I have a little secret to share. I’m a bit more interested in reality television than I let on. Every once in awhile, I kind of give myself away, though. Whenever I’m in the presence of other Real Housewives of Wherever, Basketball Wives, or Teen Mom junkies, I just can’t help myself. Typically, I’m pretty good at keeping my love for D-List television, and the gossip that comes with it under wraps. Every once in awhile, a tweet will slip out, and my cover is blown…at least until that particular episode is over and I can go back into hiding.
Lately, though, the overwhelming number of women on these shows who are broken, and who are hurting…it’s gotten out of control. From the sensitive ex-stripper whose own mother shamelessly admitted on television that she exploited her daughter as a child, to the violence prone basketball football wife who consistently chose the wrong man because of abandonment issues stemming from her father’s absence in her life, these shows have become more heartbreaking than entertaining. As the mother of a daughter, I have to come out of my closet, and address one of the main reasons that we have so many hurt women seeking fame to fill the voids in their hearts.
It’s simple. A girl needs her daddy. It seems stereotypical to say this, but it’s true. A girl needs her dad, or there needs to be a very clear, well thought out plan as to how the family is going to handle his absence. When my daughter was born, I made the choice to pretty much eliminate her father from our lives. I never said that he couldn’t see her, didn’t stop him from calling her, but I planned our lives, her life, as if he didn’t exist. As I suspected, that arrangement worked out well for him, and he very infrequently calls or visits, and has missed 2 out of 3 birthdays. He wanted to be in and out of her life, being a dad on his own time and terms, and I didn’t want her to grow up thinking that what he was giving, that the way that he loved, was good love, and thus acceptable. He had to go.
His not being there, my daughter not having her daddy, that definitely wears on my heart, even now. While my own father wasn’t “Dad of the Year” most of the times, he was there when it mattered. When I was in the 2nd grade, I started living with him full-time, and if nothing else, I learned that a man takes care of his children. Period. That’s why when I didn’t see those traits in my own daughter’s father, I was able to make the decision to release him from his duties.
Look, you don’t have to know all of the research about it, just watch reality television. Most of the women on the shows who have the most emotional challenges, who are the most aggressive, or the most promiscuous, they are looking, constantly, trying to get the attention of a man. Life coach Iyanla Vanzant interviewed one of these reality stars who divorced after less than 3 months of marriage after her pro football husband head butted her. Throughout the two hour interview, as the star looked introspectively to understand the relationship decisions that she’s made over the years, she and Iyanla kept circling back to the same thing; her father not being around when she was a child. Him not calling, her not having a man that she could depend on when she needed a man to depend on. It’s not just her, either. Fatherless young girls turning into broken women..we’ve seen that on countless reality shows…and sometimes in our own lives.
In my daughter’s case, I was very intentional about filling her life with men that love her and demonstrate consistency, support, and guidance and who lay a foundation for how she should expect to be treated by any man in her life. I’m not suggesting that you should try to make every man you meet your daughter’s “father” or “uncle”. You still have to be cautious, but, who are the men that you know that would be willing to partner with you to raise a daughter who feels loved and knows that someone besides you, has their back no matter what? Identify them, and then set up a plan of action for the next 18 (at least) years (consistency counts). A girl needs a daddy, but even more than that, a girl needs a good daddy. That’s the reality of raising a daughter.