When I look at my readership demographics, both for my blog and my Facebook page, the numbers are dominated by women. Seriously, it’s something like 90%/10%. This is obviously due in large part to my stunning good looks, but it’s also because of the subject matter.
Men don’t read parenting blogs. Or parenting anything. I mean, some men do; I am part of a Facebook community of nearly 1000 dad bloggers who definitely read parenting content (if only to steal ideas). But I dare say most men don’t. At the very least, most men don’t read much. And they certainly don’t read as much as moms. But why?
I don’t have a real answer for why dads don’t read about parenting, but I do have some sexist ones!
- Real men don’t ask for directions!
- Real men don’t need help!
- Real men have more important things to do, LIKE RUN THE WORLD. Got it, sweetheart?
- Women have more time to read; doing the dishes only takes so long!
- Parenting books don’t have enough T&A!
The fact is, reading a bunch of boring old books isn’t necessary when your old lady is just going to talk your ear off about it anyway!
To be perfectly honest, I’m a little surprised that with the so-called rise* of men in the parenting process, more of us don’t read up on it. Dads are taking on a bigger portion of the child-rearing than ever before, and we’re making it harder and harder to be marginalized as some kind of beta parent. So shouldn’t we be consuming as much advice and information as possible, to stay sharp and complete our takeover of the parenting complex?
(*Calling it a “rise” is misleading and a little insulting; my dad didn’t not participate in raising me thirty-five years ago. Being a dad isn’t a 21st century phenomenon. Good dads, involved dads, have been around forever. We’re just getting more publicity lately, probably because parenting is big business and companies need a new revenue stream.)
I didn’t set out to write a dad blog that only appeals to men; that would be suicide! (Besides, I don’t know what that blog even looks like. Big tits and monster trucks?) But I’d be lying if I didn’t think my approach to the topic – which I like to imagine is a little bit different from most parenting blogs – might appeal to fellow dads. I don’t pretend to know anything, I do my best not to judge, I don’t take much seriously and I swear a lot. Yet it’s still mostly women who read my blog. And I don’t think I’m alone.
Is parenting simply a female endeavor? How 19th century of you! Sure, moms are the alpha parent; they grow the kid and carry the kid and feed the kid pretty much on their own for (at least) the first nine months, and in most cases they play a pretty sizable role thereafter. A baby pretty much can’t survive without a mom; it’s science. These are the facts of the case, and they are undisputed. But you can’t discount the role dads play.
Stereotypes and sexism and “traditional gender roles” aside, plenty of dads take to parenting like fish to water, and plenty of moms struggle with adapting to motherhood. Every single one of us is learning on the job and we all need all the help we can get. So why don’t dads want any?
Do we think we already know everything there is to know? (Hahaha!) Do we simply not care? (How dare you!) Do we consider most parenting “experts” to be charlatans? (Pretty much!) Do we just read our wives’ parenting magazines without admitting it? (I sure as hell don’t. I hate that crap!) I really don’t know. But I don’t think reading parenting-related content has much correlation to being a good parent, and I’m not sure anyone needs to read about it to be good at it.
Which leads me to a bigger question: if moms actually are the alpha parent, and if moms are already so good at parenting, why do they read about it so much?
Disclaimer: My “evidence” here is largely anecdotal. I didn’t do research, I didn’t conduct a poll, I don’t have statistics on how many dads are visiting parenting websites or buying “What to Expect When You’re Expecting?” I mostly have common sense and a pretty decent awareness of the world.