Push presents: tacky or tasteful?


Push presents: tacky or tasteful?

Push presents: tacky or tasteful?

Reading time: about 2 ½ minutes

Almost as polarising a topic as circumcision, sleep training or breast vs. bottle feeding, the concept of a push present certainly pushes the buttons of many new parents. Also known as baby baubles or a baby mama gift, push presents are usually a gift given to a new mother, by her partner, as a thank-you for going through pregnancy, labour and birth.

Certainly not a new custom – there are records of gifts being bestowed on new mothers throughout history – it is the extravagance and expectation associated with baby mama gifts that are pushing parents over the edge. A statement by Babycentre.com’s, Linda Murray, claiming that more and more mothers expect a gift “for bearing the burden for nine months, getting sick, ruining their body”, has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many parents, especially those Dads who feel that they have been a fully engaged part of the process.  

An article on The Economist.com aligned push presents to opportunity cost: a way of redressing the losses – monetary, career or aspirational – experienced by mothers who decide to ‘take one for the team’ and have children, “many women consider their new child sufficient compensation, but then very many do not.”

“I’m all for a gift,” says Helen Schoer, editor of South African parenting magazine, Baba en Kleuter, “Birth should be celebrated and presents are part of celebrations. It is a great way for a man to acknowledge that their partner has become a mother – by the same token the Dad could also receive a gift to acknowledge that he has become a father.”

Our own, Paddy Muldoon (Parental Instinct co-founder), agrees, “I did indeed get my wife a present, but more as a token of my love for her, the amazing feat of carrying and bringing a child into this world, and as a sign of our friendship.”

Some love the idea, some expect it, some have never heard of it and others think push presents are the ultimate symbol of how materialistic societies have become. Whatever your personal thoughts on push presents are, for goodness sake make sure you know what your partner’s expectations are…before labour starts!

As an aside….

If you like the idea of marking your child’s birth with a gift, or letting your partner know how much you appreciate her, but jewels, cars and flashy baubles are not your thing, what about these ideas?   

  • Is your partner tech-savvy? Upgrade her phone to one that takes great photos, or get her a digital camera: you will be taking a lot of photos and footage over the next few decades
  • Memories are priceless –but mom is usually the one taking the photos, so why not organise a photographer for a newborn photoshoot?
  • Frame a photo of your partner and her mother, or her favourite shot from a pregnancy photoshoot (if you had one)
  • Spoil yourselves to a dinner on your first night home with all the treats she had to give up during pregnancy: sushi, soft cheeses and wine or champagne
  • Plant a tree together
  • Hire a cleaning service, or order in ready meals for a few weeks
  • Write a love letter or thank-you note. If you are stuck on what to say, start with how you felt when your baby was born
  • Baby keepsake chest or baby record book that you can fill in together.
Did you get your partner a ‘push present’?
Let us know in the comments below.