Dads don’t babysit, they parent, and that’s exactly what drove this clever father to create a dad-friendly baby boutique, Seahorses PDX.

“Dads don’t babysit. It’s called parenting.”

That’s what dad and owner of Seahorses PDX, Don Hudson, had to say.

Why Seahorse?

Well, it’s not just because those little marine creatures are so amazingly adorable (seriously, they’re crazy cute in the weirdest of ways). In the seahorse kingdom, dads are the nurturers. Yep, that’s right. Unlike us, seahorse mums don’t carry their soon-to-be baby around. Say what?

The seahorse dad has a pouch on his stomach. That’s where he carries his babies (so it’s not the mum who gestates them). The female pops the eggs into dad’s pouch and he works his fatherly magic for anywhere between 10 to 25 days. Oh, but it doesn’t stop there.  After those teeny tiny seahorses are born, dad keeps right on caring for them.

The idea of dad as the caretaker is what struck Hudson. In a now-viral video on Facebook from Upworthy, Hudson says, “Dads aren’t represented in the parenting community well enough.” And, right he is!

Dads are parts of kids’ lives – major parts. With more women entering the workforce, the number of dads staying at home with the kids is on the rise. For some families, it just makes financial sense. If mum can out-earn dad (and why shouldn’t she?), and the family feels that it’s important for one parent to stay home, there’s no reason the man can’t do it.

As Hudson points out, “Dads parent differently.” But, that doesn’t make them any worse, or better, than mums. Just different.

With an entire industry devoted to mums and women who are parenting, it’s easy to see how dads can feel left out or like they’re only stand-by caregivers. As a dad, Hudson aimed to change this. He noted that being a stay-at-home dad can be very isolating. With all of the mums around, dads don’t have that ‘tribe’ to connect with. Hudson started Seahorses PDX to give dads what they need – a place to be how they are. According to the Seahorses PDX website, “Seahorses was created to celebrate the unique needs and challenges of parenting as a father in a culture that more often caters to mothers.”

The store selects products that dads will need and want. This includes everything from strollers to shaving kits! Along with the dad-friendly baby boutique gear, Seahorses has an enclosed play space (with seating for the dads) and a space for classes and events (such as live music).

So, give dad a hand and acknowledge that the modern father is much more than a glorified babysitter. Gone are the days when mum stayed home, cooking, cleaning and caring for the babies. Today’s mums may very well do this, but they also work, run their own businesses and have full-time careers. Obviously, that isn’t easy on the family. Work-life balance is a tough task to take on. When dad steps up, the whole family benefits (that means mum and the kids too). Hudson’s genius idea shows that dads are completely capable caregivers, who need the same support and sense of community that mums traditionally enjoy!

Bravo, what a great idea!


Erica Loop is a mum, parenting writer and educator with an MS in child development. Along with writing for websites such as PBS Parents,, Scary Mommy,, Modern Mom, and others, she also is the creator of a kids' activities and art blog.

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