My friend, Eric, who writes the blog, Makes Me Wanna Holler, recently interviewed me about fatherhood. He posted the interview on his blog, but I want to share it with my readers also because it will give you some insight into why I started this blog and why I love being a dad.
Eric: How many children do you have, how long have you been married?
Mocha Dad: I have three children – Nee, 8; N, 6; and X, 2. My wife KayEm and I have been married for 12 years.
Eric: When did you start blogging and what inspires you to blog?
Mocha Dad: I started blogging in August of 2008 to counter the negative stereotypes regarding black fatherhood. I wanted people to get a first hand account of a black father who is intimately involved in his children’s lives. My children inspire me to continue blogging. I want to use my blog as a historical document that chronicles their lives. When they become adults, they will have a tangible document that charts their growth, development and special moments to share with their children.
Eric: What does being a dad mean to you?
Mocha Dad: Being a dad means being fully involved in your kids’ lives. Many dads rely on their wives to handle all the details of their children lives, but when they do this, they miss out on bonding opportunities. Kids grow up so fast and you have to take advantage of every moment. Although I travel constantly for my job, I try to spend as much time with my kids as I can because I don’t want to have any regrets when they are adults. I like to take my kids shopping, visit them and their teachers throughout the school year, and play games with them. Something as simple as reading a book together makes a huge difference in a child’s life.
Also, parents should be the first and main role models in their children’s lives. Fathers can have a huge impact on their children’s lives. Girls and boys need to a have a strong man of integrity whom they can emulate and measure others by.
Eric: How does being a man of color impact this?
Mocha Dad: I don’t think that race has anything to do with being a dad. I’ve spoken with fathers of all races and our challenges are the same – protecting our children, providing for our children, giving them a set of values, and teaching them how to be productive citizens. Of course, many black dads grew up without fathers as role models; consequently, many of us are winging it. But we cannot use that as an excuse to shirk our responsibilities. Dads have to be committed to their families in order for them to be successful. Part of that commitment requires sacrifices and some men, regardless of race, are unwilling to make those sacrifices. Fatherhood is difficult, but it is also the most rewarding job we’ll ever have.
One thing that bothers me is when people congratulate me when they see me out with my kids. They say things like, “It’s good to see a black man out with his kids,” or “You’re a great dad.” I’m not seeking any accolades because I spend time with my kids. I’m just doing my job as a parent. I’m looking forward to the day when seeing a black man spending time with his kids won’t be such a novelty. The benchmark for being a good “black” father is set extremely low right now. We have to raise the bar for our children’s sake.
Eric: What are the challenges, the perks of modern-day living with a family?
Mocha Dad: Raising kids now is much more difficult than it was I was I growing up. Kids have so many distractions and so many more ways to get into trouble. It is important to find a balance between protecting our children and allowing them to find their own way in the world. That’s why it is important to have a both parents involved in raising children. Men and women have different perspectives about certain things and kids benefit from those different perspectives. My wife is much more protective than I am. I have to balance her protectiveness with my desire to let the kids explore the world and even fail in order to develop their personalities. Together we can usually come up with a decision that is right for that particular child.
One of the perks of being a father is coming home each day to a chorus of “DADDY’S HOME!!!!” and receiving big hugs from each of my three children and my wife. Also I can watch cartoons without anyone questioning my maturity level.
Eric: What has been one of your most memorable moments as a father? As a husband?
Mocha Dad: My most memorable moments as a father and as a husband have been the births of each of my children. Those moments will forever live in my memory.
Eric: What advice/recommendation would you give to someone about to become a father and/or husband?
Mocha Dad: One problem that many parents encounter is that they place their children before their marriage. All parents need to make their marriage a priority. Make time to nurture that relationship before any other. Children are more secure when they can see that their parents have a strong relationship.
Also fathers need to make sure that they are available to their family. We all fall into the trap where we think our main role is to provide for our family. Therefore, we neglect our family because we are too busy working. We must remember that taking care of our families is our most important job. Taking care of our families is much more than just providing for their financial needs. We have to address our families’ emotional and spiritual needs as well.
Eric: If you could accomplish anything through your blogging, what would that be?
Mocha Dad: I’d like to inspire other fathers to be more involved in their children’s lives. I don’t intend to portray myself as a perfect father because I have several faults. I just hope that people can read my blog and see that I’m just a flawed human being who is working to do his best with the gifts, talents, and blessings that God has bestowed upon me.
P.S. – Your comments count. I will donate $0.50 for each comment I receive during the month of October to help domestic violence victims. If you tweet this post using #stopd0mesticviolence, I will add another $0.25 to the pot. If you make a donation of any amount to NCADV, I will add another $1.00 (make sure I know about it).