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Having Daughters Means It Only Gets Better

Dad and Daughters It Only Gets Better

[Big thanks to The Huffington Post for running this piece and for the sweet shout out from A Mighty Girl.]

First it’s this…

“Oh man, you’re having a girl? Dude, you’re in trouble!”

And then it’s all of this…

“Oh, wait until they are crawling!”

“Oh, wait until they are walking!”

“Oh, wait until the terrible twos.”

“Oh, wait until they start talking!”

“Oh, wait until they start talking back!”

“Oh man, you’re having another girl? Dude, you’re in trouble!”

“Oh, wait until they want a cellphone!”

“Oh, wait until the eye rolling!”

“Oh, wait until they like boys!”

“Oh, wait until the tween years!”

“Oh, wait until middle school/high school/college!”

“Oh, wait until they get want to get married!”

Here’s the little secret they don’t tell you at the sports bar or in the mommy & me classes you aren’t invited to, fellas. You can go right ahead and forget all that shit. All of it.

Here’s my simple message to all dads of daughters, especially guys who are just now starting out on this journey, those guys welcoming newborn baby girls into their lives. It is a message I’ve taken to actually saying out loud to fellas I see with very young girls, and if you know me at all you know talking to strangers about anything remotely related to parenting (or, um, anything at all) is not a strong suit of mine, but I’ve jumped that personal introvert hurdle because it is really fucking important that dads receive a counterweight to balance out all the shit talk they will hear in regards to their daughter(s) and their role as dad to a daughter: It only gets better.

Yeah, it gets challenging. No shit, Sherlock. Parenting isn’t always Pinterest-perfect cupcakes and Instagram-worthy rainbows, but why would you want it that way anyway? What a colossal bore to have everything scrubbed and sanitized, silver spoons and phony smile photo packages. Challenging is good! Challenging situations make us think, evolve, grow, change, get better, and helps us find new ways to love the people we adore so much already. Yeah, your precious little princess will eventually crawl, walk, talk, talk back, crave some overpriced technology, be sweet on boys and/or girls, awkwardly grow into their tween years, have their heart broken, break a few herself, enter high school, and maybe go off to college. That is all absolutely true but there is nothing in your daughter’s timeline that you need to fear. Nothing. The only thing worth fearing as the dad of a daughter is not being there to share in her experiences; to be a steady knee to hold onto as she props herself up learning to walk, to be an example of calm in the face of adversity as she tests her limits as a toddler, to defuse the tension with funny eyes in response to her eye rolling, to teach her how to be a good digital citizen on social media with her new phone, to hold her tight while saying nothing when she goes through her first breakup, to know that even though you are a ‘fixer’ by nature that there are moments in her life when she’ll need to cry into your shoulder or scream her lungs out and to know that all that’s required of you in those moments is to be present, to not live life through her but alongside her as daddy, mentor, confidant, counselor, consoling presence, friend, and dad again.

I need you to hear this and believe this, for I know it to be true: It only gets better.

The conversations get better. The jokes get better. The hugs get better. The laughs get better. The nights out get better. The Saturday mornings get better. The concerts get better. The love, it gets better. And stronger. It all gets better.

So the next time some blowhard warns you of whatever impending doom he insists will befall you as the dad of a daughter, ignore their folly and know that it only gets better.

*****

Last week, I overhead one dude say to another dude “Oh man, you’re having another girl? Dude, you’re in trouble!” to which the 2nd dude replies, dejectedly, “I know”. To which I reply, “sounds like your daughters are the ones really in trouble, if you think having two of them is really a problem…’cause it’s a gift, bro. It’s a beautiful, remarkable gift to have daughters, because it only gets better from here.”

Thanks for reading! You might also like this post, The 16 Things I Want My Daughters To Know Right Now.

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10 Comments

  1. You nailed it. I’ve got two little girls, and they are awesome. I was never a dad who craved a boy; that’s just not me. Both times I was thrilled to be having a kid. Now, every time we go somewhere, I see little boys ripping things apart, bodyslamming each other, and breaking everything. I play rough with my girls, but they are much better communicators, they are more thoughtful, and they are amazing. They love superheros. My 3 1/2 year old wears an Iron Man costume (her choice entirely) most days. She wears it so much that it has a horrible funk about it, and she gets pissed when we have to wash it. It’s awesome. Little girls are awesome. I think they are a bit more emotional, but if that’s the worst of it, sign me up. At least all of my nice things are still intact. Great post. I’ve also got a beautiful picture of my girls jumping on the bed while they’re dressed as Iron Man and The Little Mermaid, which we call Aqua Woman. Let me know if you’re interested, lol.

  2. Travis, you’ve just won the internet today with “Aqua Woman”! Thank you for that!

  3. Man, I am already a proud and prideful father to a 9 month old girl, but you just instilled a greater sense of being in me! Excellent post, I want to print this out and hang it on the fridge. I’d go hug my daughter right now, but she’s sleeping, and waking her would be BAD!

    Anyway, thank you for the enlightenment, keep up the great writing!

  4. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, RC! I can already tell you’ve got one fortunate little girl, to have a dad aware of how special being a daddy to a daughter is! Awesome!!

  5. With a boy, you have one penis to worry about… with a girl, you have to worry about ALL of them. 😎 And I remember how difficult chicks were (are) to figure out when I was a teen, then dating again as a suddenly single adult at 27. So I get the sentiment, guy to guy, that they are “in trouble” when it comes to daughters. Having never been a woman, it’s not unreasonable to think I’d be “in trouble” a bit if I have to raise one. Of course I’d figure it out(as you have). But seriously, let’s not get offended at everything. It’s not a slight, and if they’re not as involved in their child’s life like you and I, then yea, they ARE, indeed, in trouble. (Though it has nothing to do with the kid’s gender.) A great read!

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