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ברוך פוקח עורים • Blessed is the One who opens unseeing eyes

Daddy Doin Work

Princess Abba Tours the Internet

One weekend during the winter of 2014, I enjoyed a lazy day playing in the living room with my family. The weather kept us indoors and there really wasn't much else to do. My daughter made her way through her toys that we had tucked in every corner of the house. Inevitably, it became time for dress up. Princess dress up is not on my list of empowering activities for raising strong women, but somehow the requisite supplies made their way into the house anyway. My sorta-kinda-not-really saving grace was that my egalitarian daughter often insisted that her Abba (Hebrew for father) take turns bedecked in princess accouterments. Dressing up her Abba as a princess brought much joy to the 1.5 year old and that was all I needed to play along. Of course, my darling wife snapped a picture.

Among my heroes is a man named Doyin Richards. Doyin writes a fatherhood blog called Daddy Doin Work and recently authored Daddy Doin Work: Empowering mothers to evolve fatherhood. After the birth of his second daughter, Doyin took some time off from his corporate job to bond with the baby. While on leave, he found himself in a bit of a predicament. In a moment of what Josh Levs, author of All In: How Our Work-First Culture Fails Dads, Families, and Businesses--And How We Can Fix It Together, calls "maternal gatekeeping", Doyin's wife was nervous to leave the house without her doing her eldest daughter's hair. He assured her that he had it covered. With his youngest in the baby carrier and his oldest in front of the mirror, Doyin managed to snap a picture of himself while taking on this parental task. After sharing the picture with his wife as proof of a job well done, Doyin posted the picture to Facebook and it quickly went viral. Some time later, Doyin wrote for the Huffington Post that, "I have a dream that people will view a picture like this and not think it's a big deal." Recently, Doyin quit his corporate job to be a full-time "Daddy Doin Work".

One of Daddy Doin Work's projects is an Instagram feed where fathers can post pictures of themselves taking care of their children. The goal is to flood the internet with so many pictures of fathers parenting that it no longer seems like an exception to the norm. I have submitted several photos to Doyin over the past year or so.

One morning last September I awoke to a Facebook message from an Israeli friend. She and I spent a summer working at the same Jewish overnight camp a few years ago. It read, "Scott!!! You're in an article on a famous Israeli website! I was reading and suddenly saw you in a picture!" It seems that the Israeli site was highlighting these "Pictures from the life of a Father" on its site. I clicked, scrolled, and saw this:

Insta Abba

There I was. Tiara, skirt, purse, necklace and all. (Good thing the picture didn't show the toddler-sized high heels dangling from my big toes!) The caption reads, "And with this daughter they [fathers] know how to be twins when required." I am proud that more accurate depictions of fatherhood are being shared worldwide. However, let this also be a cautionary tale. The Atlantic and the Mediterranean are not too great a distance for images to travel in the internet age.