Dear Dads: Mother’s Day is tomorrow. Don’t screw it up.
Dear Dads: Mother’s Day is tomorrow. Don’t screw it up.
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. (I am just going to take it as a given that you knew that all on your own.) We need to talk, fellas.
First, let me start by thanking you for your various contributions to child-rearing. I don’t know you all, but my guess is that you’ve enhanced your children’s lives in various and important ways: from providing a loving home and financial stability, to teaching the proper way to unleash a rippin’ armpit fart. I salute your accomplishments, dads!
But hey guys … between you and me … some of you are screwing up this Mother’s Day thing ROYALLY. Like, super big time. You’re dancing on a land mine and YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW IT.
How big is that land mine? It’s this big: If and when your wife finally gets around to gettin’ busy with you at some later point down the road (and it may be a while), it won’t be for recreation or for procreation — it will be out of obligation. And we all know how much fun obligatory sex is, don’t we?
Don’t let this be you!
Your penis probably wants a playdate
I’m not wrong about that, am I? Wouldn’t it be really convenient if you could arrange that playdate right in your own house? No carpooling! How handy!
Then here is what NOT to do. This is the ABSOLUTE WORST-CASE SCENARIO OF FATHERLY BAD BEHAVIOR on Mother’s Day.
Seriously — this is even worse than just forgetting about it entirely.
DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, EVER, and I mean EVER EVER EVER EVER tell your wife that you didn’t get her a card because … she’s not YOUR mother.
[If I could I would insert a giant, menacing thunder clap here. And then I would have God himself point a giant finger in your face and have him repeat that sentence in a voice so loud that your ears would bleed.]
Let’s be clear. If that’s your attitude, she probably is your mother a good bit of the time. As a friend once said to me, “They can’t have it both ways. They can’t act like we’re their mother all year and then turn around on Mother’s Day and go ‘You’re not my mother!'”
And if you believe this is an acceptable thing to say, I strongly suggest that you take the handy self test here to determine if you are a Giant Man-Baby. (Here let me grade that for you. Yep, thought so.)
You have been warned
Once you have said this horrifying statement, your wife will be so utterly disgusted that you had the nerve to say that to her face that she will loathe you for the rest of the day.
And from that point, imagine her mentally following you around with a clipboard and taking notes on all of your selfish, boorish behavior. Believe me, she’s noticing everything you do and later she’s going to call her mother and all her girlfriends and unload about what a load you are.
Are you shocked? Are you wondering what the big farking deal is?
She may not be YOUR mother, but she’s the most important mother in your life.
BECAUSE SHE’S THE MOTHER OF YOUR CHILDREN.
Did this woman take your sperm and make something nice out of it?Did she, perhaps, expend tremendous emotional and physical effort to adopt a baby that now bears your last name? Did she suffer through fertility problems, endure weeks of painful treatments and gut-wrenching moral decisionmaking to get pregnant another way?
Did she give up her entire life as she knew it before she had kids so that she can now be in service to raising those children?
I could make a list of her sacrifices and responsibilities here. But she shouldn’t have to earn a damn card by her service to the family.
Being a mother to your children is probably the most important, time-consuming thing this woman does with her life. She’s raising YOUR children, dudes!
For you to be too lazy to buy a card acknowledging this is downright insulting. It says to her:
- That you don’t notice what she does all year
- That you don’t realize how many hours she puts in
- That you don’t know hard it can be
- That you take her for granted
- That you don’t think she’s worth an extra trip to the store and a couple of bucks
- That you don’t love her very much
- That you are lazy and unappreciative
- That you’re not nearly as thoughtful and generous as her friends’ husbands (that one stings, doesn’t it?)
- That you only care about yourself
- That you totally suck, dude!
And you could also …
… do something else to show her you appreciate her. YOU CANNOT IMAGINE THE POSITIVE IMPACT THIS WILL HAVE ON HER.
No, you don’t have to buy lavish gifts. You really don’t. What mothers mostly crave is time — time for themselves, time to do things they love … hell, even time to nap.
Try one (or all) of these things:
- Help the kids make her breakfast in bed. It’s a tried-and-true Mother’s Day schtick, yes, but mothers love to see their little munchkins smiling at the bedroom door, precariously balancing toast and orange juice while wearing big, proud grins. And if your kids are teenagers, have them do it anyway.
- (And if you’re going to do that …) Clean up the kitchen after breakfast. Like, totally clean it up. NOTE: A pan in the sink that “needs to soak” is a copout. Wash it.
- Don’t let her do household chores for the day. ***You will TOTALLY BLOW HER MIND by doing the laundry — all of it, not just yours.***
- Take the kids out for at least two hours and tell her that she’s only allowed to relax during that time.
- If you’re prone to sitting on the couch and zoning out for several hours a day, give her a turn at it. Pour the kid drinks. Change the diapers. Find the toy. Untangle things, break up fights, disarm warheads.
This wasn’t intended to rip on all dads. Some dads are pretty good at Mother’s Day and most other days, too. I salute those of you who are.
But if you traditionally haven’t been thoughtful on Mother’s Day, try to turn it around this year. Because if you don’t, your wife will remember — ALL YEAR — that you were a thoughtless toad on the one day that you were expected to step up. And then she’ll find lots of behaviors of yours to reinforce the ideas of thoughtlessness and toadfulness as the months go by.
Slippery slopes and all …
It’s probably not a stretch to say that if you’re the kind of guy who doesn’t see fit to pony up a card on Mother’s Day, your marriage probably isn’t nearly as fulfilling as it could be. I imagine there’s a lot of tension and resentment in your home.
Don’t you want to turn it around?
Take the first step.
If you don’t, think of it this way: Tension and resentment have momentum. If things stay the way they are, how happy are you going to be five years from now? 20 years from now? If you think your marriage is unhappy now, it’s only going to get worse.
The bottom line
It might be called Mother’s Day, but if you’re married it may be one of the most important days of the year to nurture your relationship.
Everyone likes to be appreciated. Don’t you? Don’t you want a pat on the back every now and then for all the hard things you do to create a nice family life?
Doesn’t your wife deserve it, too?
Make me proud, guys. Otherwise I’ll be forced to round you all up for a Giant Man-Baby Rehab program.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommies out
there! Thanks for all your hard work and all the
love that you show your children. The world is a
better place because of you.
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