“I’m a Daddyless Daughter.”
Two weeks ago, a group of about 100 women said those words during a live taping of Oprah’s Lifeclass at Harpo Studios in Chicago.
I was one of them.
We were all gathered to talk about the hurt and pain of growing up without a father. More importantly, we were there to heal. At the beginning of the show I was asked about the ways my pain bled out.
(Photo credit: speechneverdies.org)
I was an attention-seeking child, and I didn’t care how I got it. I dated way too many guys and picked way too many fights. But because of my faithful, hopeful and loving mother, I made it. Now I am mother of two boys, JJ and Joah. And just as the question was posed on the show, I often wonder if my daddyless past has an influence on my parenting present.
My boys, unlike me, are growing up in a two-parent home with a father who is very active and supportive. My husband grew up much like JJ and Joah. His parents are still married. His parenting style reflects that in which he grew up in. And maybe mine does, too.
I believe there are only two ways daddyless daughters treat the father of their children. First, they stay with that man even if he’s no good because they’ve sworn that their child would never be like them – daddyless. Second, they grew up so accustomed to watching their mothers do everything that they don’t even know how to make room for a father.
I’m in the latter.
I struggle with the term “co-parent”. It’s foreign to me. I grew up depending on my mother for everything. She was my superhero. And at times, I find myself pushing my husband away because I don’t know how to receive him. I don’t know how to include him.
And while I no longer consider myself daddyless because my father and I have a great relationship now, I do still have scars. They don’t show up in the childlike ways, but they are real. And four years into marriage and motherhood, every day I have to remind myself I was daddyless, not my boys.
Tunette Powell is a working mom with two children. You can read her every other Tuesday on momaha.com
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Tune in Sunday, July 14 and 21, at 9/8c as Iyanla Vanzant and Oprah address the issue of daddyless daughters on OWN. Click here for more information.
Join us for momaha’s monthly book club meeting 1 p.m. Aug. 18 at the Bookworm Bookstore, near 87th and Pacific Streets, where we’ll discuss “The Other Woman” by Tunette Powell. She’ll be at this book club meeting to share what inspired her to write such a personal book. It chronicles her father Bruce Callis’ 30-year crack addiction while revealing the impact his choices had on her own life.