We searched quite a bit online for recent research about the purchasing habits of Dads, and found very little that was current. Because we have access to a huge research panel at Mom Central, we were able to put the call out for participation from Dads, and were able to get several hundred responses overnight. Thanks to all those that helped by completing the survey, or forwarding the survey link to your friends!
Stacy and I will be presenting the complete study this Saturday, at M3, the "Modern Media Man" Summit in Atlanta. In the meantime, you can check out the research by filling out a quick form to have a link to the published study sent to you.
Here are a few of my favorite parts from the survey of over 700 Dads with kids under 18 at home:
Some more interesting facts in the study, I hope you'll check it out! If you have any questions, let me know.
Tuesday we all went together to the Evergreen State Fair, Washington State’s official.fair. The kids look forward to it as much as anything, kind of an end-of-summer ritual that helps prepare them for school. We picked the day that was T.H.E. R.A.I.N.I.E.S.T. of the last several months. The best rides at the fair (the big Farris Wheel and the roller coasters, and the Ring of Fire) were all closed because it was just too wet to be safe.
The kids all enjoyed it anyway. The boys took off together, and my oldest girl brought a friend, so I got to hang around most of the day with my 8 year old daughter. She is so brave! She went on every ride that she could, most of them several times. Her favorite, though it made her quite queezy, was the “Gravitron.” It was a big flying saucer-shaped thing that spins around until you stick to the walls. I’m not sure what the amount of G-force was, but it was significant enough that I had a very hard time holding up my head and arms.
We ended up spending some time indoors, at the animal exhibits. The older girls spent quite a bit of time looking at the pigs and goats. And I learned a few things that I didn’t know:
Despite the rain, the kids and I had a great time. We stayed all day long, ate things that shouldn’t be eaten, rode things that shouldn’t’ be ridden, and bought things that shouldn’t be boughten. bought. purchased. whatever.
I wonder what memories our kids are going to keep when they’re older? If they’ll look back fondly on the rainy day at the fair, and take their kids themselves?
Last Saturday, I had a chance to do something I've wanted to do for a long time. I've been easing into it as much as I can, starting gradually, and hoping for the best. I've looked forward to the day with glee, mixed with more than a bit of trepidation. The time finally came.
Why so nervous? Other than blades flying around at the speed of sound, and a lawn full of bumps and rocks and, at least Saturday, one of the cordless phones from inside our house (may it rest in peace)?
Kids grow up fast. Too fast sometimes. Too slow sometimes. I can't count the hours I've sat on the lawnmower, waiting for this day to come. But when it came, I felt a sense of melancholy that surprised me.
It really was an important day for me. And for them. Maybe not as important as the first day of high school or middle school (which are coming up next week!), but it marks a serious milestone in my mind.
Here's a bit about him you might not have known, from his About page:
You’ve probably been wondering why my blog is called BenSpark. Is it my name? No, my name is Drew but these days I answer to Ben. Is it a nickname? No, that would be Drewbie but very few people are allowed to call me that. Is it a pseudonym? No, why would I do that and post each blog post as Drew?
BenSpark came from my last name, Bennett which was combined with my wife’s, (then girlfriend) last name, Sparks. We started the blog together as a way to keep people informed as to our activities and outings. Allison stopped posting but I increased my frequency. I liked the name and kept it, but took off the pretentious “The” that used to be there (I added it for some reason).
I really like Ben's style of presenting photos, and letting them tell a lot of the story. Can't wait to meet him at M3 next month.
It's been a few weeks since I've seen my kids, and I'm traveling back to Seattle tomorrow. Alex will be playing in a soccer tournament, and we'll be making up for lost time (and missed birthdays) by doing some fun things together.
Being a Dad is the most rewarding thing I know, but it can be painful missing the ones that mean so much to you when you can't be there. Hats off to all the dads that aren't with their kids every day, for whatever reason.
And thank goodness for Skype! Without it, you wouldn't get classic shots like this!
Today, a few of us here at Dad Central Consulting (and Mom Central) held the inaugural “Power of Dads” Tweetup. We had over 850 Tweets in an hour, and got some good insight into a few questions we’ve been doing some research around.
One way we hold these is to answer a series of questions, and get feedback from everyone. Here are a few of my favorites:
ivannawin: Q1 speaking from my perspective of hubs... he's calmer and no longer skydives..
kiltedshaver: Definitely changed the tway I think about my family, added a big perspective in responsibility.
timeoutdad: Fatherhood is an AWESOME responsibility!
bigdisneyfan: My husband now has our son to play video games with, they really bond over Lego Star Wars.
CarlThress: A1: Much less self-focused. Decisions and choices are all filtered through "how will this affect my kids?
artisticbaker: Theres less money to spend on cars/tvs/gadgets - thats one change
Doodle741: Yea, my husband's "leisure time" is mowing the yard or taking care of house stuff. He does enjoy playing Halo
smlcfh: Now that hubby is in the military, any spare time he does get, he writes letters to them. It's the sweetest thing
Q2: Who or what influenced your purchasing habits before being a Dad?
dealdaddys: for me it was mostly just what I wanted, better neater stuff mostly technology
thesavingqueen: Q2 His friends and desires influenced his purchase habits. Now fellow dad and his kids influence them
dragonfly777: Before becoming a Dad....wife, friends and co-workers influenced me
DadCentric: Ricardo Montalban. Dude could sell the s*** out of a Chrysler Cordoba
JanetandMaya: Q2: Purchasing habits were "selfish" now more careful esp about product safest
timeoutdad: Family comes first... always...
TechyDad: My wife and my kids. (Their needs more than "I want this!!!")
tshaka_zulu: A3: The children's needs, sometimes their wants and a lot of prayer. Have to be wise.
portlanddad: Q3 With kids it is now a family thing, we make purchasing decisions together but also have discretionary funds for each of u
DaddysToolbox: A3 - we think "do we REALLY need new sheets" or should we put the kids in soccer or karate
judgebrix: my lovely wife and my kids ... and then new cool toys :-)
timeoutdad: Q3: My Bank Account... Can't spend more than I have.
thesavingqueen: Q3 Now fellow football dads and my kids influence my purchases.
_mongoose: We've gone to 5 phone lines with unlimited texting and my two oldest will be driving soon scar
ivannawin: hubs buys games he can play with kids and also buys matching jerseys
CarlThress: we went from spoiling ourselves to spoiling our kids :)
dark54555: One thing that has not changed: NO MINIVANS. Of course, with one kid, seating isn't much of an issue regardless.
jaybugsmommy: I think as moms and dads we try to give our kids things we didn't have as children ?
jaybugsmommy: this makes me want to give hubby and dad a Gift all this Dad talk .. or at least tell them I appreciate them!
timeoutdad: @MomCentral Becoming a dad has definitely forced me to become more sociable. That's good.
kingkontra: Q4 My wife and i decide together for most big purchases
JanetandMaya: Q4 It's fun to see hubby talk with other dads about things like baby monitors, hehehe.
theladya: Word of mouth is best. If our friends and their kids like something, we probably will too
sethandshannon1: our parents and consumer reports
kiltedshaver: My wife and I talk over big purchases; we research, ask our parents and other mentors we have.
squirrelburrito: A4: We don't have outside resources for talking about spending, but we make sure each purchase is a family decision
simplydab: internet, friends/family, esp if it's big $. Needs anal. is critical - do we really need to spend the $ for this?
DaddysToolbox: i'm a GOOD src of info when it comes to techie purchases, food, wine, etc. lots of friends hv older kids & we ask them
TechyDad: I do research online like looking for product reviews on Amazon.com (even if we're not buying from them).
ivannawin: I sometimes do impulse buys on gadety items and hubs always returns them for a better item
thesavingqueen: Q4 My husband relies on me to check the reviews, because of the lack of daddy blogs!
MomCentralChat: My husband is a better wife and Mom than me in so many ways. His family raised foster babies and he is AMAZING!
TechyDad: Review sites mostly, but also sometimes Twitter.
CK_Lunchbox: I go to FAIL Blog for advice.... on scary things not to buy
Q5: How do you connect with other Dads? (Online, at work, at kids sports games)?
squirrelburrito: We don't have a parent's circle yet, and we're the first in our group to have kids. meet dads at parks and other outings.
Kelliebug: Q5. He sees them at work and has buddies that are dads as well. I should get him involved in dad community online!
elivya: From these answers I'm imagining dads... "Gonna go hang with the guys, hon." "Sure! Will you be on twitter or fb?
Q6: What was the last purchase you made after consulting with another parent?
kamewh: A playset for our backyard
My3Sons33: Q6 the last purchase after consulting w/another parent was a baseball bat for our son.
kingkontra: A new xbox after my last 1 died
portlanddad: Q6 Phil & Teds double stroller, talked to a guy in the bookstore about it for 20 minutes, researched, then pulled the trigger
raggammuffin: Q6: i conulsted with my hubs on what brand razorblades he needed
1awesomekid: sheetrock for our bathroom redo!
thesavingqueen: My hubby purchased a mountain bike for my son after reading reviews to choose the best one.
dragonfly777: My last purchase was a keyboard for our PC...a friend had one he recommended. Great purchase
CarlThress: A6: bananagrams. great game. we (my wife, my older son, and I) love playing it.
Cinderellamom: Q6: Husband bought a table saw- an expensive un-needed table saw! after talking to friend
DaddysToolbox: A6 beer. honestly it was.
mochadad: Able to change a diaper with a single hand
TechyDad: I do research online like looking for product reviews on Amazon.com (even if we're not buying from them).
A couple of notes we threw out during the discussion:
Thanks, everyone! We had a blast!
Eleven years ago today, a miracle happened. Two perfect little children, a boy and a girl, came into the world and into my arms. From the moment I saw them, my heart melted, and I was perfectly in love. Even though the boy and the girl were born on the same day, within just 16 minutes of each other, they couldn't be more different. Even though they were the exact same weight and height, one was left handed, one was right handed. One was feisty, the other was serene. One was chatty, one was quiet. But both entered my heart and stole it away. And even though they came to us through adoption, there is absolutely no way I could love any children more than I love my children.
To my kids, on your birthday, I want you to know how proud I am of you both. Both of you are admired and respected, by your friends, by your family, and especially by your daddy.
Alex, you're are kind hearted and sensitive, and yet strong and bold and courageous. You have taught me many things about being a better person, from the way you hold your head high on the soccer field, to the way you protect your two younger sisters. You're becoming an impressive young man, so funny, so talented, and I'm proud of you in every way. Even if you do pwn me when we play Xbox.
Alyssa, you are an amazing young woman. You're conscientious, intelligent, sincere, and I can't imagine life without you around. You help around the house without complaining or being asked. I love the way you're so organized, and yet flexible without complaining. And I love it so much when I'm working in the yard and you pick up a rake and join me. By the way, it means so much to hear you call me Papi. You make me smile.
As a Dad, things can be tough. Schedules get crazy, work gets hectic and takes time away from the family. I'm across the continent working, missing my kids today on their birthday more than I imagined I could. And I had to miss my son Steve's birthday because of business travel just a few weeks ago. No matter how tough it can be when they're all around and things are a bit chaotic, it's even tougher being away on special days like today.
Being a Dad can be the hardest thing in the world sometimes, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
And just for the record, my other two kids are amazingly amazing themselves--it's just not their birthday today...
Happy birthday, Thing One and Thing Two. Love, Dad.