Daddy Doin' WorkCall it the "Daddy Wars." One Los Angeles blogger sparked them when a photo he posted of himself and his two daughters
on Twitter and Facebook quickly went viral. A father of two Doyin
Richards (pronounced Doe-ween), 39, is currently taking a paternity
leave of absence from his job in learning development to care for his
daughters, ages 6 months and 2 years. He described the incident on his blog.
"One morning, [my wife] was running late for work and was worried that
she wouldn't be able to get [my daughter'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.'" Still determined, Richards placed his
infant into her carrier and "worked my hair magic." He also set up his
camera, enabled its 10-second timer, and snapped a photo to prove to his
wife that he could handle the job.
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Richards had originally posted the photo on his website back in
October, with an accompanying post titled, "I Have a Dream: That People
Will View a Picture Like This and Not Think It's a Big Deal." But in
late December, he reposted it, and on Monday, the fatherhood blog The
Good Men Project picked it up.
In a matter of hours, the photo
went viral, quickly amassing nearly 5,000 shares, 3,000 comments, and
190,000 likes, along with a slew of mean-spirited remarks, such as "He
probably rented those kids. They don't even look like him," and "I would
bet anything that you're a deadbeat."
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Although to Richards, the photo is simply an accurate reflection of his
daily life, he understands the scrutiny — to a degree. "The picture
stirs emotion for a few reasons," Richards tells Yahoo Shine. "The media
doesn't portray fathers as caregivers. We're seen as bumbling fools
trying to figure out parenthood, or macho men pushing their kids into
the NFL. The other issue is that there's a stereotype that black fathers
Despite what Richards calls "haters," he sees his role as a father as no different from that of a mother. He writes,
"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."
At the same time, he outright
rejects any hero worship: "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
According to family and relationship expert Laurie Puhn, author of Fight Less, Love More,
Richard's post packs a triple-punch that makes him a target for
attention. "This is a handsome man with a good job — that offers
paternity leave, no less — and he seems happily married," Puhn tells
Yahoo Shine. "If he were a stay-at-home father, this might not be so
noteworthy, but he's taking voluntarily paternity leave. What's more, he
obviously enjoys it. Unfortunately, if a woman were doing the same job,
no one would talk about it."
Richards agrees, writing,
"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
every day for their kids without receiving a 'Thank you' or an 'Ooooh'
or 'Ahhhh.' These behaviors should be expected of moms and dads. No