3 reasons to stop praising dads for doing what they're supposed to.

Because if moms aren't viewed as heroes for creating a ponytail or changing diapers, neither should dads.

Jackie is a mom of two living in Tampa. She's not a fan of the praise dads are getting lately for raising their kids.

"I know this is going to sound bitter, but all of the dad-worship stuff needs to stop," Jackie told me. "It seems like all a man needs to do is change a diaper or braid hair, and he's instantly a superstar."

She's probably not alone.


For every woman who swoons at seeing a photo like this, there is another one rolling her eyes wondering what the big deal is.

We all love seeing photos of dads with their kids ... right? Photo from the Daddy Doin' Work Instagram feed, used with permission.

Where did all of this praise for dads come from? The Internet lost its collective mind over a recent Super Bowl commercial featuring dads doing their daughters' hair, so we know this phenomenon is real.

Maybe it's because people love seeing men with their babies. Maybe it's because our expectations for fathers have gotten so low that we're excited to see them doing anything with their children.

Regardless of the reasons, moms like Jackie aren't amused.

PLOT TWIST: Many dads don't want credit for doing dad stuff either.

Rick Brown is all smiles with one of his five daughters, Madison. Photo from Rick Brown, used with permission.

Meet Rick. He's a dad to five daughters and absolutely loves his girls to death.

One day while his wife was busy, Rick loaded up his girls into his car and took them to the local library to do some reading. Then things started to get strange. People kept staring at him as if he was an "exotic zoo animal." Finally, a woman stopped him to say how "amazing" it is that a dad was at the library with his girls.

Here's the thing about Rick and other dads like him: He's not interested in receiving compliments on how he does his daddy thing.

"I truly enjoy spending time with my daughters," Rick told me. "I don't think dads should get credit for being parents."

You know what? The dude's right.

With that, here are three simple takeaways regarding the recent dad-worship epidemic.

1. Making the ordinary extraordinary is, well, dumb.

Let's pretend that you like to brush your teeth before leaving the house every morning. (Actually, let's not pretend. That's probably something grown folks should be doing on the daily.)

Minty fresh breath, baby.

Now let's pretend that as you're strolling down the street, people stop you to share the following thoughts:

"Whoa! You brushed your teeth today?! You are amazing!"

"I wish everyone could be like you. Good oral hygiene is soooooo important!"

"You are such a role model. You make fresh breath cool!"

That would be weird, right?

It's normal to brush our teeth. It's not less weird for dudes to receive praise for doing the "normal" child-rearing tasks.

"I was once told that I must be a great dad because I hold my daughter so well," Jason, a dad to a 6-month-old daughter, told me.

What does that even mean? How do you respond to something like that?

GIF from "The Hangover."

We (dads) aren't bumbling buffoons. We know what we're doing.

But when men are seen as "great dads" just because we can hold babies without injuring them, we know that the fatherhood bar needs to be raised.

Which leads to the next point.

2. All of the daddy praise makes it harder for moms to be moms.

Whether we like it or not, the pressure to be a good mom is real. When we live in a world where dads can put videos like this online and are seen as geniuses, it leaves some moms frustrated.

"I struggle with parenting, like many women I know," Jackie said. "I feel like I always have to be perfect while dads can skate along by doing pretty much anything."

If we put our hearts and soul into something, we want to know that we're doing a good job. Motherhood is no different.

These ladies have a frustrating gig, and they want to be acknowledged for it. Melissa, a mom of three shared that exact sentiment:

"My husband can put my daughter in a lumpy ponytail, and he's a hero. If I did that, I'll be seen as the worst mom ever. Guess what? Sometimes I don't have the energy to style hair perfectly or create perfectly healthy meals. But I work just as hard being a parent as he does. Why can't society see that?"

Thankfully there's a pretty easy fix to the problem: equal praise for equal work.

If we're going to praise dads for completing tasks with or for their kids, we should praise moms just as much for doing the same thing. No exceptions.

Because let's be real: The next time a mom is viewed as a hero for creating a ponytail will be the first time.

3. The dad-worship thing needs to be everywhere before it goes away.

Wait ... what?

Stay with me.

There are a lot of articles celebrating fatherhood around here. But let's look at it a little differently.

Back in 1987, people celebrated the fact that Doug Williams was the first African-American quarterback to start (and win) a Super Bowl.

It was a really big deal.

The media was all over Doug Williams back in the day. Photo by Mike Powell/Getty Images.

But it was a really big deal because we hadn't seen it before.

In 2016, there are many African-American quarterbacks in football, and we hardly blink an eye at them. Why? Because it's normal now.

There is good news for people who are growing weary of the daddy love on the Internet: This too shall pass.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, the only way to truly normalize good dads is to celebrate them.

Yeah, I said it.

Share them, talk about them, love them, and celebrate the hell out of these dudes when you see them.

When you see a dad going viral for something that a mom can do blindfolded, just smile knowing it signifies that we're one step closer to it becoming old news.

Eventually dads braiding hair and holding dance parties for our kids will be as newsworthy as brushing our teeth.

And quite frankly, that's the way it should be.

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Brian Olesen never imagined he would end up homeless.

The former U.S. Air Force medic had led a full and active life, complete with a long career in the medical field, a 20-year marriage, and a love of anything aquatic. But after hip surgery and chronic back pain left him disabled in 2013, he lost his ability to work. Due to changes in eligibility requirements, he couldn't qualify for federal veteran housing programs. His back issues were difficult to prove medically, so he didn't qualify for disability. Though he'd worked his whole life, having no income for five years took its toll. He got evicted from a couple of apartments and found himself living on the streets.

But in 2018, two things completely turned Olesen's life around. He was able to both qualify for disability and to move into an affordable housing community in Miami's Goulds neighborhood called Karis Village.

When people think of affordable housing, they don't usually picture a place like Karis Village. The 88-unit development is brand new, and built with an attention to design that is not always expected for developments that serve as home to people on limited incomes. The apartments have tile floors, marble countertops, and all new appliances and furniture, and the grounds are beautiful and well-kept, with a playground and common areas for residents to gather.

Brian Olesen in his kitchen at Karis VillageCapital One

Karis Village isn't just a housing development; it's a home and a community. Half of the units are set aside for veterans who have experienced homelessness, like Olesen. The other half are largely occupied by single-parent families.

"To me, this building was just a gift," says Olesen. "All of the different parties that got together to put this building together… making half the building available to veterans. We've got no place to go."

Addressing veteran homelessness was one of the goals of Karis Village, which was built through a partnership that included Carrfour Supportive Housing — a mission-driven, not-for-profit affordable housing organization in southern Florida — and Capital One's Community Finance team. More than just an affordable place to live, the community has full-time staff on hand to help coordinate services—from addiction recovery programs to transportation options to job search and placement. Also included are peer counselors who provide emotional and psychological support for residents.

Karis Village, an affordable housing community in Miami, Florida.Capital One

Carrfour President and CEO Stephanie Berman says the core function of the services team on site is to build a supportive community.

"Often when you think of folks leaving homelessness and coming into housing, you think of shelters or some kind of traditional housing," she says. "You don't really think about a community, and that's really what we build and what we operate. What we're really striving to create is community. We find that our families thrive when you create a sense of community."

The intention to create a supportive community at Karis Village was a priority from the get go. Fabian Ramirez, a Capital Officer on Capital One's Community Finance team, says the bank did a listening tour in southern Florida to explore community development and affordable housing options in the area and to hear what was most needed. After deciding to partner with Carrfour, the bank provided not only an $8 million construction loan and a $25 million low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) investment to help build Karis Village, but it also kicked in a $250,000 social purpose grant to help fund the social support services that would be put in place for residents.

"It's not just all about providing the brick and mortar," says Ramirez. "It's about being able to contribute to the sustainability of the development and of the lives of the people who move into the building."


Capital One

Olesen says he and his fellow residents benefit greatly from the network of support services offered in the building. He says a counselor comes to meet with him once a month, sometimes right in his apartment. He also gets help maintaining a connection with the Veteran Affairs office. Other services include social workers and counselors for drug addiction and alcoholism.

Olesen loves being around other veterans, and he says hearing the sound of children playing keeps the community lively. He says anywhere else he could afford to live on disability wouldn't be nearly as nice and would likely involve shared kitchens and bathrooms and neighborhoods you wouldn't want to go out in at night.

If it weren't for Karis Village, Olesen says he doesn't know where he would be today: "I had nowhere to go and this is a safe, beautiful place to spend my retirement."

"I don't think they could have done a much better job of putting this place together and supplying us with what we need," he says. "I have so much appreciation for the ability to have a place to live. And then you add to that that it's beautiful and completely furnished and you didn't need to bring anything—I don't know what more you could ask for."

Karis Village and another development for veterans built the same year enabled the neighborhood of Goulds to meet the requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to declare an end to veteran homelessness in the area.

Ending veteran homelessness altogether is a complex task, but communities like Karis Village show how it can be done—and done well. When government agencies, non-profit organizations, and corporate funding programs come together to solve big problems, big solutions can be built and maintained.

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Capital One