Sam Venable 

Department of Irony

Mothers Deserve More than Flowers, Candy and a CardStrictly from the standpoints of biology and mechanics, being a father is easy.

However, if Mother’s Day and Father’s Day were observed in proportion to each parent’s contribution to the entirety of pregnancy and childbirth, the respective celebrations would be polar opposites.

Mother’s Day would dominate the calendar 24/7 from, oh, say, 12:01 a.m. on New Year’s Day straight through to 11:59 p.m. the following New Year’s Eve.

Father’s Day? Pfft. It would briefly flicker between uncorking of the champagne and the first verse of “Auld Lang Syne.”

But what if male-female biological roles were reversed? Well, duh! Father’s Day then would become a year-long celebration, replete with numerous days off from work, festive events, lucrative federal grants and government agencies dedicated to relieving men’s suffering.

In theory, anyway. But I’ll tell you something that ain’t theory. It’s ironclad fact, and I break out in a cold sweat just thinking about it. To wit: If men spent nine back-aching months puking, abstaining from their favorite adult beverages, watching stretch marks creep across their ever-expanding bellies and then expelling a seven-pound infant out of their bodies by way of—Aaaiiieee! Dear God, no! Say it isn’t so!—the population of the world would be under 5,000.

Maternal and paternal roles are even more skewed for those of us who came of age in the Norman Rockwell era.

Ours was a world where the men went to work, and the women stayed home. They fed babies, got the older kids off to school, changed diapers, washed dishes, did the laundry, ran the vacuum, took an active role in PTA, double-checked homework, ferried youthful passengers to scout meetings and baseball practice, cooked supper and spent the remainder of the evening listening to their spouse fret about his weekend golf tournament.

Familial lines have blurred significantly since then. According to the website, the number of women in the workforce has tripled since the mid-1960s, although—surprise!—American women on average still earn 18 percent less than their male peers.

But at least they’re actually getting paid. In one of her recent “Ask Amy” advice columns, Amy Dickinson cited this startling statistic from the website A stay-at-home parent typically puts in a 96-hour workweek which, figuring all the individual tasks, should result in annual pay of $162,581.

Yeah, right. Good luck cashing that check at the bank or grocery store.

These disparities notwithstanding, please permit this father to (a) wish a wonderful and much-deserved Mother’s Day to all and (b) reiterate sage advice parents have been imparting to their offspring since the dawn of creation: Life isn’t always fair.

For better or for worse, this is especially true of the baby-production process.

Gaak! I just felt another cold sweat coming on.

Sam Venable is an author, comedic entertainer, and humor columnist for the Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel. His latest book is
“The Joke’s on YOU! (All I Did Was Clean Out My Files).” He may be reached at