I was never given the tools to be June Cleaver, the picture of the great American mother. I was raised by my father, a man who chose to raise me alone when he didn’t have to. He overcame such adversity and fought to give me a better life. I’m sure he had no idea what he was in for. Here he was with this little girl, trying to dress a little girl the way a little girl ought to dress and trying to raise a little girl the best way he knew how. He did what he knew how to do—he raised me like his dad raised him.
He was proud to have a strong little girl who ran around like a boy, I think. In his professional life he always hired women over men. In his personal life he watched women’s sports and taught me that women could do anything. He came to every one of my soccer games (he still comes to some of them). He would always tell me the truth and call me out when I needed it. I never got any sugar-coating from him. He pushed me to excel in math and science. He taught me to be self sufficient and to meet my own emotional needs. He helped mold me into the strong person I am today. My mother has not really been in the picture, so my Dad had to take that role. He didn’t know how to give me the tools to be a “normal” woman. Instead he raised me to be just like him.
I’m not saying that what he did was perfect or that I didn’t miss out on some things. I was raised to be almost too masculine and now I find myself in a predicament—I want so badly to embrace my feminine nature but I don’t want to give in to my feminine nature at the same time. I have this internal struggle of feeling guilty for wanting things or filling roles that are quintessentially feminine in nature—like I’m not fulfilling my potential. Maybe I am a better person for all of this. I guess since it’s Mom’s day, I wanted to get these thoughts out. I think I’m afraid to admit that I do want to have children of my own someday and that I’m also afraid that I won’t know how to be a good mother. I don’t know if I have enough of a mothering instinct. I hope someday that I mean as much to my children as my dad means to me and that they recognize that even though I’m not perfect I did the best I knew how, and my intentions were always in the right place.