Single moms represent a group of incredible women willing to sacrifice everything they have in order to raise happy and healthy children; however, a term we hear much less of is: “single dad”. Single dads may be rare, but are oh so cherished by their daughters (and sons) for the many sacrifices and lessons they teach their children. Although my father didn't single-handedly raise us, he was the one who put in the grunt work. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for the important skills and lessons he taught my sister and I. Yet, even in the age of gender equality, daughters who are raised by their fathers are sure to experience some awkward, funny, and frustrating moments. Here are 8 things that only those of us raised by our dads will understand:
Men are completely capable at being hair pros: I can distinctly remember my dad learning how to put my hair in a ponytail. It was sort of like learning how to ride a bike; with a little practice, and a whole lot of patience and tears, he became an expert. The downside of this is that I never had a great ballerina bun, and I had to teach myself how to perform the magic that is the “french braid”, but the fact that my dad spent the time learning how to make me look somewhat presentable at preschool is very meaningful.
Dad’s will generally not understand the importance of a $500 homecoming dress: The day I came down the stairs with my laptop in hand and pointed the little mouse to the dress that I just. Had. To. Have. My dad about spit out his coffee. $500!? For a dress!? That probably cost $25 to make!? There. Was. No. Way. However, those of us who were raised with a single dad know, “no” doesn’t always mean “no”. His heart softened, and he caved in, but only after I promised to wash every single window in the house, and clean out the cat’s litter box for an entire year. Everybody has a price. Even dads.
Yet they will tell you that a $1,000 set of tires is a necessity: He didn’t understand that I needed that sparkly homecoming dress, yet he was trying to convince me that I needed new tires, and that they cost $1,000. There was no way that those stupid rubber things that got me to school were worth more than my homecoming dress. Luckily, I didn’t have to clean the cat box out for those.
They will get really great at cooking, and make your favorite foods often, because adding broccoli justifies macaroni and cheese for the third time in a week: To this day, broccoli is still my favorite vegetable.
Single dads will try to convert their girly girl daughters into being car/golf fanatics. Few will be successful: I’m not sure if my dad will ever cope with the fact that my sister and I can’t name the winner of the most recent Formula One race, or the most iconic driver of all time, but we can quote the Kardashians like they are the president. The many hours spent in the shop rehearsing names of foreign race cars aren’t ever going to pay off. Sorry dad!
Going to the movies will involve a coin toss, but you both know you’ll end up at the chick-flick anyways: The truth is, he probably didn’t want to see that George Clooney movie, but in his eyes, the fact that his daughter is with him at the theatre instead of driving around with some teenage boy is well worth the boredom. And the overpriced popcorn.
He will awkwardly try to explain the birds and the bees to you, but you’ll stop him at “birds”: No girl ever wants to hear her dad talk about where she came from. Ever. When he tries to explain this to you, you’ll quietly turn your ears off and walk away. That’s what 9th grade science is for, right?
He won’t quite know how to handle a heart break. But he will try his best: He probably won’t show it, but his heart is breaking for you too. Instead of trying to make things better with ice cream and a movie, he will just do his best to make sure you know he will always be there for you, no matter what.