I can't really comprehend why men think buying gifts for women is such a mystery. Well, I got close to clarity once when I heard a husband say, "But why would you want more earrings? You already have so many!" It's an utter lack of the ability to understand what gives women pleasure, what makes them feel loved.
So I'm here to help! Why try to drop hints -- which most men are simply biologically too unsubtle to capture -- when you can email a link?
And the best part of this list? It works perfectly for last-minute shoppers and those on a budget, because everything we mothers want is free. As well as priceless! A magical combination.
1) I would love three hours alone with no rebound. Yes, dear husband/partner/boyfriend/significant other, you do already give us some time to ourselves once every other week or so. But you don't realize that often what comes with that are harried texts when a child won't behave, or a monologue of all the things that went wrong while we were away "relaxing." How about one weekend you give us three hours, and you promise to take full and total responsibility for everything that goes on with the kids in those three hours. And when we walk through the door it will be like the final scene in Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat: everything is serene and calm as if nothing happened -- even if just two minutes ago the kids were hanging upside-down from the chandelier with chocolate smeared all over their faces.
2) I would love a really good, long massage -- with no expectation that it turn into sex. Oh, how we all love a massage. Yes, I know you do, too. And it's nice that you will rub my shoulders when I'm cooking dinner or rub my feet when we watch TV after the kids are in bed. But how about a good, 20-minute rubdown in our bed, with you paying attention to all my tired muscles and really focusing on your hands and the work they are doing… instead of focusing on the hurried countdown in your mind: "Have I been doing this long enough now that we can start fooling around?" Trust me, a good massage is, in fact, a pathway to sex, but only if we aren't irritated that you're already doing something else in your head when you start.
3) I would love a genuine thank you. Yes, you do remember to thank us for making dinner, or for buying you new underwear, or for renewing the car's registration. And those thank yous count. They really do. But how about a deep, serious, full-of-gratitude thank you, that encompasses all the small stuff that we do that you have simply no idea about? One of the most draining truths of motherhood is that much of it is an endless series of grinding and boring tasks that need to be completed in order to Make Life Work. We are personally satisfied that we do this bit of mothering well, but wow, if you would take just ten minutes to specially acknowledge this work in a way your partner would love (for me it would be lights low in front of the fire after a dinner my boyfriend cooked), that would reach us in a deep place. You know, where the deep love lives underneath all the daily annoyances. It's good to hang out there sometimes. Help us get there.
4) I would love an original, sentimental gift from you. The idea of a "romantic" gift has certainly been warped into a handful of one-dimensional ideas: roses, jewelry, what have you. Yes, those things are nice, but they could go to anyone. What would really be romantic is a gift that captures something sentimental about the life we've shared or the family we've created together. Get a picture from our favorite vacation, take a recent drawing by one of our kids, think about an annual family tradition we share, and turn it into a gift, by framing it, or putting it in a locket, or making special plans to make that event even more special. Just showing that you're tuned into the bigger picture of the life we share is an amazing gift; the execution of it almost (almost) doesn't matter.
5) A night where you follow my rules. Yes, it's true that being the mom in charge gets tiring. And you'd think we'd want a break from all that decision-making. But you know what's fun? Think of a Chinese fortune cookie here: Getting to tell you what to do, IN BED. Give me a night where I get to script our date night, from beginning to… end. It might draw out the vixen in me (I'm getting my satin sashes!). Or show that I'm a woman who's all about cuddles. But pay attention to how this night goes down, because it will tell you everything you need to know to keep things at a warm simmer all year long.
6) A surprise from you and the kids. We know that breakfast in bed on Mother's Day might pop to mind when we mention a surprise from you and the kids. But truth is, it's not really a surprise. I cherish it, it warms my heart, it makes my day, but it's not a surprise. So why not come up with something creative and fun with the kids, some imaginative way to tell me you love me. It could be a giant card you made together, or a song or poem the three of you wrote, or homemade heart-shaped cookies, or whatever appeals to you. The idea of all of you being partners-in-crime in loving me? That's the gift that will keep all moms going all year long.
Photo Credit: archetypefotografie.
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