Friday, April 22, 2011

The Push Present

I know. I had never heard of it before either. What is it? A present from Daddy to Mommy on the day of delivery to commemorate the event.

I'm torn on this concept. Initially, upon reading Babble's article on the subject, I was in agreement (but as usual a little put off by their way of expressing themselves). I don't need something to remember giving birth. Believe me, those memories are firmly planted in my brain, even parts I'd rather forget. I don't feel like I deserve something more than my husband for having actually pushed out our children. (Although I do sometimes feel like men got off a bit easy on the whole menstrual cycle thing. At least labor is over and done with in a set amount of time.) But here's the deal, as new parents Birch and I find it difficult to spend money on each other. Extra cash always seems to go to something essential for easier living (new bookcase, a surge protector, curtain rods, a toaster) or even more likely, something for the kids (high chair, car seats, a new bottle Keats will actually use and not laugh when I suggest drinking milk from a bottle and not, well, me). The only times we go out of our way to give each other something is on birthdays and Christmas. Since both of our birthdays are near the beginning of the year, we go for very long stretches without spending any kind of extra cash on something frivolous that will just make the other person smile. For me, that is a shame. I don't want a diamond ring (in fact, please, really don't get me a diamond ring), a pearl necklace, or a two-week long spa getaway (okay, I kind of do want that), but what about something smaller? Something a bit more useful but also something I'd never convince myself was worth the money otherwise? A professional hour-long massage, a gift certificate to a fabric store, a promise of real date nights complete with babysitters and sitting down and eating without worrying if the kids are being too loud... these are the things I dream of.

So, the next time around, when Birch and I can finally pull our attention away for just a moment from the beautiful new addition to our family, perhaps we'll exchange a gift or two. Not because it's expected or flashy, and not because I'm a woman and he isn't, but because on some days when you're worn out, exhausted, and it breaks your heart because you're blaming the newest love of your life for your rotten mood and you don't want to be, it pays to have something else that makes you smile, makes you happy, and makes you human.

Birch and I feel like children have made our purpose on this planet very clear. We love Keats dearly, but both of us need something else to fuel who we are as people. We are parents but that's not all that we are. The other part of ourselves needs to tended to and loved just as much as the part of us that loves and gives so much to our little boy. No one should make you feel guilty for needing more than just your kids. No one should make you feel like you should be giving more than you already are. If it feels right, go ahead and give a gift to your partner in parenthood. You both deserve it. As for a gift right after giving birth, I suggest a nice, cool glass of water and a kicking out of hospital staff.

No comments:

Post a Comment