A father's job is unique.
If parents had job descriptions, mine would read: organize bills, playmates, laundry, meals, laundry, carpool, laundry, snacks, outings and shopping, and laundry.
The only thing on my husband's description would be the word "fun" written in big red letters along the top. Although he is a selfless caregiver and provider, our children think of him more as a combination of a jungle gym and bozo and clown.
Our parenting styles compliment each other. His style is a nonstop adventure where no one has to worry about washing their hands, eating vegetables, or getting cavities. My style is similar to Mussolini. I'm too busy worrying to be fun. Besides, every time I try, I am constantly outdone by my husband.
I bought my children bubble gum flavored toothpaste and I taught them how to brush their teeth in tiny circles so they wouldn't get cavities. They thought it was neat until my husband taught them how to rinse by spitting out water between their two front teeth like a fountain.
I took the children on a walk in the woods and, after two hours, I managed to corral a slow ladybug into my son's insect cage. I was "cool" until their father came home, spent two minutes in the backyard, and captured a beetle the size of a Chihuahua.
I try to tell myself I am a good parent even if my husband does things I can't do. I can make sure my children are safe, warm, and dry. I'll stand in line for five hours so the children can see Santa at the mall or be first in line to see the latest Disney movie. But I can't wire the VCR so my children can watch their favorite video.
I can carry my children in my arms when they are tired, tuck them into bed, and kiss them goodnight. But I can't flip them upside down so they can walk on the ceiling or prop them on my shoulders so they can see the moths flying inside of the light fixture.
I can take them to doctor appointments, scout meetings, or field trips to the aquarium, but I'll never go into the wilderness, skewer a worm on a hook, reel in a fish, and cook it over an open flame on a piece of tin foil.
I'll even sit in the first row of every Little League game and cheer until my throat is sore and my tonsils are raw, but I'll never teach my son how to hit a home run or slide into first base.
As a mother I can do a lot of things for my children, but no matter how hard I try--I can never be their father.