See those thin, brittle ovals resting on a branch stories above the ground? Your CHILDREN are in them. Now go plop your entire body weight on top of them. For weeks.
Talk about pressure.
I've heard the rumors that birds are such bad parents that they can't even remember how many eggs they have, but I don't buy it. They love those things. Seriously. They love their kids so much they'll turn bulimic in difficult economic times just so their babies won't go hungry. That's why birds survived the Great Depression and, despite rising unemployment and scarce loans, seem to be thriving right now.
People are lucky. We have uteruses, papooses, and car seats to carry our kids in. Birds have a cramped circle of sticks, a dank hole in a dead tree or their own spit on which they must sit. And sit. And sit -- the whole time knowing even a load-shifting sneeze could mean a miscarriage while a trip too far from the nest will provide a raccoon with a nice continental breakfast.
Pros: Whenever your kids whine about not wanting to go to the statewide crafts fair or outdoor sculpture garden that you saw in the paper, just remind them how you dutifully sat for months to ensure their normal brain development.
Catch up on The Secret Life of Bees and the rest of Oprah's Book Club or sell your busy friends' stuff on eBay (for a percentage).
You can host Pampered Chef parties from your nest . . .
Cons: . . . but be prepared for the old crows you call 'friends' to talk about your unkempt branch, widening ass and generally haggard appearance as soon as they leave.
You have no choice but to go on maternity leave and risk losing your job to some goody-goody kiss-ass fresh out of State who think she's going to change the world!
Good luck meeting new people.
If your children die, it is officially your fault and even a lifetime of therapy cannot change that.
Sitting on eggs takes patience, willpower and the perfect distribution of body weight. It's hard to find a comfortable position when sitting on a bunch of spheres all putting unequal pressure on points across your butt. To keep from going stir-crazy, the mother bird must only concentrate on the outcome of her diligent incubation -- a healthy kid with a chance to score a college scholarship and later support his or her parents in a moderately priced, but attentive, assisted-living facility.
Stability - 1/5 There is a reason the phrase "walking on eggshells" exists.
Cool Factor - 2/5 Moms wear mom jeans.
Difficulty - 2/5 The fate of your forebears depends on your vigilance and body heat. But again, you are just sitting at home. Possibly in front of the TV.
Perilousness - 5/5 One false move and your baby dies.
Added bonus - 2/5 Step forward every time your mammal and fish friends complain how tough their pregnancies were.
Overall rating - A monotonous, but maternal 12/25.