A Letter to Dads About Mother’s Day

Dear Dads,

Let me cut to the chase. Mother’s Day? You’re not doing it right.

Wait! Wait! Don’t go away and pout now that your manly pride is wounded and stuff. Man up and bear with me, dude. Or bro. Or whatever you prefer. Relax.

Ok, so now that your feelings are all stuffed neatly back inside where they belong, let’s fix this. (Because we women know how much you love to fix all of our problems.)

First off, let me just say how I know you’re not doing it right. I know because we women, we TALK. We won’t tell YOU how upset we are with your pathetic efforts because we are simultaneously afraid our rage will consume you and that you will still not get it – and that hurts even more. But, it needs to be said – and since I’ve already had this convo with my husband, I’m emboldened to have it with you. And if the mother of your children sent this to you, perhaps with some seemingly innocuous remark like, “Funny!” Let me translate: Mother’s Day? You’re. Not. Doing. It. Right.

So, bonafides established, here is an easy-to-follow list for how to do this day right complete with a point system. Because we know how you men like to score. (See what I did there?)

1. Plan ahead = 40 points. Like, at least two weeks. A month is better. This communicates, “You are important enough for me to make a plan.” And make sure she KNOWS you’re planning ahead by mentioning Mother’s Day when you begin planning.

2. Get cards = 10 points. One from YOU and one from EACH child. You don’t get ANY points if you don’t follow the above rule! This has to be the simplest of all the Mother’s Day tasks…as long as you plan ahead and don’t leave it until the day before when all the good ones are gone. And we can tell you waited when we get a card with chimps on it. We weren’t born yesterday. Hand-made cards are awesome as long as YOU really made them. Don’t buy them and pass them off as homemade. That’s just wrong, dude. Or bro.

3. Get flowers = 10 points. Grocery store flowers are fine, as long as they have flowers AND greenery. But don’t you dare buy the three bunch special (“Look, honey! TWO kinds of flowers and ONE bunch of weedy things!”) and expect us to trim and arrange them at home. We want flowers we can plop in a vase (or better yet, that are already in a vase) – not more work. If we have to cut something, we are coming for you first, sport.

4. Gifts = 10 points. Please, don’t assume you know what we want. If it’s important to you to surprise us, say so, but let us give you some guidance. We might not want a spa day. Again. That leaves us scrambling for a babysitter. Again. And we probably don’t want a spa day to be shared with your mother. Really. And don’t assume we want something expensive, either. Because diamond tennis bracelets are really overkill for scrubbing toilets and scraping boogers off walls. And if we tell you something we want – something reasonable, something affordable, then GET IT. Not something else. Get the thing, man. Really. Get the thing. You might think those faceless Willow Tree figurines are creepy, but they make her heart go pitter pat. And handmade gifts are often appreciated as well. Just see item 2 above for general guidelines.

5. Restaurant meal = 10 points. Ask her where she’d like to go. Because no one wants to plan, shop for, cook, serve and clean up her own Mother’s Day meal. Got it? Good. Moving on.

6. General Helpfulness = 10 points. No mother, especially the mother of small children, ever seriously imagines she will have the day off just because it’s a national holiday. Personally, I know I can expect to spend a major part of the day wiping noses and butts, breastfeeding, refereeing and navigating Lego minefields for at least the next 32 years. However, on this most special of days there are a number of things you might do to earn these points: dressing the children, undressing the children, redressing the children, wiping noses, wiping butts, giving baths (pleasegawdgivetherotterstheirbaths). Need more ideas? If someone is crying because they can’t find the pink doll shoes, find them. If someone is about to break their neck falling off of the coffee table, rescue them. If someone is about to contract thirteen potentially deadly parasites by eating nibbles from the litter box, take the nibbles away.

Now, you score keepers will notice that the points so far only total “90.” And you’ll be wondering how to get a perfect “100.” I’m about to reveal the secret, so listen up.

7. NO COMPLAINING = 10 points. This means, if all of the above seems greedy, narcissistic and just way too much to expect and you just don’t get it, shut your ungrateful yap and do it anyway. This is the mother of your children. Her body and quite possibly her mind are WRECKED because of these kids. And she’s tired. Profoundly tired. It’s not all playdough and glitter – motherhood is crap and boogers, doll shoes and near-death experiences, heartache and disappointment and lots of work. Yeah, there’s some fun, some heartwarming moments, but for a mom with young children – it’s mostly crap and boogers. So, please do Mother’s Day without complaining. Muster up some sincere appreciation and while you’re at it, teach your children to show some, too, while they are young enough for it to sink in.

Now. Perhaps you are feeling a little ashamed of your Mother’s Day efforts in 2014. Good. It sucked. Hopefully, that will motivate you to do better next year. If next year is too far away, go tell her you’re sorry today and maybe even ask for a do-over in the near future. Moms are generally a forgiving bunch.

And remember – Father’s Day is right around the corner and you don’t want another shitty tie.

A Mom