Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

Dear Mom,

I achieve as a father because of you. It’s that simple.

Not to take anything away from Dad, who has been a loving and supportive superstar father every single step of my life. He is a beautiful soul and a guiding star. He is my rock. I’m grateful you found each other.

But your unconditional love I know now is the primary reason I have been able to make the most out of my circumstances and become a one-of-a-kind parent to my daughter. Your influence has shaped my parenting style in countless ways, many of which I am still just starting to understand.

As a single parent household, I am completely on my own⁠—which is different in some ways from your experience. I am responsible for all parenting tasks from the day-to-day caretaking activities to the emotional development. My child needs me to be well-rounded and I expect to comprehensively deliver 100% as a parent, not only as a father.

Obviously, you didn’t raise me in anticipation of my single parent status.

You just needed to make me feel like I was the greatest gift of your life.

You knew everything else would naturally fall out of that. And it did.

Like many mothers and fathers, I was worried initially that I might not be able to provide the care my daughter needed to feel happy and secure. But my nurturing instincts kicked in effortlessly. More recently, and with 10 years of parenting under my belt, I now have come to realize that your influence is the foundation of my love and dedication as a parent.

How do I know this? Here’s what I can tell you⁠—

You taught me the importance of expressing my emotions by showing your own.

You communicated that your family is your heartbeat through actions, not just words.

You taught me to be a kind and compassionate human by never talking poorly about anyone.

You always looked in my eyes and smiled at me.

You forced me to kiss and hug you when I didn’t want to.

You sometimes got upset with me but always took the time to explain your rationale (and you knew to cool off before you did).

RELATED: Being There For Your Kids Matters More Than You Know

You were always accountable for your actions and apologized if the situation required it.

You treated me no differently from your daughters and just imparted what you believed to be winning characteristics of a successful mother.

You never overstepped, and made me understand that knowing right versus wrong was the principal guide I required to be a good person; and that everything else would follow.

You showed me the qualities of a strong woman so I would know how to treat women with admiration and respect.

You demonstrated that being a mother was your favorite thing in the world.

You did a little bit of everything. And a lot of anything!

Most importantly, you taught me how to be a good mother, not just a good parent.

Let me be clear. None of what I’m expressing has to do with gender roles. None of that matters. I am merely disclosing that my achievements as a father/parent have so much to do with the example you set for me, and still do to this day. The impact was that significant.

RELATED: Having Kids Motivates You To Be A Better Man

So why do I share this?

Let’s be honest. It’s hard to know if we, as parents, are doing the right thing and making a difference in the lives of our children. I deal with this conflict and doubt on a daily basis⁠—and I know a majority of parents do, too. I appreciate when others tell me I’m doing a good job.

So now it is my turn, Mom, to share this message with other parents and let them know they are doing an incredible job!

Whether you thought you did things right or wrong, you have inspired me. I hope I can offer a new perspective that other mothers and fathers will appreciate⁠—as a grown son of an adoring mother⁠—and share it broadly through my narratives.

It is undoubtedly about intention and effort. You taught me there is no perfection in motherhood.

Ultimately, we must lean on love to give us the confidence we regularly need to be happy being a mother or father and, especially, to endure the struggles of parenthood.

Love is never one-sided.

I trust that the choices I make and the feelings I express are being used to shape a life for the better.

Thank you, Mom. You still make me feel like I was the greatest gift of your life.

This post originally appeared on the author’s blog

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Damon Darienzo

Damon Darienzo is a Boston-based part time freelance writer who blogs very candidly about his experiences and insights as a man and single father. The core of his narratives are about the importance of personal expression and action to facilitate human connection as part of one’s pursuit of happiness. He hopes to offer valuable perspectives that will inspire others to invest more in their relationships. You can read more of his work at www.singledadmagic.com and are encouraged to follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

My Dad Showed Me the Greatest Lessons Are Taught Through Example

In: Fatherhood
grandpa holding donut box with grandson

Waiting at the window, I arranged the blue ruffles on my brand new dress and flipped my hair around to look just right. It was a night to be fancy. It was my first date. My face was flushed as I looked forward to the night ahead. I knew it was a big deal to be taken out and I would get special treatment. I would pick the restaurant and maybe we would have some ice cream and walk around downtown before the sun went down. After that, I was pretty sure we could go to the store and that...

Keep Reading

It Doesn’t Matter How Old I Am—I’ll Always Need My Daddy

In: Fatherhood, Grown Children, Living
Vintage photo of little girl on bike with her dad

I have always been a Daddy’s girl, much to my mom’s frustration.  She always said my dad and I were wired the same, and that’s why it’s always just “worked.” Sure, we have had our struggles and frustrations—when two people think almost the exact same way, certainly there will be battles. But my dad has always had my back, without fail.   Whether he had to question a school decision or staff my senior class retreat (yes, my dad is featured in my high school yearbook), I knew he would be there. He thought he would lose me someday, that having...

Keep Reading

I’m Just a Little Boy, but Daddy You’re Teaching Me How to Be a Man

In: Fatherhood, Marriage
Daddy on the floor playing with son, color photo

I’m only a little boy, still too young to tie my own shoes or make my own breakfast. My days are filled with playtime, snacks, lots of hugs from Mommy, and plenty of tickles from you, Daddy. Right now, my life revolves around me and you and Mommy. I don’t know much about the world outside our home yet. I haven’t learned about responsibility or self-discipline or sacrifice. I haven’t had to find my place in the world yet. But I guess I’m pretty lucky because even though you may not know it, you’ve already begun teaching me everything I...

Keep Reading

You’re the Father You Never Had and I’m So Proud of You

In: Fatherhood, Marriage
Dad and kids walking on beach

Can I tell you about my husband? He’s amazing. He’s kind and doting and loves Jesus, but perhaps his most endearing trait is the absolutely incredible father he is.  In our early days of dating, he was crippled by the fear of what type of father he would be. To him, fatherhood was burdensome, grumbling, abandonment, and fighting for the final dollar during tax season. His experience as a son crippled his anticipation as a father.  But I knew it all along—what an incredible dad he would be. Although I must admit, he has often far surpassed what I even...

Keep Reading

To the Stay At Home Mom From Your Husband: I See You

In: Fatherhood, Marriage

To the woman who sacrificed her comfort zone—leaving her family, friends, and everything she’d ever known—to follow her new husband across the country for his job: I see you. To the wife who pours herself into making a house her home, only to have to move again: I see you. To the wife who put her career, education, and personal pursuits on hold for the sake of her family: I see you. To the mom who went through pain and misery for nine months, only to have motherhood turn out to be nothing like she’d dreamed and longed for it...

Keep Reading

I Struggled With My Son’s Diagnosis, But Found Hope in the Special Needs Community

In: Fatherhood, Tough Times

When I found out I was going to be a father I was beyond excited. My wife and I had been trying to conceive for years before she got pregnant. So, when she told me I was going to be a father I wanted to shout it to the rooftops! I made sure to call my wife every day at work to make sure she ate lunch. I’m sure I annoyed the heck out of her. We later found out that we were having a boy, and started to plan everything. We started to paint the baby room with blues...

Keep Reading

My Son is Growing Up, But I’ll Hold On To the Pictures Forever

In: Fatherhood

A certain part of my heart longs for these moments to never change. I look back on pictures like this one, where my oldest son tastes the salty breeze on his lips for the first time, feeling the sand underneath his toes and laughing out loud at this wholly new experience. I look back and want to freeze it, but in something more than a single picture, more solid than a flimsy memory, more lifelike in substance than what a camera can fashion. RELATED: Stay With Me a Little Longer, Daddy Because that little person who could not stand without...

Keep Reading

I Want My Sons to See How Important It is to Cover Your Wife

In: Fatherhood, Marriage

Transparent moment—I did not always do the best job of covering my wife. Early in our marriage, I was often guilty of being selfish. Our first of four childbirths had contentious moments. From the whistle I jokingly wore on our first trip to the hospital while she was in labor, to me telling her in the midst of her frustration that if we didn’t have the baby that night, she could decide if she’d go into work the next day—I’m not proud of the way I handled some of the challenges. RELATED: 5 Ways To Love Your Wife After the...

Keep Reading

Dads: Your Kids Love Doing Things Because They Get to Do Them With You

In: Fatherhood

This piece was co-written with the author’s husband, Nathan Glenn. I remember my husband taking our daughter golfing for the first time and wondering if she’d enjoy it like he did. He’d dress our kids up in Pittsburgh gear, hoping they’d love the Steelers and Pirates and Penguins as much as he does. When we imagined our someday kids, he hoped he’d have someone that would want to play catch with him and go sit on the banks for hours fishing. Now here we are over a decade into this parenting three thing, and our oldest has her own clubs...

Keep Reading

This British Dad’s Parody of Orlando Bloom’s Daily Routine Has Us Cracking Up

In: Fatherhood

Two men on the same parenting journey see things a bit differently. Read to the end for this British dad’s hilarious take on what it’s like to be a father if you’re not a famous A-list celebrity. Ever since his cinematic debut as Legolas in the Lord of the Rings film series, celebrity actor Orlando Bloom has been capturing hearts around the world. Let’s be honest, we all know why our wives were so excited when Pirates of the Caribbean hit theatres. Outside of fantasy, there’s not much that makes Mr. Bloom relatable to the average Joe. However, parenthood tends...

Keep Reading