Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

I was at a baby consignment sale when I overheard a new mom and her grandmother talking about daddies. It was impossible not to listen as we were the only ones in the 6-month girl’s section.

Her grandma said the only outfits you can find today are daddy outfits. She said it’s “all about daddies now” as she rolled her eyes. I thought it was silly, and I was pretty sure she was wrong. Then I remembered how we were absolutely flooded with onesies covered with dad sayings before our baby was born. She only received one mommy shirt, which she quickly outgrew.

I often think of that grandma’s words when I open my daughter’s dresser drawers and come across a daddy shirt. Is there really an abundance of them out there in the world? While I can’t conduct a study to find out, it did make me wonder: if the market is saturated with these clothes, why? Deep down, are we still desperate and longing to make dads part of the story?

According to an annual report from the CDC, between 1960 and 2016, the percentage of children living in families with two parents decreased from 88% to 69%. During the same period, the percentage of children living with only their mothers nearly tripled from 8% to 23%.

Any guy can be a father, but it takes a special guy to be a daddy.

The gift of an “I ♥ Daddy” outfit doesn’t magically put him in the picture, no matter how much someone may want it to. A man is a daddy when he’s present, relationship-oriented, and the foundation of his family.

RELATED: Here’s To the Good Dads

A daddy is near and dear to his baby even when that baby is small and still figuring out the world. She may be new, but she knows love when she sees it. Her face lights up as soon as he steps in the doorway after work because he’s formed a connection with her—even after he’s worked almost 60 hours a week. He puts in the time, the effort, for her.

Their relationship is more than diaper duty. It’s late-night serenades with his guitar when she’s fighting sleep. It’s big giggles on the changing pad because he’s more boisterous than Mommy. It’s after hours chart dictation with her on his lap.

Before he’s a good daddy, he’s a good husband.

He supports his wife and encourages her daily. He stays awake while she works late at night even if it means he falls asleep on the couch next to her. Anything so he doesn’t have to go to bed without her.

He reminds his wife of the vows taken on their wedding day when it’s almost 1 a.m. and she’s upset. A good husband is quick and gentle to remind her that he made a promise to her, through the good times and the difficult times, and he is steadfast.

Sometimes he wakes before the sun to tackle the mountain of dishes in the sink. Occasionally he sends his wife to HomeGoods because she really needs to get out of the house. Don’t worry, he’s got the baby under control.

I know what makes a good husband, and ultimately a good daddy because thankfully, I have just that. Sure, he is flawed like everyone else, but he gives his all every day, and he honors God and protects what He’s entrusted him with. (This is apparent when he gets our baby ready for church on Sunday mornings so I can get myself ready. What a hero!)

RELATED: To the Man Who Quietly Holds Us Together: We See You

I don’t think it’s a far reach at all to say his faith in God makes him a great family man. As a Christian, his actions have clear direction. He is tenderhearted (Eph. 4:32) but strong. He’s slow to anger (James 1:19-20) and quick to lend a helping hand (Matt. 5:42). He leads his family in prayer and even discovered very early on that baby’s favorite song, “Resurrecting” by Elevation Worship, calms her immediately, no matter what’s going on or where we are (seriously, try it). He trusts God every day despite any difficulties he faces.

Although our baby has countless daddy shirts, they aren’t the reason he’s present and in the picture in a big way.

The reason is Jesus.

The bottom line is this: A God-fearing man makes a wonderful husband and a great daddy to someone teeny tiny—with or without the “Daddy’s princess” outfit. A baby could be clothed in daddy gear 365 days a year, and it still wouldn’t mean a thing if he hasn’t made Christ the priority of his life. Once that’s clear, investing in a family, and leading them appropriately, comes naturally.

The onesie doesn’t make the dad. Rather, a dad is made by the Holy Spirit living in him.

Previously published 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

Ashley Hill

Ashley Hill is a wife and a new mom who writes, paints, and bakes when she isn't chasing after her little girl. After working in New York City for a period of time, Ashley felt God calling her back to a quieter life in West Virginia where she was born and raised. She writes about motherhood at https://www.raisinbabies.com.

Always Choose Adventure

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Two children looking at aquarium exhibit, color photo

Here’s the thing about traveling with little kids. Is it hard? Sometimes. Sometimes it looks like a whole carry-on dedicated solely to snacks, activities, and emergency treats. Sometimes it looks like buying a drink for the passenger next to you as a way of saying sorry and thank you all at the same time for the airplane kid chaos they endured. Sometimes it looks like altering your picture-perfect itinerary that you meticulously planned on account of missed naps finally catching up. Sometimes it looks like washing a car seat off in a hotel shower because your toddler got carsick, then...

Keep Reading

Love Beyond Words

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother hugging daughter

My daughter Lexi lost her words and some of her motor functioning when she was two years old. She was three when the silent intruder of Rett Syndrome made itself known through seizures. But here’s the heart of our story: even without words, Lexi and I have created our own language—a symphony of unspoken love. She may not call me “Mom” in the traditional sense, but her eyes, her laughter, and the unique sounds she makes speak volumes to my heart. Each day with Lexi is a dance—one where the steps aren’t always clear, and the rhythm can change in...

Keep Reading

Daddy, Am I Beautiful?

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Daddy holding preschool-aged daughter, color photo

“Daddy, do I look beautiful?” I heard my daughter ask my husband from the other room. I barely heard what she said as I was in the kitchen washing the dishes, but her words struck a chord in my heart. My sweet girl, all dressed to go out, asked for her Daddy’s assurance that she was beautiful, that she was admired and special. It hit me in that moment: this pure and built-in desire we all have to be loved, admired, and wanted. Just as my sweet girl wanted her Daddy’s approval and assurance of love, I so often cry...

Keep Reading

Sensitive Sons Are Strong Too

In: Kids, Motherhood
Boy pets kitten held by another older boy

My son has always been timid. When he was a baby, he cried when he lost his pacifier in his crib. If I laughed too loudly, he might burst into tears. Once, he was asleep in his bassinet as my husband and I turned on a movie. The MGM lion roared, and he woke in a panic that seemed to take forever to calm. Now, at five years old, my son wrestles, runs, fights, and screams at the television. He pretends to fight bad guys and save me and his twin sister. He thinks he is the king of the...

Keep Reading

Wrestle Like a Girl

In: Kids, Motherhood
Girls wrestling team huddling on the floor

I’m a wrestling mom, but I’m a new breed. I’m the kind with my little girl on the mat. Sure, I support our son out there, and I scream like a wild banshee with the rest of the crazy parents, and I’m in awe of the athletes these boys are. But then steps out our daughter. And it’s different. She decided to join her big bro at practice years ago when word was just starting to spread about the possible emergence of girls’ wrestling. She was only in kindergarten, but I think my husband might have already been thinking college....

Keep Reading

I’ll Hold on To Moments of Childhood with My Preteen as Long as I Can

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Smiling preteen and mother

This Christmas season, my husband took our laser light projector and aimed it at the Australian bottle tree in the front yard. It shone like a thousand red and green fairies dancing through the branches. The first time I saw it, I gasped with glee. Christmas came and went. Much to our 6-year-old’s disappointment, we took down the decorations and boxed them in the attic until next year. I noticed that my husband forgot to put away the light projector though. One Friday night, recovering from a stomach bug, we decided to watch Wonka and fold laundry. We bought into the...

Keep Reading

“Tell Me Another Story, Daddy?”

In: Kids
Man reading to young son

“Tell me another story, Daddy?” I had heard these words since we had finished supper. My 5-year-old son loves hearing stories. He loves to put himself in these stories. He doesn’t just watch Paw Patrol, he’s in Paw Patrol. He is a Kratt brother. And he loves hearing stories about his favorite adventurers with him saving the day alongside his animated heroes. While I absolutely love telling stories to my son, there are many days when I don’t feel like it. When I want to say, “No, Daddy is tired. Why don’t you go play with your toys while daddy...

Keep Reading

Getting Glasses Can be an Adjustment

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Pre-teen wearing glasses

On their last break from school, my daughter and son happily enjoyed a nice week of catching up with friends and having a relaxed schedule. I was careful to avoid overloading our schedule so we had a nice balance of days out and days being at home. As can often happen on a school break, I used one day as our “appointments day.” We had our routine dental checks and eye exams booked. The morning went smoothly with the dentist, and then it was time to head home for lunch. Next, we popped back out to do the children’s eye...

Keep Reading

To the Fifth Grade Parents: Thank You

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Arcade style photo machine, color photo

To the fifth-grade parents in my community: How are we here already? The end of fifth grade. The end of elementary school. It feels like yesterday we saw each other at kindergarten drop off, some of us through the tears of sending our first baby to school, some seasoned pros, and a small group of us with a touch of extra worry in our mama hearts—the special ed mamas. Among the many things I worried about sending my kindergarten son to school was how your children would treat him. Would they laugh at him like they did at his Montessori...

Keep Reading

Dear Child, You Are Not Responsible for How Anyone Else Feels about You

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Teen girl looking in the mirror putting on earrings

Dear kiddo, I have so many dreams for you. A million hopes and desires run through my mind every day on a never-ending loop, along with worries and fears, and so, so much prayer. Sometimes, it feels like my happiness is tied with ropes of steel to yours. And yet, the truth is, there are times you disappoint me. You will continue to disappoint me as you grow and make your own choices and take different paths than the ones I have imagined for you. But I’m going to tell you a secret (although I suspect you already know): My...

Keep Reading