Dad Influencer Curtis Webster Jr.

Curtis Webster Jr. founded the Dads Married to Doctors Facebook group in 2014 to help him cope with his busy life. Today, he and his wife, Allison, juggle demanding careers and care for their three daughters, Sarai, 11, Hannah, 8, and McKenna 5. “Life is busy with three little ones 12 and under, but life is good,” he says.

Six years ago, Curtis Webster Jr. was looking for a way out of the whirlwind.

Webster, an IT consultant, and his wife, Allison, had recently moved to Cary with their two young daughters. Adding to the stress of parenthood, the couple was building a house, and she was commuting an hour each way to her job as an emergency room physician at Alamance Regional Medical Center in Burlington.

“When it all first started, my head was spinning, and I was like, I need support,” said Webster. “I need a group of guys that can help me figure out how to live this, and navigate this, DMD lifestyle.”

Sarai and McKenna Webster practice their tumbling in the family room. The girls take dance classes at Starpath Dance Studio, and practice tumbling and cheer at Carolina Legacy Tumble & Inspire Athletics Cheer.

Unable to find a support group specifically for men, Webster launched the Dads Married to Doctors Facebook group in December 2014. At the time, his goals were personal: he wanted to be a better father and husband. Other dads soon joined him and now, with more than 4,000 members in over 25 countries worldwide, the community is more than a support group.

Through the website, members can find professional resources, personal development, charity events and more. But that doesn’t mean that common parenting issues don’t come up often. There are plenty of discussions about how to get a baby to sleep, whether a minivan or SUV is better, and how much screen time is optimal.

“It’s amazing how across the world, the same conversations come up, regardless of the racial boundaries or the landscape of where folks are at,” said Webster. “We all are trying to figure out how to best navigate society and this still somewhat nontraditional role of the spouse being the primary breadwinner.”

Most days Curtis divides his working hours between his IT business, Curtis Webster Consulting, and Dads Married to Doctors. Since he works from home, he’s available to pop in throughout the day and check on the girls.

Getting together with other dads shields him somewhat, but Webster still gets the unthinking attention.

“I get the comments, just like the other guys when we’re out. ‘Oh look at you being the great father, babysitting the kids today while mom is working or doing whatever.’ No, no, … I’m not a babysitter. I’m a dad,” he said.

“Changing that narrative, making sure that society knows that number one, dads exist. We are here. We’re in large force, and we are doing our part to make sure that our families are viable and can really thrive.”

Beyond his desire to change conventional thinking about what it means to be a father, Webster would also like to change the narrative around being a Black father.

Emergency room physician Allison Webster works nights and weekends so she can spend more time with her three daughters. Much of that time since March has been spent helping them with their virtual lessons.

“Especially right now … with all the racial tensions and things that are happening here in America, the other piece of it was wanting to put that positive portrayal of Black fatherhood into the media.”

Help for Physician Families

While Dads Married to Doctors began six years ago, the AMA Alliance has been working to strengthen physician families for nearly 100 years. DMD partners with the AMA Alliance to magnify the resources available to members of both groups.

“Different communities will bring different things to the table, and it’s all helpful,” said Webster. “I definitely don’t have a monopoly on our lifestyle as Dads Married to Doctors, but I do believe we bring a very specific and interesting perspective that a lot of DMDs can appreciate and learn from.” |

As a “dad influencer,” the DMD founder also sees an opportunity for the group to make a real difference, especially when it comes to issues like equal parental leave. At a recent conference, Webster met several representatives from Dove Men + Care about the company’s push for paid paternity leave.

“Everybody needs to understand that we’re parents first,” he said. “If these companies can work with us as parents, then we can be even better employees.”

The Webster family now includes three daughters — Sarai, 11, Hannah, 8 and McKenna, 5 — and they’ve worked out a routine that works for them. It’s still crazy busy, even chaotic at times, but it enables them to eat dinner together every night. During the week, Webster divides his time between Curtis Webster Consulting, his IT support business, and Dads Married to Doctors. Allison Webster works weekend nights so she can be home with the girls Wednesday through Friday. After school, there’s usually gymnastics, tutoring or dance classes.

That schedule had to be adjusted slightly with COVID-19. A nanny now comes in two days a week to help the girls with virtual school. There’s also a lot more cleaning and laundry.

“Just like everybody, we stepped up the cleanliness and the routine here in the house,” said Webster.

“The biggest thing throughout the whole thing was just trying to figure out how can we all calm ourselves to keep a level head with this whole thing.”

The opportunity to talk to other dads in similar situations was also helpful. Even after six years, Webster still relies on the group’s support, even when the subject isn’t a global pandemic.

“Just having that group of guys that I can talk to and that I can lean on,” he said. “I don’t have to always just be the happy smiley face, but I can also still have a place where I can be vulnerable and learn and grow.”

1 Comment

  • Richard Kiernan says:

    This man is an inspiration to many people not just DMD’s, his attitude, transparency and love for his family is so real and evident.

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