Being a parent is hard: one day you’re elbow-deep in dirty diapers, the next you’re enemy number one to your surly teenager. And then there’s the day-to-day stuff: what to make for dinner? Are they watching too much trash TV on the iPad? Do they need a haircut again?
For single dad Greg Wickherst, however, being with daughter Izzy is the best thing in the world. “My favorite part of the day is when I wake her up and get her out of bed and she’s still sleepy, so she nuzzles her face into my neck,” he told BuzzFeed News.
A hands-on parent if ever there was one, Greg loves taking Izzy on days out, whether it’s to the children’s museum, the playground or an early-evening baseball game. Things aren’t, however, always plain sailing.
Indeed, Greg’s been honest about the difficulties of being a single dad. But, if little Izzy’s beaming face is anything to go by, he’s clearly doing an awesome job.
There was one thing in particular that Greg found challenging: Izzy’s hairstyles. “I started trying to put ponytails in, and for some reason, I couldn’t figure it out,” he explained to ABC News.
Not one to give up, Greg, an admissions administrator at a trade school in Colorado Springs, decided to ask for advice at the college’s cosmetology department. “I didn’t want to be the dad that just didn’t know how to do my daughter’s hair,” he told BuzzFeed News.
Dads being amazing with their daughters is obviously nothing new. Who’s not bowled over by the current YouTube video making the rounds, in which a father and daughter share their daily affirmations with the world?
Then there’s that other, rather more famous, dad. The one whose departure from the White House is imminent and whose style of parenting The Washington Post has described as “a key component of his legacy.”
There’s another thing, though, that really makes Greg a contender for dad of the year. And it concerns his newfound dedication to helping other dads who face similar parenting challenges.
“I spent a couple hours just working on a mannequin and [the instructor] showed me how to do a bun, a French braid, all the different styles,” he told BuzzFeed News. With these few styles under his belt, Greg was able to start a toddler-hair revolution.
And now that’s he’s feeling more confident, the dad has no plans to stop – much to Izzy’s obvious joy. “It blew my mind how easy it was to do a bun,” Greg continued. “I thought it was something super special, like real intricate.”
Now Greg is such a whizz at everything from the top knot to the fishtail braid that he’s teaching other parents on his Facebook page, Greg Wickherst’s Dads Guide to Surviving Hair. Some of his followers’ comments include “And now we bow before you” and “I want my hair to be done like that!!! Loooove it!”
Not one to blow his own trumpet, though, Greg admits that he doesn’t always get it right. “Last weekend I ended up with ten ponytails in her hair and I tried to put them together and it didn’t turn out very well,” he admitted to BuzzFeed News.
In addition to his Facebook tips, Greg also records YouTube tutorials, in which he instructs eager styling novices how to do everything from a “double rope twist updo” to a “sock bun with bow bun.” And he makes it all look so easy.
Even the college where he works has got in on the act by offering a “Daddy Daughter Hair Do Day.” The workshop gives local dads the chance to learn their chignon from their crown braid.
Yet while the attention and adulation is no doubt welcome, there’s really only one reason why he takes the time to do Izzy’s hair. Touchingly, the single dad feels it’s a special ritual reserved for just the two of them.
Taking the time to comb, brush, braid and twist has become something of a dad-and-daughter tradition in the Wickherst household. Indeed, in an interview with ABC News, Greg described it as a “bonding experience.”
So what does little Izzy think of her dad’s new skillset? Well, according to Greg she’s pretty happy – even if she doesn’t understand what all the attention is about.
And what advice does Greg have for other parents who might be looking for a way to connect with their kids? Simple words, really: “Get out of your comfort zone and learn what they want or need,” he told The San Francisco Globe.
Being a parent isn’t always easy, but if Greg’s devotion to his daughter Izzy – and specifically her hair – is anything to go by, it definitely can be inspirational. Keep up the good work, dad!