"When I think of my dad, I think of a big fuzzy pillow to keep my head comfortable," my younger daughter said when I asked her to describe her father.
"Not physically, I mean his personality," I responded.
"OK, he's the guy who gives in," she said with a cat-like grin.
"Gives in to what?"
This is never truer then when you are a man in a house full of women. Even our dog is a girl. I'm sure young men who are courting their future wives don't envision themselves someday living in a house surrounded by nail polish and fashion magazines. And while it is 2015, and girls can and do anything boys do, like sports, fishing and other activities they can share with their fathers, there are still some things that are unique to being girls. In many ways, my husband often looks like a wide-eyed visitor in a foreign country who doesn't speak the language when my girls are talking.
You would think it would be harder for a father to parent little girls, but from Barbies to pony tails, my eastern North Carolina-bred husband learned on the job, maybe not mastering everything, but certainly becoming proficient in most things girl related. But once girls reach the pre-teen years, the landscape gets a lot harder for fathers to navigate. There's no compass precise enough to help them unravel the complicated emotional ups and downs of teenage girls. So, giving in is probably a pretty good strategy.
In the car, on this past weekend's out-of-town trip to celebrate Father's Day with extended family, my older daughter simultaneously sang out loud to her music on her phone, shot and posted videos of herself on Snapchat and told us she felt like she was about to throw up every mile or so. My younger daughter ate an entire bag of pretzel M&M's, depriving her nauseous sister of something else to make her sick, prompting a fight that involved flailing legs, arms and assorted items in the backseat. My husband ignored it all, listening only to the the computer generated voice of his GPS.
"Subway?" he asked me, breaking his silent reverie as he made a U-turn when he spotted the trademark green sign.
"Sure," I replied, knowing full well he had been passing fast food restaurants for miles looking for something he knew I would like. Maybe dealing with women is less about understanding them, and more about giving in, after all ...
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.