Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Sometimes it’s hard being a dad that blogs

Being a dad that blogs can be strange experience; I am white, male, British, I have a degree, my hobbies include running, cooking, walking and fishing. In almost all cases I am part of a majority, part of a crowd. As a dad that blogs I’m not, I’m most definitely in the minority, of the 2000+ plus parent blogs that are part of the Tots 100 index my guess is around 50 are dads but certainly less than 100.

For most dads that blog then this is probably an alien environment, we aren’t used to being in this position. We need to shout that bit louder to try to get our thoughts and views heard. We need to develop new strategies to engage and become a true part of the parent blogging community. But that’s our issue and our challenge that we must adapt to, however in my view that isn’t the only issue here.

There are a number of organisations who aim to talk to/sell to/work with parents but in most cases they are primarily catering for mums with dads added as an afterthought (or at least that’s what the names of the organisations suggest). Britmums and Netmums being the 2 classic examples, they state they want to embrace dad bloggers but do they really mean it? If so why not truly make their organisation name etc inclusive? The same goes for the associated blogging conferences, I had to check that dads were actually invited to Britmums live. You should try explaining that one to people who don’t blog.

Interestingly the vast majority of mums that blog that I’ve interacted with are so positive about dads and hearing their views. They’re interested in seeing the other perspective on raising a child and the challenges it brings for us. Seems odd that this isn’t reflected in the organisations we are part of.

I’ll give you another example, I recently received a PR approach sharing some recent research on baby food. It cited how many mums didn’t trust the quality of baby food and the work that this company was doing to dispel the myths. Now I know that most of the time it is the mum who is doing most of the feeding, but no where in this research that I can see are the views of dads mentioned. Are we not important? Should we not be educated on the quality of baby food so that when we pop into a shop on the way home from work we buy the right thing?

The views and expectations of dads by society have changed, we are expected and want to be involved in the raising of our children. When I talk to other dads of my age and generation on Twitter they share similar views. We love doing our share of looking after our little ones, making decisions about how to bring them up, taking them out on our own for daddy time.  But it seems the industry as a whole needs to wake up to this and start engaging with us properly and not as an afterthought (see also this post from Tom on a certain high street chain’s ‘parenting’ club), develop new ways to work with us rather than just assuming we’re interested in cars and football.

Ok, rant over. As ever would love your views and opinions.

18 Comments

  1. Great post! Yes, dads are overlooked in a number of places and the perception that we are second-class parents is one that continues to frustrate and infuriate me. All we want is to be treated as equals in the parenting world. The vast majority of the parent blogging community already seems to be on our side, we just need to get in the faces of the PR sorts who seem to think that mums and mums only matter as parents. Let’s point out to them that dads are parents too!

  2. Thanks, it is an excellent post. I am more of a newbie to the blog-o-sphere and loving the it so far. I am very in involved in my raising my children. Thanks again

  3. It’s the same in the ‘real’ world, believe me. You’d not believe the number of ‘mums and toddler’ groups I go to as a stay-at-home dad! And don’t get me started on the baby-change facilities in the gents…

  4. Hey Ben, hope the littlest addition is doing well. Good post. I agree with its sentiments, but what we (dads) have that (I’m guessing) the majority of mum bloggers don’t have is the Novelty Factor. I actually think it’s easier for us to be heard in the blogging world because of our rarity and quirkiness. There are thousands of mum bloggers all trying to be heard and they have to differentiate themselves to achieve that. We just have to be Dads to be ‘different’ in the parenting community. That’s the thing the corporate world needs to wake up to. We already have our USPs, namely meat and two veg. 🙂

    • I’m with you on that point Keith!

    • Keith – agree we have the novelty factor, but feels sometimes that that is all it is. We aren’t actually valued or listened too after that first guest post etc. As I said in the post I think in general the blogging world embraces us and is interested in us. But this isn’t reflected by PR’s etc.

  5. But look at your own opinion of your role. “so that when we pop into a shop on the way home” not “when we cook the main meal suitable for the whole family including baby”…

    Perhaps this sheds a bit of light on how it feels to be a woman, work and have children. You’re always a working mum. How come men aren’t shouting about not being referred to as working dads? While dads keep parenting so much on the background you can expect companies to aim things at mothers.

    Sorry if this doesn’t come across terribly well, Swyping one handed in leisure centre cafe while feeding baby, supervising toddler and waiting for swimming lesson swap over.

    • Thanks for the comment.
      Ok, that was just one example to capture a point about the nutrition PR, that’s certainly not how I would describe my role so sorry if that was misleading.. To be honest I think if you are a working parent or not is irrelevant, Dads are expected to and want to be full partners in raising their children. In my case at weekends and the day I work from home I’m the primary carer and make as many decisions about meals etc as my wife. So why shouldn’t my views also be important to a company that wants to research baby food. Does the fact that I’m not at home 7 days a week change that?

      Oh and nice bit of multi tasking 🙂

  6. I agree and I don’t agree. I think other commenter – Keith and jacqs particularly both make good points. The parenting blogging world reflects the real world in that most full time parents are women and as jacqs points out your a working mum. The world of work has to change and wake up to fathers but fathers also need to push for change. I read that outside parenting blogs 70% of blogs are male. It’s another area dominated by men for me as a woman it’s good to have forums where the emphasis is female. I do think theres is a space for dads but I often wonder why dads haven’t considered their own parenting space netdads? Maybe its out there and ive not noticed. Dad bloggerslive. Not to create a divide just to meet different need.

    • hey Gemma – thanks for the comment, actually what I would is the opposite, I want more inclusion of dads not a separate place for us. I think what grates is that these organisations are called ‘parenting’ but this isn’t obvious when you actually go and look at them. I think Britmums live is a great event for parent bloggers where most of the sessions are applicable to both sexes, but again what does the name tell you.
      I personally am replying to every PR who approaches me with a ‘mum’ email and giving constructive feedback, whether it will do any good only time will tell.

  7. I feel like a fraud most of the time as nearly everything is geared towards ‘mum and baby’ and not ‘parent and baby’ – Tim’s point about changing facilities in gents is a prime example – and this does tend to transfer across to the internet via the marketing teams.
    Where do I sign for ‘Dad bloggerslive’?

  8. Good post and interesting comments!
    If somebody wants to organise a #Cybhim or #Britdads, I’ll come along.
    Well I will, if it’s in a pub with no PRs, presentations, or “workshops”.
    Bob

  9. Interesting post and you raise a good point: too often with policy, services and legislation, we talk about “mums” rather than “mum & dads”. Even when research or news reports say “parents”, they mean “mums”. Because women remain the primary care givers, tend to be the ones to stay home and give up their jobs (at which they still earn less than their male colleagues because of the wage gap!), there’s an entire industry that’s grown up around them – to sell to them, talk to them, advise them and support them. Now that more and more dads are moving into equitable roles for parenting (hurrah), they’re in the minority. Things will change and it will result in parenting overall being more equitable and more things geared toward both parents. Personally, I can’t wait.

    At BritMums, while our name says “mums”, we’re working hard to support and include dad bloggers. We’re doing this at our conference by welcoming men, featuring a Dads blogging panel, and having an award category that focuses on men (as well as including them in other award categories). I’m thrilled to see you have the BADS badge, which promote the XY segment of our community.

    As the dad blogging community grows, you’ll feel less and less in the minority. Every mum blogger I know loves dad blogging as a concept as has her favourite ones.

    • Hi Jennifer – thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. Agree with your comments, I think it’s been noticeable the support and exposure that you are giving to dad bloggers. Clearly we are still a small part of the community in terms of numbers so BritMums will and should reflect that but I’m enjoying becoming a more active member nonetheless. I think also we as dads need to do more to get involved with the community something which personally I’m trying to do more often.

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