Recently one of my readers asked me if I wish I had boys instead of girls. Of course the answer is an emphatic, “NO” – but did I always feel that way? I’d be lying if I said yes.
First, let’s rewind a few years back.
When MDW showed me the positive pregnancy test for our first baby in 2009, I blurted out, “Awesome! I just hope it’s a boy!”
After a few weeks of “I want a boy so badly” talk, our world came crashing down. If you’ve followed my blog closely, you’ll remember that our first pregnancy didn’t end well and it was pretty devastating for us. After months of grieving, I realized that the only thing I ever wanted was to be a dad - not just a dad to a little boy. I cursed myself for being so stupid and immature, and I prayed for redemption – which I fortunately achieved. As the story goes, we got pregnant again in 2010, and there was no “I hope it’s a boy” nonsense. As a matter of fact, tears of joy streamed down my face when the doctor told us that we were having a little girl. Since January 2011, DDW1 introduced me to a brand of love that I never knew existed. Additionally, I truly believe that having two little girls has transformed me into a better, stronger, and smarter man than I would’ve been without them.
Here are some reasons why:
REVELATION #1: I realize that everything I could do with a boy I can do with my daughters (i.e. play basketball, teach them how to throw a punch, and play in the dirt). Yes, I know that’s a big fat “duh” for many of you, but I’m a recovering knucklehead with minimal relapses, so please humor me. And yes, I’m going to teach them more than those three things – but I promise you that I will teach them those three things.
REVELATION #2: I realize that my daughters will use me as a benchmark for how men should behave. Again, that’s not really earth-shattering stuff, since every dad is the primary male role model for his children. Unfortunately there are some dads who view their day-job titles as who they are instead of what they do. They’re accountants, sales reps, government employees, construction workers, etc., but they never describe themselves as dads and husbands first. Those same men are the ones who feel that their responsibilities to the family ends once they walk through the front door. They’re not changing diapers, they’re not reading bedtime stories, they’re not giving baths, they’re not cooking dinner, and they’re not doing anything that doesn’t include sitting on their asses watching ESPN or surfing the Internet while their spouses do it all (even if said spouses did those tasks all day as a stay at home mom or if she worked a full-time office job just like he did). In other words, they’re just living, breathing ATM machines.
The best dads I know (and I know a lot of them) view their day job titles as what they do, but their jobs never become who they are. They are dads and husbands first and foremost. I work a full-time job in corporate America, and after a day of sitting on conference calls, attending meetings, and hitting aggressive deadlines, the only thing I want to do is rest when I get home. Then I think about my daughters. I’ll be damned if they look at me and think, “Daddy doesn’t cook, give us baths, read bedtime stories, or change our diapers. He just sits around while Mommy does everything. Maybe that’s how all men should act and that’s what I should expect from a future husband.” I do all of those things when I get home because that’s what a dad and a husband is supposed to do. Please know that I’m not a robot. Oftentimes I feel like grunting myself into unconsciousness after reading “The Cat in the Hat” for the 9th time in a row, or sometimes I’m so tired that I fuck up a batch of chili so badly that it could fertilize your front lawn. But I do it anyway, because I want my baby girls to expect their father to be actively involved – always. Eventually when they become older and go to college, I’ll be wishing for those days when my daughter sat on my lap to read books or the days when her baby sister gives me a dimpled smile just by bouncing her on my knee. I take the responsibility of being the primary male role model for my kids very seriously.
REVELATION #3: I realize that I’m much more selective about the types of people I bring around my daughters. For example, there was an acquaintance of mine who spent a lot of her free time reading and completing complicated puzzles. Prior to DDW1 arriving, we hardly talked; but after she was born, we got to know each other much better – and discovered that she’s an awesome influence on my toddler. Conversely, there’s an ex-buddy of mine who thinks a fun Tuesday night consists of playing a game of Edward Fortyhands and watching porn. You guessed it. He’s not allowed within 100 yards of my kids. Ever.
REVELATION #4: I realize that having daughters makes me smarter. I mentioned this before, but I had no idea what jeggings were prior to DDW1 arriving on the scene. Now I buy them up as if the apocalypse is coming. I also learned about colors that I never knew existed, like Arylide Yellow, Amaranth, and Chartreuse. By the way, have any of you walked into a crowded store and asked the male clerk, “Hi, I’ve been looking for jeggings in chartreuse EVERYWHERE! Do you have some here?” only to have him back away from you slowly as if you had a detonator to a nuclear bomb in your pocket? It’s just part of being a dad to little girls. Or maybe it only happens to my crazy ass…who the hell knows? Well, I guess I know. Whatever, let’s move on.
REVELATION #5: I need to step up my hair game. I’m sure all of you have seen the picture that went viral all over the Internet with me brushing DDW1′s hair while her baby sister was in the Ergo (no need to post it here since it’s on about 5,326 Facebook pages by now). Hell, people wanted to put me on the “Mount Rushmore of Dads” for doing a simple everyday task, but I’ll have you know that the end result was a semi-lumpy ponytail. I need to create something a little more advanced. I know, I know…I should take my ass to YouTube and watch a few tutorials. Remember, I don’t have any hair. I haven’t had hair since I was 17 years old.
Asking me to be an expert hairstylist is like asking LeBron James to quit basketball and start playing football. Shit, that’s a bad example…he could probably play in the NFL today if he wanted to.
It’s like asking Dane Cook to be funny. Wait, a lot of you probably think Dane Cook is funny for some reason. Never mind.
It’s like asking the Real Housewives of (insert city here) to not act like third graders on national television. That’s better.
Anyway, you know what I mean. Doing a girl’s hair nicely takes practice, but I’ll get there eventually.
REVELATION #6: I realize that being “girly” is just a myth. What does that mean, anyway? Would my kid be less girly if she dressed up as Spider-Man for Halloween instead of a princess? (and that’s exactly what she did, by the way) Would she be less girly if she wanted to tackle little boys on the football field instead of taking ballet classes? Not to me. That would be like saying a dude who can bench press 300 lbs is more manly than a guy who sings songs to his kids before bed. I’ve learned that being a girl can be whatever the hell a girl wants it to be, and I will never limit them when it comes to that. Additionally, I want to introduce my daughters to other women who are crushing it in male-dominated fields (sports journalism/broadcasting, computer programming, law enforcement, etc.) so they’ll understand that it’s possible to do anything that their little hearts desire.
REVELATION #7: I realize that I’m built for raising girls in today’s society, or at least I think I am. And let’s be real – girls have to deal with a lot of challenging shit today. Pressure to be liked by others, pressure to have sex, body image, mean girls, teen pregnancy, rape, etc. I’m sure I missed some, but I’m getting depressed listing them out. No matter if it’s always infusing my daughters with confidence or infusing my Louisville Slugger into the unsuspecting skulls of boys who think it’s cool to disrespect them – I’m ready for what lies ahead. Editor’s Note: I’m just kidding about the baseball bat thing………..OK, maybe not.
In closing – yes, I’m sure I’d be just as happy if I had boys instead of girls – but there’s something special about the bond between a dad and his daughters that cannot be explained, and I wouldn’t change that bond for anything. Just don’t ask me if we’re trying for a third baby, because I will fight you in the street.
Now if you’ll excuse me, the mall has a half-price sale on jeggings.