Having Daughter’s Isn’t God Punishing You For Being A Womanizer; It’s Just Your Guilty Conscience

father and daughterYesterday was Mother’s Day and I spent it at my cousin’s house with family. As we were outside talking about life and kids and responsibility we started to talk about children. And how it was a consensus among all the men that having daughters was somewhat terrifying. Not because little girls are worse than boys or grow up to be angry women but because of our guilty consciences.

For all of my life, even before I started dating I knew there were double standards for boys and girls. Men are often times praised for having multiple conquest and women are shamed for it. A guy can be a whore is entire life and if he changes to be faithful to one woman and love her right; the whole world applauds him. On the other hand, if a woman is a whore, that stigma never leaves. That’s an entirely different conversation but just as example.

I’m not sure when this became a thing but it’s probably been around for centuries. Somewhere along the way men got it in their heads that God or fate was cursing them by giving them daughters. Especially if that man was a womanizer. You want to know something funny and sad at the same time? Watch a grown man project all of his guilt and sins and tortured conscience onto an innocent child. Not because she’s doing anything wrong but because in her he sees every woman he ever lied to, cheated on, misused or abused. In her he sees fear, the fear that he’ll have to dry her tears because a man breaks her heart.

As much as we want to believe that having a daughter is karma for the bad you’ve inflected on others; a much easier thought to believe is that maybe there’s no secret revenge plot by God and fate but it was just the sperm that made it first. Maybe instead of projecting your insecurities onto your daughter, you could give her confidence and not let the double standards and misogyny that you were raised with live in how you raise her. Maybe you raise a daughter strong enough not to ever let a man disrespect her like you disrespected women. All of that takes looking inside of yourself.

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An Open Letter to the Father’s That Weren’t There; It’s Not too Late

img_0173I didn’t want to post this on yesterday because I believe that Father’s Day is reserved for the men that deserve to get recognition. The ones that takes turns getting up at night when the baby is crying. The dads that have to rush home from work to get to little league practices and then help with homework because mom has to cook dinner. Those men deserve all the days of being spoiled they can get.

Life isn’t lunch meat or milk. There’s no expiration date on when you can say, “I need to start over,” or “I want to make things right.” There are so many father’s out here that weren’t there when their children were kids and they don’t know how to make that right. It’s too late for ice cream and Barbie dolls or GI Joes. It’s too late for camping in the backyard and little league games. So they just let year after year go until they’re strangers to the people that share their DNA. Not realizing it’s never too late to at the very least have a friendship.

Holding grudges against your father for not being there only hurts you. I spent years trying to be a better man than my father and in the end I’m no better than him because the ultimate character of a man is to be able to forgive. A lot of our father’s just weren’t ready for fatherhood. They didn’t know how to be dads and by the time they were willing to try or realized their mistakes it was too late. At least in their eyes. So it’s up to us to reach out to them, maybe we’ll never have the father/ son relationship we craved as children but there’s value in becoming their friend. In getting to know where you came from. There’s value in your children knowing where they came from.

The easiest thing in the world is to make a mistake or screw up and walk away. Saying to yourself, “They were good without me as children, so why would they need me as teenagers or adults?” Just because a child grows up doesn’t mean he or she ever stops being your child. Even if it’s just a phone call once a week or Sunday dinner at Popeye’s, that quality time does wonders.

Why I’m Afraid to Bring A Child Into This World; Why I Will Bring A Child Into This World

There was another mass shooting today. According to the news, this wasn’t terrorism or some random crazy guy. It was over a Holiday party. Men walked into a place with innocent people and started killing them because of a party. That’s the world I’m going to bring my children into.

Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet.

Donald Trump is going to be the Republican Nominee for the President of the United States.

Everytime I look up there’s a new food that causes cancer or some type of ecoli (spell check, it’s 2:00am) scare. All this adds up to one or two things.

We’re either one black kid getting shot by police away from WW3 or we’re one President away from WW3 or all or food is going to kill us and they’ll be a handful of farmers in Utah left standing.

I want a son really bad. I’ve stopped writing about it over the years because I didn’t want to become one of those guys that seemed pressed. But the desire has never went away. The hope that I’d have a little man that looks just like me or like his mom or is at least healthy and happy. But the thought of raising him in such an uncertain world scares the hell out of me.

Even though I know it’s my obligation to raise him, to add some good warmheartedness and substance that our world so desperately needs. Would I be a wreck sending my child to school everyday knowing some fool could come in there and shoot it up. Would I go broke shopping at Whole Foods because I didn’t want to poison by child with McDonalds? Even though I have all those fears, I still feel good about the fact that my faith in God will protect him or her. I won’t and can’t be there 24/7 but to not have children because we live in such a crazy world would be adding to the fear that this crazy world is generating.

Living Life In the Shadow of Not Wanting to be My Father 

  I have fairly high expectations for the man I want to be. I’ve literally lived my life trying to do everything the right way. I don’t have any stories of drunken house parties while my parents were away or sleeping in the drunk tank on spring break. I have never concerned myself with what’s popular if it wasn’t right. I wish I could say I was doing this because I have this high moral compass or because I’m inherently good but that’s not the case at all. 

I am who I am because I promised myself I would never be my father. My fist time meeting him was my 4th or 5th birthday, at least that’s my first time remembering meeting him. My mom and family threw me this smurfs themed party. I loved the smurfs. He showed up with a car truck. Not the electronic type but the hot wheel kind. He didn’t hug me and barely spoke. I just remember feeling like he was a stranger and I never wanted to feel that way again. I never wanted to feel irrelevant. 

Sometimes I wonder what type of father I will be. I don’t worry whether or not I’ll be there for him or her or whether or not I’ll provide. I worry that I won’t be able to give them the emotional support they need. That I won’t be the man I always invisioned myself being. It’s a scary feeling being unsure about something that’s supposed to come so natural. 

Will I be the type of husband that just knows when my wife needs a break? The type of father that just knows when my child needs a hug instead of a spanking. My father didn’t teach me these things and in trying to be everything he wasn’t I’m afraid I’ll become some of the things I hate about him. Nature vs. Nurture.  

Our Daughters Are Watching

girls They don’t see her watching but she is, pretending to play with a doll she sees him play in her hair. She watches her mother giggle and blush. She can’t hear what they’re talking about but she knows they’re happy.

They don’t see her watching but she looks up from the kitchen table. Her dad looks sad; her mom is rubbing the back of his neck as he eats. He looks up and smiles, “Everything will be alright.” She wants to ask what’s the matter but her mom gives her a look that says, “It’s okay.”

Every time they leave he opens the door for them both. Every time her mom buys groceries he goes outside to help her with the bags. She doesn’t understand why he talks louder on the phone then he does with mom, she just knows mom smiles when he walks through the door.

Little girls grow up wanting to be like their mothers. It’s why they play dress up and mimic the walk.

Men set the standard, set the example for what their little girl will look forward to.

She’s Not Your Little Girl Anymore

daddys girl As a man that spends a lot of time talking to women I’ll be the first to tell you that there’s a major difference between a woman that grew up with a father and a woman that didn’t. Let me rephrase that, a woman that grew up with a good father and a woman that didn’t. I have all the respect in the world for a man that teaches his daughter to have expectations and respect for herself. There’s no doubt she’ll past those same traits to her daughter and even her son.

Saying all that let me also say this… As a man I know it has to be hard letting your little girl go but there comes a point when your little girl is no longer your little girl. Don’t get me wrong, fathers will always have a duty to protect and look after their daughter but when that duty comes at the expense of interfering with her growth, it’s not right.

Let me tell you a story. I was once dating this woman and she still lived with her parents, she was around 25. Before I went to pick her up she told me, “Just ignore my dad, he’s a little protective of me.” I’m a pretty well mannered guy but her father was an asshole. As much as I understood the thought of your daughter doing “adult” things can stress you, I’m still a man. I’ll respect your home, I’ll try and understand how you feel but I won’t be disrespected or quiet about it.

In my world, once I start the courtship process, I’m letting any man know that from this moment on this woman is my responsibility and not yours. Why at this point and not when we’re married? Because you have to set the standard early. As a man I’m the one this woman should be calling when her tire is flat or her battery is dead or there’s a mouse in her house. Not her father, not her brother, not her friend. I’m more than willing to respect that you’ve spent the last quarter century raising a great woman but do you want her dating a man that’s going to back down? My logic is simple, we can work together and I can be a great potential son-n-law or you keep trying to hold on to this image of the girl that you taught to ride a bike or drive and lose her.

I’m terrified of having daughters but I love women so we are where we are .

Where Are the Black Fathers?

You don’t deserve the right to be happy.

You don’t get to decide whether or not you’re going to be a part of your child’s life because you don’t like his mother.

When you went inside of her raw, probably on more than one occasion you forfeited your right to being selfish.

When she called you or sat you down and told you she was pregnant, at that moment you no longer lived for you.

That mindset is what’s lacking in my community. It’s the mindset that’s lacking in the men I call brothers. Somewhere along the way we got it in our heads that our happiness and satisfaction trumps that of the seeds we created. That if his/her mother doesn’t want to do what I say or act right then let her and her new man take care of that kid. You may know some really good men, I know some really good fathers. But as a whole, the African American community has more single mothers and grandmothers raising children than any other race on this planet. And I mean that literally by the way, on this planet! This isn’t Uganda where the fathers aren’t home because they’re in Civil War. This isn’t Panama where the fathers aren’t home because they’re off in mines working. This is America where black fathers aren’t home because when things get hard they just go create another family.

If you’re reading this… Raise your hand if you know a man that couldn’t make it work with his child’s mother or wife so he just left. Just left and started a new family like that other child didn’t need his love, advice, care, protection. Raise your hand if you know women that are simply happy when their son or daughter gets a phone call.

Look, I could sit up here and blame drugs, violence, the job market, racism, any number of things on a father not being a father in the black community. But at the end of the day when you go to a little league game and it’s 75% mothers out there. When you go to a church event and it’s 90% mothers. Men are around, we’re in the clubs, we’re on Facebook, we’re at Texans games tailgating but you know where we aren’t? We aren’t raising our children…

My father has 14 children by 10 different women. He wasn’t a father to any of us, that’s 14 lives that had to figure it out on their own. 14 lives that couldn’t go to their father for loan money to start a business Mitt Romney. 14 lives that at some point wondered “why doesn’t my father love me?” I was blessed to have a grandfather that showed me the way. Some of the others weren’t so lucky and they just repeated the cycle. That breaks my heart more than I could ever express. Be a father to your sons and daughters or else…

Or else they won’t make it. I’d like to write that most kids from single parent households are just as capable but that’s not true. How can you be capable when you’re worried about your mother? When you’re confused about your father? You lose that ability to unlock all your potential. That’s why children from two parent families do better.

“Where are all the black fathers? They’re somewhere not taking responsibility for the lives they helped create. You don’t get to move to another State to be happy when your son needs you. You don’t get to ignore your daughter because she looks too much like her mother. You forfeit the right to be selfish the moment she shows you that plus sign on the stick.

If you’re doing the right things as a man I salute you and if you’re not fuck you.

I don’t have children but I used the word we in this post because I’m still a black man. And it’s still my right and responsibility to hold these kids down. It’s all our responsibilities.