Surveys of girls continue to show that, while most expect to work for pay when they are women, they also anticipate that a man will take care of them financially. This astounding attitude is evidence of how powerful the unrealistic Disney-like myths remain in our daughters’ impressions. That’s why sharing our work heritage – including our work ethic, obligations and experience -- is so valuable for our daughters’ futures.
"I’ve told her from the get-go, if she thinks some guy is gonna take care of her every need and comfort, then she’s living in la-la land. She sees her mom and I working and most of the time liking it. Her husband could get hit by a bus or she could get divorced. There will be times when she has to bail herself out – ain’t nobody else gonna do it for her."
It’s now true that nearly every one of our daughters will hold a paid job during her adult life, just like nearly every one of us has. And while no dad hopes his daughter’s adult relationships will fail, there’s also a decent chance that she will divorce sometime during her adult years. She'll have to learn how to live independently.
When we share our work heritage and career experience – with both sons and daughters – then we give them a firmer grip on their future than any fairy tales can. If we encourage our daughters’ talents and dreams, we guarantee that they won’t sleep through life waiting for a charming stranger’s wake up call.
In reality, your daughter will have years – maybe all of her adult life – during which she and/or her family depend on her income; a job won’t be optional. Because women marry and have children later than ever, and on average spend additional “single” years after divorce or a spouse’s death, our daughters will have to support themselves even when their families don’t rely on their income.
It all boils down to this: My daughter isn’t Sleeping Beauty, there is no rich Prince Charming waiting for her, and life isn’t a fairy tale. She and I both need to realize this if she’s going to be successful.