Despite popular belief, moms aren't the only ones that worry all the time about their kids. As dads find themselves taking on increasingly complex roles in raising their kids, they're finding themselves worrying a lot. Sometimes, I daresay, even more than moms.
Trust me, I should know.
I'm a single dad to three kids ages 8, 6, and 3. I have my kids with me a lot—just me and them. And let me tell you something: I worry like hell about all kinds of stuff. I worry about the teenage years coming down the pike. I worry about whether I'm feeding them too much pasta and not enough veggies. I worry about reading to them or with them enough. Bullying, education, "Brush your damn teeth already!"
With that in mind, I decided to have a little look at some stuff that dads worry about even more than moms.
1. Being Better Than Our Own Dad
Throughout history dads have played a major role in our lives. Their love and attention are key to any child's growth. We know this because when it's not there it leaves a gaping hole. Thankfully, many dads grew up with excellent fathers themselves. Their lives were enriched by the big and the small. Dad playing catch. Dad tinkering under the hood with his kids. Dad holding his crying 16-year-old daughter as her heart breaks for the first time.
But no matter if your dad was wonderful or not, I think most men on the eve of fatherhood themselves really think long and hard about how they want to do just a little bit better than their dad did. Not in a contest kind of way either. It's the simple drive to evolve, to push good things a little further down the line. I know that's true for me. I want to be the best dad I can possibly be so I turn to my own dad as the best example I know. What did he do wrong? How could he have done better? The point isn't to judge our fathers in retrospect, it's to take our experiences with them and create an even better life for our sons and daughters.
It scares the sh*t out of us because we're not sure if we've got what it takes to help soothe and calm our own child.
2. Crying Babies
A little less deep than #1 on this list, but don't you dare laugh this one off. Dads often freak out at the sound of a crying baby! It scares the sh*t out of us because we're not sure if we've got what it takes to help soothe and calm our own child. That's a lot of pressure, right? And where I think moms are so much more naturally inclined to feel this emotional connection with a baby that was formed in their body, I think the newborn crying jags are one of the most intense periods of confusion for a new dad.
We don't have that physical otherworldly connection just yet. We love the baby, of course! We simply don't know exactly how to be the keeper of its proverbial soul just yet. So we spaz out when they won't stop crying. Moms endure this so much better than dads. They just kick our asses when it comes to crying babies. I 100% admit it. I don't know if this will ever change unless men actually give birth some day. And quite frankly, I don't wanna be around for that debacle.
I know, I know, it sounds a bit of a stretch to say that dads worry about their daughters more than moms. But hear me out. I feel like even if both parents worry equally about their little girl growing up and facing all the unique challenges, rampant injustices, and downright scary stuff that young women eventually still face in this world of ours, somehow a dad's worrying is more intense.
Well, two reasons. First off, the dad-daughter bond is a really special one. I can't even begin to explain it without starting a Great American Novel here for you, but chances are that you know exactly what I'm talking about. Dads and daughters have the ability to protect and nurture one another in an almost magical way. Again, it doesn't always happen this way, but when it does it's powerful in the ways that are quite possibly the best life has to offer. So it then goes with the program that any dad who has a daughter is quite likely to lose his mind quite a lot as she grows up in front of his eyes. We worry about our sons too, obviously, but these daughters, man, they just own a little piece of us. It is what it is.
Second reason dads probably worry about daughters more than mom? Simple. Moms have been there before. They were their daughters once, so to speak. They have lived the life of a teenage girl and of a young woman setting out in the world. Moms have the immense experience to back them up when it comes to understanding their girls. Dads don't. So we worry about them in ways that are born of having no earthly idea what it's like to be a girl. And then a woman. And that's absolutely horrifying to a guy when he cares so much about his little girl.