The Dad With Daughters

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!”

Fail.

DDW2_newI figured that if I had a son I could teach him how to play basketball, throw a punch, and play in the dirt. With a girl, I’d be stuck playing dress up and other “girly shit.”

Epic fail.

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.  DDW1

 

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.

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Comments

  1. Molly Wheeler says

    I absolutely love this blog! So glad I found it! Although I’m not really sure how I did now that I think about it… oh well that doesn’t matter.. keep doin what you do!

  2. Celissa says

    I love your blog because it reminds me so much of the relationship I have with my dad. He, being a super jock also wanted a boy but he made the best of his “situation” and taught me all about sports. To this day, he is one of my best friends.

  3. says

    I wrote a similar type of post years ago after I gave birth to my 3rd son. It’s funny how the parent of the opposite sex always gets the “Oh, don’t you want to try for a ___ now?” As I wrote in my post, I think every parent would love the experience of raising both a boy and a girl, but it really does not matter AT ALL. Right after I had my 3rd son, I met a woman who had 3 boys and then a girl and she said that one of her sons was more like a daughter to her than her own daughter. In other words, I was concerned that my boys wouldn’t be affectionate or nurturing or care for me when I’m older — I realize now how crazy that is to think that way. I had such a close relationship with my own mom, that I dreamed of having a close mother-daughter bond with my own daughter. I learned that you can establish that bond with your child, whether boy or girl. My 3 boys are all so different, but just like you say you know you can play catch with your girls, I have one son who loves to shop! And I have another son who just loves to give hugs and I know he will always be that way. So, I guess my point is that I look at my kids as people with personalities, rather than being a boy who may or may not do boy things or a girl who may or may not do girly things. P.S. Oh and don’t worry about the hair thing. I have had long hair my whole life and I know I wouldn’t be able to do anything creative with little girl hair.
    Emily recently posted..Yesterday, I Met Wonder WomanMy Profile

  4. Jamie says

    I’m a new SDW and so glad. I’m married with three boys and my husband is the youngest boy’s daddy, but not the older two’s. But… He couldn’t be more of a dad to them if he was the one who biologically fathered them. Their dad’s are nowhere around and I thank the stars for him every day. He makes dinner. Cleans toilets. And takes care of me. He’s absolutely amazing and it’s guys like you that restore the faith in men for women like my sister and cousins. And your daughters… Who are Btw very lucky little girls. I love being a SAHM and housewife and wife to my husband and I’m so glad to have your blog to read and remind me that my husband isn’t the only one and that my sisters aren’t shit outta luck.

  5. Adhana says

    I loved what you had to say.
    I have 2boys….
    With full understanding that it makes no difference as to who you bring into this world, boy or girl. I still had it in my heart to have a girl, being that I’m the only girl of 7. I’ve always wanted a girl…I wonder if I should feel wrong for that. But in recent weeks, we lost a baby…I didn’t knw if it was a boy or girl or anything…I jus knew…they were gone. So I have that feeling you had after your loss…if ever I decided to try for #3 I wouldn’t care boy or girl…as long as I get to hold them and love on them as I do daily on my boys now.

  6. Brendalee says

    Finly subscribed to your blog! First blog post I’ve read so far and I just love it! Now if I could just get my fiancé to read this stuff too, cuz in all honesty he could help more lol. I guess I shouldn’t complain he is working and going to school full time, he cooks dinner every once in awhile and I have to debate diaper changes with him but I can get a couple diaper hanged out of him a week:) anyways done with my rant haha I love your page and blog!

  7. Sammi says

    I love this post! Reminds me of my dad…. He has 6 girls! And no matter what he wouldn’t change any of us from the people that we are. (And he had a baseball bat at one point with our boyfriends names written on the side….just in case!!)

    Keep up the excellent work DDW!!

  8. Rebecca Peters says

    New subscriber here and love you already. :) My favorite revelation would have to be #2 of course. Of course I get that you want to rest, but you shouldnt be teaching your daughters that life is just work and rest all day. What kinda life is that? You gotta work to be happy, you cant just let it all pass by!

  9. Latreese Cross says

    NO WONDER you never responded to my newbie question (whether you wanted a 3rd child later). Who knew?! I’ll make sure to avoid any streets that you might be on as I have no urge to fight and might have to roll with a bunch of frogs for protection. Ha! Sweet! I always thought I wanted daugters…til I got 2 sons. I realized that you get the children that you’re supposed to have.

  10. Stephanie says

    I’m a new SDW. This was the first blog I’ve read from you and I absolutely loved it. It is a refreshing perspective to hear. I think your a wonderful and proud father and am happy to read what you share. Looking forward to the next one!

  11. Sofia says

    Love this, I think you’re absolutely an amazing Dad. I can’t wait to read more of your blogs. I am new to your blog posts and I look forward to reading more. FYI, your twin brother is a very good friend of mine. He’s amazing and I just discovered, SO ARE YOU…..S~

  12. says

    Hey man, I just came across your site and read this first post. I enjoyed it and plan to come back. I am a soon to be dad to a daughter as well.

  13. Stephanie says

    Yes I’m a week behind on your stories but I was working.. anyways- My dad was the “I’m home from work-get me a beer dad” for many years. He has 3+1 adopted daughters and I’m the second. We, as a group, NEVER thought he would change. But now as a grampa of 16 kids (5 boys 11 girls- some are step but we always include!!) he has mellowed out alot and has the time and patience that we never saw as kids. So I guess I am saying that even though he didn’t as a parent- He DOES as a grandparent and it’s never too late to change your attitude. I am so glad you are DOING as a parent because your girls will always know the best side of you- forever :)

  14. Roxy says

    I love this post. I would like to recommend a book called ‘Delusion of Gender’ about how we are not only hoodwinked (by very bad science) into believing that boys are one way and girls are another, but that gender matters that much at all. And can I add that my daughter wears her hair in a pixie crop (like Emma Watson) and my son has long blond hair that has to be tied back! See, even the hair thing isn’t a given

  15. Ann says

    Well, it’s not like all moms are born knowing how to do hair, either. I was a who-cares-how-I-look tomboy for most of my life — one who didn’t even comb her hair for about 4 years (and had the rat’s nest to prove it by age 13). I also had a mom who was hair-impaired. And then I gave birth to a cheerleader. Thanks to a book I found and a lot of practice, I can now do about seven kinds of braids and various kinds of up-dos. I even know what an up-do is. She’s 19 now and does her own hair (but still prefers my braids). I never did master hair bows, though….

  16. Philip says

    What a refreshing blog for a first time father like me! I found your blog through that picture that went viral on Facebook.

    I have a 19 month old daughter and another baby on the way. I’m currently have the same thought as you did before you had your girls. Right now, I’m saying I want a healthy baby but deep down inside I want a boy. For the same reasons that you did. Hahaha.

    It so refreshing to know that there are men out there who share my view on fatherhood like you.

    Happy New Year!

  17. Anon says

    Female, first time reader here – it was really touching to read your blog. My Dad was the not so great one you described – not present or involved, not interested, and angry and critical to boot. It’s really sad to have missed out on what could have been a special relationship and a source of love and support in my life. BUT, it’s great to see Dads like you who are involved and interested and realize that’s the way it should be. Your daughters lucked out!

  18. Brandy says

    We have two daughters as well. My husband sometimes gets the,”I bet you wish you had boys, huh?” or the “you’re still going to try for a son, right?” from the occasional friend or relative. His response is always that he never really considered gender as an important attribute he wanted from his children. He wants his children to be independent and creative and curious and adventurous and even a little weird, but never once thought he would be happier if they were boys instead of girls.

    We are originally from the South, where it seems to be a common way of thinking that you need a son to carry on your name and you must not be much of a man if you’re not up to producing boys. How ridiculous.

    My husband also happens to be the son of lesbians, so he wasn’t raised with the patriarchal mindset of the nuclear family. He likes to joke that he’s ethnically a lesbian, but it’s really not far off from the truth of the matter. Of the relationships I’ve had with other men, I have never connected with or felt so completely understood and supported by anyone as I do with my husband.

    He’s just happy to be a dad. He loves fatherhood, and he’s a wonderful father.

  19. Maria says

    I love this blog! It reminds me so much of my relationship with my dad. Keep doing what you do!

  20. Kelsha says

    I was in the social work field for 6 years and am the very doted upon tomboy daughter of a loving and involved father. I agree, what every girl needs, what every child needs, is a strong and involved male role model to show them what it means to be a decent guy.

  21. Genny says

    Don’t feel badly – I have had longish girl hair all my life (38 years) and I still can’t do a thing with it.

  22. Sara says

    I just found your blog, and you remind me of my husband, we have 1 daughter and he is aiming to do the same as you (he does need to work on the hair though)

  23. Grish says

    I am so happy to have found this blog, it is really refreshing to see this! I also have two daughters and my husband is a great father! We are also tired of the “So, when are you trying for a boy?”. It is sad that this question is still being asked and is considered normal to do so. We are very happy with our adorable little girls and like you, see no need to “continue trying”. lol

  24. Mike says

    A good friend of mine just sent this link to me. I’m a single father raising two wonderful daughters. It’s hard keeping up the good fight, coming home from work doing everything you are talking about, but we do it cause that’s what a good dad/man does. Funny I was driving home today thinking about everything I had to do tonight, indoor soccer practice, dinner, homework, dance class, wash, dishes, trying to make sure there is cuddle time in there before bed, and then I realized I was smiling about it because I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. I look forward to the day they go off to college, well kinda I’ll miss days like today, but knowing that I worked hard to be a good dad, to give them a role model and I did it because of, like you said a love I didn’t know existed! I want them to be strong independant women, who love life and are not afraid of going for what they want. And when they drive away to start their own life and they smile at me, and tell me they love me as they do that will be all the reward I need.

    I’ll be sure to book mark your site and share it.

  25. ayo says

    nice work n i love wht u doin but seriously u need to go back to your root, u dnt even knw how to pronounce ur own name correctly, tht a big shame. i bet u dnt knw the meaning of ur name also, u dnt knw a word frm the Yoruba language, the capital of Nigeria or ur state of origin. all da best bro

  26. says

    I was reading a blog I like when she mentioned this viral picture that she found “sweet but unremarkable”. She went on to talk about some of the responses and I thought, “I need to go find this picture.” So I did and I found it… “sweet but unremarkable”. I mean, what’s the big deal with a dad brushing his daughter’s hair? What’s it matter what color he is? The lighting’s not the best so how can anyone draw conclusions about his daughters? I found the picture so… *normal*… that I honestly wasn’t sure I found the right picture. But I had, and in the process, I found a new blog to follow. And I’m happy about that.

    I know this has absolutely no connection to this particular post but after reading a few to make sure I liked what you had to say, this is where I landed. :) You’ve got a good head on your shoulders and I’m looking forward to reading more of your wisdom moving forward.

  27. Jason says

    So glad I found this blog! I am also a father of 2 girls who finds nothing more enjoyable than doing everything I can to make them happy. Glad to see a face that can lead this revolution of new dads who want to be there. Mine never was around when I was a kid and I vowed id always be there for mine no matter what, refreshing to see im not the only one!

  28. says

    Great post! I too have two daughters and I agree with everything you’ve said here.

    I’ve spent a lot of time at home with both of them over the past couple years and it’s been far more rewarding than I ever would have imagined. Giving them baths, playing with them, even feeding them is very rewarding.

    While I admit it’d be cool to have a son so I could coach his hockey team – what can I say, I’m Canadian – I can have just as much fun teaching my daughter the game myself.

    P.S. You shouldn’t have to take a baseball bat to any punk’s head – one of your friends should be there to help intimidate little Johnny when he comes to pick up your daughter for a date…like bringing over a pair of shotguns for the two of you to clean in the living room. When Johnny asks, just tell him you’re getting ready for a hunting trip! :)
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  29. ridonrides says

    Found you on Jezebel. I’m not a parent, but your post reminded me of a song Nas wrote called “Daughters”. He has a line about how he’s not saying sons are less important, but daughters got a whole song (implied). Anyways, it’s a poignant song about how hard it is for a man to raise a daughter, how special their relationship is. I dare anyone to tell Nas he’s less manly because he feels this way about his daughter!

  30. Lydian Yard says

    When I was pregnant with my first daughter, a bus driver (whose bus I was boarding) asked me what I was having, boy or girl. I told him that I was having a girl, something that both my husband and I were thrilled about, but the driver tutted and said my husband must be disappointed.

    Um…no.

    When I’d had my second daughter (and final child!) a deacon at a(Catholic) church I was singing for heard me say I was done having children and said, “Oh no! You gotta try for a boy!”

    Um, I don’t gotta do nuthin’.

    Thanks for your blog. Much like you, my husband loves to be a daddy to his daughters. He’s absolutely crazy about them. He brushes hair, plays pretend, does everything a daddy ought to do. He’s kind and loving and…just happy to be a daddy.

    You are a wonderful dad, and your girls are blessed.

  31. says

    Take heart, man. I am a mom of an 8 year old girl… and doing her hair has always been a challenge and I have NEVER wound up with anything but a lumpy mess… I’m not exactly a hairstylist, my daughter wears her hair DOWN, because it looks like garbage when I do it.

  32. says

    I do have to say it, though. I think the clerk may have shocked… from the pictures of you, you definitely looks like a man’s man (what is chartreuse again? blue? green? yes I’m serious, for a painter color names escape me) and that comes with strange looks when asking for things like jeggings in such specific colors… (don’t feel bad, my nine year old son’s favorite color is a very specific aquamarine) Don’t feel bad though, it’s just a sign of being a dedicated father.

  33. says

    Great blog & great post! My husband was the exact same way when I was pregnant hoping for a boy. I was happy with either but I’d be lying if I don’t admit that I bought a few girl outfits and fantasized about fixing her hair & princess outfits.
    I have 2 boys that are 2 years old & 7 months old. No matter what you hope you have, it really doesn’t matter once they hand your baby to you. OMG Love at first sight!

    I also loved the picture of you doing your daughters hair. My dad is a father to 2 daughters & like you he did our hair every morning as he got us ready for school. Sometimes the pigtails were a bit off but he was just so amazing with us.
    There is something so amazingly special about a man who enjoys caring for his children.
    I had high expectations when it came to men & it was because my dad had set the bar so high just as you are doing for daughters. By high expectations I don’t mean money, or a great car but someone who is a great person; cares about others. Someone once told me judge a man by how treats children & the elderly.
    I’ve been very lucky to have married a guy who is not just an amazing person but an amazing hands on father who helps me with everything including the night time feedings.

    Love your blog. XO

  34. says

    Similar experience, although l a, going to be totally honest here even if it gets me in deep s**t. I always wanted both. If l had only boys it would have made a difference and vice versa.

  35. says

    DDW – I am a fellow father of daughters; they are daddy’s girls; BUT we do stuff that is traditionally for boys and stuff that is for girls. It depends on what they want to do. My older girl loves karate, so we train together…well I do the adult class and she does the kids version. My wife does more of the traditionally girly stuff, but who cares. they are happy and healthy. That is all anyone can want.

  36. says

    Oh – and as to the baseball bat thing — I got you beat….I train in Kendo. By the time they are grown up enough to date, I will have at least 2 or 3 VERY sharp katanas……..
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  37. says

    glad I found you thru fb. This post reminds me of my late dad who was a busy lawyer but above all he was a great dad who is God to m now. Thanks, shared on Twitter. As you write here, my dad also did not bring anyone suspicious near me, lol

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