Recently, we surveyed Cozi dads, and were thrilled to get hundreds of responses. We decided to take that data, share it with some (funny and famously frank) dads who write blogs, and ask for their perspective to help deepen our insights. Here were our take-aways:
1. Dads are modest and don't want gushing kudos
The overwhelming number of dads in our survey said dads these days are much more involved in family life than in generations past. But none of the dads we talked to wanted over-the-top recognition of it. Whit Honea, contributing writer to Babycenter, DadCentric and the blogger behind The Honea Express explains that he's actually "tired of going to the store with the kids and having people come up and ask, 'oh, is it daddy's day out?' Dads signed up to be dads," he says "and you see the results in your kids' faces every day. I don't need to be put on some pedestal for doing the right thing."
2. Dads feel that kids' activities have changed almost as much as dads have
After being more involved, the second most popular answer to our question about how being a dad is different now than in the past, was to cite the level, intensity and cost of kids' activities. Many dads felt that activities took more time, went on through more of the year and cost more than they did when they were kids.
While many dads were satisfied with this level of "busyness," we got the distinct impression that some might enjoy a breather now and again too.
Troy Pattee, author of the Dadventurous blog, and father of two kids shared this insight: "A lot of us remember all the things we enjoyed in childhood - soccer, camping, baseball, etc., but we're not realizing that we had 8, 10, or 15 years to try all that, so we try and cram it all in to 1 or 2 years." The takeaway? "Take some time to relax and let the kids experience life on their own a little bit," says Pattee.
3. Some dads are totally cool with letting mom run the family schedule - but they love being in the know
Asked what their best advice for staying organized to other dads might be, many, many dads talked about communicating with your spouse or partner. But quite a few also said, "Let your wife do it!" It seems that in some families mom is still the one to take the lead in getting things organized and dad feels good about that, even when he's the one who first discovered Cozi.
Greg Zellers, who writes Telling Dad, is a self-described work-from-home dad, who explains that he's "so involved with the kids that the line between mom and dad roles is really pretty blurred." Nonetheless, when asked what advice he would share about getting organized, he parried, "I'd like to read that myself, because my wife is the CEO of the family. If it's not in Cozi I have no clue what's going on. So my advice would be, have an organized wife."
4. Dads totally rely on their cell phones to stay organized
When asked which tech tools they use most to stay organized, many Cozi dads mentioned email, texting and computers, but ALL of them cited their smartphone. "I can't imagine life without that tool anymore" says Pattee.
But before you run out and buy dad a new smartphone, take heed of the last point:
5. The one thing dad absolutely, positively doesn't want for Father's Day is a present
Moms tend to think of Mother's Day as the chance to get a thank you for all their hard work as moms, but few dads shared this feeling. All the bloggers we talked to shared this sentiment, and Zellers summarized the feeling this way:
"Father's Day is more about the kids than me. It's more a holiday for the kids to make cards and cupcakes and the excitement in their eyes when they give it to me. It's just cool watching them buzz around, but it's not a day I look forward to for myself."
We learned this on the Cozi Facebook page too, when many moms and dads expressed dismay at a post with details about splurging on what dad wanted for Father's Day (although some "liked" the idea too).
So what about all the buzz and the great-gifts-for-dad lists that come out this time of year?
As Honea dryly concludes, "Blame Hallmark."