Brand Dad


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Everywhere you look, there’s stuff for moms. Parenting books and magazines, like Parenting and Cookie, are geared towards mothers. Pregnancy books, like the Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy and What To Expect When You’re Expecting, are focused on mothers. Television shows about families, like The Duggars, usually highlight the moms. Mothers have numerous networking and support groups, like Mocha Moms. They even have their own Twitter (TwitterMoms)!  

Resources for moms seem to be everywhere, and are particularly well known. For dads, not so much. I was inspired to write this post because one of my colleagues (a non-parent, I might add) suggested that dads need the same kind of resources and visibility that moms get. What about the dads? Where is the Boyfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy? Where is the dad’s Twitter? Mocha Dads Who is our Oprah?  

I was on a mission. But now that I’ve done some research (albeit superficial research), I see that the premise for writing this post (the lack of resources for dads, and our general second-class-citizenship as parents) is a little inaccurate. We are second-class citizens when it comes parents (moms are still tops), but we are citizens none-the-less.  

While there’s no ‘Boyfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy, there is The ‘Blokes’ Guide to Pregnancy. In fact, there’s also a Twitter Dads and Mocha Dads (a local husbands/spouse/significant other offshoot of the DC chapter of Mocha Moms). Virtually all mommy resources have (some sort of) a daddy compliment to them.

Hmmm…well why don’t I know about all these resources? Why aren’t the resources for dads as well known or publicized as those for moms? (Gotta save face!) For example, with this whole Nadya Suleman octuplets thing, I haven’t seen one interview focused on the challenges dads face raising multiples (and I realize that there is no ‘dad’ per se in the cut). I’m just saying, can we get a sound bite?

Actually, forget a sound bite! We need our own branded (non-offshoot-of-some-better-more-highly-pubicized-mom-version) ish! I want a magazine! I want a television show! I want a convention! All fathers tired of second-class citizenry, rise up! Let your voices be heard! Let us unite for a common purpose–the upliftment of daddies everywhere! Let us throw off the oppressive yoke of parental obscurity!

Ummm…but let’s keep it down…I don’t want the women finding out, stealing our thunder and pimping ‘Brand Mom’ before we get organized.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Brand Dad

  1. Stephen I want to thank you for bringing this topic about. I totally see so many valid points on both yours and Tai’s side. In some ways you are saying the same things. Tai you say that the prodding should come from other men and while I agree, I think that is in fact was Stephen is saying and doing. Him starting this blog is a form of prodding the discussion from a certain male’s point of view.

    The support should come from everyone. But as we know, women and men have different qualities that aren’t always necessarily in terms of better or worse, but if we could really work in getting to a higher understanding, there would be more of a balance. That being said, one of the unfortunate things about the American culture is that it tends to look down on nannies , OR makes it very expensive to have one, and it is seen as a luxury. Problem is, outside help (or from within the family) in raising children is not only beneficial in terms of health and mental happiness for the mother, but for everyone else involved. In Europe (especially France) the effort to keep the mother whole and happy is a very wise ideology and part of the everday culture. This also corresponds with Ayurvedic suggestions for women, and if we really look closely at many non-western countries, while men may not always be involved due to sexism and old impressions of the mind via tradition, there is usually a support system from other women to help raise her child. I began reading “Perfect Madness”, by Judith Warner where she is an American and delivered her child in France, and raised the child for 2-3yrs there. When she returned to USA it was complete culture shock as far as raising kids goes. Their is a tremendous amount of unnecessary guilt placed on the mother in this country. The author, Warner, had more energy in France due to the very affordable and government subsidized support of a nanny, and as a result was able to give better quality time to her husband and child. I shouldn’t have to mention that we are not talking about straight neglect of children so the mother can be hedonistic 24/7, but a way to create a better balance for the happiness of all.

    A quick note to the women: I know that there are many different situations regarding a mother raising her child and very often men do not seem helpful. I KNOW. But ladies, I have seen with my own eyes how we put a lot of the guilt and unnecessary obligations on ourselves. The feminine urge to nurture is very natural and pleasurable. But, part of that has to do with a chemical men do not possess called oxytocin. This harmone or chemical in the brain is responsible for the urge to want to cuddle and coddle….both our children and men. So check a quick google search on that. I’ll avoid getting into an Ayurvedic lecture here, but if it interests you, please search: Rajas, Sattva, and Tamas. Both men and women posses all of these qualities, BUT women have a higher dose of Sattva than men, and men a higher dose of Rajas. This will help to understand our nature as well. Also, big book suggestion that I LOVE: “The Kamasutra for Women”, by Vinod Verma.

    As I refresh the page I see that Cara responded perfectly. And we have to take the media monster into serious account as well. On the one hand men won’t buy the mag….on the other hand it’s not socially promoted to men in our culture to begin with. It’s not that I mean to digress and go off on a nanny tangent… or oxytocin LOL, but once we accept the fact that men and women are indeed different and have different roles, AND accept this fact with PRIDE, we can look at the entire situation more objectively and wisely. We can change the way we think of motherhood, fatherhood and parenthood period.

    I will say this. Once this country starts promoting the happiness women, EVERYBODY will be much happier. It’s just the way it goes. When we are happy, we want to make others happy.

    Thanks again Stephen for posting this. I have been meaning to blog about these concepts for some time now and this was extremely inspiring. 🙂

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  2. Cara

    Hi Steve, just wanted to put my 2 cents….I actually worked on the editorial side at a parenting magazine for 10+ years. Although there was always whining from dads about not being included in the editorial content of the magazine, there was market research done and it showed that dads were just not going to PURCHASE a niche magazine solely dedicated to dads. There wasn’t enough interest from the advertising side as well. From the research, they found that MOTHERS are the primary consumers/purchasers and decision-makers in a family. They decide on what clothes to buy, what food to buy, what cars to buy, etc.

    Our editors never denied the importance of dads being involved in their kids’ lives and that dads are an integral part of a family , it’s just that those dads were not interested enough in buying a magazine about it.

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  3. Tai

    I didn’t mean to make you feel like you needed to wave a white flag! =)
    I suppose there’s no hiding my strong feelings about the issue…and actually…I really don’t have a “baby” daddy…LOL considering that my “baby” is 17!

    It’s a good post, nothing like a good debate. Tongue in cheek-thought provoking…whatever the reason, it is a good subject. So having said that, I think you would be a good candidate to become the “Oprah” for this men’s movement….I mean…you already have the blog going. I know you’ve got a following. Go for it!

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  4. schukumba

    Tai, I see that I’ve waded into sensitive waters here, so I’m waving the white flag! My original point (as an involved dad who works) is that (as a dad who was on the front lines for over a year while wifey worked outside of the home) the resources that are avaiable for moms generally (without regard to whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, single mom, working mom, lesbian mom, divorced mom, etc.) are pretty easy to come by.

    Dads (that take an active interest in parenting, like myself) aren’t immediately aware of the resources that do, in fact, exist for them. The culture of playdates, birthday parties, enrichment activities, etc., are always filled with women, who presumably have a network which keeps them informed, that men (for whatever reason, tradtion, sexism, disinterest) aren’t a part of.

    This post was meant very tongue-in-cheek, but since it sparked a genuine response in you, I think your points are valid, but also a tad biased because of your particular situation. I sympathize with anyone who has to raise a child alone, or with the infrequent or begrudging support of the other parent. Raising children is hard work. Brand Dad is about uniting INTERESTED dads, not celebrating men just because they contributed sperm.

    And thank you for your support (c:,’

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  5. Tai

    Well Steve, I guess this is where we are going to disagree. I believe that women get the support they do because they primarily do the work alone….hence…..the need for support. If the situation were more balanced where the men did step up and do what they were supposed to do, there would be no need to constantly find solutions for women and uplift them because they are burned out. You see?

    I don’t think that dad’s need to get extra special attention or be motivated to do what they are supposed to do. What I do agree with you on is that having more visible, out-spoken dads being involved in raising their kids, more men would follow suit.

    I’m not saying that dad’s shouldn’t be celebrated at all. I am saying that if there is going to be any additional prodding for them to step up and be active fathers, it should come from OTHER MEN. I, for one, am really tired of asking my baby daddy to participate. You’re right…..men DO need an Oprah in their lives. There should be a movement…and it should be a man’s movement. I’ll be happy to support their efforts to be better fathers.

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  6. Tai

    Ok, I felt like I just had to respond to this one. Dad’s don’t know about those resources and promote them because it’s not as important to them on the grand scale of things as it is with women. The fact is still that although there are many, many dads who provide primary care for the kids, they are still outnumbered. Mothers are still the major primary caregivers from birth. Let’s face it, there’s not too many dads who sacrifice their careers to stay at home, raise the kids and support their spouses vision. Oh, I know it happens….but not in the same proportions.

    For the most part, there are other things that will almost always outweigh the household responsibilities like Monday night football, basketball season, xbox, time on the internet doing geeky things or time with the fellas.

    Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. It just is.

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    • schukumba

      Tai. See this is why I had to holla for the dads. We’ve got to fight against this ‘tradition’ of women as the primary care-givers and men as distant second-string parents. I’m not suggesting that the majority of parents on the front lines aren’t women. They are. The point I’m making is that we’ve got to break this perception of dads as less-than-important when it comes to child rearing. Raising kids is a two-parent thing, and dads need to step up to the plate (and feel like there is support for their doing so).

      If we had more visible, out-spoken dads, involved in raising their kids, then perhaps we’d have more dads changing diapers, making dinner, doing the laundry and generally supporting the aspirations of women. But it starts off with the Brand Dad, the archetype dad that embodies and celebrates all that is great about being a dad.

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