Why Don’t Dads Read About Parenting?

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!
  • Sports!

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?simpsons, soccer, sports, toddlers, children, hobbies, parenting, fatherhood, bonding, family bonding, dads, sons, life, lifestyle, hobbies, interests, dad blogger, the most interested man in the world

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.

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13 thoughts on “Why Don’t Dads Read About Parenting?

  1. My demo is the same…I started mine thinking there wasn’t enough grungy, real, dad blogs out there. Yet, my demo is overpowered by women. Is it because the men are out growing beards, drinking whiskey and doing man stuff? I dunno…but Ill keep writing as I get time to. Just like you are, because your posts connect with me!

  2. I know personally, I don’t read many parenting blogs (aside from my friends’) because I’m not as into opinions as I’m into facts. So I find myself reading articles about parenting studies, or other parenting “news”. I’m less likely to read stuff by an author about why they think parenting is hard or easy. But if they say “science figured out why parenting is so hard,” then I’m more likely to read. But that’s all personal preference.

  3. Before I got divorce I was like many fathers, however, once the big D is dropped on you and a nasty custody battle is about to ensue I become a frigging expert on parenting, child behavior, and all that boring stuff most men would prefer not to read. My situation was different I was in a fight to keep my daughter in the area (I won!) Good stuff as usual on here!

  4. I don’t read a lot of parenting blogs (apparently I read yours sometimes though!), but I do read parenting books when I have the time! Reasons include: I know what kind of parent I want to be, but don’t always know the techniques to do so effectively; it never hurts to get ideas/perspectives from other people who have already been where I am now; some of the ways I parent often make me feel… different…, and it’s reaffirming to read about others who do it the same way and be reminded why I do these things in the first place; I like to read, and I like to be a parent, so clearly reading about being a parent just makes sense.

  5. I think it’s hard to really decide why men do some things and women do others. And, it’s really easy to assume women read so much because we need social connection (we do, but so do men), and approval (again, of course- and that applies to both sexes, we just tend to express it differently.)

    We could look to socialization, to the way girls’ strengths are favored in public school systems, encouraging a more academically interactive approach over strict critical thinking… but all of those ideas have fallacies.

    The bottom line is, men tend to learn by doing, while women tend to learn by sharing experiences. Neither approach is wrong or bad. They complement one another. In broad terms, women would sit and read all day long and amass a huge array of knowledge, and never get anything done. Men would jump in with both feet and get things done, but not necessarily good things. (again- keep in mind, those are VERY broad paintstrokes).
    Together, we amass knowledge, AND get things done. And, since we all have aspects of both, we, as distinct gender groups, blend and merge and conflict in all kinds of crazy and interesting ways.

    I, for one, really appreciate seeing Dads who are truly involved with their kids. You guys are the role models I hope my son will look to when his turn comes. I’m grateful for the bloggers, because I can send him links in hopes that he’ll read, and be a better dad for it.

    We all do what we can, and that’s what matters, right?

    And, just to make sure you guys read this: T&A! Sports! Monster Trucks!
    😉 lol

    Speaking of… I wonder when football’s on…

  6. Hey, I’ve been blogging at Text Me, Love Mom about parenting – especially about parenting kids as they leave home, and wondered why I resist the title ‘Mommy’ blogger – I guess because it seems to compartmentalization when I want to be a ‘parent’ blogger which sounds a bit more serious. But seriously – do men read my blog? Just a few, I think.

  7. Have you been reading my drafts again? I started writing one called Where Are All The Dads but I DID want to make mine about statistics and more than anecdotal evidence. I even started a thread in Dad Bloggers to do research but only had about a handful of guys give me serious answers.

    1. Funny, Darrell, as I considered starting a similar thread but decided to go the informal/totally made-up route. Nice to know yours got little traction – sorry for not responding to that thread though; I don’t remember seeing it. Either way, thanks for validating my choice!

  8. It’s a great call out that dads have always been involved and are just getting more publicity, perhaps due in part to the advent of dad blogging.

    Blogging as a dad I notice a similar trend that most readers and sharing comes from women, but that still doesn’t change how I write and the audience I’m trying to target.

    I think men read about parenting, but not directly. We take lessons from other areas of life (work, sports, business, music, etc) and apply them to our roles as fathers.

  9. Great timing on this article (I know, I’m late to the party) but I’m just starting a dad blog on the basis there just wasn’t much information for dad’s who wanted it… Ha!

    Well, with as much respect as possible, I hope you’re wrong. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Also, my girlfriend reads obsessively and she has masters in raising children with an emphasis in special ed. She couldn’t be more prepared and still reads incessantly… it must be genetic.

  10. There are many ways to improve our parenting skills, reading about it is just one way. It is important that we be confident in ourselves and recognize the direction that we want to move in. Sometimes learning from others helps, but we also must be willing to tap into what is right for us as unique human beings, who happen to be parents.

  11. The writer space is definitely dominated by the better sex, but it’s surprising how many blogs pop up when you include the word “dad” in your Google search.

    As for readership – this (as with most things) is probably sexual. Dads are sexy to most women, whilst it’s primarily teenagers that dream about MILFs.

  12. Pingback: 3 Fun Parenting Blogs For 2015 | TheBabySpot.ca

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