With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I think it’s high time I take the bold step and say what needs to be said: Moms are kinda important.
There, America. I said what needed to be said, yet none of you had the courage to.
OK, so we all know moms are of course a big deal. My mother is a wonderful human being and a fantastic mother and is happy to be motherly to this day. I don’t mean that as a bad thing. I’m 43, and my mom still worries that I’ve eaten lunch.
I’m also fortunate to be married to a wonderful woman who is also a fantastic mother. (She has made it very clear that lunch is up to me, and if I starve it’s not her fault. Hey, I’m her husband, not her kid.)
My wife and I have always split the duties of parenting, with both of us taking part in all aspects along the way. Well, not ALL aspects. I didn’t have to lug them around inside me for nine months. But don’t blame me for that. I’m not a seahorse, for crying out loud.
But I’ve always been fine with taking part in all of the other parenting parts, be it changing diapers, dinner time, homework, etc. (By the way, when my kids were little I hated when people saw me with my kids and said, “So dad’s babysitting today?” No, Dad is dadding today. Babysitters get paid and leave when the shift is over.)
But try as I might, there are some things that I will never be able to do as well as a mom. And not just the whole having them part. For example:
- Moms are better at dressing kids. If you look at pictures of my kids when they were little, it was easy to tell who dressed them. Snappy little fashionable number that matches? Mom. Overalls? Dad.
- Moms sense danger much better. Part of that reason, of course, is that dads find danger much better, and one of the many reasons moms are a necessity is to stop dads from turning the stairs into a giant slide for cardboard sleds.
- Moms are better at public mishaps. Experience a massive diaper explosion in the middle of the grocery store? Moms sprout nine extra arms and manage to have everything packaged and removed to a restroom in the matter of seconds, whereas dads are more inclined to just wrap everything up in a big bundle, haul it to the car and head home to sort everything out.
- Moms are more sympathetic. And by “more sympathetic” I mean less likely to laugh at something, even if it is really funny, such as a child getting stuck in a plastic basketball hoop or tangled up in a bra that was found in the laundry basket.
- Moms are better at talking about some things with children, especially if those children are teenage daughters. My daughter and I once had this conversation:
ME: You know, if you ever need to talk about … anything …
HER: Um, yeah…
ME: I mean, after you talk to your mom. Or one of your aunts. Or grandmothers.
ME: Good talk.
- Moms are waaaay more in tune with their kids’ emotions. If a child has had a bad day at school, moms have this freaky sixth sense that targets in on the negative vibe and hyperfocuses in on a solution. Dads are more likely, should they notice, to say to mom, “What’s up with him?”
- Moms are masters of subtle verbal communication. If I called my children by their full name, they would respond the same as any other time. Moms? Again, I’m 43, and if my mom says, “Michael Whitfield…” I am immediately a nine-year-old who knows he has done something wrong.
So, yeah, Moms are awesome. We all know it. To my mom, you’re the best a kid could have asked for. To my wife, you’re the best a dad could have asked for. To my my two mothers-in-law, thanks for being two great bonus moms. I’m a lucky guy, all around, as are my kids. So this Mother’s Day, make the awesome moms in your life feel extra special. They’ve earned it. Show them you just how much you love them. Maybe even let them go first on the stair slide.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Charleston. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.