The countdown to the beginning of the end is speeding towards zero. As my wife hits the eighth month of pregnancy, I can slowly hear the tick-tock of the clock like an episode of 24.

With each passing second, shit gets more and more real.

I envision diaper blowouts to be just as traumatic and equally explosive.

I envision diaper blowouts to be just as traumatic and equally explosive.

Although, I guess this metaphor basically makes me Jack Bauer, who’s about to swoop in and save the damn planet from eternal diaper rash.

Saving the world, one diaper at a time.

Hey, I know this parenting thing is no easy feat. It’s gonna be the biggest challenge I’ll face, once I officially enter this exclusive club with a lifetime membership.

Am I scared? Yup. Nervous? Hell yes. Excited? Of course. It’s all part of the expectant father game. Especially a first-time dad.

Which leads to the added curveball of being a daddy to a daughter. I can’t speak for every dude, but at least for me, I feel a little more weight on my not-so-Thor-like chiseled shoulders knowing that I’ve got a princess being introduced to this fucked up world in just a few short weeks.

Knowing that this little offspring is gonna be wearing pigtails and dresses instead of jockstraps and faux hawks has introduced the biggest challenge of my life as I will have one goal that will ultimately define my success as a father:

Keep my baby off the damn pole.

The struggle is real.

Awesome Sith Lord. Terrible father. Let us not forget that awkward moment when brother and sister felt the need to kiss, too.

Awesome Sith Lord. Terrible father. Let us not forget that awkward moment when brother and sister felt the need to kiss, too.

In all seriousness, there’s obviously a lot that I need to bring to the table for my daughter. And while there are some things that would be the same for a son, the special father-daughter bond that emerges will entail another special skill set of tricks and trades to keep Khaleesi on a path to world domination.

So as we make this final stretch run towards zero hour, the time has come to implement my plan for taking on the role of a lifetime.

Or at least a general outline of what I hope to accomplish.

Okay. Okay. It’s just a damn list of some shit I want to teach my daughter.

1. She is beautiful. No matter what.
I mean, let’s be honest: my daughter is gonna be a radiant beacon of cuteness and birds will serenade her with love songs while butterflies flock to her for beauty tips. But, somewhere along the line, some asshole is gonna fuck it all up and say some dumb shit. When that happens, I’ll will need to arm my daughter with the knowledge that people say stupid things to get under your skin and it’ll be important to remember that it’s under the skin … in our hearts … in our minds … in our actions … that determines true and realistic beauty. Forget the haters and brush your shoulders off.

2. But, she is also so much more than just beauty.
Don’t be a shallow tool that allows an opportunistic society to prey off of your looks alone. Sure, if she’s stunning enough to grace the cover of magazines, who am I to judge? But, please for the love of all things holy, stop taking so many damn selfies and learn to carry on a conversation. Take pride in discovering new things. Have some compassion. Challenge yourself in ways that will enlighten. Experience life.

No. Just … no.

3. How to throw like a girl … Or a boy … Or like a girl who throws like a boy. Whatever. Just learn to like sports.
Sports are cool. In fact, they are so cool that I spent a decent chunk of my life committed to earning a paycheck just to talk about them – it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, by the way. Don’t be a complete sports neophyte. On that same token, cars are pretty cool, too. She doesn’t have to know how dual overhead cams work, but basic skills like changing tires and checking oil pressure will go a long way. Either way, embrace sports and have an understanding and hopefully an appreciation for them. Bonus points if you like all of the teams that Daddy likes.

4. Confidence.
Haters gonna hate. And they gonna find any reason under the sun just to hate – for anything and everything. But it’s up to us to keep our head high and approach decisions with vigor. Be confident in your abilities. Be confident in your beliefs and goals and loves. Be confident in your beauty – both inner and outer beauty (note points 1 and 2). Be confident that no matter what, you’ve got the tools and traits to be the best you that anyone could possibly want to be.

5. How to Fail. And how to respond to failure.
We are never truly judged by just our successes, but also how we respond to our failures. There will be many of them along the way. Shit, I made a mistake this morning by passing on the pancakes for breakfast and going with the sausage biscuit. What are ya gonna do? All kidding aside, embrace the challenges and never be afraid of failure. But, if we don’t quite succeed, never simply throw in the towel. Learn from the mistake. Pick yourself up. And charge forward.

6. What a real man should be and how a real man should act.
This bullet point is my biggest challenge as a man. My daughter will always look upon her most influential figures (i.e., mommy and daddy) for cues on how to act and interact with others. How I treat my queen will go a long way in showing my princess how she should be treated by her future prince. It’s essentially why this blog was started in the first place: to create a roadmap for Dads to put on the big boy pants and be real men and real fathers. Oh … and if Prince not-so-Charming doesn’t keep it 100 … just send him over to Poppa who’ll swiftly introduce the douchebag to a lesson in respect.

I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career.

7. Command honor and respect from the boys club.

Don’t take shit from the opposite sex. Sure, we’ve come a long way to be more inclusive to all peeps at the party, but there’s still a VIP section. And in order to get access, it takes guts and courage and a dedication to sticking up for yourself against the bouncer that won’t let you in. Always be respectful. But never be a pushover and never settle for second-best just because.

There’s so much more than the above points that I want to teach my little Khaleesi once she gets here – you know, really important, earth-shattering-type informative things like how to say “daddy” before she learns to say “mommy” (I’m gonna win that bet, dammit). But, this is the start. This is the roadmap that I’ll use to kinda chart my journey with her towards a lifetime of successful Daddy-Daughterdom.

But perhaps the most important and final point is that real and true love is and will always be unconditional. There are no limits here. True love is something that permeates your damn soul and eats at you like a fat kid at an all-you-can-eat buffet. It’s not defined by just beauty or some other list of determining factors. So, understand that daddy is always going to be there for his daughter. No matter what. It’s part of that bond that we will forever have that lasts a lifetime. From diapers to prom dresses to wedding dresses, we’re in this forever … just as long as you stay off that damn pole.