Have I got a treat for you. It’s not a free box of puppies, but it’s something you will equally enjoy, except with your eyes. Shoot, now I want to go pet some puppies.
The treat I’m talking about is this guest post right here by blogger Knox McCoy, recently published author of Jesus and The Bachelorette (a book you need to buy if you want your marriage to work and/or land that dream job and/or live to be 100 and/or none of the above but are you willing to take that chance?), and possible future unwitting co-creator of FaithTV’s version of The Bachelor/ette. Trust me, I really feel like Christians are ready for that jelly. It’s gonna be HUGE.
Knox is funny. Laugh-out-loud funny. I read excerpts of his blog to my husband, who chuckles heartily. I quote Knox’s one-liners to friends who don’t read his blog and don’t really know who he is (their loss), despite my feeling awkward for prefacing one line with a paragraph-long introduction, as in, “I read this guy’s blog who writes weekly recaps making fun of The Bachelor/ette and this is what he said about the Yankees:” and they laugh too. I wish I were that funny.
I’m letting him take over to promote his book, and you can taste test his witty words (and then assume I’m witty by association), buy his book, be enlightened, and cure that eczema problem that’s been flaring up. In that order. You’re welcome.
(Longest. Intro. EVER.)
Guest post in 3…2…1…
You guys, in less than a month, my wife will be giving birth to a baby girl. On a scale from 1 to 10, I’d rate my mental preparedness to be somewhere around Britney Spears when she shaved her head and Christina Aguilera’s Dirty phase.
I have all these swirling emotions about the little girl that’s about to come into my life. Some are very similar to the ones I felt for my son. These emotions are very powerful and may or may not be the cause of some tears shed during overly sentimental commercials.
But some emotions are completely foreign. Like abject fear and terror. I’m scared to death that I’m going to be a dumpster-fire of a father to her. But even if I somehow manage to be the Bill Cosby of dads, there’s a layering of fear that she could STILL end up in a strip club somewhere in rural Tennessee, with a stage name of Delicious Destiny or something. Terrifying, right?
Emotionally speaking, I was kind of a wreck before my son was born. Having a family has always been one of my big desires in life and this was because I had such a good childhood. I wanted to replicate this for myself and I didn’t realize just how moving my son’s birth would be in those terms.
But even still, I didn’t wrestle with the same things then I’m wrestling with now.
This time around the concerns are different. I feel more validated as a parent because, well, my son is alive and I mean that counts for something, right?
But more pointedly, right or wrong, having a daughter seems more complicated. For one, I’m a guy and my interests are football, meat, velociraptors, and zombie movies. I could be wrong, but I feel like these things won’t naturally mesh with her female sensibilities.
But beyond that, raising a daughter seems trickier because our culture seems flooded with elements to complicate her life. While I do agree that there are just as many troubling elements of our society for boys, I’ve been there so I can navigate them better. Issues like Jacob vs. Edward? I haven’t been there so it’s going to be a lot more uncertain for me to parent a child through.
Besides Jacob vs. Edward, here are some other things that have me worried about raising my daughter…
The Role Model Thing
Have you seen some of the people considered role models? Just look at the people featured on magazines. Not exactly Ruth and Esther-types.
Frankly speaking, there is either a dearth of female options with role models or the atmosphere is so clouded by the bad ones that we can’t make out the good ones. Either way, when an entire subculture of women are popular simply for being popular, it’s fair to say that there’s a problem with how we assign value to celebrities.
At this point, the only worthy heroines I’ll be able to point to for my daughter are those from Pixar movies.
The Societal Expectations Thing
I feel like though society as a whole is getting more and more superficial, it’s also expanding to allow more leeway on the whole barbie doll archetype thing. This is a good thing, but still with girls, I feel like the margin for error is razor thin.
I have no reference point on this because my entire first semester of college was spent wearing the same pair of Adidas flip-flops to class every day and playing Grand Theft Auto.
But essentially the point remains: you can deviate from the traditional female ideal, but only if you are still fundamentally attractive within whatever enclave you inhabit. Nerdy, sporty, all the Spice Girl categories really, are all fine, but you still must be physical appealing. Otherwise, you might as well be Rosie O’Donnell.
The Friends Thing
Girls and their relationships seem about as simple as decoding Martian hieroglyphics. I have a few close guy friends and if we get mad at each other we yell or fight and then it’s over.
With girls? They could have a fight one day and eleven years later, they’re both still secretly hoping that the other one gets really, really fat or ends up on Hoarders. It’s insane. I feel like female friendships have the flexibility of an IED.
The Future Husband Thing
To know that in all likelihood, at some point in my life, I’m going to have to eyeball some punk kid who’s going to ask me permission for my daughter’s hand in marriage? That’s enough to humble a man.
I remember myself at 22 when I asked my wife’s parents for permission to marry her and you know what? It doesn’t exactly give me the warm and fuzzies.
Current debates on gender roles aside, the hope is that she will find a man to love her, lead her and guide her. But my thing is, if I’m doubting my own abilities to properly do those things, how am I supposed to trust some dumb kid with those jobs?
I wonder if in some ways, marrying your daughter off is like communism: a decent idea in theory but when it comes time for you, there’s NO way you’re happy about it.
What things did I miss when it comes to raising a daughter?
You can buy Knox’s new book, Jesus and The Bachelorette here. It’s also available here through Amazon for your Kindle. You should also visit his website, subscribe to his blog, follow him on Twitter and pray for his wife.
Hey! Down here! Here’s your chance to make me feel more popular than I actually am! Oh, and get something for free. It’s a win-win. In the comments: What are you afraid of? I won’t laugh at you, unless it’s something ridiculous, like puppies. One random commenter will win a FREE copy of Knox’s ebook! And if you already have it, then I give you permission to pay it forward and re-gift it. Just not in ugly wrapping paper. Here, I’ll go first: I’m afraid the 18-wheeler driving in front of me on the Interstate is actually on the verge of exploding Matrix-style. Laugh factor: Negative 104,365,324.
You have one week. GO!
41 responses to “The Abject Terror of Raising a Daughter: Guest Post by Knox McCoy”
I’m afraid of Boggarts.
I already have Mr. Mccoy’s literary masterpiece but I will gladly pay it forward if I win.
You get an extra entry for a Harry Potter reference. I’ve never done a giveaway on my blog before so I’m making up the rules as I go along.
Fantastic post Knox. Fun to see you two team up. You’ve got some brilliant observations here, but let me take a crack at the one about how will you ever understand the things that girls are supposed to like. Well, like you say, culture pumps all this girlie stuff out there 24/7. She’s gonna get that plenty. You’ll be the one who has to sit through dress fittings and conversations about Mindy Peetburger’s new shoes. But you’ll be able to share your love of football and zombies and stuff with her. All along the way as a great dad you’ll be creating the template for the kind of guy she wants to marry someday. Even if you do have to endure that rebellion phase for some of the teen years. They go quick though 😉
Shoes were never my thing. I coveted backpacks. How many times did any of the private school girls hike the Appalachian trail or raft the rapids or camp with nothing but a box of matches and a canteen? None. But their backpacks suggested otherwise. FINALLY I got a NorthFace backpack (shut up, I was superficial) that actually came in handy after moving from the flatlands of south Alabama to the Smoky Mountains. Checkmate, faux-ruggedness.
First: When my sister-in-law first came on the scene I made her cry so many times I was almost disowned. It’s safe to say I know nothing about girls either and I am one.
Second: I know nothing about raising daughters. My dad would tell you he doesn’t either. However. I am not a stripper. I am not mentally unstable. I don’t have unrealistic expectations about myself or my body. My heroes are my Mom and a 55 yr old man named Bob. So he must have done (and is still doing) something right.
He tells me he loves me on a daily basis. He tells me that I am beautiful. He is hopelessly in love with my mother after 40something years together. I see how he cherishes her. He’s quiet and calm but I don’t have any doubt that he would pound the tar out of anyone who hurts me. While I’m closest with my mom and talk to her about lots of stuff, his opinion weighs the heaviest in my mind (he once told me that the guy I was dating was “kind of a pansy”). I go to him for guidance and leadership. He is most definitely, as educlayton said, the template for the kind of guy I want to marry. Also, he taught me how to burp like a man (it’s a great party trick?).
I have no doubts that you’ll be that for your daughter.
This? Is the perfect response. So. What she said.
Amanda- yet another similarity between us: we both can belch like men. I like to think of it as a spiritual gift.
Dr. Pepper makes me belch like Barney Gumble.
An all-time comment, AB. All-time.
Deathly afraid of snakes. Eternally scared that if I unknowingly stop on top of one in my car, it’s going to slither into my AC and attack me through the air vent. Yeesh.
I’m almost certain there’s a snake living in the city pipes. I fully expect it to find it’s way to my toilet one day.
I feel like the spiders I vacuum up are just waiting for me to fall asleep before crawling out and exacting their revenge.
A friend of mine was at a waterpark preparing to go down a waterslide when he felt something on his back. He brushed at whatever it was and knocked a snake off of his back. They had nested above the entrance to the water slide.
/Swears to never visit another water park again.
Love this post, but I have sons, so don’t ask me what you missed. Take it one day at a time, and expect gray hair to come even quicker?
And I suffer from myrmecophobia… big name for me admitting to fearing those tiny little ants that are everywhere.
One day at a time. Yes.
And man, I hate those tiny pests.
One daughter? Try raising three daughters! Simple biology tells you that 4 weeks per month are going to be terrible at our house.
On the bright side of the whole dating thing, I inherited a shotgun from my dad, so I can imagine I will be cleaning it in front of the boys a lot when they get to be that age.
Oh, and I’m afraid of heights. And puppies. And puppies that are high.
Well…okay. Puppies frolicking from dangerously high heights can be pretty frightening.
Friend, I have one son and four daughters and I am equipped to tell you only this: Whatever you do, you will eventually eff up. And you know what? You’ll all be okay. Because you, sir, have a great Father, and I know you will lead your daughter to Him.
And I’m a little afraid of birds, but mostly I just hate them. See? I turned out fine.
And also what she said. Dude. Our collective blogger buddies are a coalition of Dear Abbys but smarter.
I’m banking on a multitude of eff ups.
Little birds, huh? Like did you ever have nightmares about Woodstock from Charlie Brown?
This. post. is. perfect.
Every category has been the subject of great conversations in my apartment with my roommates. Being a girl is hard.
Personally, my dad has always been my role model. The best thing (of many) has been that he talks with me about everything (life, current events, frustrations, cool things, etc.). Mostly, he listened to me and always made me feel like what I had to say mattered to him. Plus, he was really funny. But I feel like you got that one in the bag.
Jess- I’m afraid every car I drive by on the freeway is going to switch into my lane, not see me and kill me. Real life: I’m paranoid.
Right? Being a girl is SO hard!
And I know the feeling – I’m afraid I’m in every driver’s blind spot. Eternally.
I named my daughter Delicious Destiny and she turned out just fine…
Not really. (Duh.) I mean the part about her name (which is Karly Christian) not the part about her being just fine.
I’m a mama, so I don’t have the same fears as you. Much.
But I do worry about both of my children (boy = 14, girl = 12) all. the. time.
No matter how hard you try, some things won’t go well. And other aspects of parenting a daughter will just seamlessly weave their way into your day without your effort or knowledge. (Sorry, but it’s true. Some things we can’t control, right?)
The bottom line is that your words OOZE with love for your kids. So just like that? You’re already doing right by her. And her older brother.
Just try to keep her off The Bachelorette…
I think that’s the end result Knox is shooting for. NOT her being on The Bachelorette, I mean. Not the opposite. Confusing. Stop talking. Right.
Stellar post, Knox! Just don’t do to your daughter what Tyler Tarver just did to his son in his latest video and you should be good. Kidding. I would LOVE to discover a video of my dad using me as a weapon and shooting lasers out of my eyes.
Like Tamara, I have a small and irrational fear of birds- mainly of pigeons and crows- That scene from The Passion of Christ with the crow pecking at the eye still gives me nightmares.
And every time I go through customs at the airport, I get a tiny bit terrified that someone has slipped drugs into my purse. Scenes from Brokedown Palace run through my mind and I start to sweat because I REALLY don’t want a cockroach to get stuck in my ear while I’m sleeping in a Thai prison. I mean, I could handle the foreign prison thing, but a cockroach lodged in my ear? Now that’s just too much.
So what you’re saying is, you’re afraid of cockroaches lodging the night in your ear. Not so much the drug trafficking. I. Am. So. With you.
@Knox – you hit all the major “fear factors” of raising girls. I’ve got two myself ages 7 and 9. I’ve got two words for you “karate classes” – we’re taking family karate classes together. I can’t wait for them to be old enough for small firearms classes.
@Jessica- thanks for letting Knox drive today!
Hah! Small firearms class. Excellent. And trust me, it was my pleasure.
Knox, you are so funny to think that some boy is gonna ask you to marry your daughter some day. He might text you after they’ve gotten hitched or something.
I’m scared of head lice. Terrified and everyone knows it.
I mean, that’s how we did it.
“He might text you after they’ve gotten hitched or something.”
It’s funny because it’s true – and terrifying.
Listen, Knoxville, what you really need to be afraid of is how helpless you’re going to be when she gives you the puppy dog look. It’s been known to reduce great men to bumbling dandelions. Might as well start saving up for that pony now.
You know…like anything, the idea of something new and different is often more daunting than the real thing (well, unless you’re a woman in childbirth).
With my statistically irrelevant sample of 2, I have found that there aren’t a lot of differences in how you raise boys versus girls. There are, however, differences in personality, but you’d get that with two sons too.
Love the post, Knox.
And Jess, your long intro rocks.
(I’m going to start ending all my comments with rhyming couplets. If it was good enough for Shakespeare…)
I think people should end every single communication with couplets. Wasn’t poetry used to end wars? I mean, historically speaking?
Leanne, you always make me laugh.
My inner thoughts are narrated by Zach Braff.
That was the Godfather of all intros. It should be used as a source material in graduate school classes about intro writing. If only I could live up to it.
My dad would be the first to tell you that the reason he only had one kid is because he was told he was having a boy, and then I came, surprise! It’s a girl! He has told me many times he was scared, and no doubt, he made mistakes, but my dad taught me to be brave, to give the best of me, and to work hard for what I want.
From him I learned to play soccer, play with tonka trucks, and to appreciate a good beer. He nicknamed every boyfriend I had, and was the most jealous protective man I know.
A month ago he walked me down the aisle, kissed me on the cheek, and shook my husband’s hand as he gave me away. And at the end of the night he didn’t leave without asking me if I’m happy.
I love that man as I am sure your daughter will love you. I will always be my daddy’s little girl.
Oh, and I’m afraid of bees. Stupid bees.
This is so sweet. Truly, there are few relationships more sacred than the one between father and daughter. And I love being in such a lovely one with my dad, as well as watching it happen between my husband and our little girl. It’s divine, Heavenly, really.
Knox, the fact that you are aware of these fears is a sign that you are going to be a great Dad! Trust me, I’m speaking as both a daughter and a social worker.
I dreamed that a squirrel attacked me in my dream last night so right now I’m harboring a healthy paranoia about the ones scampering in my lawn. However, I employed several righteous karate kicks in the dream that seemed to do the trick so I’m confident I could pull that maneuver off in real life if need be. Also, I’m for reals afraid of falling/slipping on ice.
Knox, the fact that you’re already thinking about these concerns shows you’re a loving father. I don’t have kids, but I know I gave my dad a few gray hairs while growing up. His discipline mixed with a ton of love made me into a total daddy’s girl. One more thing, I think it’s my dad’s sense of humor & enjoyment of life that kept him sane while raising me. Early congrats!
Oh, and I’m afraid of bugs…any kind of bug! My biggest fear is that one will crawl in my mouth or nose while I’m sleeping.
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” -James 5:16 That was my dad’s recipe & it worked very well* 🙂
*let’s use my older sister as the proof. I’m a little bit wacky—but I actually get that from him….sooo…
Ditto. To all of the above.
I think the scariest thing could be that a daughter’s view of her heavenly Father is often connected to her view of her earthly father. For me – it conjures up warm fuzzies of them both being providers. I constantly call on my dad because he has the ladder and the grill and the 401(k) know-how and he’s willing to suffer electrocution to get my car window to roll down. So when I find myself in a jam, which is more often than always, I default to calling on God in the same way. I love that.
I’m deathly afraid of bees. Just thought you should know that.
Your girl can share some of your interests. My wife is a bigger football fan than me. And she likes meat, velociraptors, and zombie movies.