I’ve known Mike of Everyday Girl Dad for… years. Too many to count exactly, and more than enough to have massive respect for him. He’s always been an advocate for strong and progressive dad/daughter relationships, always an outspoken feminist, but in the last year I’ve seen him get much-deserved recognition for, of all things, cross stitch! And I just love all of it. I love what he’s doing, and I love that he’s being seen for it. So, enough ramble typing from me, here’s another Parent I’d Like You To Know– Mike Reynolds.
Cross stitch, huh? It’s so fun and so unexpected… what made you give it a go? What do you love most about it?
I’ve always been on the lookout for the visual art that matched up with my visual art talent. I tried painting and drawing and was pretty middling (that’s being generous) at all of this. And I had seen so many cool feminist cross-stitch pieces that served as resistance art that I thought maybe cross-stitch was the thing. So I did a Michelle Obama cross-stitch piece and realized 1) how much I loved the finished result, and 2) how good it was for managing my anxiety, and have been doing it for about eight months now. My daughter now likes to remind me how “bad” the first piece I did looks, but they both enjoy the pieces I’ve done since I’ve become a little bit more proficient.
You’re not simply cross stitching typical things, your patterns and pieces have a really important message behind them. Can you tell us more about that?
One thing I talk about is the need for men to do things that interest them. Cross-stitching is not the most stereotypical dad hobby. But it is something I love to do so I do it often and openly. And beyond that, the pieces I do have for the most part fallen into my Rad Women in Cross-stitch Form Project. I started designing my own patterns when I couldn’t find one for Shuri from Black Panther, who our whole family loves. Once I created one pattern I figured why not make patterns for as many of the awesome women- both historical and fictional- who we love to look up to. And the men I’ve done, men like Mr. Rogers, Newt Scamander, and Jean-Luc Picard, represent the kinds of gentle masculinity I like to talk about.
As an Everyday Girl Dad, what is one piece of advice you’d pass onto first-time parents of girls or boys?
Be aware of how early we have a tendency to treat kids differently depending on their assigned gender. Think of the things you say to your kids and also think of the way you talk about yourself and your relationships in front of your kids. Make sure boys have men and women as role models and the same for girls.
This is part of a new #ParentIdLikeYouToKnow series where I’ll share some of my favorite parents who are making and doing amazing things. I hope you’ll stay tuned!