Wife: Our Son's 1st Birthday is tomorrow!
Me: I know! Crazy eh!
Wife: We gotta make him a cake!
Me: Sure! You bake it, I'll ice it!
Wife: What? No. I'll bake it and decorate it!
Me: Do you even know how to make icing?
Wife: Oh its not hard.
Me: Look, I make icing all the time and eat it for a snack. Let me do something.
Wife: Nope! I have to do it! I'm the mother, it is my job! And you are just a man.
... the next day ...
Me: Hey! I'm home from work! Happy Birthday little man!
Wife: Oh great you're home! The cake JUST came out of the oven!
Me: Great! Well, just let it cool, and then you can put the icing on it.
Wife: Let it cool?! You don't have to let it cool. Thats just silly.
Me: Really? Cuz my Mom always made me wait for the cake to cool before icing it.
Wife: Well I am NOT your Mother!
Me: Okay. Do you need help making the icing?
Wife: Nope, already got it done... I'll just start spreading it on here...
... a few moments pass ...
Wife: Why is the icing sliding off?! Its melting! Why is the icing melting?!
Me: Is the cake too hot?
Wife: I don't know! But look! Its UGLY! I've RUINED our sons first birthday!
Me: You didn't ruin his birthday... look, we can fix the icing.
Wife: NO! No we CAN'T! Its ruined! All that hard work, the baking and planning, and now its RUINED!
Me: I'm telling ya, we can fix this... here, let me make some more icing.
Wife: His first memory of me is going to be me RUINING his birthday! He is going to HATE me! I've ruined his LIFE!
Me: Look, I've got some nice icing here, and the cake is cool... I'll just put on a new layer.
Wife: Oh just throw it out! He's going to need therapy! OH NO! What have I done?!
Me: There! Look! Good as new. I just added a new layer of icing, which hid the melted icing, and it looks great!
Wife: Oh, hey... that dose look nice.
Me: See, we didn't ruin our child's birthday! He is not going to need therapy... well... at least, not for this. :-)
Oh Mothers! Why you girls so hard on yourselves? Its crazy! I mean, if a Dad managed to get even 1 thing right during the course of a day, we would be SO proud of ourselves and buying T-Shirts that say "Worlds Best Dad!" and Coffee mugs with "#1 DAD!" on them!
I think so often as parents, we set such high expectations for ourselves and then condemn us to the "bad parent" bin when we falter even the smallest thing.
High standards are good.
Being a good parent is important.
But being super-human, well, that's just crazy.
Seeing my wifes reaction to the cake, some 11 years ago, really opened my eyes to how much pressure we as parents are under - and it also helped me realize that WE are the ones who put the vast majority of that pressure on us.
Sometimes, it's important to look at our little children, then look at the cake with the melting icing, and hopefully be able to realize what truly is important in that situation...
... and other times (this is one reason why I love my wife), you might need to take your eyes off your little one, look up, and see what needs doing as a parent (and Father in my case), and do it.
Regardless of what others might think...
... or say, we do what needs to be done as parents.
And if we falter, we should be helping to pick each other up.
Or even helping sometimes.
Definitely not comparing...