How A Sold-Out Hair Braiding Class For Dads Shows That Parenting Is Changing

Societal change arrives in small, concrete actions.

dad braiding daughter's hair Anastasia Shuraeva / Pexels

It’s not revelatory information that the day-to-day work involved in raising kids in two-parent, heterosexual households is imbalanced.

Typically, moms are relegated to the role of primary parent, meaning that they wind up being responsible for making meals, doing laundry, and running the endless loop of carpooling and errands. All too often, moms also carry the mental and emotional load in their family units, meaning that they’re overwhelmed, worn-out, and stressed out.


Yet in some ways, the unfair division of labor is starting to tilt towards equity, as a woman named Annis Waugh, from St. Albans, England, has discovered. Waugh leads a workshop for dads, teaching them how to braid their kids’ hair.

The existence of the sold-out braiding class shows that parenting is changing for the better.

According to the Instagram account thefemalequotient, Waugh wasn’t initially sure that hosting a hair-braiding class geared towards dads was a good idea, at all.

RELATED: Working Mom Shares How She Became The 'Dad' In Her Relationship & Stopped Her Husband From Getting Away With Doing Less Work


She only expected a few fathers to be interested in taking her class, which she called Beers and Braids. Yet much to her surprise, so many dads signed up that the braiding class sold out — and many more dads signed up to be on the waitlist.

An article published in The European Sociological Review from February 2020 utilized data from a study of 2,027 Dutch families, specifically focusing on how splitting childcare responsibilities equally between parents affected their children’s cognitive development. The article noted that previous studies on parenting have mainly focused on the influence of maternal involvement on a child’s development, overlooking the influence of what dads do — or don’t do — within the household.

The study concluded that “the extent to which fathers and mothers equally share childcare responsibilities functions as an underlying mechanism for maintaining social class disparities in children’s cognitive development.”

dads signing up for braiding class shows parenting is changing for the betterPhoto: Kampus Production / Pexels 


Put simply, if children see their dads and moms taking on diversified tasks within the home, their understanding of gender equity changes. Kids who see their dads doing laundry and cleaning the kitchen will learn that labor isn’t inherently gendered

Yet not everyone shared the opinion that Waugh’s sold-out hair braiding classes represented positive change.

Some people focused less on the fact that societal change comes in incremental steps, like teaching dads to braid, and more on the fact that parenting isn’t already equal.

The top comment on thefemalequotient’s post stated, “Women just have to learn on the fly but men get to take their time, have beer, make it fun. Society runs on the backs of women each time. But good for them for trying, but the bar is low.”


RELATED: Dad Praised For Telling 12-Year-Old Daughter To Change Out Of Crop Top Before She Leaves The House

“Why do we glorify when a man does chores or does something nurturing and put it on display?” Another person asked. “Those should be the norms.”

Someone else echoed that sentiment, stating, “Basically mums do all kinds of tasks and errands and it’s normal and there is no recognition, and a dad does his daughters’ hairstyles and he becomes the dad of the year?”

Yet a comment from a male follower highlighted why classes like Waugh’s are so valuable.

The man offered an example from his own childhood, saying, “I remember my step-father doing my sister’s hair when he came home after working all night. He frequently stayed up long enough to serve us lunch too. He could do all the tasks associated with ‘women’s work’ and did them well.”


“I learned that tasks didn’t have a gender which taught me to be self-sufficient and cooperative. I’m deeply appreciative to have learned these things,” he concluded.

dads signing up for braiding class shows parenting is changing for the betterPhoto: Pavel Danilyuk / Pexels

The benefits of a dad learning to braid hair extend beyond the practical elements, into the emotionally connective aspects of the activity. Doing hair takes care and effort.


For a child to get their hair braided means they are sitting still, holding their parents’ undivided attention. It’s a way for parents to express love and affection in a tangible way. Not only that, but braiding hair is a fun, sweet communal activity, a chance to pause, and a way for kids to feel cared for, to feel beautiful. 

If we collectively expect dads to step up and take on more labor within their own homes, that change has to start somewhere small. Practical, actionable solutions create actual change.

More than espousing theory or relying on studies, teaching dads to braid hair is a concrete way to show them how to help their wives and their kids — one plait at a time.

RELATED: Stepdad Makes Little Girl's Daddy-Daughter Dance Special After Her Biological Dad Took His Own Life


Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers parenting, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.