There should be a warning message that goes off in our brains when a husband and wife make a decision to pursue becoming parents. No one can tell you what becoming a parent is truly like until you become one.
If I really search, tucked away in the hard drive of my brain are lots of memories about becoming a parent. Here are a few that I recall.
The breathing techniques from Lamaze class.
My wife trying to teach me how to properly pin the diaper without collateral damage to the newborn or myself.
Not reading the directions for putting the crib together, and missing a critical step.
Sleepless nights when you exhausted every Dr. Spock trick to try to get your most prized possession to go to sleep.
The diaper change when your son decides to hose you and the changing surface down.
Exploding bowel movements that dripped and oozed from the saturated diaper.
All points bulletin searches for that prized pacifier or the dirtiest, softest, but most favorite rag of a blanket.
See those memories are there. Safely tucked away and chronicled for appropriate retrieval.
It’s ok to revisit because you’ll laugh, cry, and wonder how you and your wife got through those early years.
Now when you start the search on your brain’s hard drive for these memories, you’re certain to find the following file: Every Father’s Nightmare.
In this file, you’ll find two statements from your wife. Either one has the potential to trigger a cardiac moment: “Honey, I’m sick, or honey, I’m taking a trip.”
If the husband must deal with the first statement, automatically, he will ask a ridiculous question: “Honey, are you certain that you are sick?”
And if the father gets the second statement, the first ill-advised words to spring forth to his wife are: “Honey, are you taking the children with you on this trip?”
It will take a father, several minutes to recover from the verbal pounding he will receive if he asks his wife either of those questions.
Once he recovers, that’s when the real fear and worry of what lies ahead of him will start to nervously ping in his brain.
Whether his spouse is bedridden or being driven to the airport, immediately, a detailed list is produced providing the orders of the day. These orders must be followed to perfection.
Failure to follow this list of orders can be catastrophic for fathers in dealing with his children in these moments. A father will automatically know he is in deep, deep trouble if he hears even a mumbling whisper of these words: “That’s not the way mom does it.”
That one whisper can quickly turn into constant reminders to the father regarding his inferior skills.
That’s not the way Mom makes or packs my lunch.
That’s not the way Mom drives the car pool.
Mom’s never late in picking us up from any of our after school activities.
That’s not the way Mom shops at the grocery store.
That’s not the way Mom washes and dries my hair.
That’s not the way Mom washes, dries, and folds the clothes.
That’s not the way Mom fixes dinner.
Mom always lets us watch this show.
That’s not the way Mom tells us good night.
Even when the husband’s commanding officer recovers from her illness or returns from her much needed sabbatical, the chorus “that’s not the way Mom does it,” will ring in his ears forever.
Because it’s an indisputable fact— no one has the knack, the touch, the intuitive nature, the personality, the style, the grace, the culture, the diplomatic skills, the vision, the wisdom, the talent, and the hugs of Mom.
Exodus, Chapter 20, verse 12 in the Bible reads as follows: “Honor your father and your mother.”
Perhaps that famous commandment should be edited to include the following: Honor your father and your mother, but especially your mother.
Because only a mother has the unique ability and capacity to love her children in the way she does.
No one else has that touch, no one, but a mother.
She is without question indispensable.