What Men Learn About Women While Raising Daughters
As many before us have said, there is no handbook to parenting. We’ve been taught that parenting is one of the most rewarding lifetime gigs you see no monetary gains from, a life-changing experience no one is prepared for or mastered and is also unique to every individual. After years of having worked with a variety of personality types and parenting styles, I noticed something interesting. As time progressed the answers to many of my parenting questions became gender specific. For example, it went from, “I have toddler at home who won’t be still” to “Ugh, I don’t want see another Iron Man toy for the rest of my life” to “Good, Lord! Boys are so weird! His mood swings are killing me slow.” And finally, “My, God. My son is growing into a smelly, scrotum-adjusting, Sports Center junkie who eats up all my snacks and farts on command. What the hell happened? Where’s my little boy who loved Iron Man?”
As a mother, the reality of your son growing into a adult who will eventually be someone’s husband and father becomes clear. You start to wonder what kind of future you’ve had a major hand in shaping for generations to come. With careful reflection, I can’t help but evaluate what I’ve learned about men as a gender while raising a boy. And surely, the same goes for fathers and daughters, right?
So for this particular story, we talked to fathers of young daughters to get an idea of what they’ve learned about women while raising their baby girls … and we started in our very own office!
MadameNoire fam, meet Chad Milner. Immediately after the untimely death of his daughter’s mother, Chad took on the daily duties of raising his daughter, Cydney, solo. You can hear his smile and feel his fulfillment when he speaks about his many adventures with “Cyd” who is now a preschooler. Without a doubt, it’s safe to assume he wouldn’t trade his life as a single father for the world.
Take a look at what he–and a few other dads–have to say about their learning experience since raising daughters.
Essentially, before my daughter was born, I lived my life like this: I want as little karma as possible to come my way because I feel like I’m going to have a daughter. Unfortunately, I’ve made some d**khead moves and broken a couple hearts along the way and I had to chalk it to the game. But now, having a daughter, one of the things I’m really keen on is this: anybody that I’m seeing, I want to treat them the way I want my daughter treated. Whether it’s one date or a lifetime, it’s something I really try to do. That’s probably why I attract women who are daddy’s girls. I typically date women who have incredibly tight relationships with their father but, then again, I guess you attract what you are. To add to that, Dad is a girl’s first love – so for me, knowing that my daughter will grow up and start dating, I need her to know what to look for in a man by showing her myself. And just a word of advice to single fathers: if you have a little girl, figure it out! If you need to learn how to braid hair, figure it out. If you need to learn to cook, there’s YouTube for that. And you know what? That’s what kids are for, they soften you up and make you stronger at the same time. And I have to remember, as much as you’re raising them, they’re also raising you. – Chad Milner – MadameNoire Contributor and single father
What have I learned about women raising my daughters? That’s a good question. It’s the little things. I’ll give you the prefect example. We bought my daughter a bike for her birthday this summer, she just turned four. It was pink and had the little trainers and streamers with sparkles on it and, of course, we had to get her a helmet. So, before we gave her the bike, I doodled a little character on her helmet and signed it. My wife said it was corny and that I shouldn’t mark up her brand new helmet but I said, ‘Whatever.’ So she sees the bike and got on it and when we went to put the helmet on her, she sees my little drawing and she was like “Daddy, you did drew that?” and her eyes lit up and she carried that helmet under her arm for the entire party and was running around telling everybody I “drawed” on her helmet. She was so happy to share something so simple, not the bike. That’s really what made me realize it’s the little things. It’s the thought that counts. – Jermaine, 42, father of three
I’ve learned that in order to make a woman happy, as a man, you have to be patient. My baby girl is only 16 months old and she’s way more advanced than my son was at her age. She’s walking, talking and more than anything, doing really well at expressing what she wants, and she knows how to get it – from me and her mom. For me, she’ll point and lean towards something and we’ll talk our way to the register. For her mom, she’ll whine and throw a fit until she gets her way. It’s funny. But to get back to the patience part, I’ve learned that women are emotional to point where you can’t take it personally, they’re just emotional. She gets mad at me and will twist her face, fold her arms, stomp and be genuinely irritated with me, then two minutes later comes over and gives me a hug and acts like nothing happened. I’m like, wow! That’s how y’all do it, huh? So I’ve learned that as long as a woman has what she wants, she’s content. It’s that simple. And I’ve learned, through my daughter, that they really don’t want much. Love, affection, attention and mutual respect – it’s really that simple. I would’ve saved myself from so much drama if I had learned that sooner. – Charles, 33, father of two
How you love her is going to determine what she calls love as an adult. I learned this to be true with my ex-wife. I still love her dearly. I had both my kids with her and we really fought the good one for some years to try and keep the family together, but it came to a point where I had to realize that loving her was killing me. I’d do anything for that woman and for a long time I thought that love could change a person and make them whole…it just doesn’t. Her relationship with her father until the day he died was awful. He was abusive to her and her mother and brother and she always talked about how rejected she felt by him. Let me say this – throughout our marriage, if I felt just a little bit of the rejection she felt growing up then she felt pretty s****y for a really long time and that’s no way to live. She never made peace with her father and I really believe that if they had made amends and tried to work out their differences, both of their lives would’ve been different. Heck, my life would be different! I just couldn’t convince her that she was deserving of love from an honest man like myself and it destroyed us. Like the other day, I was painting my nine-year-old daughter’s toenails at the house when she came to pick the kids up and she finally let me paint hers. After all these years, she finally let me make a loving gesture towards her without suspicion and it took 15 years. I could go on and on but if you don’t love you daughter, she won’t know it when it’s real. She won’t know how to accept and return it either. – Samuel, 41, father of two