Okay friends, anyone who has been watching TV has probably seen the commercial with Doyin Richards, the guy behind the wildly popular DADDY DOIN WORK. He is an amazing dad who has become quite the public father, helping to spread the meaningful message that dads should be as involved as possible in their kids' lives. We were lucky enough to get to chat with Doyin about fatherhood, his role as a public father, and his new book I WONDER. If you're looking for a great father's day gift, consider picking that up!
You’re a blogger, an educator, an author, a public figure and pretty much the go-to expert on fathering and masculinity (among a million other things), how did all of this come about?
Sometimes I wonder if I truly am all of those things. At the end of the day, I'm just a dad who struggles with many aspects of parenting just like any other mom or dad. I think a major part of my popularity is that I'm relatable. I don't pretend to "have it all figured out," and a lot of parents dig that I talk about the highs and lows of fatherhood.
What changes has all this attention brought about/how has it impacted your family?
Other than the fact that I travel more often these days for events and speaking engagements, I try to keep things as normal as possible at home. I still give baths, do hair, change diapers, make dinner, and coach T-ball. So far, so good.
Do you feel pressured to be a perfect dad now that you’re such a public father figure? How do you deal with that stress? How can dads deal with that nagging notion that they could be doing it all wrong?
That's the thing — the "perfect dad" doesn't exist and I wouldn't be where I am today if I pretended to be one. Being authentic is the key. Sometimes people love me for it, and sometimes people dislike me for it — but I can sleep well at night knowing that I'm being true to myself. To the other dads, my advice is simple: Before you put your kids to bed ask yourself are they happy, kind, and alive? If so, you won the day as a parent.
The meaning of fatherhood is changing for a lot of people, in what ways do you think men are succeeding or failing in keeping up?
I think men are getting the memo that being a dad is way more than bringing home a paycheck and playing the occasional game of catch in the backyard. It's about nurturing, showing up for doctor appointments and teacher conferences, doing hair, and being whatever in the world our kids need from us at any given moment. Thankfully due to social media, we're able to see more examples of that than ever before.
Many men report not having a very good example to follow when it comes to being a father. What advice would you give them?
Follow your gut. Men are way more intuitive than we're given credit for. Follow the cues of your children, learn from your mistakes, and always be present. If those small and simple pieces of advice are followed, you'll be on the right track.
Where does your motivation for being a good father come from?
It came from the fact that we suffered a miscarriage and I didn't think I'd have the opportunity to be a dad. When we welcomed my oldest daughter into the world, I promised her that I'd be the best man/dad I could possibly be for her. About 18 months later, I shared my enthusiasm for fatherhood with the world by creating Daddy Doin' Work. The rest is history.
How would you recommend other dads get motivated?
Honestly, if a man can look into his kids' eyes and not be motivated to be the best dad he can be for them, then I don't know what to say.
What’s the hardest part about being a dad?
I find myself rushing around a lot and I end up missing the precious moments I have with my children. I need to slow down and enjoy this time I have with them, because before I know it, they'll be dating, off to college, and married before I blink.
What’s the best part about being a dad?
Just knowing how much my kids trust me. I've always believed that the best three words a child can say to a parent isn't "I love you," it's "I trust you." Both of my daughters trust me to always be there for them and that makes me extremely happy.
What are some of your favorite fathering moments?
Anything that involves being silly. Dance parties, silly faces, chasing them around a playground, etc. The giggles from my kids are music to my ears.
Doyin's new children's book I WONDER is the perfect gift for the dad in your life. It uses beautiful photos to show that the way dads do things may not be mom's way or even the right way, but it's our way — and our kids benefit greatly from our involvement.