Fatherhood: What’s It Like to Be a Minority Dad?

I know I often discuss what it is like to be a mother (especially a black mother) in today’s age, but what about being a father? Why are there so many so called “mom blogs”, but not as many “dad blogs”? Maybe it is because of how fatherhood is portrayed in society.

The role of “father” in society and media is often portrayed as someone who supports the family financially, is a workaholic, doesn’t know what’s going on with the kids, maybe enforces the discipline, maybe completely ignores discipline, or (more frequently in portrayals of minority fathers) is just straight up absent from the household. Hmm…this list is sounding very negative.

Why is being a father associated with negative/disengaged behavior? What would it be like to see a positive image of what a father is?

That is why I wanted to interview a [minority] father that plays a big role in his family and displays as close to perfect (in my image) of what a dad should be. Ernesto Camacho, full-time father, full-time therapist, and a full-time spouse (my spouse specifically). How does he do it all? I’m not quite sure. So let’s ask him!

Ernesto Camacho & Family

Q: How are you so successful in every role you play in your life??

A: There are two main reasons why I believe I am successful…I invest in my relationships with others and I pay attention to the minute details. So, I think of the roles you described, as all relationships in which the worth of those relationships or the success of those relationships are dependent upon my deposits. By deposits, I’m referring to those check-ins to see how the other person is doing, by educating myself when I don’t know something, by being aware of my shortcomings and by constantly improving on them, and having open communication with the people I’m in relationships with.

Q: What’s it like being a minority father in your community? Are there any extra pressures?

A: I think there are extra pressures on myself because there were no good role models. Like you mentioned, there are negative representations of a father when you look at movies or media in general, you see “abusive fathers” or the “deadbeat dad”. You also see the polar opposite of this in the “workhorse father” who provides financially, but is never around. It was hard in the beginning trying to figure out what type of father I wanted to be, but once I figured it out, it was easy.

Q: Out of the various roles you play, which is your favorite?

A: Being a dad. It’s the most emotionally fulfilling relationship I’ve ever had. No offense.

Q: What was on your mind when you found out you were going to be a father…truthfully?

A: Ah, sh*t. Thinking of finances, what kind of father I wanted to be, and how I was going to manage a full time job, being a full time student, and a full time family. When I found out it was a girl, I started crying. I remember that. I wanted to make sure she knew how a man should treat her and the fact that she shouldn’t feel less than in this world. I knew I would play a role in how she viewed herself in society. I was really honored and appreciative to play that role.

“It’s amazing how your involvement is tied in with their growth.”

Q: What has been the biggest surprise in your first year of fatherhood?

A: How quickly your child learns from you. I’ve taught her many things like how to brush her teeth, and I wasn’t sure how quickly she would pick it up, but now she says, “brush teeth”. It’s amazing how your involvement is tied in with their growth.

Q: What has been the biggest reward of becoming a father?

A: It’s gonna sound cheesy, but just being her dad. I’m really happy to be her dad and be the person she plays with and hugs and kisses. She is very glued to me and looks for me all the time. It’s a lot of unconditional love.

Q: How do you practice #SimpleSelfCare as a dad?

A: I practice it often. Having a developing toddler you definitely need to. Some of my go-to’s are asking [mom] for a break from the kiddo. Having hobbies. Coffee. And exercising. And not skipping meals because parents do that all the time. Feed yourself first then feed your kids.

Q: What’s your advice to new mothers on how to support their “baby daddies”?

A: Let him know what your expectations are because a lot of times we get lost. We want to help, but we just don’t know in what way we can. New moms should also practice #SimpleSelfCare so it can lower the overall stress at home. And don’t criticize them if they are doing something wrong. It might take more time now to teach the things like how to swaddle or bathe the child or change a diaper. But in the long run you’re making deposits to your relationship and increasing the value and connection.

Q: Would you recommend therapy for soon-to-be dads or new fathers? Or even couples who are expecting?

A: I think it would be unfair to just single out the fathers and it would also be unfair to the relationship because both partners could learn about each other’s parenting styles during therapy. Therapy can provide soon to be parents with a safe space to communicate their concerns, explore their parenting values, and prepare them for the new and difficult transition.

Q: What is your advice to new fathers or soon-to-be fathers?

A: It will be alright. You don’t have to be perfect. It’s going to be stressful, but it will be worth it. Make sure to take care of yourself and lean into the discomfort.


Lots of take-a-ways for you dads out there (and moms). You learn some new things when you interview your spouse. Here’s your homework for this week, ask some of these questions to YOUR “baby daddy” or modify them and ask them to your “baby mama” and maybe you’ll learn something new about how you interact as parents.

All the thanks to Mr. Ernesto Camacho, IMF #100564 for cooperating with me, and for really speaking from the heart! I couldn’t appreciate you more for all the hard work you put into being a fantastic father and spouse! Love you!

And Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there! May this be a special one!

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You are Not SuperMom. SuperMom is You.

How many “Mom Blogs” do you follow on Instagram/Pinterest/Tumblr/[Insert other Social Media site]? Be honest. 2?  10? 25? More?? They all perfectly curate a page  of inspirational pictures and stories to show how amazing their kids, home, and overall life is. Even the pictures meant to show how messy life is or  how “real” they are, have been perfectly staged and professionally photographed.

This is all bulls**t. Excuse my French.

As a fellow mom, I know how hard we can be on ourselves, and these ideas of what a mom “should” be really don’t help. They make us feel like we should be doing more. Spending more. Committing more. Giving more. But how much more can you really give? Just the fact that you had 5 minutes to stop and scroll through Instagram is a miracle! When screaming toddlers and angst-y teens are a part of your everyday life there is no time for figuring out how to be SuperMom.

Women are naturally super human. We literally create life within us. Yet we live in a society where the act of CREATING LIFE isn’t enough. We are suppose to create life, tend to the house, bring home the bacon, and please the spouse. We let society put all these expectations on us, but what are we expecting of ourselves? Why are we listening to society??

Today I want to remind you of 4 reasons to stop trying to be SuperMom..

1. It’s impossible to do it ALL.

tired mom

Have you ever heard that multitasking is just doing multiple things badly? Well it’s true. Research shows time and time again that as we increase the quantity of things we do at once, we also decrease the quality of all of those things.

Have you ever tried cooking, dinner, helping a child with homework, doing laundry, and feeding an infant? You probably burned at least one part of dinner, the child ended up more confused about how to do long division, the laundry smelled moldy after being in the washer too long, and the infant got more food on the floor than in their mouth. Wow. Isn’t multitasking great? *Rolls eyes* What if you just cooked dinner, and asked the child to feed their younger sibling. The infant might have gotten fed (and spent some quality time with their older sibling). The dinner would have been cooked and stove turned off in a reasonable amount of time, leaving time to help the oldest child with their long division. And maybe you even got in a load of laundry done while they finished up their homework. Viola! This is how you get things done.

2. It is overrated.

Being the best of the best is overrated for sure. So what if you get every chore done in record time. What do you get for that? Pretty much nothing other than being really tired and unwilling to play with your kids (who have now holed themselves up in their rooms while you finished cleaning). No one is passing out trophies for doing it all. Things do need to get done, but some things can wait so that you can stop and smell the roses. Enjoying time with those precious humans you created is the biggest reward for being a mom.

If you must do the vacuuming, dusting, dishes, etc. though…here’s a hack. Have the kids do it with you. Turn on their favorite music, and assign them all chores. I know even my one year old likes to “help” me push the vacuum around. Dance and vacuum like no one is watching, and collapse on the couch with the kiddos when you’re done. Make spending time together the #1 thing on your to do list.

3. You lose yourself.

mother hiking

Being SuperMom means tending to one or more kids, tending to your spouse, and tending to the life that you were meant to live (not tend to). It makes you lose the very essence of yourself. What were your interests before the spouse or children came along? When was the last time you did something that remotely resembled that interest? Does SuperMom get the chance to tend to her own needs ever? No. Because SuperMom’s life does not have time for herself.

Stop to recharge yourself. Sometimes you need to take off the cape, so you can remember your true identity and live YOUR life. You can’t pour from an empty glass. You have to give yourself the space and time to get yourself in order, so that you have the patience and energy to give to these other valuable relationships. Just like you rather spend 5 minutes with a relaxed, happy spouse than an hour with someone who is grumpy and tired…imagine which version of yourself would your family prefer to spend time with?

 

4. Your kids already think you are SuperMom.

black mom and daughter

We spend so much time trying to be this fictional person. When in reality this fictional person was based on a real life you! You are already enough. You are already doing enough. Just the effort you put in is more than enough. You ARE SuperMom! Your kids see it. Your spouse sees it. Now it is time for YOU to see it. Trust me. Your kids think you are the greatest thing since sliced bread. They may not say it (or show it), but they know it. No child is going to school and asking their friends, “Did your mom get all the chores done yesterday? Because mine sure did!” That’s not happening. Trust me. The only one comparing you is you. All your kids know is without you their world would fall apart. You are literally holding their world together. Isn’t that super human?

 

The point of this all is to remind you that no matter how much or how little you get accomplished, what’s important is that you are putting in some effort. You are trying to be the best version of yourself, not the best version of the woman on your timeline. Here’s to you, Mom! Thank you for being a super version of you!

 

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How to Tell the Kids about Your “Conscious Uncoupling”

Ever heard of giving your kids “the Birds & the Bees” discussion? Well you’ve probably never heard of “the Conscious Uncoupling” discussion. Yes it is just a fancy name for “divorce”, but it exemplifies how you should approach discussing this topic with your children. Being conscious to the fact that this decision affects them just as much as (if not more than) it affects you, and being conscious to the fact that they deserve input to this process where it is appropriate.

When you and your partner decide that the relationship is no longer healthy for either/both of you, it feels like a very personal and individual decision. However, it has a rippling affect on the people closest to you, most importantly the children closest to you. There are multiple ways however to cushion the blow when announcing a separation to children.kids and dog

Be Open and Upfront

You may think that you’re doing a great job of hiding any negative feelings between your spouse and yourself, but the kids know. Children have a “sixth sense” when it comes to problems between their parents. They know when things are going well and they definitely know when things are not. Make your kids a priority in the situation and prepare them for this change. The only reason to postpone telling your kids is if you aren’t sure if it is actually going to happen. No need to jump the gun on this difficult conversation.

Continue Showing a United Front

This is extremely important. In your children’s eyes you are a package deal. Whether you are separating, divorcing, or “consciously uncoupling”, you are both still a parent to your children. They still need the same things from you that they needed when you were together. That means being able to respect one another and (at least pretend to) be as friendly as possible. Although you can decide to stop being in a relationship, you can not decide to stop being a parent.

Spare Them the Details

Telling your kids that their parents are no longer in love is hard enough. Do NOT add on top of that all the reasons you think the other parent is [insert bad words that children should not hear]. Your decision to separate is about your relationship with your partner, not your child’s relationship with their parent. Trying to damage that relationship is not your place and is just plain old cruel. Children will grow into adults and decide for themselves what they think of their parents and what type of relationship they want to have with them. Do not try to make those decisions for them.

Emphasize Your Relationship with Your Child Instead of with Your Partner

Spend this time explaining to your kids your love for them, and how that does not change. Children are very self-centered. It is just how they are at this stage of development. Honestly, your kids don’t care that you are no longer going to be together. They care about whether you and them are going to stay together. This is most likely the first time they are being introduced to the idea that two people can stop loving one another. This makes them fear a change in their relationship with you. Your job is to reinforce that your relationship with them is not going to change. This is also a good time to mention that the separation/divorce is not their fault. Be very clear that it has nothing to do with how much you love them.

Try to Create Routines and Consistency Between Two Households

Kids thrive when they are able to predict what will happen next. Divorce is a big shock, but it doesn’t have to unravel their sense of security. Creating consistency between two households can be difficult, but it will make all the difference in making the transition smooth. Don’t make a custody schedule based off of your needs. Make it based on what works best for your children. If your kids are old enough to give input, please give them that courtesy. Consistency looks like…

  • Keeping some of their favorite things at both homes (favorite toys, snacks, etc.)
  • Sticking to the house rules they have always had (bed time, amount of TV, etc.)
  • Having both parents at family activities (birthdays, school events, etc.)
  • Not changing plans at the last minute (who’s weekend it is, who’s picking them up from school, etc.)

 

When finding it difficult to have these discussions or finding that co-parenting isn’t going as smoothly as you would like, consider family therapy. It gives a safe place for kids to have their voices heard and for parents to practice helpful tools in the process of creating a new family dynamic.

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Are You Enemies, Sidekicks, or a Team?: Defining Your Relationship with Your Parenting Partner

You see your child in front of you with that bottom lip stuck out. They are asking to do/for something that you have already said “No” to multiple times in the past. You try not to fall victim to those sad puppy dog eyes. You quickly glance around the room to make eye contact with your partner. Do you…

A. Find them no where in site, and therefore have to go by what your child tells you they said.

B. Find them not to far away, but completely ignoring your desperate stares.

C. Meet their gaze and know they are going to back you up no matter what you say.

Or D. Some rendition of one of these or a combination of one, two, or three of them?

family shadow

If you answered A.

You may be enemies. This probably isn’t the first time they’ve been m.i.a., and it probably won’t be the last either.When your partner is no where to be found it is hard to feel supported or appreciated. It also isn’t real conducive to that whole “united front” idea. If this is your relationship it is important to work on two things…communication and appearances. You have to have very open and reachable communication with your partner. If they aren’t going to be by your side when making a decision, they at least need to know what decision they are suppose to be supporting. This is where appearances comes in. You want it to appear to your kid(s) that you are both on the same page with any and all decisions being made. Any sign that one parent is out of the loop, you might as well be bleeding into a tank of sharks…those little monsters will sniff that out and take advantage.

What To Do: 

  • Be aware of any permissions your child(ren) may be asking for
  • Have an open line of communication
  • Do NOT waiver on any agreed upon decisions

If you answered B.

You may be sidekicks. Your kid(s) probably know that they will hear, “Ask [insert other parent]” instead of actually getting an answer. Someone in this parenting dynamic is the boss, and someone in this dynamic is probably disengaged from the relationship and/or family. This can be dangerous because not only is there a lack of support, but there is a lack of care. One parent is left making all the decisions and feeling like they are in it alone, while the other doesn’t even know what decision is being made.

What To Do:

  • Practice making eye contact
  • Ask how you can help or ask for help
  • Set aside time to engage with spouse/family
  • Do NOT defer to the other parent

If you answered C.

Congrats! It sounds like you are already acting as a team! Your kid(s) recognize that an answer from one parent is as good as an answer from both. You put on a united front that shows teamwork and consistency. No one parent is taking on the burden of being “the bad cop”, and all parties are being shown mutual respect.

What To Do:

  • Continue being consistent
  • Discuss decisions with each other before coming to a final conclusion
  • Do NOT argue in front of the child(ren)

If you answered D.

Consistency isn’t your strongest attribute. Sometimes your partner is a dependable ally and sometimes they are your worst enemy. Either way, you are probably craving the same stability your kids are searching for. Being inconsistent can create resentment and an unstable environment for a couple and family. A lack of dependability leaves one partner unsure of what to expect and reluctant to share their needs. If you don’t know what response you will get you are more likely to avoid any communication.

What To Do:

  • Practice consistency with small tasks/decisions
  • Prioritize with partner what really needs their full attention
  • Do NOT flake on decisions that have been set

 

At the end of the day, your relationship with your spouse and family is affected by how you choose to parent. Attending couples and/or family therapy can help you gain insight on how to make improvements that will make parenting easier and more rewarding. If committing to weekly sessions is not suitable for your schedule, look up local parenting workshops and parent groups that may lend the support you are looking for.

“Coming together is a beginning; Keeping together is progress; Working together is success.” ~Henry Ford

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