Daddy’s home changing diapers, running a company and loving it

With the coronavirus pandemic, life for parents has changed. Over the past couple of years, more dads find themselves manning the homefront during the day.

First-time father Desmond Davidson is one of them.

It is likely you will hear his 6-month-old daughter in the background of a conference call, or see her on her daddy’s knee during a meeting with an NFL player.

“My whole life, I told myself, when I do have kids, I want to be something for my kids that I didn’t have in my life, and that’s my father waking up at home with me every day,” Davidson said.

While his wife, Rae’Shawnda, is at work during the day, Davidson is doing what traditionally has been known as “mom duties” from feeding to changing diapers and everything in between.

And then there is his job. Davidson is chief executive officer for Total 360 Management, a consulting company with expertise in media rights, artist consulting and managing. His clients are some of the country’s top athletes, and also those on the rise.

“Because so much of America is working from home, me being a stay-at-home dad running my own business, it’s not really foreign anymore because this is what we’ve grown accustomed to,” he said.

Davidson takes his daughter everywhere while keeping COVID-19 safety protocols top of mind.

The first time I saw this dad in action, Davidson drove up, and before you knew it, baby Noraa was in her stroller flanked by Carolina Panther running back Reggie Bonnafon heading in to read to a classroom of second-grade students.

When some see a challenge, this family has seen an opportunity.

“I’m going to call myself blessed because this is something that I asked God for and I told him I was going to do,” Davidson said. “So this is like a one-on-one arrangement that I had with God way before I even knew I was going to  have a daughter. I just knew the type of father I wanted to be.”

Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., belongs to dad. Things shift slightly when mom gets home.

“I watch the things my wife does on a daily basis and she amazes me,” Davidson said. “From breastfeeding and staying up and getting her sleep cut in and out through the night while I’m still asleep. She’s an incredible mom.”

The socioeconomics of parenting are changing. The number of stay-at-home fathers in the past decade has doubled since the 1970s to about 550,000 men, and that figure is expected to grow.

While it is unclear how many men have made a change similar to Davidson’s during the pandemic, stay-at-home fathers remain a minority.

In 2016, dads comprised 17% of all stay-at-home parents in the U.S., up from 10% in 1989.

“I’m not going to act like it’s just me all day,” Davidson said. “My colleagues at Total 360, they’re family, so they’re hands on with Noraa, too. It takes a village. If it’s my mom FaceTiming me, my faith, or my brother-in-law just calling me in the morning giving me words of encouragement. That’s the true blessing.”

With more dads choosing to be stay-at-home parents, societal expectations and gender stereotypes are changing.

For Davidson, his work life and home life is family through and through, and he said he would not have it any other way.

“At this point in life, my co-workers and clients are having kids, so it’s not like I’m doing it by myself,” he said. “Teddy Bridgewater just had his first son. Jamon Brown had a son. Jovan Fleming, our SVP, just had a daughter. Reggie is getting ready to have a daughter. It’s like we’re all going through a life cycle together, so that’s another blessing. Everything’s coming a total 360.”

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.