First, let me tell you a story.
Just this weekend…I headed down to Nashville (a 3-hour drive) with my mom, step-dad (Pat), and my daughter. We were excited to see my sister and spend time with her celebrating her 24th birthday. The plan was pretty simple. We would get there around 3pm, spend a bit of time at her apt and then head to dinner around 6. Afterwards, my daughter would head back to the hotel with my mom and Pat to play in the pool while I went with my sister and her friends for the evening on the town. As we were about to leave for dinner from my sisters apt, we called two uber’s (there were 8 of us). A quick decision was made that I would go with Lauren and her friends while my mom and Pat would take my daughter. We would meet back up at the restaurant. It was at that moment, I turned toward my daughter walking out of the apt with the door closing that we locked eyes; I felt overwhelmed. All I could think of is “I want to be with her”. The door closed and a minute later, I turned around to find my sister saying “why don’t you just go with them because 5 adults might be tight in an uber”. I smiled and said “SURE”! I was now where I wanted to be, with her. Fast forward a few hours… we had dinner, drinks and a lot of laughter as we celebrated my sister’s birthday. Eventually my parents took my daughter back to the hotel and I went out with my sister. While I did enjoy my time out with my sister and her friends (they really are a blast to be around), I never really felt quite comfortable knowing my daughter was back at the hotel and not with me. Around 1am, I was ready to go. I made it back to the hotel and was happy to find my daughter resting comfortably in bed.
Why this story? It shows that Dad's are wired a bit differently...
You see, there is just something about being a father to a young daughter that has changed how I see everything about this world, including going out. Being a single father, especially to a daughter, can be quite the challenge for many men. Learning to deal with emotions can be tough for many men. Here I get to thank my mother for raising me to be strong, determined AND emotional. Being a father has taught me so much. I’ve learned patience, attentive listening, that I am not the center of attention any longer, and I have learned that I will create the mold for who she dates as she grows up. This amazing 9 year old girl inspires me with her humor, love for education, love for others and her love for family. She has changed me and I am forever in debt to her for this.
If you ever date a single father of a little girl, here are some things to know...
- Daughters are always first
While a partner is super important and their needs MUST be met, those needs can’t be met at the expense of a child’s needs.
- Dads loves to talk about their little girl
Ask him about his little girl, he will glow!!! What is her favorite color? What is her favorite subject in school? What is being around her like?
- Dads are not looking for a “mother” to their daughter but instead, a role model
Dads are looking for influencer's who can help guide their daughter through this world. She needs positive role models in her life and as a father, he must ensure she has that. They want someone who shows love and isn’t afraid of being authentic.
- Dads love being around their daughters
While all parents need to have breaks away, they will pick daughters over bars and many other things. I’ve never complained about staying home with my daughter while my friends want to go out. Dads know where their heart is.
- Dads with daughters are patient and attentive
We love to give our girls focused attention. It is ok for her to wait, if needed, however, I give her my full undivided attention when we are having conversations. Dads of little girls have learned to listen. Dads are going to take things a little slower than those without kids because there is far more at stake.
- Dads know they are not the center of attention
Dads are not selfish, they know their daughter has needs that must be met and dads live for the greater good of their daughter…including in dating
- You will have YOU time
Split custody offers you more freedom and flexibility. As a rule, at least mine, it will be months before someone ever meets my daughter thus while I am with her, you get to do you.
- Dads with daughters are responsible
He runs the house, he loves her, he feeds her, makes sure her homework is complete, cleans the house and he is on time.
- Dads with daughters play for keeps
Dads do not want their daughters to see women come and go in their life, so if you are around, if you meet his little girl.. he is really into you and trusts you.
- Dads want you to love their daughters
Dads want you to not see their daughter as “some kid” but instead, they want you to connect with them. Connection is not only critical, its required.
- Dads with daughters have more fun
Dads and their daughters laugh a lot, even at each other’s expense. I can’t tell you the last time we had a bad day and I am sure other fathers would say the same.
- Dads with daughters are affectionate, protective and chivalrous
Dads hold their daughters hand and play with their hair. Dads make sure they are between their daughter and incoming traffic when crossing a road. Dads open doors, are last to enter and when things don't go well, dads hug their daughter and tell them that everything will be ok.
I love being a father!