11 Dads Share How Having A Daughter Changed Their Life For The Better

Ad failed to load

As a feminist and a mother, I've always been curious about the relationships between fathers and daughters. Too often I feel like I'm weirded out by some deeply sexist, often creepy expression of paternal love. ("No man is ever going to touch my little princess!") That said, even the creepy kind of love generally comes from a place of deep, genuine care, and when dads and daughters have a good relationship there's something uniquely beautiful about that bond. I reached out to some of my dad friends to ask how having a daughter changed their life for the better. Turns out I know a lot of really great, eloquent fathers and no I'm not crying, you're crying.

By and large, having a daughter seems to have expanded these dudes' worlds. I know there's a well-deserved derision about men who only seem to grasp the concept that women are people after having a daughter, but I think there's a sliver of that idea that can be merited and useful. While no man should have to have a daughter to internalize the idea of female humanity, a parent child relationship is, in many respects, the most profound relationship you'll have in your life. So when the parent and child are of different genders, I think it's possible to think about the other gender (and other people of that gender) with fresh eyes.

And, in some cases, guys can be colossal jerks who don't respect women until it hits close to home. It's annoying that it took something as close to home as having a daughter to begin to get on board, but at least they're on board now, right?

Ad failed to load

I talked about this phenomenon and more with 11 dads, and their obvious love of their little girls melted even my dark, jaded heart.

Ad failed to load



"I'm less hung up on looking cool now. My daughter can get me to do anything and she loves me so much I don't care if I look like an idiot. So if she wants me to wear a tutu and play ballerina with her, I'm going to do it."


"This is going to make me sound like one of those assh*les who say 'Now that I have a little mini-me who's a girl I respect women,' but...

... I've always considered myself a feminist, but it wasn't until I had a daughter that I realized how young sexism starts for them and all the ways society reinforces it and how much harder of a start girls have from day one. It sucks to know, but I feel like I'm better for knowing it because now I can try to help."



"She's my little badass. Some people assumed I couldn't do any of the 'boy stuff' with her, like comic books and superhero movies and football, but she's super into all of it... she just wears a Snow White dress while she does it, which is the cutest thing I've ever seen in my life."

Ad failed to load


"Honestly, I was really nervous to have a daughter. Up until she was a couple months old I was worried that I wouldn't be able to bond with her because she was a girl. But once she hit the age when she started becoming more of a person and smiling and I saw how she looked at me, I had this epiphany that she didn't really have any sense of being a little girl. She just wanted me to be her friend. Now she watches cricket with me and I know all the names of the characters on My Little Pony."



"That's my princess. She makes everything better: not just my life but the lives of everyone who so much as looks at her. She's sweet and funny and sassy. She's sunshine."


"She's made me less selfish. You can't be a good father if you're selfish and my biggest fear in life is to be a sh*t father. So everything I have — not just money, but time — belongs to her, and she lets me use it from time to time for things like work or sleep."

Ad failed to load



"She's dizzying in good ways and bad. She was a preemie, so I'm extremely protective of her, more so, if I'm being honest, than I am with my other kids. It's hard to shake that when you spend months wondering if they're going to make it through. Anyway, for as protective as I am she's determined to show me that she's not going to tolerate me holding her back. She's a 28-pound peanut, but she's also a tank. She's the strongest person I know and she makes me better."


"Don't kill me, but I used to say women are naturally less funny than men. I see now how stupid that is because my daughter is hilarious. Seriously. She's 4 but she's straight up professional comedian level funny."



"I learned how to do a braid. Other than that, having a daughter is a lot like having a son. We do all the same things together. Maybe it'll be different when she's older — she's 5 now — but so far it's been pretty identical to having a son and vice versa. They're interested in all the same things and I treat them the same way. So having kids has enriched my life, but I don't think there's anything I could pinpoint that's gender specific."

Ad failed to load


"I've never been required to understand a 'female' the way I've had to understand her. Obviously you want to do right by all women, or as many as possible, but having a child means you have to, like, mind-meld with them, basically. I have to understand the world through her eyes and explain the things she can't comprehend in a way she will understand. I'm not saying I know what it's like to be a woman, but I'm saying that my daughter is opening my eyes to a wider perspective because she's a girl and I want to guide her as best as I can. Does that make sense?"



"I owe everything to her. My marriage. My sobriety. My second chance at a real life. Intellectually I know she was just a baby and she inspired me to do better, but I swear to God she had these eyes that saw through you, even after she was first born. They were loving and compassionate but also stern and letting me know that I wasn't allowed to f*ck this up. She was born demanding I stand and deliver, and I'm grateful for that every day."

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills