Several times recently, when I am struggling to do something, my daughter will say, "Just have Daddy do it." This does not warm my feminist heart, to say the least. I had managed to keep my responses down to a mild snarl since the things I was attempting to do had thus far involved some brute strength or at least tools, areas that her Daddy is clearly more proficient than me. However, this morning these words came out of her mouth when I was trying to fix the zipper on her coat. Definitely not Daddy's domain. Where is this coming from? I thought one of my primary areas for growth was that I need to learn to ask for help. Am I asking for help too often from my husband so that my girls think I am incompetent? It is not as though we live our lives in a stereotypical way. I am, primarily, the one who takes care of the livestock. I have been known to drive the skid steer. I got a reciprocating saw for Christmas.
Before resorting to cutting things with a chainsaw or taking the tractor for a joy ride just to prove that I could, I paused for a moment to remember how I saw my dad when I was my daughter's age. I distinctly remember having a shirt that said "Daddy's Sweetheart". I was very proud of that shirt. In my eyes, my daddy could do anything.
I think I am going to have to wrestle my feminist feelings to the ground this time. I might be a bit more careful about how I ask my dear husband for help, but it is okay that my daughter admires her Daddy. It is very good that I am not the only one influencing her life. My daughters and I are lucky that this influence is a positive one. My pride is screaming, "But why does he get to be the cool one!" Be quiet, pride. I get to snuggle my daughters, comfort them when they are hurt, teach them, love them, but I don't have to be everything to them. (I also get to hold their hair while they vomit, but we are focusing on the positive here.)
So, next time my daughter tells me to "Just have Daddy do it," I will calmly explain to her that I will try to do it on my own first and then if I can not I will ask for help from someone. Perhaps her Daddy or perhaps someone else with the necessary expertise. I might even manage to admit that Daddy is indeed good at many things and is often a good person from whom to ask for help. Or maybe I will just sigh and ignore her. I am not perfect.
In the meantime, I hope this serves as a reminder to any daddies out there, particularly daddies of daughters. You likely have someone looking up to you and not just because you are taller than she is. What you do is communicating something to her. If you flip on the television as soon as you get home, that communicates something to her. How you treat her mother, how you talk about your job, what you eat, all these things teach her something. Most importantly, how you love her teaches her a whole lot. Sounds like a big responsibility but there is great reward too. I may not wear a "Daddy's Sweetheart" shirt anymore, but I still love and admire my daddy and I suspect I always will.