Sure, Mother’s Day gets considerably more attention. It comes first on the calendar each year, and it seems to possess, unfairly perhaps, more gravitas than Father’s Day.
People even spend more money on Mother’s Day gifts than Father’s Day gifts.
Mothers just seem to get more attention than fathers.
But fear not, fathers of the world. All of these attributes work in favor of Father’s Day.
First, by allowing mothers to be celebrated first, fathers are able to establish the expectations for their own day, and in doing so, they can take advantage of a mother’s greatest weakness:
Provide the mother of your child with the day of her dreams, and she is invariably going to feel the need to do at least the same for you, if not more.
Even more important, a mother’s notion of the ideal Mother’s Day is unlike anything that a father might consider ideal. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a husband to think his wife slightly insane for the way she chooses to spend her Mother’s Day.
Take my most recent Mother’s Day, for example. When given the choice to do anything she wanted, my wife optioned to drive two hours to her aunt and uncle’s home in New York so that we could visit with her mother, grandmother and aunt.
While I was happy to spend time with these people, all men know that the word visit is actually code for "sitting inside a house and talking," which is in no way ideal to the average man.
In fact, it is one of the last things a man would choose to do on a Sunday.
But like a dutiful husband, I happily went along, because I like the people who we were visiting, and most important, it was Mother’s Day.
My wife’s day.
Fast forward to Father’s Day.
What are the chances that any father in the world would choose to drive two hours through holiday traffic in order to spend an afternoon sitting in a living room, eating sandwiches and chatting?
Not only that, but Father’s Day falls in June, when the weather is more likely to be warm and sunny and outdoor activities become more viable.
And since I willingly and happily abided by my wife’s request on Mother’s Day, even though it was laden with more than four hours on the road and an absence of any preferred activity, the potent combination of fairness, guilt, and a genuine desire to want for a wife to want her husband to be happy provides most men with the ability to do almost anything they want on Father’s Day.
This is why men often spend portions of their Father’s Days on the golf course, at a ballgame, in front of the television, in a movie theater, or even mowing the lawn.
Yes, even mowing the lawn is sometimes better than spending the day on the road and sitting on a living room couch.
This actually works out well for mothers, too. While men are typically asked to sacrifice when it comes to Mother’s Day, women are required to do almost nothing on Father’s Day. In fact, they are oftentimes able to equally benefit from Father’s Day by joining their husbands for dinner, or perhaps a movie or a ballgame.
Take last year's Father’s Day, for example.
It opened with an early round of golf, during which my wife and daughter were asleep. We then had mutual friends over for brunch, which my wife also enjoyed.
After brunch, the fathers headed out for another nine holes of golf while the ladies sat around the house, chatting, which my wife surely enjoyed.
Later on, we went to dinner. The plan was to eat pie for dinner, though it eventually transitioned to ice cream.
Brunch with friends, an afternoon with friends, a dinner of ice cream, and nothing more.
A great day for me, and by all accounts, a great day for my wife absent of any sacrifice.
A win-win situation, and once that could only happen if Mother’s Day preceded it.