Mother’s Day didn’t exactly go as planned. Well, not as Hallmark would have planned it anyway.
The first departure from the idyllic script was that I was a little hungover. It was not a raging headache, in fact, better than I might have expected when I went to bed, but still enough to put me off my game.
So as I slothed around the kitchen it did occur to me that a mother would not have been so careless as to compromise her performance with a few extra drinks the night before.
I think many Stay-at-Home Dad’s labor under a strange perfection complex. We want to do the job well, to be competent men at what we do, but we keep running against a glass wall; the deeply ingrained perception that men can’t be as good at this as women. And we men like to be good.
For my part I am getting better at rationalizing my way out of this particular psychological cul-de-sac, by joking that I am a normal fallible man. Using my manliness as the excuse. Yes, it is more of a dodge than a solution, but it is quite liberating, and I should acknowledge it is a release valve that is denied women.
The second variance from the Madison Ave Mother’s Day was that despite of reading ‘What women really want for Mother’s Day” headlines all week, I’d only got around asking my wife to detail her expectations of the morning sometime between my third and fourth beers the night before.
This represented an utter failure of communication on my part. A woman would clearly have managed the process much better. Fortunately, I am such an inept communicator that I don’t labor under any illusions that I could match the fairer sex on that dimension.
Her hopes for her day were to sleep-in, go to the gym at 10 and maybe go out for a brunch after that. Food was clearly the least of her priorities.
The problem being that this was completely incompatible with a full-course breakfast in bed, and by the time I crept down the stairs at 8:30am the breakfast train had left the station.
Not all my children were on it.
I ended up wrapping Mother’s Day presents, with a bloody-useless tape-repelling roll of paper, because that is all I had that didn’t have footballs, Christmas Trees or Happy Birthday scrawled all over it, while reminding one child that watching Survivor Immunity Challenge re-runs on You Tube is not actually doing anything for mum, and convincing another child that serving breakfast early, while on the face of it laudable, was also not the most mother-centric plan. While a third child, did grade-one applied mathematics on my rapidly dwindling supply of useful wrapping paper, cutting it into rhombuses and parallelograms.
From there the situation quickly unraveled: About fifteen minutes later my wife made an untimely entry into the scene.
Now the dust has settled and the crisp waffles, doughy pancakes, cooked-on-one-side bacon and poorly hulled strawberries are equally distributed between the trash and the dog, I realize it turned into the perfect Mother’s Day for a working mum.
In retrieving the situation, she actually got to do some mothering.
And, of course, she got to remind herself she was pretty good at it.