I (and other blogging Dad’s) have bemoaned about the complete absence of mass magazines aimed at Dads before, so I perked up when my wife handed me this month’s issue of Mothering magazine and told me to read the editorial by Peggy O’Mara.
The gist of the article is that O’Mara has come to the realization that Mothering magazine hasn’t always been a Dad friendly place and she wants to change that in the face of the changing role of Dad’s.
One of these fathers e-mailed me some time ago to say that he and some of his friends, many of them stay-at-home dads, felt left out of Mothering‘s coverage, even condescended to. Though at first I felt defensive—it is not my intention to exclude dads from the magazine’s coverage—I suspected that this young father was telling me something I needed to hear.
I replied to him, saying that while we didn’t intend to leave out fathers, Mothering is, after all, as its name suggests, an intimate conversation among mothers. I also pointed out that if women can take pride in reading men’s magazines, and even brag that they “like the interviews,” then fathers can take pride in reading a mothers’ magazine. This was evidently not the answer he was looking for—I never heard back from him, and I suspect he felt patronized once again.
Some months after this e-mail exchange, I was speaking at a breastfeeding conference in Albuquerque. During the question-and-answer period, a man in the back—I think he was the only man in the room—said to me, as he held up a copy of the magazine, “There are no pictures of men in here.” Others tried to hush him up. Later, I looked through the entire issue to see if he was right. He was.
O’Mara then goes on to say some nice things about the change face of Dad’s.
There is a new generation of fathers who are not second-class parents to their wives. They are fully present and know what to do. Just like mothers, they have to figure things out for themselves and learn from their mistakes, but more of them than ever are willing to show up and get involved.
As I read O’Mara’s responses to Dads who brought up the lack of inclusion in their magazine over the years, I felt an emotion somewhere between annoyance and anger at her patronizing responses. I commended her for doing an about face attitude adjustment realizing that, like Moms, we too desire to have those types of intimate conversations about what it means to be a parent that Mothering has been facilitating between women for years.
Okay, I hear you – the name of the magazine is Mothering so why should I expect that there be any mention of Dad’s at all? Well, because I think of Mothering as being something different, something more progressive than the likes of Today’s Parent. And as such, I like to think that those with a progressive voice are open to the idea of inclusion of those who have traditionally been seen as outsiders. And, let’s face it, Dad’s have long been seen as the outsiders in the parental arena.
So, good on you, Mothering, for realizing that there has been an imbalance. And I hope your attempts to correct it by (among other things) recruiting one from the ranks of us Daddy bloggers, Daddy Dialectic’s Jeremy Adam Smith, to help fill in the missing Daddy pieces, is embraced by the Dad’s out there who are involved and want to be part of a larger community of like minded people. I think when you get to know us, you’ll find that, while our styles may be different, we’re just as committed, capable, compassionate and caring as your primary audience.