Fathers, on the other hand, are good only for barbecues and oil changes - just glorified baby-sitters, really, slightly less reliable than that nice 14-year-old Tiffany from down the street.
Are guys really that ill-equipped to nurture their own kids?
"There's nothing uniquely feminine about understanding kids' needs and moods," says historian Stephanie Coontz, who teaches at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.
A familiar face to viewers of Today, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and The Colbert Report, Coontz is director of research and public education for the Council on Contemporary Families. Her latest book is A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s.
"Nurturing is learned, not inherited," Coontz adds. "It's just a question of devoting time and attention to children."
See, I thought so, but I wasn't comfortable saying it out loud.
Women enjoy a Madonna-like primacy when it comes to raising babies, after all. Carrying one for nine months, then enduring hallucinogenic pain while coaxing him or her into the world, earns a person a certain prerogative. I get it.
Still, a woman's DNA alone doesn't make her more capable than a man to change diapers and cherish a child.
There's even some social science to prove it.
"Can men mother?" asks Barbara Risman, head of the sociology department at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Absolutely, she concludes, adding, "My research questions tremendously that women are natural nurturers."
Risman studied men whose wives had died or deserted the family. She purposely omitted divorced men in joint-custody arrangements (like me). Her aim was to deal only with men who had single fatherhood thrust on them, not men who exhibited an inclination to raise children on their own.
The guys were asked questions to determine how much they knew about their children, and how affectionate they were.
The result: The single fathers created tight relationships with their children that more resembled the kind women have with their kids than the kind married fathers have with theirs.
"It's clear that when men are married to the mother of their children, they often do less of the primary caretaking," Risman tells me.
One ironic takeaway is that divorced fathers with joint custody will spend more time and do more with their kids than married men do, Risman says.
What guides men and women most in parenting roles is tradition and stereotype, not chromosomes.
Until the women's movement, people thought women would be ineffective in the labor force. Life progressed, and that proved to be untrue.
Similarly, men are believed to be devoid of nurturing skills, simply because many haven't used them and aren't expected to. That's false as well, Risman says.
Now, a few folks will assert that oxytocin, the hormone present during pregnancy and breast-feeding, makes women more naturally nurturing.
"But that's just a short moment in a woman's maternity," Risman says. "And it's insulting to men to suggest they're not capable of a full range of human emotion."
Nice of her to say.
With my daughter, three or four nights a week, I parent solo. The love I feel for her I already possessed. The hair-braiding, the clothes-shopping, the techniques for mining information about her feelings - all that I had to learn.
Friends have helped, including the guy who sent me Eric Carle's children's book, Mr. Seahorse. Male seahorses carry their babies and give birth.
Captivated by the symbolism, I read it to my daughter more than she likes. ("Not Mr. Seahorse again, Dad!")
Born working-class macho, I have made myself into a mothering man. Sometimes, it's confusing for me.
Should I, for example, be so good at matching socks, leggings and a killer top?
Whatever. I'm the dude on duty. It's all happening without a uterus. And that will have to do.
Contact columnist Alfred Lubrano at 215-854-4969 or email@example.com.