BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Not all heroes wear capes, so a Maryland father has created a clothing line dubbed “WASHED DADS” to remind us of the real heroes in our lives.
After climbing the ladder over the last six years, Joshua Thomas is now the highest-ranking Black operator among Amazon’s thousands of Global Specialty Fulfillment employees.
“I have responsibility for all of the same-day fulfillment centers, from Virginia into Ohio up into Massachusetts and everything in the middle,” Thomas told WJZ.
Serving as the regional director of nine same-day fulfillment centers, Thomas spends quite a bit of time on the road, away from his home and family in Odenton.
As he put it, what he routinely misses most when he’s on the road is that quality time he’s used to spending with his family.
“Me and Tate, we’re starting to cook. We have a box delivered to us and we’ll start cutting it up and cooking. We eat dinner as a family,” he said. “Then we’ll come over here to this couch and watch a show.”
It’s quite the departure from his pre-fatherhood days. Thomas and his friends came to terms with that realization a few years ago.
“We went around the room, and we said, ‘What are you doing this weekend?’ And every single one of us had something to do with our kids—recitals, basketball games, et cetera,” he said. “And we kind of laughed at it and said, ‘Oh man, we’re washed up!’ But then it opened up a conversation for us to say, ‘Really, are we though?’”
Thomas and his friends decided to redefine what it means to be a “Washed Dad,” an acronym that stands for “We Are Super Heroes Every Day,” and now spread that message through a clothing line with that logo emblazoned on various apparel.
“We’re making dad-life cool, doing the best that we can,” he said. “There’s a narrative that Black dads aren’t present, and that’s far from either the truth or the perception.”
He hopes WASHED DADS can simultaneously celebrate fatherhood and dismantle negative stereotypes surrounding Black dads. His wife of 13 years even admits Thomas has changed her outlook on fatherhood.
“A dad can be more than the provider, the protector,” she said. “They can also be involved in the raising of the children, which is nice because then I can share the duties of parenting.”
For Thomas, those duties range from helping his 11-year-old-daughter Zoey prepare for middle school—”she’s already coming to me wigging out about math. Math is my thing”—to watching hours of Marvel movies with Tate, his 9-year-old son.
“My dad, he understands it,” Tate told WJZ. “And if I’m like, ‘Hm I’m bored. I want to talk about superheroes,’ then I would go to my dad.”
Though he recognizes the varying struggles and circumstances different dads face, Thomas said earning the title of “superhero” comes down to one thing: “You have to make the time.”
“What we sometimes lose is, I also have to be present and make sure that I have time to roll around on the floor, play, whatever we’re doing. Things that are gonna create memories in these kids’ lives that they’re gonna remember forever.”
Click here to learn more or to check out the WASHED DADS website. You can also follow WASHED DADS on Facebook and Instagram.