Friday, June 16, 2017

My Daughters Changed Me for the Better

I have partnered with Life of Dad and Pampers for this promotion.

My wife is someone who can't wait. She reads the end of the book before diving into the front. She will research a movie and it's entire synopsis with spoilers just so she knows what to expect. If a movie is too stressful, she fast forwards past the tense parts and if she is watching with me, will physically leave the room and return to the rest of the movie after my cliff notes version of what actually happened.

It can be no surprise then, that when our first child's due date was rapidly approaching that we tried multiple times to get a sneak peek of what was between those baby's legs in a 3-D ultrasound. In our first attempt, he blocked it from view with a crossing of the legs but the second time he was ready to let his mom know what was about to happen. We were about to have a boy.

I remember the feeling when the technician turned and said "It's a boy"I literally jumped off the ground and probably did a fist pump while my wife shook her head and said something practical like, "We will just be grateful that he is born healthy" I probably nodded my head and tentatively lowered my fist.

It didn't REALLY matter whether we were having a boy or girl, did it?

I felt a certain amount of comfort with my son. I grew up with three brothers and was familiar with the equipment. Our son was a joy. He was so well behaved and did so many cute things that soon, we had the baby bug again. We quickly got to work and in no time were expecting our second child.

This time on the 3-D ultrasound, our daughter revealed herself quite clearly. My wife had tears in her eyes as the tech told us "It's going to be a girl". The utterance of that phrase is the first time I doubted my ability as a father.

Being around all boys made me more wary. I knew how they thought and the dumb things they did. I was one of them! I knew their secrets.

How would I raise my daughter in this world? Would I know how to answer her questions? Would I say the right things? Would she talk to me about important things and trust in my advice?

What my first and second daughter (yes, I'm that lucky!) taught me was that raising daughters is no different from raising my son. I tried to instill the same values, gave the same snuggles, sang the same songs.

The girls slept in the same bassinet and crib. I changed their diapers on the same changing station. They both called me Dada and ran to me for comfort just like my son. The only thing different about them were their emerging personalities.

My girls taught me that confidence and strength are not defined by gender. They taught me that it takes an equally strong father to realize that his daughters, while precious and beautiful don't have to be delicate porcelain dolls that we put upon a shelf.

We can raise them to be strong and intelligent, sensitive and assertive. We can teach them that it is okay to cry and that anger shows that we have passion. We, as dads, can help shape the next generation of women to believe that anything is possible for them as long as we stop thinking that because they are girls, we need to raise them differently.

Does it matter whether you are having a boy or a girl? The answer is, no. What truly matters is that you believe there is no difference.

I'm thankful that they showed me the way. Over the years I have changed their diapers. Over time they have grown up and changed into individuals. But, what has changed more is me and it is because of them, I need to say #ThanksBaby for changing my life for the better. You have both helped me become a better dad for all of you.

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Check in on Twitter at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 17, for a one-hour #ThanksBaby chat with Pampers and Life of Dad, with a chance to win a $250 Visa gift card.

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