Take a look at this picture. Look at it. What jumps out at you? Credit: http://daddydoinwork.com/dreamin/Ya. Me neither. Looks like a dad doing his daughter’s hair. Well apparently it caused quite the “outrage porn” on the intertubes.
The gist of it was that “Dad’s just don’t do that sort of thing”. When I looked at the image, I was dumbfounded by what I was supposed to be seeing. It took reading half way through Doyin’s blog post, which you should read in full, to even begin to understand what the fuss was all about. But then, I suppose that’s been part of my journey too.
When I was growing up, my mom worked…at least part-time…for most of my school years. I recognize now that she left late and was home early, but at the time, it always struck me that my mom worked outside of the house. Not only that, she wanted to work in her chosen profession. I mean, that’s what women’s lib was all about, wasn’t it? That women were empowered to pursue their career and not just the hard work of making a home.
This perspective was so ingrained that when I met my wife much later, and she was dead-set on staying home with our children, I was thoroughly confused. For her, the rewards of staying home with the children far outweighed those of a professional career. For an ambitious young guy, that took some getting used to.
Understanding that that was her choice was one thing, but coming to a place within myself where being a parent has intrinsic value took a lot longer. Part of that journey was tied to my migration to self-employment. In a lot of ways, I’ve always been an entrepreneur (hard to manage and needing to do things my own way), but it wasn’t until I took that step away from being an employee to building my own work that I truly began to re-order my priorities.
I suppose it’s probably not coincidence that I stepped out on my own about the same time that my daughter was born. I spent the first two years of my daughter’s life primarily working from home. I discovered the joy of finding my own way in the world and at the same time learned the value of being Dad. My son was two that year and I loved being a father to him, but it wasn’t until I was home that I realized how much I’d been missing. ###Daddying I knew that I had changed as a person when it came time to make a choice. That choice was to head back to an office job, or be unemployed for a while. I chose to be home. I chose time with my children and risked looking for that unknown opportunity rather than the easy way out. And I’ve never looked back.
And it’s obvious that it’s gone even deeper. I look at this picture of Doyin and I can’t figure out why I’m looking at it. It just looks…normal. Here’s to him and all his loyal followers for rockin’ the daddyin’. I raise a toast to you all in solidarity.