I’m thrilled to announce that our little family has grown by one! This post is a little after-the-fact and we’ve already been quite a few sleepless nights in, but they’ve been worth it. I don’t plan on announcing names and exact dates but I will say this, I’m a proud father of another baby daughter.
And so the comments begin… I guess it’s just the classic thing to say to a father of girls ‘Ah you’re outnumbered!’. Yes, yes, I am aware of that. I may not have a particularly high grade in maths, but I’m aware that two girls and a wife makes three and then there’s me. But here’s how I see things…
Even though my dog evens the gender balance slightly as a boy, I learned the other day that his name actually means ‘lady’. So technically I have no idea where that leaves me.
Let me be clear, here. I could not be happier. I knew from the moment we were told we were having a baby girl that things would change, and it took a bit of getting used to. But from the instant our first was born, it was all fine. I realised that being a dad to a girl is something more special than I could have possibly imagined. And every day since then I have learned the same lesson a little bit more.
But I write this post because of the subtle undertone and pressure that there is on fathers. The pressure to ‘have a son’. Maybe I’m the only one in experiencing this, but growing up – when I thought of my future kids. I always thought I’d have a son first. And there was a sense of winning and loosing for other people when they had a child, depending on their gender. I know, I know. It’s horrible to even think – let along say. But the culture we’re a part of does drive fathers to want a son. Whether it to be carrying on their lineage of name or to pass on their interests and skills, I don’t know. But I said something the other day that I regretted. I said we’d keep having kids until I had a son. It was stupid and I shouldn’t have said it. If I could take it back, I would.
Since then, I have been thinking about why I said it. And the truth is that it’s just the manly thing to say. “I want a boy”. But you know what? After thinking it all the way through, I was SO wrong. Even if we don’t ever have another child – I’m fine with that. I only need to look into my daughters’ eyes and I know – they are perfect. I don’t want to change them and I don’t think we could ever better-them with another child.
My girls are my world and I can honestly say it doesn’t bother me in the slightest that we’re an all-female family (bar me – although based on my sports skills, one can wonder). I’m not particularly fond of the feminist ‘movements’ and all that ‘girl power’, but honestly my daughters are the most incredible gifts I could have ever asked for.
Would I like a boy some day, to know what fathering a son would be like? Sure. But would I swap either of my children for that? Never. Not even slightly. Our second may only be a few weeks old but I have learned enough from my one-year-old that every day as a father of girls gets better and better.
I realise that a lot of the love I share for my daughters extends to fathers and their sons too, I do. But the father-daughter cuddle is quite possibly the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced. Being a Dad for my girls, looking out for them, keeping them safe, buying them stuff and everything in-between is phenomenal. And I don’t think it would be exactly the same with boys. When my baby girl toddles into my office or interrupts my sleeping, it’s a pleasure to throw it all away to give her my time. I mean it. No hobby or activity matches up to showing my baby girl how much she means to me.
I’m no father of the year or anything. I think the ratio of poo-ey nappies changed between my wife and I are close to 100:1 in her favour. And don’t ask me how to dress my child in anything except a baby grow because I just don’t know. But I don’t need to even think twice about the opportunity to chill with my girls. It’s the brightest part of my morning and the highlight of my evening. Working from home is a genuine pleasure, because I can see them on my breaks. And while we’re on the subject of my wife – she is incredible. If you want a definition of a perfect mum – just take a look at her! She’s patient and kind, loving and perfectly gorgeous to top it off. I cannot thank her enough for being such a phenomenal wife and mum. But back to the main point.
So let me address the male elephant in the room for us fathers and fathers-to-be in the future: it’s ok to not have a son. Just as it’s ok to not have a daughter. But having a daughter, wow. It’s better than ok. It’s blissful. I can’t compare it, as I don’t know it, but I do know this. If you think having a baby girl (or two) is a lesser exciting journey or like you’re missing out – as I thought I would. You, as I was, are completely mistaken. Because the father-daughter relationship is one of the few relationships in todays culture that is endangered. Which is so sad, because – as someone who has thrown himself into it face-first – I wouldn’t miss this for the world. And I wouldn’t ever change a thing.
Girls, when you inevitably dig this out in the future, I want you to know that you changed my whole world. I cannot express or put into words the way that I feel about you. Know that I will always be there for you and will always support you because, after all, I’m the one with the credit card, right?