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Why Parenting Mags Ignore Dad

By jeannesager |

parenting-magazineHey Dad, want more representation on the pages of a parenting magazine? Time to open your wallet. And not necessarily in the magazine section.

It’s true most parenting magazines have mom-free names and try to insert a page or two “just for dad,” but the reason the overwhelming amount of content is geared toward the female persuasion has a lot less to do with the editors than it does the people who are paying to get the magazine out the door: the advertisers.

Sorry Dad – but they don’t care if you want five friendly recipes for adding veggies to your kid’s diet. They want to sell your wife/girlfriend a package of organic waffles with broccoli ground up inside. Because the studies show she’s the one more likely to buy them. Women are widely touted as the controllers of the family purse strings – even in families where there are shared checking accounts. The common number you hear? About eighty percent of family spending is done by the female head of household.

Note that they’re saying family spending. So the male component of a household might be doing plenty of spending on his own, but the way things stand, he’s not necessarily buying the “family” goods.

Nancy Hallberg, chief strategy officer of The Parenting Group, told the Orlando-Sentinel this weekend, “Moms are a target for many of today’s top marketers and advertisers because research has shown that, by and large, Moms are the decision-makers in their household.”

So does that mean he’s useless? Nope – that doesn’t account for things like paying the electric bill or the mortgage or say gutters for the garage. Which wives can (and do) do too, but it’s pure parenting spending we’re talking about here – the sorts of things sold via ads in a parenting magazine.

And let’s give credit where credit is due: a lot of today’s guys ARE spending at the grocery store. My husband may even do more of the food shopping than me because I work from home while he works two minutes from the store (I’d have to drive PAST his office to get to the store – and we’re all about conserving gas . . . and money). He also is in charge of getting the tires put on my car (not counted), the phone/Internet bill (likewise, not counted), the mortgage (ditto). We share the family expenses pretty equally – making him “just as good” at parenting in the pure fiscal sense – but not as good for marketers.

I’ve heard more than once from Dads (my husband included) that what they read in the majority of parenting magazines doesn’t apply to them . . . and that’s why they don’t pick it up. They care about their kids, but they don’t need to know what pregnancy will do to their wife’s nipples.

So you want to hear what parenting will do to you, Dad? Get shopping – and don’t forget the waffles.

Image: Amazon

Related: Raising the Expectations for Dads

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About jeannesager



Jeanne Sager is a freelance writer and photographer living in upstate New York with her husband and daughter, Jillian. She maintains a blog of her award-winning columns at

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8 thoughts on “Why Parenting Mags Ignore Dad

  1. Tom says:

    I just stick with the magazine’s email newsletters and just ignore all the stetch-mark/nipple tenderness articles on the fly ;)

  2. e says:

    Ugh… the language in these magazines makes me crazy! It’s a total assumption that everyone reading it is married, that every kid has one mom and one dad, and that for the most part the dad is an uninvolved idiot. I’ve written many letters to many editors asking for a little more attention to be paid to their language. At least now I know why they might be ignoring me :)

  3. rebecca says:

    Ha, I get so ticked every time I read a whiny letter from a dad in the letters to the editor column of these magazines… it’s like they just can’t let the mommies get all the credit. Give me a break. There are FAR MORE MOMMIES reading these magazines, so shut it. You don’t see me writing to Esquire, do you??

  4. akamai says:

    Please, how many men care to pick up parenting magazines. If they wanted to read the stuff they’d publish it themselves!!!!

  5. e says:

    Rebecca, Esquire is a magazine specifically published for men. Parenting and Parents, as far as I know, are magazines that purport to be magazines specifically published for parents.

  6. [...] on Strollerderby: Why Parenting Mags Ignore Dad SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: “Raising the Expectations for Dads”, url: [...]

  7. SuperAtHomeDad says:

    When the barrage or parenting magazines hit our mailbox each month, I spend more than a few minutes complaining to my wife about this issue. I enjoy reading many of the articles found in these magazines and just skip the endless junk about the latest go-to outfit or waterproof mascara. Some are better than others, but most should just rename themselves to “Glamour with Kids” or “Self and Baby.” My real issue with these magazines is that even the actual parenting articles are written for mothers. Fathers are either ignored or made out to be dolts without a clue.

  8. PlumbLucky says:

    I took real issue with one of the parenting mags that hit my house recently – an article that addressed how to deal with a husband that doesn’t do anything around the house. Um, really? I’m confused…if you didn’t work this out prior to having kids…why the heck did you expect it to change? Seriously?

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