Not that you have to look great in a bikini (that would be weird). All you have to do is carpool, stir fry and read all seven volumes of "Harry Potter" out loud with different funny voices. Is that so much to ask?
Welcome to the world of modern fatherhood, formerly known as modern motherhood. Thirty or 40 years ago, it was the moms who did it all. They entered the work force and strove mightily. But when they came home, they immediately assumed the "second shift" of kids and housework. It was exhausting, insane, impossible -- and fulfilling. When they weren't falling asleep standing up in the shower, working moms had two lives for the price of one.
Gradually this dawned on dads (and not just because their wives burned their hammocks and left Post-its on the smoldering ashes: "Pick up grapes for Girl Scout meeting.") Now men want what moms have. In fact, they have come to see being an involved dad as the true mark of having it all -- much more than just succeeding financially.
"Dads today define success as being able to spend time with the family, and more of them say that spending time with their family is the thing they are most likely to do in their spare time," says Peter Rose, a trend interpreter at Yankelovich Partners. "That figure has gone in the last year from 52% to 62%."
When a trend is growing faster than late-night Facebook jokes, it's big. If you are in marketing, it's time to start thinking about dads the way you've been thinking about working moms -- crazed nuts eager for family time, proud when they procure it and desperate for the one thing that can give them more of it: convenience.
Take David Goldsmith. He's a futurist and president of Meta Matrix Consulting Group. He's also the father of a 13- and 14-year-old he is proud of spending time with. "I had dinner with my children last night," he announced as we were chatting.
Goldsmith is always in the market for anything that gives him more family time, which brings us to his lawn care. Buying a nice, sit-down mower, Goldsmith learned, would cost $2,500 to $3,000. "I then went and priced what it would cost for someone else to mow my lawn and my break-even point was 5.5 years later," he said.
He hired a man to mow, "and I'm literally paying for my lawnmower with five years with my children," Goldsmith said. "If you want to take a Saturday and do lawn work, you've got several hours gone. I don't. I have basketball."
Ed Baum feels equally pleased with his fam-centric schedule. "I taught a cooking class at my kids' high school last term," said the computer consultant. Not only did he enjoy it, "it felt good to tell people I did something like that." The other dads knew Baum had something they did not: regularly scheduled kid time.
Products or services that can free Dad up for family time can stress the prestige or the fun awaiting him -- both are at work.
And so, let's not forget, is Mom. Working, that is. Think of all the products, from presliced cookie dough to online shopping, created (at least in part) to save her time as she toggled between two worlds. Now think of what dads need to help them toggle, too.
The guy with the trophy wife will still be envied. So will the guy with the golf trophy. But the guy teaching his kids to golf is the trophy.
Now give him an easy way to dust it.