When Julia showed me the positive pregnancy test for our first baby, I blurted out, “Awesome! I just hope it’s a boy!”
I 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 crap.”
After a few weeks of “I want a boy so badly” talk, our world came crashing down. The doctor told us we were having a girl and both Julia and I were shocked. God knew what He was doing and I truly believe that having a little girl has transformed me into a better, stronger, and smarter man than I would’ve been without her.
Here are some reasons why:
I realize that everything I could do with a boy I can do with my daughter (i.e. play basketball, teach her 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 her much more than those three things — but I promise you that I will teach her those three things.
I realize that my daughter 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 job titles as who they are instead of what they do. They’re accountants, vice presidents, CEOs, 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 out 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 butts watching ESPN or surfing the Internet while their spouses do it all (even if said spouses did those tasks all day as stay-at-home moms or if they worked full-time office jobs). In other words, they’re just living, breathing ATM machines.
The best dads I know (and I know plenty 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. Some days are stressful and the only thing I want to do is rest when I get home. Then I think about my daugher.
I’ll be disappointed if she looks at me and thinks, “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.
I’ve learned that being a girl can be whatever the girl wants it to be, and I will never limit them when it comes to that. Additionally, I want to introduce my daughter to other women who are crushing it in male-dominated fields (executive leadership, sports journalism/broadcasting, coding, law enforcement, etc.) so she’ll understand that it’s possible to do anything that her little heart desires.
I realize that being loud is a good thing. And by loud, I mean believing in something so deeply that she’ll shout from the rooftops about it without worrying about haters, naysayers, and other clowns have to say about them. In a world where women are still fighting for equality, I want my girl to speak up in the living room, classroom, and boardroom in order to be heard. Forget the foolishness about girls being viewed as “pushy,” or “bossy,” for having an opinion or for taking a stance. Closed mouths don’t get fed.
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 things 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. I can’t protect her from all of the ills of society, but I can ensure that she’ll have the confidence and smarts (both book smarts and street smarts) to thrive in this crazy world we live in. I want women to have a seat at the table when it comes to issues that impact them — and not just for my daughter, but for your daughter, too.
In closing – yes, I’m sure I’d be just as happy if our second child is a boy instead of a girl – but there’s something special about the bond between a dad and his daughter that cannot be explained, and I wouldn’t change that bond for anything.
Now if you’ll excuse me, the mall has a half-price sale on toddler jeggings.