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Do Dads Really Care About Housework?

I must be on Candid Camera. Or Punk’d or whatever new show is out there meant to capture the baffled befuddlement of American morons. There are cameras watching me right now, I know it.

How else to explain this gorgeous gem of a press release that actually would lead one to believe that dads care about their families, about their houses, about cooking quality meals, cleaning up after themselves and taking part actively in family time?

Take a look:

“If anyone can talk about stress in the home this time of year, it’s Dad.  Between cleaning, shopping and fixing things up around the house, there’s plenty to do, and sometimes it seems there is not enough time to do it!”

I actually had to go back and read those sentences three times. I just simply could not believe — I’m still a little punch drunk in love, actually — that this little beauty would land in my inbox. Dads? Cleaning? Shopping? Doing things around the house?

What’s the big deal, you say? You do that all the time?

Not in the eyes of big business …

For years I have been receiving these exact same press releases from major companies, only they’ve been addressed to “Hi moms!” or “Dear mommies!” and then the letters themselves would never mention dads — well, maybe they would, but usually only in this context: “Moms, aren’t you tired of how lazy your husbands are? Buy a new vacuum!”

I don’t want to oversell this, but I think this is just another tiny signal that dads are gaining more and more clout online and that the rise of fatherhood is continuing. I’m reminded of that recent Tide commercial featuring a stay-at-home dad doing laundry … the short commercial, that is. And the lauding of dad bloggers from this very site.

This particular press release comes from one Julie Abramowitz, a PR dad god for a firm pitching Kenmore appliances and Kenmore’s newly released survey about “Happenings at Home” during the holidays. The findings?

Here you go: “65 percent of Americans feel holiday stress turns their homes upside down, 80 percent say that no matter how stressed out, they leave time to enjoy the season with family, and a mere 21 percent say family members pitch in with cleaning duties during this time of year.”

There’s a bunch more stuff and ultimately, it would seem, families could take back their holidays, relieve stress in their lives and bond more with their families by going out and buying a Kenmore appliance … but I don’t want to get too cynical here. I am seriously impressed with how this press release was formed and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it marks a shift in how dads are perceived culturally.

Now, I don’t need a brand to help me identify who I am as a father, and I know most dads out there don’t either — but I do like the way this helps change the dialogue about dads, removing us in some small way, one small step at a time, from some Tim Allen-like cultural buffoon to fully functioning family planners who care about quality time with the kids and a clean floorboard to boot. So way to go, Julie and Kenmore. I may not rush out and buy a range, but I’ll seriously consider this brand when it comes time for that.

What do you think? How have you seen dads portrayed online? Because what I’ve seen … ain’t pretty. I hope this helps change things one step at a time.

Photo: Appliancist.com

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