I’m a single mom. My teenagers are the joy of my life.
This is not to say that being a single parent comes without challenges. I’ve heard it said many times that single mothers have to be both parents. It certainly feels that way sometimes, but it’s truly not possible for us to fill both parental roles.
Moms are amazing and our job is super important. But as a mother, a daughter and a mother of a daughter, I have to say that sometimes, girls just need our daddies.
We need our daddies to give us positive attention. Daddy’s compliments are the best compliments.
We need to hear that we are beautiful, not just when we have a full face of makeup and heels on. We need to hear it when we’re sleepy-eyed and messy-haired in our sweatpants, too.
But even more than beautiful, we need to hear that we are smart and talented and creative and capable.
We need to know that our contributions are important to the family, the community and society.
We need to know that we are loved for all of who we are, and encouraged to explore our passions—no matter how unconventional they may seem.
We need our daddies to be emotionally well, healthy and whole. We need to see how they navigate life’s challenges.
We need to watch them mourn when they lose someone close to them.
We need to see them cry.
We need to see them disagree with integrity and kindness.
We need to see them celebrate life’s victories.
We need for them to model what emotional wellness looks like, so we can recognize it in our future partners.
We need our daddies to validate our feelings, to apologize when they’ve hurt us and to encourage us to express ourselves in healthy ways.
We need our daddies to know that there is nothing macho about being emotionally immature or unavailable.
We need our daddies to understand that we hear every word they say and see everything they do when we are young. If he treats us harshly or says unkind things, we think it is because we deserve to be treated that way. We may even take over where he left off and continue to punish ourselves, believing there is something wrong with us.
We need our daddies to teach us to respect ourselves, by always treating us with respect.
We need our daddies to model the difference between chivalry and chauvinism. We need to see them behaving like gentlemen.
We need our daddies to understand that the way they treat our mothers will be the way we expect to be treated in a relationship.
We need to hear our daddies speak about women in a positive way, celebrating more than their physical appearance.
We need our daddies to not be intimidated by strong women or by the realization that they are raising one.
We need our daddies to be comfortable in a nurturing role. Sometimes, daddies get so focused on the hunting and gathering that is wired into their DNA, they don’t realize that we need far more from them.
We need our daddies to spend time playing with us, kissing our booboos, helping with homework, and reading stories, flying kites and catching fireflies.
We need our daddies to show us that we are worthy of the investment of their time and energy.
We need our daddies to handle their business. We need them to be mindful and present.
We need them to keep their lives in balance, so their stress doesn’t spread throughout the house.
We need them to show us what healthy self-esteem looks like.
We need them to take care of their physical health and be spiritually well.
We need our daddies to embrace their flaws, accept their shortcomings and admit when they are wrong. We don’t expect our daddies to be perfect all the time. Watching them handle challenges with grace teaches us far more about life than feigned perfection ever could.
We need to have a strong, positive, loving example of what a man is, what a man does. We need our daddies to know that they are the first and most powerful example of masculinity we receive.
Moms are great—everyone loves moms. There are so many wonderful things in life that only our mom can do.
But my God, let us not forget that we need our daddies. There is no acceptable substitute on earth for a daddy’s love.
Author: Renee Dubeau
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Image: Ruby Lane Photography/Flickr