Thursday, May 6, 2010

More about Mother's Day

In the comment thread below the Mother's Day post, a reader asks the following question:
(...)However, I'm a little confused about doing things for your wife on Mother's Day. Your wife isn't your mother. Your wife is your kids' mother. A man should appreciate his mother on Mother's Day; it isn't a generic appreciation of "everyone's mothers".

How do I know this? Ladies, ask yourself if you'd be terribly offended if your husband bought a present or did something special for some mother that wasn't you or your in-laws on Mother's Day. If Mother's Day is an appreciation of all mothers, there would be nothing wrong with your husbands taking their secretaries out to a nice dinner, provided their secretaries had children.

Of course, that is absurd and ridiculous in every way imaginable. But if Mother's Day isn't confined to a particular mother, a man could be obliged to do something for every mother in, say, his own family. That is less absurd, but it would lead to ludicrous results if your husband had, say, three sisters who were married with children.

And that's how you know Mother's Day is confined to honoring a particular mother, your own, and not someone else's mother (which is your wife, your sister with kids, or a random woman with children.)

This is a point that gentlemen commonly bring up on Mother's Day. The question, "Why should I have to do anything for my wife? She's not my mother..." is asked rather frequently, though not usually with as much detail as this gentleman offers.

The answer is simple, of course, but like all blindingly simple things it can miss the line of sight of those who are looking straight at it. So, to be helpful, I'll break it down into a few separate components:

1. It is true that your wife is not your mother; she is the mother of your children. However, saying that your wife is your kids' mother is not the same order of thing as saying your sister is your nieces' and nephews' mother or that your secretary is her children's mother--not in the least! Your wife is a mother because of you. It is you who, either by participating in the creative will of God through the marriage act or by the equally loving act of adoption, in cooperation with your wife and her generous love, made it possible for your wife to add to her wifely vocation the vocation of motherhood. Those "kids" who call her "Mother" are not needy little strangers who mysteriously showed up to compete with you for your wife's attention and affection, even though I know far too many Catholic gentlemen who act as though this is somehow the case. Those children are your doing; they may even, on days when they have been especially naughty, be thought of (humorously, of course) as your fault.

2. Saying, "Oh, but my wife is my kids' mother, therefore I shouldn't have to celebrate Mother's Day with her," is really saying two things. The first thing is that you somehow see no need to honor your wife for her vocation of motherhood, even though without your participation she would not be living this vocation. The second is that you expect your children to rise to the occasion and demonstrate for your wife all the honor, respect, and appreciation she deserves--even though you don't plan to give them an example of that honor, respect, or appreciation, and even though in a practical sense they may still be too young to cook her a meal, buy her a card or gift, or provide her with any token of that honor, respect, or appreciation at all.

3. The comment, "A man should appreciate his mother on Mother's Day," is a fine sentiment, and yes, a man should do that. But who usually takes care of that appreciation? Perhaps there are a few men out there who, sometime in mid-April, pick up the phone, call their mothers, make plans to go out to brunch or dinner or invite Mom over for a meal, go shopping for a card and a gift, and then, if the "meal at home" option is chosen, spend the second Sunday in May (after Mass, of course) cooking a delicious meal for Mom to come over and enjoy. I have heard rumors, anyway, that paragons like that exist. But most of the gentlemen of my acquaintance "take care" of Mother's Day by asking their wives, approximately three days before the occasion, "Did you buy/send my mom a gift?" and then, if Mom lives in the area, they might inquire further as to what plans have been made for the day. I know plenty of women who spend Mother's Day not only taking care of their own children's needs, but also hosting a party for their own mothers, for their mothers-in-law, or both--and the attitude that her husband need not provide her with so much as a card telling her that he appreciates the job she is doing mothering their children is particularly galling in those circumstances.

4. Despite what I have written in 1-3, I can still see some gentlemen shrugging and saying to themselves, "But Mother's Day is about my mom. I do nice things for my wife on romantic occasions like Valentine's Day, when I can appreciate her as my romantic partner without having to think about the "children" part of the equation. So I'm off the hook, and should just celebrate Mother's Day by giving my mother the card and gift my wife bought for me to give her." If a gentleman persists in thinking of the holiday in this way, then I feel it only fair to warn him that there may be consequences. In fact, a woman whose husband thinks this way has every right, in my opinion, to do the following two things:

a) Answer her husband's question about what she has purchased/planned for his mother with a blank stare. "I didn't do anything. I bought my own mother a gift, and I'm going out for lunch and some fun shopping with her on Mother's Day. I figured you'd make your own plans for your mother--she's your mother, after all, and Mother's Day is all about honoring your own mother only, as you always say. Oh, here's the number of the babysitter I usually call, in case your mom doesn't want to come and watch the kids with you."

b) Tell him, on Father's Day, "It's Father's Day, which is a day for me to honor my own father. It certainly has nothing to do with you. I'm going golfing with my dad. Did you make plans with yours? No? Then I guess you won't mind fixing supper for the kids--Dad and I might not get back until late."

Now, I wouldn't really counsel any woman to act so selfishly. But then, I wouldn't counsel any man to act so selfishly, either.

21 comments:

Deirdre Mundy said...

Erin-- on the other hand, there is a case for honoring your MIL on mother's day --especially if you have an unusually considerate husband-- as a "thank you" for raising good man! :)

Red Cardigan said...

Oh, Deirdre, I have no problem with anyone honoring their mothers-in-law on Mother's Day! I was just referring to the irony that the very man who loudly proclaims that Mother's Day is a day for him to honor his mother, not his wife, is quite often the same man who is dependent on that wife to figure out just how he's going to honor his mother.

Lots of people get together with mothers, mothers-in-law, grandmothers etc. on Mother's Day, which is how it should be! But I fail to see how any of that prevents a male of ordinary intelligence from figuring out that maybe his wife would like a card or something, too. :)

Rebecca said...

For years, my husband reminded me firmly that I was NOT his mother and therefore, there was no attention paid to me on Mother's Day. We would go to his parents' house and he would go out of his way to get cards, flowers, gifts, etc. to show appreciation to his mother. Through some convoluted logic, I could not do the same with my mother because, after all, I saw her more frequently and could honor her all the time.

Obviously, I knew I wasn't his mother. I didn't want to be treated like his mother. But I wanted to know that the fact that I was the mother of his children meant something to him, even if all he did was say, "Happy Mother's Day, mother of my children!"

One Mother's Day, there was extended family gathered at my in-laws, and one male relative noticed the abundance of attention payed to my mother-in-law (my husband actually got her two cards that year because they were both so "special"). He commented on her lovely corsage, etc. Then he asked my husband where my card and flowers were.

"She's not my mother!" my husband insisted in an aghast voice, as if he'd been accused of something horrible.

"Did you expect you young children to drive themselves to the store to buy cards and flowers for their mother?" this man asked.

"We always used to make Mother's Day cards in school," my husband retorted, "so that's what I expected."

"Don't you homeschool? Do you really expect your wife to make cards to her a school assignment?"

My husband was obviously annoyed at this nosy relative. But a couple years later, I was anticipating the Mother's Day trip to the in-law's when my husband shocked my by asking, "What do you want to do for Mother's Day?"

"Huh? Why are you asking?"

"Because you've given birth to more children than both of our mothers put together. Because you are the mother of MY children. Because I want you to have a nice Mother's Day for once."

Wow. That simply blew me away. Reduced me to tears. It was one of the most loving things my husband has ever done.

Melanie B said...

Wow! I'm incredulous that any guy could treat his wife and the mother of his children so thoughtlessly. And so is my husband.

Patrick said...

I guess I have to cut my comment in thirds because it exceeds maximum length. Here it goes:

Let me preface my response with four things: firstly: thank you for responding so thoroughly to my comment. I really appreciate it. Secondly, this quote is what I love most about Catholic women:

"But then, I wouldn't counsel any man to act so selfishly, either."

Ha! I rarely find this candidness in non-Catholic women. Mind you, Protestant or "modern" women will think a man selfish (what woman doesn't?); but they just won't say it, which isn't very helpful.

Thirdly, I'm obliged to tell you that I'm a twenty-something bachelor, unmarried with no kids (obviously), just so you know in case that changes things. Some might say that makes me "naive", however I think it makes me somewhat more objective as I have fewer "axes to grind", as it were. At any rate, I have no reason to prefer lazy husbands over unreasonable wives.

Finally, we are in complete agreement on your point #4: when I say a man should honor his own mother on Mother's Day, I don't mean his wife should do it for him, as I agree often happens. He should do it himself or else he's a derelict. Also, if a wife honors her father on Father's Day, I've got no problem with that (although a husband would be honoring his father that day as well, presumably, so "who watches the kids" would be tailored to the situation - but certainly the husband should do his share.) I can't help but notice, though, that nearly all of your points assume selfishness of the husband in trying to prove selfishness. I find that puzzling, and I wonder what your thoughts are in the "best case" scenario - where the man actually honors his mother- rather than the worst case. On to the points:

Patrick said...

Your point #1 shows the limitless absurdity of "Mother's" Day. If you honor your wife because of your paternity to the children, what business do you have honoring your own mother? Before tsking at the lack of "common sense" here, recall that your original point is trying mightily to shoehorn a wife into a holiday called Mother's Day while simultaneously excluding your sisters in their capacity as mothers of your nephews and nieces, as well as other peoples' mothers: so my point can hardly be criticized for being too legalistic, rationalistic and distinguishing without also implicating your standard. If you honor your wife as her kids' father, you couldn't honor your mother without also being able to include your sisters and secretary who, like your own mother, fail to meet the standard of "being made mothers by you". If it's a function of paternity, your own mother, along with sisters and secretaries are "out"; if it isn't, then your wife is "out".

If that is silly and un-common-sensical, well, imagine sitting here being told to honor a wife on Mother's Day, and that it is selfish not to split time on the only holiday dedicated to your mother. More on that in a moment.

Point #2 has two sub-points which I'll address in turn: that a husband won't honor his wife in her capacity as a mother and that without that, a husband isn't setting a good example for the kids. The second sub-point is very obviously ludicrous, as your kids will see you honoring your mother, and perhaps get the idea that they should honor theirs. A husband could say, perhaps, "I'm taking grandma to lunch after Mass; either you come with me, or you make your mother happy by making her lunch." It doesn't have to be exactly like that, but the idea is that the kids can surely imitate their father by honoring their own mother. You'd have to presuppose the husband's dereliction to prove that he isn't setting a good example for his kids. If you presuppose dereliction though, he won't set a good example for his kids by not-honoring his wife either.

The first sub-point is very intriguing and the best part of your argument if not for the "wifely overreach" that I alluded to in the selfishness paragraph. You are correct that a man won't be honoring his wife as a mother on the other holidays. However, "wives" have birthdays, anniversaries, as well as Valentine's days. "Mother's" have only one holiday: "Mother's Day". And so on the only holiday designated for honoring your mother, we're told to split this between your wife (who has three official holidays!) and mother, or be considered a selfish jerk. One wonders if wives also think it's "selfish" that we celebrate Independence Day without reference to all the wives in our happy country, or whether, on St. Patrick's Day, we should be toasting our wives instead of celebrating our Irish roots. In other words, is it so selfish to think that three official holidays are quite enough without encroaching on a 4th?

Point #3 is beside the general point altogether, although my father has never failed to honor his own mother on Mother's Day and I always call my mother on the telephone for an hours-long chat since we live in different states. The reason it is "beside the point" is because I already concede that a man who doesn't honor his own mother on Mother's Day is a scoundrel. My case is solely for the non-scoundrel who'll honor his mother on Mother's Day.

Patrick said...

Finally, I enjoyed this little bit, too:

"But I fail to see how any of that prevents a male of ordinary intelligence from figuring out that maybe his wife would like a card or something, too."

Oh, I agree that a man of ordinary intelligence would figure out that his wife would like something, too. But the same man of ordinary intelligence will probably figure out quickly that his wife has no point where she'll say, "honey, this gift/card/homemade meal is a step too far. Please stop now or there'll be an argument." She'd like a "card or something" on any occasion and every occasion or no occasion. And that will be the point where a man of ordinary intelligence draws a line and stands against all who accuse him of insensitivity, stinginess, lack of character, "selfishness", etc.

Perhaps the best thing a husband could do is just take the kids with him to his mother's on Mother's Day, thereby giving his wife a break and spending time with his ma.

P.S. Another commenter says, "on the other hand, there is a case for honoring your MIL on mother's day --especially if you have an unusually considerate husband-- as a "thank you" for raising good man!"

If you're wondering why some fathers seem to treat their kids as "strangers who compete for attention", as you do in paragraph #1, perhaps it's because they are written out of the equation entirely when it comes to "credit for raising their kids". See how this quote has written your husbands' father right out, as if a husband being a good man has nothing to do with his dad? I would say, "unbelievable", but sadly this attitude is shared by many people Christian and non-Christian.

Red Cardigan said...

Patrick, I think you told me everything you needed to tell me when you said that you're an unmarried twenty-something bachelor with no kids! :)

I don't have time just at present to go point-by-point through what you wrote, but let me just address this one bit: "However, "wives" have birthdays, anniversaries, as well as Valentine's days. "Mother's" have only one holiday: "Mother's Day"." Umm, mothers also have birthdays, and most of them expect a gift at Christmas, not to mention frequent phone calls/visits for no reason at all; and when it comes to things like Independence Day and St. Patrick's Day--well, Patrick, you may be married some day, and as a married woman I can tell you that there is sometimes some minor conflict about where and with whom even those holidays will be celebrated, with both the wife's mother and the husband's mother insisting that they must come, and bring the children.

And even for an unmarried person, Mother's Day must frequently be shared--with one or both grandmothers! If your grandmothers are living, do your mother and father split up on Mother's Day to go honor their own mothers independently--or if they're no longer living, did your parents used to do this when they were alive?

I would disagree that the man who doesn't honor his own mother is being a "scoundrel," too. When a man is working to support a family, he is frequently working long hours, overtime, weekends etc., plus maintaining a home with all the little weekend tasks that involves, and can't always manage to take care of the social niceties. That he relies on his wife to purchase something his mother will like is not necessarily bad behavior--but that he would then withhold a token of appreciation from his wife generally would be.

But I will cut you lots of slack, as you are not married. When a man truly loves a woman, he doesn't think that she will irrationally expect cards and flowers every day of the week if he's foolish enough to give her these things as a token of appreciation for her role as the mother of his children. In fact, when a man truly loves a woman, his wife, if she is both clever and budget-minded, must sometimes restrain her husband from making extravagant gestures of his love on a too-frequent basis!

Melanie B said...

Patrick, like Erin says, I'll cut you some slack because you aren't married yet. But this part really made me laugh: "The second sub-point is very obviously ludicrous, as your kids will see you honoring your mother, and perhaps get the idea that they should honor theirs. A husband could say, perhaps, "I'm taking grandma to lunch after Mass; either you come with me, or you make your mother happy by making her lunch." It doesn't have to be exactly like that, but the idea is that the kids can surely imitate their father by honoring their own mother."

Your proposal sort of naively skips over those first few years of motherhood, the hardest ones when the kids aren't old enough to show their appreciation. In fact it will be almost a decade into motherhood before most moms will have kids who will be able to make mommy happy by making her lunch.

Right now I've got three children under the age of four. None of them are really capable of doing much more for me than scribbling on a blank piece of paper that my husband places in front of them with a crayon that he places in their hand. I am so glad he's gone to that effort the last four years because it would be ridiculous for me to have to wait till the kids are old enough to make me breakfast before I get to be honored as a mother.

I'll add that my first Mother's Day I was nine months pregnant and that might be why I cried when my husband presented me with a card from our daughter that said, "I can't wait to meet you, mommy."

But like I said, you're too inexperienced to have thought this through as thoroughly as you think you have. You're long on theory but very short on practical application.

Jeannette said...

Patrick,
Please print your posts and present them along with your proposal, to all the women you ever propose to. (I assume it will be multiple women because I'm guessing you might get a few rejections.) You're a lawyer, aren't you?

Anonymous said...

Patrick, I have to disagree with (at least) one thing you said: that you think because you are a bachelor, you are objective and don't have an axe to grind.

Oh yes you do: you love your mommy. That's ok, mind you, but she's still - obviously - the star of your life, the cream in your coffee, your best-est friend and there's no other woman out there who can compete with her for your attention, your time and your love.

God help her, wherever she may be.

Rebecca in CA said...

"I'll add that my first Mother's Day I was nine months pregnant and that might be why I cried when my husband presented me with a card from our daughter that said, "I can't wait to meet you, mommy.""

Gosh that's sweet!

Our pastor, a 60-year-old man from Poland, has the ushers give a rose to every mother in the congregation. And then, after Mass, he gives us each a big bear hug and a smooch on the cheek. It really does make me feel appreciated in my vocation as mother, even though I'm certainly not my pastor's mother.

You know Patrick, yeah, I think it would be awesome for a boss to give his secretary flowers on mother's day. I think it would be great if a man did some little special thing for all the mothers in his acquaintance with whom he would be coming in close contact. Like, say, buy donuts for the office in honor of the mothers. That would be warm and touching. I'm not going to criticise what you've said; I know men who, like you, are very good at making distinctions between things which are "owed" and things which are "superogatory". And maybe those men can sleep with a clear conscience, knowing that strictly speaking, it would have been superogatory for them to clear that table, or for them to do some special thing for the mother of their children on mother's day...but I don't necessarily think those are the men who are the happiest.

I'm a different Rebecca from the above Rebecca; I guess I'll start calling myself Rebecca in CA.

eulogos said...

I am rather boweled over by your assumption that a wife would buy her husband's mother something for mother's day.

I have been married for 40 years come this June and until I just now read what you wrote the thought that it might be my job to do this never once occurred to me!

I will try to get my husband to call his mother for mother's day, just as I will try to get him to call his brother on his brother's upcoming birthday, but that's about it. Why would I buy HIS mother a present? She's not my mother. She's made it quite clear that she does not regard me as a member of her family. For instance, her husband's obituary did not mention me as the spouse of her son. But I suspect that even if she had been a much nicer person, it would not have occurred to me that it was my job to buy her a present!

Susan Peterson

By the way, the one Mother's Day present I really remember was when I was very pregnant with my first child, the chef of the restaurant where my husband was working gave him a piece of steak to take home and cook for me, specifically because it was Mother's Day and I was a mother.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

All very well said Erin... I don't know why any of it would be questioned.

Nothing special said...

My husband never does anything for Mother's Day, neither for his mother or for me. One year I was buying a card for my mother and grandmother and decided to buy one for my MIL as well. He was with me and got upset. He said, "I am sure my mother would rather not get a card than to know you spent three dollars on it!" So his mother never got any acknowledgment on Mother's Day.

He is opposed to spending money on things like cards and flowers. He never buys me anything (or does anything) for Valentine's Day and that includes even saying "Happy Valentine's Day", only bought me a birthday present the first year we were married (when I reminded him that my bday is coming soon and suggested he started looking for something to get me, he told me not to be so materialistic), and most years IF he acknowledges our anniversary is only to suggest going out to dinner. So this year since I don't expect him to do or buy anything for Mother's Day, I asked him to make a cake because I know he likes doing that. That way there can at least be something special to differentiate between MD and any other day of the year.

Patrick said...

Time constraints don't allow me to respond to these comments thoroughly, and so I apologize in advance. And of course I have to split it up. Here's what I got:

@ Red Cardigan: Thank you for for "cutting me slack" on account of my youth. I appreciate it, and I find this web-log a refreshing departure from the usual "hammering away" done on men-heavy web-logs, and of course it's insightful to boot. However, I notice women often begin to "cut me slack" right when I'm getting near to some sort of truth, making it out to be a charitable act while not-so-secretly circling the wagons, as it were. For example, I once made a comment that came off poorly, I guess, and the grande dame to whom I was speaking gasped, "Oh, is THAT what you think", as if she was doing me a great service by not pointing out where I was mistaken. The expression on her face, however, indicated that she suspected I was correct. I'll take the hint, though, that this "slack-cutting" is a gentle reminder to drop this subject. So it's dropped.

"well, Patrick, you may be married some day, and as a married woman I can tell you that there is sometimes some minor conflict about where and with whom even those holidays will be celebrated, with both the wife's mother and the husband's mother insisting that they must come, and bring the children."

I rather doubt I'll be married any day (which I discuss below), but my sister is married with children and we've discussed this paradigm extensively. Every time I leave her company, I'm thankful that my "problems" involve which book to read and whether I'll have a glass of stout or nip of rye with dinner.

"If your grandmothers are living, do your mother and father split up on Mother's Day to go honor their own mothers independently--or if they're no longer living, did your parents used to do this when they were alive?"

Sadly, my mother's mother was dying when my parents met and dead before they were married. My mother's father died in 1968. So I only had one set of grandparents, and now I only have one living grandmother, who is 92 but still lucid, acerbic, and a great conversationalist.

"if she is both clever and budget-minded, must sometimes restrain her husband from making extravagant gestures of his love on a too-frequent basis!"

Yes, that is true; all of women's "undermining-ness" and second-guessing at least comes in handy in making a man think twice about spending extravagantly. I'll have to take your word on the rest.

@ Melanie B: (I discuss "slack-cutting" above). "Your proposal sort of naively skips over those first few years of motherhood, the hardest ones when the kids aren't old enough to show their appreciation. In fact it will be almost a decade into motherhood before most moms will have kids who will be able to make mommy happy by making her lunch."

I concluded later, "Perhaps the best thing a husband could do is just take the kids with him to his mother's on Mother's Day, thereby giving his wife a break and spending time with his ma." I should've done a better editing job and put that idea with the one you discussed. Obviously, though, I still don't see why a wife feels entitled to be appreciated by a husband on a day designed for mothers, but hey - if the husband spends all of Saturday around a grill with a beer, surely he can take the kids to grandma's on Sunday.

"I'll add that my first Mother's Day I was nine months pregnant and that might be why I cried when my husband presented me with a card from our daughter that said, "I can't wait to meet you, mommy."

Haha! What a great fellow.

Patrick said...

@ Jeannette: "Please print your posts and present them along with your proposal, to all the women you ever propose to. (I assume it will be multiple women because I'm guessing you might get a few rejections.) You're a lawyer, aren't you?"

Haha! We agree entirely on my marriage prospects, but not on their value. No woman worth the name could enjoy, or even tolerate, my obstinate hyper-logical bon mots laced with venom. If I were a woman, I wouldn't give me the time of day. Fortunately, I'm a man so I positively enjoy my reasonableness and I would never give it up to be liked. Happily for me, the "married life" isn't the only one worth living: oh, I'm glad someone is married and having kids, and I even enjoy watching my niece and amusing her with my antics, which would be very immature in adult company. However, I sure enjoy being able to hand my niece back to my sister, go to a bar, and tell my friends that I think they are wrong about everything in the universe - or just go home and read a book. I couldn't do that if I were married, and as luck would have it, I've no desire or ability to be married anyway.

@ Anonymous: "That's ok, mind you, but she's still - obviously - the star of your life, the cream in your coffee, your best-est friend and there's no other woman out there who can compete with her for your attention, your time and your love."

That is an excellent point, and I would've included it in the above discussion if it weren't for space constraints. I sure do love my mom, "Big Red". However, I stopped being fooled by her at about age nine. In other words, I figured out what every man soon figures out, and why, if Adam had a mother, he might've thought twice about accepting that apple out of experience. (I kid, I kid.)

I find it funny, though, that I could simultaneously be accused of unbelievable selfishness and accused of too much devotion to the grande dame. I'm not very surprised, though, as there is a hint of jealousy of these wives toward their husbands' caring a great deal about their old moms. Maybe they'll change their tune when they become the old mom, and their son becomes someone's husband.

@ Rebecca in CA: "And maybe those men can sleep with a clear conscience, knowing that strictly speaking, it would have been superogatory for them to clear that table, or for them to do some special thing for the mother of their children on mother's day...but I don't necessarily think those are the men who are the happiest."

Yeah: it's a moral duty to do "nice things" gratuitously anyway, but a man would have to be a fool not to have drawn the type of line I described and defend it come-hell-or-high-water. He ought to fear God's judgment, not his wife's - who will tell him so anyway, I promise.

My word verification is "atsalot". As in, "atsalot of typing". Haha. Have a nice weekend, folks.

Red Cardigan said...

Patrick, when I said I would cut you some slack, I was attempting to act in charity toward someone who clearly had no basis to have any idea what he was talking about. Your condescending little twist to that slack-cutting made me laugh; believe me, if I thought you were right in any way I'd say so forthrightly.

What I actually think is that your inability to recognize the claims of a wife to be honored by the father of her children on Mother's Day comes solely from your tendency to see women as fluffy little creatures not capable of rational thought. So long as you persist in that illusion, it's probably a good thing that you have no aspirations to matrimony.

It occurred to me to wonder, though, if you are really as you describe, or if one of my female friends isn't having a bit of fun by constructing a figure of a male chauvinist of yesteryear to bait me. You almost seem too much that stereotype to be true, in fact!

Patrick said...

Ok, Red Cardigan, you win; I'm awful. See you later.

Carrie said...

Wow, I can't believe there is any controversy. For a man who understands the beauty of his vocation to marriage, it seems like Mother's Day would be even MORE important for his wife than his own mother ... after all, it is THEY who have become parents, and it's because of HIM that his wife is now a mother. Of course he loves his mother, but it's his wife he's cleaved to now. When someone speaks of "Mothers" the first person who comes to mind should be his wife ... I know in my case and for many other women as well, when we hear of "Fathers" we think of our husbands even before our own fathers.

Rebecca in CA said...

I'm trying to understand what it is that Patrick is picturing...do you view Father's day the same way? Doesn't everyone do stuff together as a family on Father's day? The whole "paterfamilias" thing--I can't really imagine trying to isolate the relationship of father to children or mother to children, in celebrating fatherhood or motherhood...the whole thing is about the whole family, isn't it? If you imagine several older children throwing a beautiful brunch for their mother, do you not imagine the father there, in his due place? Is he reading the paper in another room, or what? I just can't picture what it is you think should be going on in a day celebrating motherhood or fatherhood. Also, why are we bringing up feelings of "entitlement" at all? I don't think to myself, on Father's day, "Oh, my husband probably feels entitled to some honor, so I'd better make a nice meal to appease him". I *want* to honor him because I think fatherhood is so important and so beautiful. Shouldn't the honoring come from an overflowing love and feeling of respect, rather than from a grudging sense of duty, as though the spouse is some kind of insatiable pagan god that demands due sacrifices? That was the tone I seemed to be hearing, but I could be misunderstanding.