Interview With Doyin Richards: Empowering Mothers To Evolve Fatherhood
By Brandy Black
Brandy: Tell us how you went viral for being the “ultimate Mr. Mom.”
Doyin: Oh man, the media called me a lot of things, but “the ultimate Mr. Mom” is by far the most absurd. The irony is not lost on me that they wanted me on the air to discuss modern fatherhood, but they used the most non-modern terminology to describe me. In any case, it all started when I was on paternity leave from my corporate job and my wife didn’t think I could get both of my young daughters ready for the day without her help. Once she left for work, I put my camera on 10-second timer, took the photo, and sent it to her as proof. We both got a good laugh out of it, but once I posted the photo on social media, the Internet exploded.
Brandy: You recently wrote a book called Daddy Doin’ Work: Empowering Mothers To Evolve Fatherhood, tell me about it?
Doyin: I think how fatherhood is viewed in America needs to evolve. Bookshelves are filled with books written by dads with advice for other dads, but I wanted to take a different approach. I decided to write my book for moms because nobody knows their men better than they do. As a matter of fact, oftentimes they know their men better than these guys know themselves. The book gives an in-depth look into the minds of modern dads in a way that’s entertaining, informative, and real. I’ll expose the secrets of deadbeat dads, provide moms with tips for dealing with dads who think they’re rock stars just because they have full-time jobs while providing zero assistance with the kids, and describe what separates the great dads of the world from everyone else. Also, there are a lot of women out there making it harder on men to be good dads, and once they finish reading, they’ll learn if they’re part of the solution or part of the problem when it comes to evolving fatherhood.
Even though moms are the targets for this book, great dads will love it too because it validates the work they are currently doing for their families everyday.
Brandy: I know you have several moms following you, why do you think they seek your advice specifically?
Doyin: The overwhelming majority of my followers are moms. I think they enjoy my message of evolving fatherhood because creating a world of better dads creates a better (and easier) life for them and their kids. That’s not to say that dads don’t enjoy my message – because they do – but it seems as if my message really resonates with moms.
Brandy: Are you finding that it is hard for moms to relinquish control?
Doyin: I talked about this topic in detail in my book. I think it depends on the mom. My message is that if they refuse to let dads in, they’re only hurting themselves, their marriages, and the bond these men are attempting to have with their children. As long as the kids are safe and happy, I advise moms to let dads be dads in their own unique way. Just because it’s not the way you do it, doesn’t make it wrong – it only makes it different.
Brandy: Who are your dad role models?
Without question, it’s my dad because he was – and still is – an amazing role model for how men should approach fatherhood. When I was growing up, I remember how hard he worked as a university professor, but whenever he was home, he always made my brothers and me his number one priority. He’d give us baths, read to us, take us to the park, help with homework, be a shoulder to cry on, and just do everything a dad is expected to do. I know a lot of great dads who endured horrible upbringings with their dads and are great because they vow to be nothing like them. I’m lucky to have the complete opposite experience and I’m so thankful for being brought up in a household where my dad was the gold standard of what fatherhood should look like.
Brandy: Do you think the role of “Dad” is changing?
Doyin: Absolutely. Single dads, stay-at-home dads, gay dads, dads of color, etc. are all getting their voices heard, and it’s a beautiful thing. Brands are starting to focus more on dads, and many men are speaking out on issues that affect their abilities to be dads. A great example of that is the lack of changing tables in men’s restrooms. I was a strong supporter of a California bill that would require changing tables to exist in a men’s restroom if one already existed in an adjacent women’s restroom, but it was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown last year. I’m still doing my part to fight the good fight – and many other dads are fighting the good fight as well in regard to issues that are important to them.
How does your wife feel about all of this attention you are getting for being “Dad?”
Doyin: Overall, her approach towards me hasn’t changed one bit since I’ve received all of this attention. If anything, it puts more pressure on me to step up at home! Joking aside, she likes that I’m helping to move the conversation forward for what it means to be a modern dad.
Brandy: What do you predict the future of fatherhood to be? Do you think we can finally shatter the stereotypes of parental roles?
Doyin: Equality. If I could sum it up in a word, that’s what I would like it to be. In the future, I’d love to see a world where men and women can complete the same parenting tasks and are treated equally for it. Using my viral photo as an example, do you think the Internet would’ve exploded if a mom did that instead of me? I know that we would’ve reached the goal the day a photo like mine gets released and the majority of people say, “Big deal. That’s what he’s supposed to.” We’ll get there eventually.
Brandy: Tell us what you are doing now that you have just released your book, what’s next for “Daddy Doin’ Work?”
Doyin: I recently became a charter member of the Today Show’s new parenting team, and I have other surprises up my sleeve – a lot of which I don’t have the permission to talk about now. One thing I can mention is that I have a children’s book coming out in early 2016 that focuses on fatherhood. A portion of the book will include photos of dads with their children and if you’re interested in submitting a photo for it, you can do so here. Otherwise my plans will continue to revolve around spreading the word of fatherhood in America and beyond.
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