I Have A Dream

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the best orators in the history of the world and was one of the Top 10 Americans ever. Believe me, I’m not comparing myself to a legend like Dr. King, but I’m going to share my version of the “I Have A Dream” speech with all of you.

Before I start, let me give you some background.

Most of you know this, but I’m taking the month of October off from my corporate job for baby bonding with my 3-month old daughter. It’s a lot of work being a stay at home parent, but it’s so damn rewarding. My baby girl smiles at me nonstop these days and I know it’s attributed to the one-on-one time I’m spending with her. It’s a blast.

One morning last week, MDW was running late for work and was worried that she wouldn’t be able to get DDW1′s hair done before I had to take her to school. I told her that she could leave and I’d handle it. She countered by saying that doing her hair requires attention and the baby would get upset if I left her alone while I played the role of stylist. Again, I told her that I’d handle it. On the way out she said, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

That’s when I put DDW2 in the Ergo, stood DDW1 on a stool and worked my hair magic. During the process, I thought, “There’s no way my wife will believe me if I don’t take a picture of this.” That’s when I set my camera up, put it on a 10-second timer, and took the photo you’re looking at right now. After 15 minutes of multitasking, the final result was a nice, tight ponytail for big sister and a happily sleeping baby in the carrier. Mission accomplished. I emailed the photo to her with the caption “Boom.” and we both got a good laugh out of it.

 

The calm before the Internet storm...

The calm before the Internet storm…

Little did I know how interesting things were about to become.

After eating some breakfast, I figured I’d post the picture on the DDW Facebook and Twitter feeds. Within hours, the picture went viral (well, at least “viral” for me). At last check, the photo was shared over 4,800 times, received over 3,000 comments, and was liked over 190,000 times. The photo was also “borrowed” by at least 13,164 Facebook pages before I could watermark it (OK, maybe not 13,164 Facebook pages…it was probably closer to 23,164 Facebook pages) That was a head-scratcher for me, because I never experienced something like this since I started blogging.

The reactions, comments, and emails I received ranged from the overwhelmingly positive to the downright nasty. But as I went through everything, I had a chance to reflect on what I hope for the future. Let’s do this.

 

I have a dream that insecure dads will spend less time hating on good dads and more time on getting their own shit together. I’d say 95% of the dads who follow me are actively involved in their kids’ lives and view parenting as a 50/50 endeavor with their wives/girlfriends. They send me “Thank You” emails, they’ll say it’s refreshing to see a guy (me) who embraces fatherhood as much as they do, and they’ll refer other good dads to my blog because they know I’ll celebrate them. Words cannot express how much I appreciate those men because they will play a huge role in making fatherhood “cool” again (granted, I always thought fatherhood was cool, but that’s another story).

On the flip side, there’s a small pocket of men out there that can’t stand me. Here’s a sampling of some of the private messages and comments I received from them after I posted this picture:

- “He probably rented those kids. They don’t even look like him.”

- “I would bet anything that you’re a deadbeat.”

- “OK buddy, cute picture. Now why don’t you hand the children back to their mom so you can go back to selling drugs or your bootleg rap CDs?”

- “So do you do this for all of your illegitimate kids?”

You get the idea.

As I’ve said in previous blog posts, I’m not immune to hate mail – and some messages are racist in nature and some aren’t. It comes with the territory of doing what I do and I completely understand that. However, do you know what’s funny? Oftentimes when a dude posts a public hateful comment on my FB page or Twitter feed, it’s followed up by his wife or girlfriend emailing me privately to apologize for his behavior. These women will tell me that their men are angry that I’m making them “look bad” because they aren’t holding up their end of the bargain when it comes to parenting. Here’s the thing: I don’t make anyone look bad. These guys are doing a fine job on their own according to the women in their lives.

Memo to the small pocket of male haters I have: Why don’t you put big boy shorts on and get in on the revolution of good fathers? It’s not a good look to tear down dads for doing the work your wives wished you were man enough to do on your own. If you don’t believe me, just ask your spouses. They’ll tell you.

But don’t worry. I’ll still be here whenever you’re ready to step your game up and join #TeamGrownAssMan.

Again, to the amazing fathers out there reading this (which happens to be the overwhelming majority) – much love to you guys. I appreciate you. Your spouses appreciate you. And most importantly – your kids appreciate you.

 

I have a dream that people will be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. OK, so I had to paraphrase the great MLK on this one. Surprisingly (well, not surprisingly to me) in this instance, the majority of racist emails I received came from other black people. Again, here’s a sampling:

- “This would be so much better if those kids were BLACK!”

- “Look at this Uncle Tom. No chance he would be doing this if his kids were black.”

- “I’m sorry, but I can’t support a brotha who didn’t marry a black woman.”

- “Your MOM is black and you dishonored her by marrying outside of your race? You probably can’t handle a strong black woman.”

 

***DDW steps away from his computer to check his calendar to ensure it’s 2013 and not 1913***

Allow me a moment to address the small pocket of racists who share the same race as me.

Dr. King dedicated his life to ensuring people could live a life free of judgments based on skin color. He dedicated his life to ensuring future generations could marry anyone without dealing with persecution. But there are people “on his team” (yes, I know we’re ALL on the same team, just roll with me on this, please) who are sabotaging his work. If the first thing you want to do is to criticize the skin color of my kids for not being as dark as mine, you have some serious issues.

Yes, I married a woman who is half-white and half-Japanese. Yes, the skin of my babies happens to be a few shades lighter than mine. Yes, my mom (a black woman born and raised in the deep south of Mississippi) loves my wife and kids because she’s smart enough to know that love is colorblind. All of my black friends and family members feel the same way.

You mad?

Grow up and stop being so fucking ignorant. You’re a damn embarrassment to Dr. King and his legacy.

To be clear, I’m not addressing all black folks here – because the overwhelming majority of my black followers are kind, clear-thinking, and intelligent individuals.

It’s just that the dumbest ones are usually the loudest ones.

 

I have a dream that people will view a man’s love for fatherhood for what it is instead of thinking there’s something “fishy” going on.  A lot of people really dig the fact that I dig daddying (yes, I made it a verb) as much as I do. However, since I started my blog 17 months ago, I’ve come across some people who will look at me and think, “There’s no way this guy can be as passionate about fatherhood as he is. I bet he’s using his kids in an attempt to become rich and famous.” It’s sad.

Think of the Mommy blogs you like to follow (some of which have a larger following than I have). If they share their love for motherhood, you probably wouldn’t think twice about it because that’s what moms are “supposed to do,” right? But if a human being with a penis shares the same passion for being a parent, it somehow becomes strange and fishy? And that makes sense…how, exactly?

I love being a dad and I love sharing my love of fatherhood with others. Shit, being a dad is one of the few things in life I’m actually good at. Of course I’m going to be passionate about this gig. My dream is that ALL people will embrace men who embrace fatherhood instead of wondering if they have ulterior motives. Remember, we’re the good guys in this fight.

 

I have a dream that people will view a picture like this and not think it’s such a big deal. Don’t get me wrong here – it’s a very cute picture, and it’s cool when people say so. However, I start to get a little uncomfortable when people want to start planning parade routes for me because of it. Somewhere there’s a dad doing the exact same thing for his daughters. Somewhere there’s a dad who put his foot down with his boss and refused to attend an “urgent staff meeting” so he could leave work early to attend his daughter’s dance recital. Somewhere there’s a single dad successfully getting his three sons ready for school. Somewhere there’s a stay at home dad crushing all of the cooking, cleaning, laundry for his family. Somewhere there’s a dad who would rather play catch in the backyard with his son instead of killing pixelated terrorists on his XBox.

In other words, there are plenty of good, involved dads out there. Many of them are reading this post right now.

I’ve posted hundreds of pictures of my family since I started blogging and I had no idea that this one would cause such a seismic shift on the WWW. But what if I posted a picture of MDW doing what I did in that picture? Many would probably think it’s cute, but after ten seconds of looking at it, they would probably move on to the next shiny object on their newsfeed. Why? Because it just wouldn’t be a big deal to many people if a woman did it.

Until we can get to the point where men and women can complete the same parenting tasks and the reactions are the same, we will have problems. If you want to create a statue for me for taking care of my daughters, create one for the moms who are doing the same damn thing everyday for their kids without receiving a “Thank you” or an “Ooooh” or “Ahhhh.”

These behaviors should be expected of moms and dads. No exceptions.

 

That ends my rant.

For many of you, this is the first blog post you’ve ever read from me. Just so you know, I’m usually the lighthearted guy online and I’m rarely this angry – but today I had to regulate a bit.

In time you’ll determine if you love me or hate me. If you love me, that’s good news because I’m going to continue doing the stuff you love. If you hate me, that’s bad news because I’m going to continue doing the stuff you hate. If you fall into the “hate” category, just send my blog to all of your enemies (that’ll show ‘em). For the rest of you, I’m so humbled and happy to be a guy you follow and enjoy as we embark on this crazy road of parenthood together.

On a side note, I wrote this entire post while my baby girl was sleeping on me in the Ergo.

It’s not a big deal. That’s just what a Daddy Doin’ Work is supposed to do.

Boom.

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Comments

  1. Andre says:

    I found your post to be very refreshing. I was happy to see that I am not the only good father out here doing what is necessary for the prosperity and well-being of his family. I know there is a movement of men stepping up, but there stills seems to be shortage of good fathers out here getting it in excellence!!! I am an educated professional black man who is dedicated to showing my two daughters what a real man looks like. I grew up in a single parent household, where my mother had to work two jobs just to survive. I made up in my mind a long time ago that I would always be there for my children. I’m not talking about just being present in the household; I’m talking about being an active participant in their everyday world. Every morning I get my babies up and get them dressed, I make their lunches for school and I cook them breakfast before I take the oldest (9) to the bus and the other (3) to daycare. After work, I pick them up and cook dinner for my family and help them with homework and assist them with bath time and read to them before bed. I do this every day while my wife is busy training as a resident principal for Chicago Public Schools. It is a great deal of work, but I feel extremely blessed to have this time and opportunity to spend with my girls. Two months ago my eldest daughter said to me, “Daddy when I get married, I want a man just like you.” That day I realized that I was doing something right!!!

  2. Gary says:

    Lucid, heartfelt and straight up.
    You rock!
    Keep doing what you do.

  3. Jorge says:

    Thank you!

  4. Erin says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post. It was witty and to the point, but really delved into what gender inequality really means. It is beyond having equal access, it is deeply seeded social norms that tell us our gender roles. Also, at the end of the post you said you are usually more lighthearted and less angry, but I thought you did an excellent job of inserting humor to serious and important topic.

  5. Beautiful! Brilliant!

    I teach at a small HBCU, Concordia College and we shared your article yesterday in my composition class. Now you have about 100 more fans. :-)
    Fr. Victor Singingeagle recently posted..CCA Hornets Net High RankMy Profile

  6. Dorsi says:

    Just loved the article on HuffPost!!! What you and your wife have going on there is a beautiful thing. Let the ignorant hate… one day they may see the light.

  7. EJ says:

    My first thought was, that’s what my hubby would do, my second was, wow, your daughter sat still while you did her hair, Amazing!

    Keep up the great posts!

  8. Veggie mama says:

    Well done for speaking up! Nothing better than a hands-on dad.
    Veggie mama recently posted..Merry Christmas, yo!My Profile

  9. Brenda T. says:

    Love, love, love this! When our daughter was born almost 20 years ago, we were both active duty military. I took my 6 weeks of maternity leave, then four weeks of regular leave. My husband then took 4 weeks of leave to stay with her after I went back to work.

    The comments from his friends and co-workers was astounding…”Do you have your nursing bras ready?” , “A month to lay around and do nothing”, “Will she call you Mommy, too?”

    You get the idea. But he was firm – in his words, he wanted our daughter “…to know that I can do anything for her that her mother can, except nurse her. That she has two parents she can come to when she skins her knees, or burns her fingers”. He also predicted that in 30 years, his model would be the norm, not the exception.

    They payoff? For both of our kids (he did the same thing two years later with our son), they don’t have a preconceived notion of parental roles. Sure, I do the dishes, but dad does the laundry, and we’re both there for them. And when I had to travel with the military, I was literally the only mom that wasn’t worried that my kids would be living on Cheerios and Pop-Tarts while I was gone.

    I’m proud and happy to see that he was ahead of his time!

  10. NjPoetess says:

    I loved your post; it resonated with me. I was born in Panama; my dad is a full-blooded Cuna (Panaminian Indian) and my mom is Panaminian. I am constantly asked what am I because I wear an Afro Hawk hairstyle, am fair skinned, with freckles and hazel eyes. I retranslate the question to mean “what race am I”. I tell the askers, “I belong to the human race”, which makes me suspect to blacks and leaves whites stammering. At the end of the day, who cares! We are all human albeit different shades of melanin.

    I believe that it is idiotic that haters consider you to be some kind of traitor because you married someone else of a different hue. IDIOTIC!

    Your daughters are beautiful and you are too.

  11. heather says:

    You go daddy. All the daddys out there that are lazy maybe that might get them off there butts. Keep up the awesome work. Your girls will love you for that forever. Most dads don’t know how much it is to take care of kids…You go dad more dads need to be like you…

  12. daddyyells says:

    Lots of good stuff in here.

    I only have one daughter and I struggle with the pony tail all the time. I can’t imagine trying to do it with another one strapped on my chest. Keep up the good work.
    daddyyells recently posted..…at Play-DohMy Profile

  13. BronzeTigerGal says:

    I love this well written and well expressed article/blog. Makes women all fall in love with you for doing with your children, what wasn’t done with mine. My daughter is grown now and with her own kids, I gave her father every opportunity to be in her life (including saving his phone number in the phone so she can call him at any time she wanted to) she blames ME for her father not wanting to be in her life). I’m feel the repercussion of what her father didn’t do and she looked for that “unconditional love” that she didn’t get from her father, in her boyfriend! She feels the need to choose between me and him and she has chosen him. It hurts but I know that if he did the things that a man should do for his children, as you did, my situation would be soo different…positively different.

    Thank you so much for this and by the way…do you have a brother??

  14. stella says:

    u are the best……I love u…..bless u <3

  15. LOREATHA VERNON says:

    I can’t believe that a Father has to defend his position to be a participating Daddy in his children’s life. We are definite living in the last days. People hate you because you are an active Dad. Daddy keep doing what you are doing. However, don’t respond to those who are upset and think less of you because of what you do for your Children. We need more men to be men. We have had years of ignorance, thug life, low self esteem, uneducated deadbeat sperm donors! If their Dad took time with them, they would not be in the position they are today. I feel sorry for their children because their children will be like them because they are not there to Father them. Sir, keep doing what you are doing. Your children will make you even more proud.

  16. Angie says:

    I don’t understand what the fuss is about?
    This picture has been floating around my FB news feed and I have read that there were a lot of nagative comments, Quite frankly it just looks like a normal dad getting his kids ready in the morning, It happens just like this in thousands of homes nationwide everyday, There is nothing negative or to get upset about here. Are people really so bored that they feel the need to attack a dad just for helping to get his kids ready for school, seriously people have we nothing better to do than attack a dad who is being the best dad he can be? The thing that baffles me the most is this is not usual behavior for most dads, yes there are some that never bother with their children but there are many many more who do, perhaps we should sing the praises of the good dads who are doing just like this father, making the most of his busy day with his children and enriching their lives , instead of looking for something negative that doesn’t exist in this photo!

  17. Bryan says:

    Wonderful and inspiring, but isn’t this what all dads should be doing? Too much back-patting imho. Oh, BTW Doyin, you’re not going to get far with that soft-bristled brush and without a good detangler solution. Try a rubber-bristled brush. Dads who brush daily know that. Just saying – but keep up the good work :)

  18. claudia says:

    I love the picture, and I understand the rant. I just don’t understand why the picture seems so unusual to other people. my husband was raising his 3 girls and 1 son on his own before I met him. he did all 3 girls hair every morning for school, washed and dried their clothes, made breakfast for all 4 kids, cooked every dinner, washed all the dishes, and cleaned the house. that’s not a woman’s job nor a man’s job—-it’s a PARENT’S job.

  19. Layla Aaron says:

    I loved this post. I found it via another blog I follow and I’ve now signed up to follow your blog. I’m most impressed by how you solved the issue of dealing with DDW1′s hair while caring for DDW2. Kudos for your ingenuity! :)

  20. Briezzy says:

    I am seriously baffled by the negative responses to the photo. Seriously???!?!?!
    My dad was a teacher, so when my sister and I were growing up, we always had Dad with us! He made dinner at night, and took us camping and fishing in the summer :). What little girl doesn’t want to spend time with her dad??

    And I’m really blown away by the racial comments. Speechless. I’ve nothing to say about stupid.

  21. Vanessa says:

    As far as I’m concerned, you are pure awesomeness :) Let the haters hate, and keep being an amazing dad :D

  22. Lori says:

    You do more than parenting well. You express yourself through writing very well also. Although your tone was one of righteous indignation and wrapped in a veneer of humor, the message was well delivered. It brought a tear to my eye knowing these two little girls will grow up never doubting nor seeking their father’s love in every relationship they have. Well done in being the exception yet striving to turn the tide in becoming the rule.

  23. Stephanie says:

    You, my dear man are full of awesomesauce and your family is beautiful. The idea that in 2013 we are still fighting racism from both sides, gender bias, and gender conformity baffles my mind. I applaud you for raising your girls to see what a strong, real, loving, and responsible grown man is. I believe this will be the foundation for them never settling for any partner that does not live up to the standards and example you are setting as a man and father. Rock on with your bad self. Your wife is a lucky woman.

  24. Green Christian Mama says:

    Spot on, ddw ;)
    Dang, now I’m confused. I love your blog, but I want to share you with my enemies too. Can’t I do BOTH?

  25. JeanneHurdel says:

    I love this article My son stayed home with his daughter until she was 4 years old He too loved every minute of it I have a great respect for men who do this sort of thing . My sons time here was cut short ,He was hit by a car and did not survive the accident ,however I am so glad he had this time with her . All the best Jeanne Hurdel

  26. Lee says:

    I just want to back you DDW. Throughout my life, I would’ve loved to have a dad that was there for me and put me first instead of running out with other women. In my whole life, my dad has been there just two times. Once he didn’t even recognize me, and then later calls to say he loves me. What the fuck could I say to that? To all the black people running their face, shutup. Recognize somebody just doing their job they way they should. I’m a daddy doing work too, and my kids are my world. It’s normal to love your kids. It’s normal to want to be with them. What I don’t understand is those dads (like mine) who don’t! Hush the haters. – See more at: http://daddydoinwork.com/dreamin/comment-page-20/#comment-13980

  27. rntravelgnome says:

    I had deliberately avoiding reading about this for weeks for only one reason- I’m so sick of reading the hating posts that get blogged on these sites. I read it this morning because it showed up on CNN. I so glad I did. My husband had to be heavily involved with my daughter’s care when she was young- I was in nursing school and was having to check to make sure I was dressed before I left the house each day. Now he’s applying all of his “education” to help raise our granddaughter while her mother works/goes to school. I’m so tired of all the haters out there that I’m missing many wonderful blog sites that I would love to visit. Please continue posting your uplifting, happy, heartfelt blogs for those of us that are over and beyond the rancor, spit filled, hating posts from people who think because their faces aren’t seen they can say whatever they feel

  28. Mo to tha says:

    I stumbled across this post today and just had to comment. I’m the grown-up version of the little girl getting her hair combed in the photo. Let me tell you something that you may not be aware of…the mere act of doing her hair will endear you to her forever. I remember my dad doing my hair when my mom went on business trips…he brushed so hard and my ponytails were ALWAYS too tight but I remember it so fondly. Thinking back on it now, it just confirms to me how important I was to him that even the details that he knew the least about (hair, clothes, all things girly) were important because I was (and still am) important. Forget anything negative that has been (and will be) posted because I GUARANTEE that your daughter won’t care…all she’ll remember is that daddy did my hair for school and it was great (even if it didn’t look great, lol). My dad and I are really close and i’m probably the biggest daddy’s girl you’ll ever meet and I wouldn’t have it any other way. A big reason for that is the little off-hand moments that weren’t especially memorable in the grand scheme of things but that meant the world to me when I was 4.

  29. Tiffani Jones says:

    My son’s father had an opportunity to be dad . Instead, he choose The Game, whatever the hell that is. He must have been really bad at it, because he coul
    dn’t afford baby wipes on the rate occasion I did all him for help. You have my respect, and your children are very lucky.

  30. Bonnie says:

    Wow- what a fantastic response to such an overwhelming reaction! It seriously boggles my mind to realize what people will say under the guise of anonymity. And the hatred people are spewing makes me hurt for my kids’ future! Thanks for not only being a great dad (fewer and fewer kids have them) but not making a big deal about it because it’s just what you’re supposed to do. Bless your mama’s heart for teaching you that. I needed the reminder to appreciate the incredible DDW that is my husband who makes ‘daddying’ 6 kids look like a piece if cake. Keep on being a great example to little boys (and girls!) everywhere ;)

  31. WanderingHearts says:

    Frankly, I see nothing wrong with the picture. In fact, I think that it’s cool that you are willing to do so (but not to the extent of popping champagne). Living in a Chinese culture, this is rarely seen, unless if you are from a single parent family. How many Dads out there are willing to do so? I wouldn’t say that it is brave of you to do so, but it is admirable. It is very obvious how much you love your kids.
    Even IF the skin colour is different, or they are adopted, does it really matter? What matters most is how YOUR KIDS see you, not what those narrow-minded doofus think of you.

  32. Charles says:

    Daddy Doyin! Thank you for what you are doing! A few months ago I found out I was going to be a father. This past week I found out that it was a girl! I am glad you are putting your life out here for others to see a great example of what fatherhood should truly be. The cause of many of the problems in our country and culture is the lack of male/father leadership in the family, and the solution is to get more men and fathers involved with their children. Keep fighting the good fight!

  33. Meredith Troy says:

    I loved the blog ( the first one I read) & the picture. I wish more men would speak up the way you did. And I wish more men would grow up & be REAL MEN & take responsibility for their families & find the joy in doing so.

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