Last week both Time and Newsweek did the same old “new dad” story.
With the new dad getting older (37) according to a U Texas survey and the age of Time/Newsweek readers slipping closer to their age (44), it appears that the news magazines will be covering new dads more cause new dads are getting older. (Got that?)Now I understand it’s difficult not using the same references (and sometimes even the same cover) when serving the same demographics, but it was fun to ferret out the similarities. With this in mind here’s a formula to help reporters who will be writing this story for the Time/Newsweek demographics for the uncoming Father's day season.
Recipe for the new-dad story
1. Take a look back on how good old dad wasn‘t there.
2. The negative reactions to at-home dads
3. Note how involved the new dad is.
4. Slam the “Mr Mom” comment. (no complaint here)
5. 2-5 Stats on at-home dads and involved dads. (you may use as many as 5 )
6. And a new twist here: Take a small poke at the daddy blogs after you get some info out of them when you close the article.
Below is the breakdown.
Time: "There are definitely some guys who look at me and think, 'What's up with him?'
Time: Fatherhood 2.0
Newsweek: Just Don't Call Me Mr. Mom
Time: Men today are far more involved with their families than they have been at virtually any other time in the last century
Newsweek: Men more involved in child care than ever
The mention of the "old dad"
Time: it wasn't so long ago that a man was that strong and silent fellow over there at the bar with the dry martini or a cold can of beer--a hardworking guy in a gray flannel suit or blue-collar work shirt.
Newsweek: My dad is a surgeon and worked hard to provide for my brother and me. Even now, he is out of the house most days by 7 or 8 a.m. and at work for the next 12 hours. My brother and I never wanted for anything materially. But the corollary to all those hours: we didn't see a whole lot of Dad during the week. Even on weekends, he'd go on rounds.
The at-home dad reaction
Newsweek: "What do you do all day?" and "When are you going back to work?
The number of stay-at-home fathers has tripled in the past 10 years. The Census counts less than 200,000, but those studying the phenomenon say it's probably 10 times that number. (US Census)
The average dad spent about a third as much time with his kids as the average mom did. By 2000, that was up to three-fourths. (U Michigan)
Same 2 used
The "Mr Mom" comment
Time: From Michael Keaton in the 1983 movie Mr. Mom to Adam Sandler in Big Daddy (1999) to Eddie Murphy in Daddy Day Care (2003), the sight of a man caught in the act of parenting has been a reliable laugh getter--always a good indicator of what the culture considers uncomfortable material.
Newsweek: He rallies against Martha Stewart Living's "Mr. Mom Show"
Mention of Daddy Blogs?
Time? Yes - And it wasn't so long ago that a man was that strong and silent fellow over there at the bar with the dry martini .....He sired children, yes, but he drew the line at diapering them....he didn't review bottle warmers on his daddy blog...
Newsweek? Yes - Sure, you'll have to endure the occasional hipster dad who slaps a Sex Pistols decal on his $800 Bugaboo stroller. Some of us will....diligently document our every self-important, profanity-laced insight on our blogs.
Another observation: The stories of the 50’s dad being at work all day gives the impression that our nuclear dads were simply not there at all emotionally. My dad went to work all day, but he was there for me at night and on weekends. To put things in perspective, here’s a quote in an article in Life Magazine titled My wife works and I like it.
Like any husband of a working wife Jim has to shoulder a large share of the housework, “I don’t mind it as long as we all pitch in” he says. “We all live here so why shouldn’t we all help out? The children, Jim feels actually benefit. “We make it a point to be with the kids more”
The date of the article? Dec 24, 1956 in Life’s Special Issue on the Working women.
Sure maybe they didn’t change the diapers or do the dishes, and neither did my dad, but I think current media should gives them a bit more emotional credit that they offer. Something tells me these dads didn’t get surveyed in 1956
.FYI: Dana Glazer and Dallas Hayes (who is a subject in Glazer’s upcoming movie The Evolution of Dad) were liberally interviewed by Lisa Cullen of Time but didn’t make the hardcopy cut, however, they did get a nice mention in Lisa's Cullen’s blog.
[ref: time, newsweek, time blog]