Duane Sherrill

I wouldn’t make a good mother. Sure, I think I’m the best father there is. I even have a “The Best Dad Ever” T-shirt to prove it. I pull the shirt (that was given to me by my sons a few years ago) out of mothballs every Father’s Day to trumpet my Super Dad status, even though it usually just gets eye rolls when I strut around in it.

However, being the best dad ever doesn’t even scratch the surface when it comes to comparing it to being a mother. I can’t even run with the big dogs on that one. I just have to sit on the porch, which, by the way, is one of my favorite things to do now that I have a big porch.

First off, I couldn’t deal with being pregnant. It looks very…uncomfortable. It is unfathomable how you women can walk around for nine months carrying a baby in your belly. I freak out if I can pinch an inch around my waist and immediately begin doing copious amounts of sit-ups to remedy the situation if I see the slightest pooch in the mirror. However, to be able to “eat for two” and endure the body changes a woman with child goes through, well, I’m glad I’m a guy.

“Am I getting fat?” I recall my wife saying when she was carrying our first child.

In her defense, she gained just 12 pounds with our oldest and seven with our youngest. At a glance, you couldn’t really tell she was pregnant. However, with that being said, even if she was big as a barn, the answer would have been the same.

“No dear,” I replied. “You look great.”

If nothing else, fathers can always point to the “glow” a woman with child has and use that to deflect any trick questions. Just remember, a pregnant woman never forgets, and they have super powers.

“You’re absolutely glowing, dear,” you should reply without pause.

Along with the body changes come the cravings. Now, I’m pride myself on being able to eat things that would make a Billy goat puke. I’m looking forward to eating cicadas that a friend is cooking once they hatch out in the near future, and I’ve been known to dine on squirrel brains, so I can ingest things that most people would find disgusting. However, some of the cravings a pregnant woman can get, well, even in my eyes are unpalatable.

“You know what I’m craving?” my wife mused one evening about six months into her term.

“What?” I asked, knowing it could be something gross.

“Pickles,” she replied.

Well, that wasn’t so bad, I thought to myself. And, since we were out of pickles I went out to the store and picked up a jar. It was when I returned that things took a left turn as she proceeded to take the pickles and then open a jar of crunchy peanut butter. As I sat stunned, she dipped the pickle into the peanut butter and took a bite.

I opened my mouth to say something but immediately checked myself. If that made her happy, then hey, I’m going to be that dutiful husband who is there to support her–even through gross combinations of foods. And there were many more unholy combinations to come that I won’t even mention here in a family publication. Needless to say, my squirrel brains dipped in butter sauce were preferable in my mind.

Now, while the nine or ten months of pregnancy would be trying to me if I were a mother, the big day would be horrifying.

“It’s time!” my wife called out in the pre-dawn hours, since I guess there’s a rule that labor begins at the most remote hour on the worst of days, seeing that it was snowing outside and the sun hadn’t come up.

“What time?” I muttered from under the covers before it dawned on me. “Oh, that time!”

The one thing a man is good for is an old fashioned panic. I got up and began trying to think through my sleep-glazed brain

“Where’s my keys!” I yelled as I began to head for the car, which smartly had been pre-packed with the emergency stuff.

“They’re in your hand,” she scowled as she headed for the door. “Now come on before I have this baby right here.”

And, as is often the case, the rush to the hospital turned into a “hurry up and wait” situation that is called labor.

“That looks painful,” I commented during one of the labor pains, my tone deaf comment getting a look that could kill from my wife–perhaps contributing the fact that she is now my ex-wife.

“Ya think?” she growled, squeezing my hand with a vice-like grip to the point I could hear bones crackle in my hand.

“Where’d you get that power?” I squealed, unable to dislodge my hand from the crushing grip.

“This is all your fault!” she yelled as another labor pain hit.

Okay, first off, despite being a macho man, I’m a big baby when it comes to pain. I’ll gripe about a papercut, and heaven forbid I get a headache. Now, to endure labor pains–um, not this guy.

I think if I were a woman, I’d live in a nunnery to avoid even the possibility of having to do child birth. Plus, making it worse is having fathers like me say dumb stuff while the woman is going through birthing pains. I think it’s advisable for guys to zip their lips all during the process and simply allow the mother to crush their hands. It’s okay to cry inside from the crushing of bones and tendons and perhaps the facture of multiple phalanges.

Some mothers have told me that the closest thing they’ve felt to child birth is a kidney stone. I’ve had a kidney stone, and that was one of the top three pains I’ve felt in my life. Somehow, I think becoming a mother is worse, although I will never get to do the comparison–thank goodness.

And then, once the baby is born you have to raise them–a process that never ends. Sure, I do my part as a father, but there’s no taking a mother’s place. On my best day as a father, I can’t compare to one-fifth of a good mother, even on her worst day.

Anyway, Happy Mother’s Day to all your mothers out there, including my own 87-year-old mom, who still keeps me in line even though I’m a grandfather myself. I’d give you all a thumbs up but my hand doesn’t operate correctly after the birth of our second son. That one was all my fault, too.

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