As a new father (for the second time that is ) I’m actually shocked that with the quickly growing trend of more involved fathers and stay at home dads, the marketing and baby product industry hasn’t caught up! This niche of isolated and overlooked new fathers hasn’t been filled yet and honestly it’s beyond me. I realize that the business community is by no means the metric of social consciousness, but they are a good metric of social behaviour and trends.
Businesses are usually the first to jump on financial opportunity, and although there are improvements, by far the most under-served niche is the one of new fathers. Current marketing and online websites are still geared primarily for mothers and motherhood (which will always be important). But new fathers, including friends of mine who I talked to – find it lonely and often frustrating in getting equal marketing and business focus on them and their needs.
So what are things new fathers are looking for but often find challenging to find:
- Diaper bags or other baby accessories that aren’t overtly feminine or cute so that fathers are comfortable carrying them around…..yes, yes they should be secure in their manhood and not care, but why not – they have fashion preferences, why not cater to that. I mean considering the outrageous fashion trends we see on catwalks, why I it so outrageous for new dads to get designs that suite their style?
- Everyone from government child benefits (Canada), teachers and daycare operators, to community activities assume the mother as the main contact. That is not always the case, and fathers continue to feel left out. In Canada for example child benefit staff only talks to the mother and refuse to talk to the father even if he is the main point of contact. I realise there are other reasons for this and to safeguard a mother’s income, but surely there can be a more equitable way to assess this?
- The employee’s assumption that men would love to avoid the house and sympathize more with mothers who wish to have more flexible work time to be with their kids. Many fathers want to be with their kids and wish to have equally sympathetic positions when they ask for flexible work time or in foregoing additional responsibilities, but they are often hitting a brick wall with no one really appreciating the changing roles of new fathers and their longing to be closer to their babies (of course this is a generalization – but most men I talk to would love nothing else but to spend more time with their kids and not simply be seen as just money bags!)
New fathers need to be reflected from marketing to employment to government services, and this still has a great long way to go. There is an expectation from society for them to have a more involved role in parenting and home affairs, then why are you not catering to their needs and helping nurture this mentality?