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Dad shares lessons learned from living in a house full of estrogen

Tim Johnson, center, and his five daughters.
Tim Johnson, center, and his five daughters.
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When KSL-TV Art Director Tim Johnson and his wife were married more than 20 years ago, he eagerly awaited the arrival of baby boys who would follow in his athletic footsteps.

But as each of his five daughters was born, Johnson realized his future held more Barbies than basketballs.

"God didn't send down the basketball team; he sent the cheer squad," Johnson said in an article he wrote in April for

As he has waded through a sea of shoes and made peace with the color pink, Johnson has learned five valuable lessons along the way:

1. Listen more than you talk.

Johnson has realized listening and hearing are not necessarily the same thing.

"Listening with daughters requires you to not only turn off ESPN with two down in the bottom of the ninth, but also wiping their tears and reassuring them that the dog we found is going to a happy home," he said.

2. Learn how to live with royalty.

Treating his wife like a queen is one of the best ways Johnson has found to show love for his daughters.

"Like it or not, and for better or for worse, our children are going to look at their parents' relationship as a pattern for their own. So dads, if you want better marriages for your children, show them how it works. Treat your wives like the queens they are, in whatever way you can," Johnson said.

3. Get used to pink.

Johnson's advice on this topic?

"You just deal with this one," he said.

4. It's all about the shoes.

In addition to embracing the piles of pumps his daughters have amassed, Johnson has learned the importance of figuratively walking in those sparkly stilettos.

"The more I understand the world my daughters live in, the more their actions make sense," Johnson said.

5. Nuke the comparisons and remember the pasta.

Celebrating the differences between his children and learning to encourage them has been key for Johnson.

"Sure, there may be some who push boundaries and some who keep you worried and awake all night. Just remember that of all the parental spaghetti we throw against the wall, some of it is bound to stick. Keep the pasta cooking. Spend less time thinking how life should be and more time making it what it could be," he said.

While Johnson originally hoped for a household of rowdy boys, he wouldn't trade the spirited team of sweet girls he has been given.

"As I look back, it's no secret that I was unprepared for the children that came to our home. I still fumble for the right words, I still raise my voice way too often, and I will never understand why my girls pack eight outfits for a two-day trip. But, man, there are few things in life as enjoyable as sitting at the kitchen table — silently — and watching your wife and daughters engage in six different conversations at the same time. It's a thing of beauty," he said.

Emily Eyring is an editor and product manager for