When single dad Philippe Morgese posted his one-of-a-kind idea to Reddit, he wasn’t prepared for how it would take off. Only 24 hours after Morgese introduced his “Dads and Daughters” hair class to the Internet, it has taken on a viral life of its own.
After becoming a single dad when his daughter Emma was 1-year-old, Morgese quickly realized he had a lot to learn. Not only did he have to figure out the most common single-parent dilemma — how to be two parents in one — he had to master a daughter-raising skill that wasn’t covered in the parenting instruction manual.
Morgese started out small by dressing up his toddler daughter’s hair with hair clips. And like a few brave single dads before him, Morgese began to take his daughter’s hair more seriously. He moved on to pigtails and eventually progressed to more intricate hairstyles that most women wouldn’t dare try at home. It wasn’t until Morgese started to receive compliments, especially from fellow dads, that he realized what was missing. Morgese told Babble:
“I’ve always done my daughter’s hair, but this year I have shared it more because it is more accepted. I worried about the opinions of others when I needed to figure out Emma’s hair, so I went online to research. Websites like Reddit and YouTube provided so much assistance and reassurance for me. Once I started experimenting with new styles and sharing them online, I found that many of us had the same struggle.”
As he explained in his original Reddit post, Morgese’s first “Dads and Daughters” hair class, hosted at a local beauty school, was a hit. The turnout for the first small class was better than expected, with dads showing up excited at the opportunity to bond with their daughters. Morgese plans to provide more classes like this through his Daddy Daughter Hair Factory community.
And now, the Internet is going crazy with these sweet photos, receiving more than 2.3 million views, and there’s a big reason why. Due to the rise of the single mom, making up a quarter of all households in the U.S., more single-parent resources are available than ever before — and that is a great thing. But there’s an alarming tip in the balance. Far and wide, most resources available for single parents, like grants, housing, blogs, community groups, and Facebook support groups, are targeted at single moms.
It’s almost like the 8 percent of single dads don’t exist.
But if things keep going the way they are going, single dads are likely to stop being the exception and start becoming the rule. In just 50 years, single-father households have seen a whopping ninefold increase, rising from 300,000 homes in 1960 to over 2.6 million in 2011. Compare that to the fourfold increase in single mother households within the same time frame, and you’ll see how fast single dads are catching up.
Besides sharing this adorable story on Facebook, we can take cues from a hands-on dad like Morgese and stop leaving single dads out of the story. As Morgese explains:
“Being a single father is tough, raising a daughter as a single father is tougher. Some of us don’t have the natural instinct to nurture, so I found that was the real struggle for me. I love the time I spend with Emma when we are doing stuff to her hair. It’s usually because that time is settled down, and we get to communicate about her day and share opinions.”