6 Ways My Dad Made Me The Most Confident Girl I Know

Listen, I'm not perfect. But my dad is.
Publish date:
June 9, 2014
family, confidence, dad, fathers day, weight

Editor's note: Welcome to Father's Day Week, here at xoVain, where we're celebrating the fathers and father figures in our lives, and how they influenced us in terms of beauty. First up, our new managing editor/resident #girlboss, April.

My dad calls me a lot. Just last week--when I finally got a phone at my desk--I turned to Anne-Marie and said, “I’m sorry, I’m going to get a lot of personal calls from my dad.”

But can I tell you something that I didn’t tell her? I don’t always pick up when I see his number. And when I do pick up, I push him off the phone, “Hi dad, I’m on deadline for something. Is this important, or can I call you back?” I only call him back about half of the time.

Worst. Daughter. Ever.

But let me explain myself… From age 11 to whenever it was that I became an adult, I was raised entirely by my father. It wasn’t like he was some super parent who fulfilled the roles of both mother and father; he was just more of a dad. Translation: I got a double-dose of all those things that a young girl needs to grow up to be a confident, independent woman. And that’s exactly what I became: A confident, independent woman who doesn’t have five minutes to talk to her dad at 3 p.m. on a Tuesday.

Yeesh, that still kind of makes me sound like a jerk. I guess what I mean to say is that, while I’m not so good at picking up or returning phone calls, I owe everything that I am to my dad. He’s the hero of my life. He’s my consigliere.* He’s the only person in this world that I care to impress.

So when Anne-Marie asked me to write something for Father’s Day, I sat back and thought of all the ways my dad made me ME.

1. He told me I could be president. One of the most vivid memories I have is being nine or 10 years old and talking to my dad about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was on the fence between zoologist and marine biologist. He insisted I was going to be the first female president. So, yeah, no ceiling for this girl!

2. He never gave me crap about what I ate or how much I weighed. Moms are notorious for shooting side-eye when you take that extra helping of mashed potatoes. They’re also very aware of what size clothing you wear--and when you go up a size. My dad was oblivious to all of that stuff. All he cared about was that I was happy and healthy and staying far, far away from boys. And even though I’ve never been thin, I’ve never had body issues. I accept my imperfections and I LOVE everything else.

3. He let me learn from my mistakes. One of the great things about my dad is that he always gives good advice and he never says, “I told you so.” He plays a long game and lets me learn from my mistakes. And seeing as I’ve made many, MANY mistakes, I don’t sweat decisions. I go with my instincts and if I make a mistake, I learn from it and move on.

4. He made me feel like I was his favorite, even though I totally wasn’t. I have two sisters and my dad has different traditions with each of us. For me, it was our annual birthday lunch. He’d pick me up from school early, take me to lunch at the restaurant of my choosing (usually Olive Garden, which I thought was the height of fine dining), and give me a card with a short, handwritten message. The card was my favorite part. I still have some of them.

5. He didn’t give me everything I wanted. He gave me what I needed and a little bit of what I wanted, which made me want to get the rest on my own.

6. He made me fearless. It’s easy to jump off a ledge when you’ve got a safety net, and that’s what my dad is. No matter how great I succeed or how miserably I fail, he's always there to support me.

So Happy Father's Day, dad. You never fail.**

*For those of you who haven’t seen The Godfather, a consigliere is a boss’s most trusted advisor. He’s the guy you call when you’re weighing a big business decision--or when you have a dead body in your trunk.

**My dad likes to quote Bruce Willis in the movie Armageddon... a lot. E.g. when he sent me the photos for this article, he wrote, "Harry Stamper never fails."

Any of you grow up in a single-father household? Do you dodge your dad's phone calls even though you love him bunches and bunches?