will be granted that equality.”
Let’s get this Dad movement going. Let’s show how much more involved Dads are today – than they were 10 or 20 years ago. Let’s recognize the stay-at-home Dad, who may have given up a lucrative career to take care of the kids so Mom could work on her career. Let’s talk parenting – and stop acting like Moms are supreme– and Dad is just an afterthought.
The Dad Factor deserves our attention. The standup Dads, the soccer Dads, the ballet Dads, the kiss your boo-boo Dads, the Dads who build treehouses and carpool to school every day; without them, where would we be?
p.s. I added Leadership Excellence to the categories for this post because that's what Jim Turner of Dads Talking is - a leader with a focus on excellence. Come on now, let's hear it for the Dads.