What Kind of Man Do I Want For Them?

 

We’re not supposed to look at things differently after having daughters. Brock Turner, Harvey Weinstein, income inequality and the new war against access to contraception and the right to choose. These things should outrage any man, regardless of the gender of their child.

We’re not supposed to but we do, and I think that is OK. I think that when we have someone that we love we begin to imagine them in that position, that it becomes more personal, more real. My heart aches for the victims and families of Las Vegas but it will never match the devastation that I felt after Sandy Hook. Every time I looked at my little girl’s face in the days following that tragedy I saw their faces and I cried.

That’s right, I’m a man and I cried. Must be some kind of pussy or something.

It’s something that I’ve been called before.

Fifteen years ago I was in a several year long relationship that ended somewhat amicably but didn’t stay that way. Her next boyfriend was an older biker, a gang member in a Hell’s Angels affiliate and embodied just about every stereotype that might immediately bring to mind. It was hard to argue when reminded how much more “manly” he was than me.

 

a real man?
not an actual picture, but pretty close

 

I have no idea what happened to them, no desire to know.

But I worry about my girls, about what sort of men might be in their future. How “manly” they might be. So far the teenager’s choices have been varied, no particular type that I can ascertain other than all being horrible choices. The six year old just likes to fight, her “boyfriends” so far being the boys that like to wrestle at recess. She might have a bit of her mother in her in that regard.

What do I want for them?

 

be the man

 

I’ve seen this meme a lot, also seen it criticized a lot. They are legitimate criticisms.  Should it really be that hard just to be that kind of man anyway? To be kind and generous and loving? Do we really need to make it personal, to have to visualize someone we care about to not be shitty people?

I don’t know. Probably not.

I like to think that I’ve always been a pretty good guy. I know that there are many who would disagree with that assessment.

I like to think that after meeting my current wife, helping to raise her daughter and having one of my own that I’ve become even better. I know that there are many who would disagree with that assessment.

The question is : am I the type of guy that I would want my daughters to be with, to marry? When I look in the mirror is this what I would want for them?

I think so.

Somebody handier around the house would be good, somebody that fixes stuff, can change their own oil or hammer in a nail halfway straight. I want somebody that will tell them they love them as often as I tell them, not as often as I tell my wife. Somebody a little quicker to say “I’m sorry” or admit when they are wrong.

As a parent the number one thing that I want for my girls is for things to be better. For everything to be better. My life has been pretty damn good up until now. I want theirs to be better.

I’ve been with my wife for almost thirteen years, been married for just over nine. Over that time I can look in the mirror and tell myself that I’ve always tried my best. I can look in that same mirror and know that it always hasn’t always been good enough.

Is that what I want for my girls?

Of course not.

I want better.

 

 

46 thoughts on “What Kind of Man Do I Want For Them?”

  1. I found this post interesting. I have a daughter and two sons and often ponder the same thing. One of my children is in a serious relationship. What I want most is happiness for them.

  2. I totally get this. I think for moms and dads alike, we wonder if we are modeling the kind of humans we want our kids to be and to choose to be with.
    Sandy Hook wrecked me – just wrecked me. My daughter was five at the time, so right there at almost the same age. I couldn’t breathe looking at those faces, seeing their parents. All these years later that still hits me right in the gut.

  3. Our “kids” are 29 and 31 – and I’m not sure that their spouses reflect much about how we parented our kids. We think our son chose really well, our daughter so-so. But in saying that, they both chose partners that suited their personalities and what they valued in a spouse. I think the best we can do is love our kids, model authentic lives (ie: walk the talk) and pray for them like crazy!

  4. Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed your post though I will say”what kind of woman do I want to be”.
    We sometimes forget that we should be a good example so that our kids know what kind of person they take as a role model.

  5. The fact that you as a father of daughters thinks of this more – not surprising.
    My wife will sometimes remind me that my boys are learning from me about how to treat their future spouse.

  6. Loved the honesty of this post. As someone that has read several of your posts, you come across as a wonderful Father and therefore a great role model for your daughters’ future partners. Also, I’d personally always value a man that cries over the horrific Sandy Hook tragedy than a macho man that never shows his emotions. A man that openly cares about the well being of children is more of a Man too me.

    1. Its much easier to “come across” that way than to live it, but I understand what you are saying Hayley. I do my best and hope, the same as every other parent. Thanks for reading and the kind words

  7. Great post Jeremy.

    Like yourself until I had a daughter I wasn’t as aware of a lot of the problems women have to fight against on a daily basis.

    It’s funny with the boys I worry how they are going to treat their future girlfriends and wives, yet the daughter the concern is how she is going to be treated. If we all bring our boys up right then we wouldn’t need to worry about the daughters.

    #thatfridaylinky

  8. It’s in the news so much at the moment isn’t it. I haven’t even thought that far ahead yet as my girls are only five, but I agree with you. Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky

  9. Having four daughters, I always wonder about this but have come to the conclusion that they will choose whoever they want I really won’t have a say Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

  10. I think alot about who my own children will be with and what adults they will become. I try very hard to be a role model that I can be proud of…time will tell and my fingers are crossed. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time
    Mainy

  11. Everyone says I married my dad, he’s a fantastic man. Great role models for girls is critical in the people they end up with, thank you for striving to do your best for your little ladies. #ThatFridayLinky

  12. Ah this is beautiful. Although my son is only three I’m trying to raise him to be independent. Not to expect people in life to do things for you. I want my son to be self sufficient. As I would hope his future wife would be. It scares me when I see older couples who don’t know heir own medicines because “their wife gives them to them” or they don’t know how to pay the bills because “their husband deals with all that”. I’ve been brought up to be self sufficient and my husband has mostly. Happiness is the ultimate goal.

    Thanks for linking up to #KCACOLS

    1. Not having to be dependent on somebody else is important. Like you say, happiness is the most important. Thanks for reading Cassie

  13. Dads always want better for their girls don’t they but I bet if you asked your girls what they are looking for in a man it will be the qualities they value in you. My daughter’s relationship with her father is second to none. They share interests and a sense of humour that makes me smile every day. She sees his kindness towards others and his love of me and my son from my first marriage and all those elements can only combine to influence her decision making going forward..and I am sure it will be the same with your daughters. Beautiful post Jeremy. Thanks for joining us again. #TweensTeensBeyond

  14. I just want them to be happy and respected. You want a guy who is loving, supportive and lets them follow their dreams. I guess , yes, like my husband. Hopefully we will be lucky with our girls eh?
    Lovely post and thanks for sharing with #bloggersbest

  15. That’s exactly the question I ask myself a lot, only as a woman to a mother of sons. I am always asking myself, am I setting a good example of the kind of woman I want to see my boys end up with? For the most part, I think I have set that example but I didn’t always think that way. I think its a great question for us parents to ask regardless of the gender of our kids and I think it makes us good parents to think about that. It’s also natural because we are always thinking about their futures. #TweensTeensBeyond

    1. we’re all just trying the best that we can. I think you’re right, its an important question that every parent should think about. Our example is everything

  16. Little girls love their dads Jeremy and I have no doubt that they will seek out what they get from you when choosing their partners. They say that boys marry their mothers and if your girls follow suit, they will have made very wise choices! Lovely post as always and thanks for sharing with #tweensteensbeyond

  17. People talk a lot about how important it is for boys to have Dads that are good role models but I have always thought that the father-daughter relationship is crucial. So many girls end up choosing partners that are like their Dads, it’s a huge responsibility. I totally agree with this post Jeremy – refreshingly honest as always. Thanks so much for sharing with us at #TweensTeensBeyond

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.