When people see Don Hudson, a biker and father of four, with his children, they often tell him he’s “babysitting.” Don despises the idea that dads merely babysit their children.
“It’s an insult,” he told The Huffington Post. “We’re not babysitting. We’re parenting. They’re our kids.”
He became so disturbed by the assumption that dads cannot play as important a role in parenting as mothers that he created the store Seahorses in Portland, Oregon. In nature, seahorse fathers bear the offspring instead of the mother, who lays eggs in the dad’s pouch.
Don’s store or “place” is father-oriented, although moms are very much welcome. He wanted to create a place that curated children’s books about father-child relationships, workshops for dads, kid cooking lessons, and parenting playdates.
“The back half of the place, that’s where I’ve got my enclosed kids’ area with the countertops where dads ― or moms ― can sit around and use the Wi-Fi and have a cup of coffee, let the kids play for a minute, take a break from parenting for five minutes and breathe,” Don said.
The idea of the store is to break down stereotypes and encourage society to embrace the idea of single and stay-at-home fathers. For example, movie fathers are portrayed as loving guys who nevertheless have to idea how to care for their kids when they’re left alone with them. It’s just unrealistic.
Most dads know how to change diapers and cook meals for their kids.
“We’ve successfully conveyed the message that dads are competent parents. We’re not a bunch of bumbling idiots like the media portrays,” he said. “If you leave the kid alone with dad, he’s not going to be home stuck to the wall. Not everyone puts Sharpie marker on their kids’ eyebrows just to get a good picture out of it. We’re in the trenches, too.”
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