What Fathers Want
There are everyday questions that we seek answers for on the Internet – from DIY face masks to how to get turmeric stains off your shirt. Then, there are other complex questions that don't necessarily need answers, but are more about identifying with a group of people who are going through a similar experience, are facing a similar dilemma or trying to manoeuvre their way safely (and sanely) through same challenges.
Parenthood is one subject on which numerous forums are available to educate, advice and comfort. But, most of them cater to mothers. Enter Daddy’s Digest (www.daddysdigest.com), a website that looks at issues, and provides a trove of articles on parenting and parental relationships for men...from a man's perspective.
Vickram Agarwal, founder and director of partnerships at Daddy's Digest and Meshach Thomas, co-founder and head of creative services, wanted to create content in a market space that lay untapped for men (and women), especially in an age which is seeing a paradigm shift in parenting roles.
“When I became a father in 2016,” says Agarwal, “I noticed that every thing - media, books, products - was speaking to my wife. Nobody prepared me about what was to come - the changes in priorities, the sleepless nights, the shift in dynamics... . That got me thinking, ‘Why is nobody talking to me?’ and I felt that something had to be done about this.”
“There’s a sizeable number of fathers in the world, everyone has a father or has lost a father or has an estranged relation with their father. But at the same time, there isn’t much content to look at these relations.”
The idea about Daddy’s Digest started growing in Agarwal’s mind as he realised that even though men are asked to get their act together and get involved in parenting, there was no roadmap for them to begin this transitional journey.
This made Agarwal, a marketing consultant based in Dubai, get in touch with Thomas, a digital marketing professional based Chennai and his classmate from Indian School Muscat, 14 years after they had last met. After eight months of discussions, Daddy’s Digest was launched in April this year.
As both Agarwal and Thomas were at different stages of their lives with respect to marriage and fatherhood, their personal conversations led them to expand the contents of Daddy’s Digest to cover diverse issues that were not just for dads or dads-to-be, but for men at all stages of life and their family relationships.
For Thomas, Daddy’s Digest was more about the latter. “This is a space where you can contemplate how family relations affect you as a man,” he said, adding that topics cover masculinity, relationships with your father, how to be a family man etc.
“For women, oral narratives and spoken norms have been passed down from mothers and other women in the family, and traditionally men had been left out and their involvement was not expected. But now men are expected to be a core part of the family dynamics.”
Thomas believes that these are the issues with which Daddy’s Digest helps men in their personal development as a family person.
Daddy’s Digest has some thought-provoking, hard-hitting topics that generally do not witness discussions or are simply overlooked. The website, for example, looks at questions like why are men delaying or completely putting off fatherhood, the equality of modern parenting and accidental parenthood.
“There’s a lot of information out there,” says Agarwal. “Daddy’s Digest is a space where men talk about their perspectives. It’s about creating human connections with experts in their respective fields.”
The stories are honest, deal with complexities and do not shy away from touching the grey areas of life. Although created for men, Daddy’s Digest is also a refreshing read for women who can gain an insight into the perspectives of men.
A female reader said that she could relate many of the personal stories on Daddy's Digest to her husband. “They made me empathise with him.” That's a huge positive, especially looking at the set of challenges that parenthood brings and their effects on spousal relationships.