The Grinch who stole Father’s Day

No matter how long we live, we all have this same statistic in common: we got to spend (roughly) nine months being held exclusively by our mothers. Life expectancy aside, and speaking solely in general terms, mothers will have always had at least nine more months than fathers to hold their children.

During pregnancy, of course, fathers have the chance to touch the belly, but there’s a barrier in the way. Fathers can experience a baby kick, but the sensation for the mother and child are one and the same. Fathers can talk and sing to the infant inside the mother’s womb, but babies not johnson&johnsononly hear the mother’s voice – they feel it.

I once heard a woman tell the story how their child died upon birth. She asked the nurses to let the dad, not her, be the first to hold their child, because he naturally never got to during the pregnancy. Besides, it was the first, only, and last time he would embrace their child all in the same instance.

Mothers have the exclusive, honored gift of carrying children. That’s special. That creates a bond with every child that doesn’t make it more superior than with a father, just unique.

And it should be treated with uniqueness, even in marketing.

However, Johnson & Johnson’s latest ad artlessly exudes and radiates exclusion. It doesn’t take a deep thinker to see that dads, plain and simple, are crudely left out of this marketing message. What’s more, the advertisement is ironically straight out of the June 2014 Parents magazine, which includes a special reading section specifically for dads, timed knowingly for Father’s Day.

That’s some holiday present from Johnson & Johnson, huh dads? A sucker punch below the belt, followed by a kick in the teeth, finished off with salt in the wounds.

I expected more from this company so synonymous with baby care. No head-to-toe wash around is going to clean up this mess.

Daniel Murphy: MVP (Most Valuable Parent)

esiasonNice job, Norman.

Our upstart enterprise is trying to advance the cause of dads in the marketplace, and you messed it all up.  I realize we’ve only been in existence for four months, but you set back dads at least 40 years.

Your speak-first, think-later attitude fuels the rampant assumption that dads don’t want to be involved with their kids, validating the imprecise decision-making of marketers everywhere.

And you haven’t even apologized yet!

In case you thought you read or heard Norman’s apology somewhere, you didn’t.  He never even apologized to the person at the center of this controversy!  Let’s take a look at what Norman said in this so-called apology:

“I just want to say again on this radio show that in no way, shape or form was I advocating anything for anybody to do. I was not telling women what to do with their bodies. I would never do that,” he said. “That’s their decision, that’s their life and they know their bodies better than I do. And the other thing, too, that I really felt bad about is that Daniel Murphy and Tori Murphy were dragged into a conversation, and their whole life was exposed. And it shouldn’t have been.”

Right now I’m going to play the part of Norman’s PR (i.e., damage-control) assistant, because he clearly doesn’t have one.  Let’s re-write what he could have said on the air — in addition to — his lame apology:

“Furthermore, I’d like to extend a heartfelt apology to Daniel Murphy and dads everywhere.  Dads deserve to witness the birth of their children, and to be there for him/her in the infancy of its days on earth.  After all, the woman was able to bond with the child, carry and hold it for the past 9 months — is a few days, or even a week, too much to ask for the dad?  I think not.  So, I am here to champion the cause that dads must be just as involved in raising children as the mom.  And it starts from day one, at the hospital.  I don’t care what profession you’re in, whether you’re in a high profile job like a Major League Baseball player or at the other end of the spectrum as, say, a radio show host.  Dads deserve rights, too.”

Mr. Daniel Murphy, just go on being a dad and doing your thing.  You made the best decision of your life, and don’t let other misguided individuals make you think that work comes above major life moments.

Once Norman reads this and hires me as his PR assistant, I’ll then have the money to afford tickets to a Mets game, at which point I’ll display a hand-made sign bearing the title of this day’s blog entry:

Daniel Murphy:  MVP (Most Valuable Parent)