Daddy Doin’ Work: Empowering mothers to evolve fatherhood

If I had a dollar for every time I have seen a mother carrying a baby on her chest, pushing toddler in a stroller, and carrying several bags at the grocery store at the same time, I would be a wealthy woman.  This is a common scene amongst mothers, but if I had a dollar for every time I have seen a man in this same situation – well, then I would be on food stamps.  When you do see a man in this situation, however, people act like it’s epic.  A man carrying his baby on his chest elicits the sort of ogling that you’d expect only from teenage girls on a  school yard when the hot dude walks by.

Why is this?  Why is it normal and expected for women to parent their children, but considered Godly when a man does the same?  Why  do we find changing tables in the women’s restroom, but the same tables are noticeably absent from men’s restrooms?  Is society trying to tell us that a guy can’t change a diaper?

Those of you who know my story know that calling my ex simply a “deadbeat” Dad would be like calling Mother Teresa just a nice lady.  If there were a term for something much worse than a deadbeat – my ex would likely fall more closely into that category.  I mention all of the above to say that part of the reason men are the way they are today, part of the reason that many fathers have not evolved beyond cavemen times, is because of the low expectations we as women have for them.

My good friend Doyin, aka Daddy Doin’ Work, is on a mission to change the face of Fatherhood as we know it.  You might have heard of books that talk about how to be a good parent (like how to change a diaper).  The market is loaded with those types of books.  This, however, is the sort of book I wish had been available when I met Lucifer (this is what I call the D bag who killed my son).  What is refreshing about what Doyin has to say is a no nonsense kind of guy.  He is the first dude to praise the Dads who are doing great things, but he is also the sort of guy who isn’t going to make excuses for the guys who do things that all men should be ashamed of.

I recently wrote a blog about how racism isn’t just a black issue – it’s an everybody issue.  I feel the same way about the evolution of fatherhood.  This is a conversation that everyone should be having regardless of gender.  As a woman, however, I love the idea that Doyin is tackling this issue by speaking to women.

Doyin, congratulations on your book my friend.  I applaud you for attempting to raise the bar on fatherhood – the role model you are for your daughters – and your attempts to empower women.

 

Guest Post: The Most Important Job

This week’s post comes from a good friend of mine,  and famous Daddy blogger, Doyin at Daddy Doin’ Work. I asked Doyin to share  what being a father means to him and how he feels when he hears about all the terrible deadbeat Dads out there.  In the past two years, I have seen the worst when it comes to Dads.  Doyin, however, is a great example of what a father should look like.  It is refreshing to read the raw emotion that comes through when he writes about his child.  Thank you Doyin for bringing light and hope to fatherhood.  I hope you all enjoy his words as much as I did.

 

The Most Important Job

Rewind to December 2009. I was a happy guy, my wife was 11 weeks pregnant, and I was going to be a dad for the first time. Words couldn’t describe how pumped I was to be a father. In June of 2010 (ironically, the due date was a day before Father’s Day) I was going to meet the baby boy or girl that I was already completely in love with…and then my world came crashing down.

Three days prior to Christmas 2009, my wife and I lost our baby.

I understand that bad things can happen during the first trimester, but that didn’t ease our devastation. I put on a brave face for my wife by saying everything will be OK, and I told my inner circle that we’ll dust ourselves off and try again – but privately I was a mess. I didn’t eat, I lost a lot of weight, and spent a lot of my private moments in tears. I knew I had to move forward, but I didn’t know how. I would hear stories of deadbeat dads, lazy dads, and dads who frankly don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves - and I would become enraged. How the hell could someone father a child and not want to be involved in their lives? I’d give up anything to raise a baby. That’s all I wanted. I’m far from the most religious guy you’ll come across, but I promised God that if we were lucky enough to have a child – I would be the best dad I could be for my baby, if I could just get the chance. All I wanted was a chance.

After what seemed like the longest wait ever, I finally became a father to a beautiful baby girl in January 2011.

When I held my baby for the first time, I felt a rush of emotion that I will never forget for as long as I’m alive. I cried, laughed, and felt as if I could leap tall buildings with a single bound. As I wheeled her bassinet down the empty hospital hallway so she could have her first bath, I whispered to her, “Hi there. I’m not perfect, but I will dedicate my life to ensuring yours is amazing as possible. I love you, kiddo.” She was sleeping peacefully, but I know she heard me.

I don’t take any moment with my daughter for granted, I cherish all of the time I have with her, and I miss her like hell when she’s not with me. Poopy diapers, tantrums, late-night meltdowns, whatever – I don’t really care. I asked for this, I prayed for this, I am built for this.

I call myself a Daddy Doin’ Work not because it’s a catchy little nickname, but because I understand the amount of work it takes to be good, involved father. Gone are the days when a dad can come home from work, kick off his shoes, and yell, “Honey, where’s my dinner??” while he watches ESPN, plays videogames, drinks beer, and ignores his children.

It takes work to support an exhausted wife and girlfriend.

It takes work to change diapers in the middle of the night and comfort a crying infant.

It takes work to always keep promises to our children.

It takes work to be the positive male role model our children need and deserve.

The good news is that plenty of these great men exist today, and they’re constantly Doin’ Work to ensure their kids have the happiest and most fulfilled lives. To these men, no job is more important than being a good daddy. They are selfless, hardworking, and loving - and they should be the gold standard for whatfatherhood is all about.

So what does being a Daddy Doin’ Work mean to me?

It’s a reminder on that cold rainy night in December 2009 I didn’t think I’d ever be a father.

It’s a reminder that I was supposed to hold my son or daughter in my arms on Father’s Day 2010, but instead I spent time alone in tears clutching the baby’s ultrasound picture. It’s that memory that will ensure I never take a moment with my daughter for granted.

It’s a reminder that I wouldn’t hesitate to kill or be killed if it meant protecting my daughter.

It’s a reminder that unconditional love truly exists.

It’s a reminder that my daughter is the only person who can erase the shittiest of days with a simple smile or hug.

It’s a reminder that money shouldn’t be spent on things (fancy cars, designer clothes, etc.) but on experiences that create lasting memories (weddings, vacations, parties with loved ones, etc.).

It’s a reminder that delivering a healthy baby is truly the universe’s greatest miracle, and one that I will cherish forever.

So in closing, that is what being a Daddy Doin’ Work means to me. I want to give a big shout out to the real men out there who understand that raising children isn’t “women’s work,” the real men who aren’t afraid to hug and kiss their children in public, the real men who cook dinner and clean up the house so their wives/girlfriends can take a much needed break, the real men who bust their asses to provide the best lives for their kids, the real men who take their jobs of being the primary male role-model for their children very seriously, and to the single mothers who step up and play the daddy role as well.

Yes, I call myself a Daddy Doin’ Work, but when you love what you do, is it ever really “work”?

Not in my mind.

 

Doyin Richards writes the blog Daddy Doin’ Work where he writes about the adventures of a first-time father raising his daughter.  You can also follow him on Facebook.