The hard part about shopping for your spouse, is that as grown-ups you each have access to money and usually, you are sharing, in some way, the same pot of money. Buying the other person is just a shift of who is doing the spending. So the gift really has to be about some thoughtfulness, its more than the actual dollars spent.
I asked a bunch of friends for ideas and have rounded up some ideas here. Make it easy for the folks who love you – print this list and hand it to them or forward the blog post, and sit back and prepare to be delighted.
Gift Lists for Husbands: What to Get Your Wife / the Mother of your children
Something a little extravagant. As responsible folks, you may be on a household budget or at least have limits to what you think is reasonable spending. Splurge a little for your wife, get her something that she wouldn’t get for herself because of whatever money rules there are in your house. Maybe it’s that cashmere sweater, or a special thing for her hobby. Say “you deserve a little extra” by being a little extravagant.
Time for herself. By herself or with friends. Although this may be the same for women without children, how they arrange their schedule and commitments is different than a mom who has little people depending on her, so this one is especially for the moms. One thing every mom I know talks about is not having time for herself, whether that’s to read, get a pedicure, wander through the farmer’s market – whatever. Set a time and make a commitment, to take care of the kids –without you calling/texting asking a bunch of questions (including “what should we eat for lunch?”) so that she can go out and do whatever it is she enjoys doing by herself. And this is important – do not cancel!
Indulgent, self care (spa, hair, massage) appointments. Don’t just get the spa giftcard, see my comment above of shifting the spending. Because once she has the giftcard, there’s still the issue of actually getting around to using it. Unfortunately, I’ve had several spa giftcards that have expired or after a year of being shifted around my desk, has gotten lost. Instead, make her an appointment, or if she has a crazy schedule let her make it, then be absolutely, no questions asked be available to take care of the kids.
Housecleaning service. There is a feeling of accomplishment in cleaning the house. Standing back and looking at a gleaming floor and sparkly windows. It can also be tiring, boring, redundant and a bit frustrating when you know that all is going to kaput! when everyone else gets back home. Let her enjoy a clean house without the effort by hiring a housecleaning service. One before or after the holidays is great, on a regular basis if you can swing it is even better.
Car detailing. Most (all?) moms that I know spend what seems like half their life in their cars. Driving, chauffeuring kids with their backpacks, snacks, spilled lunchboxes, dinner in between activities, pencils and crayons, changing clothes, library books and random kid miscellaneous. And remnants of all that are in the floor and between the seats of the car. And with all that driving and chaffeuring – who has time to clean the car? Take the car for a couple hours, get it detailed, put in one of those delightful smell good things from Bath & Body Works and let her drive around in a clean car. At least until the kids climb in with some french fries.
A night away from home. Does she want you to go with her or does she want to go alone? Good question. Make two different reservations to be safe. Its important as busy parents to have your away time, your “us” time to remember what it is that you love about each other, other than the ability to juggle homework, dinner, and a hairbrush all at the same time. And its also important for her to have time to do the things she enjoys by herself. Or doing nothing. When was the last time she slept in, ordered breakfast in bed, and sat in bed in her pj’s all day reading a book or bingewatching movies? Priceless.
A day of rest. Maybe the household budget doesn’t allow for a hotel stay or she’s a homebody, you can still gift her a day to herself to hang out in her pjs and enjoy breakfast while its still hot. But you and the kids must leave the house. Read that again. Suggesting that mom sleep in or lay in bed and read, while she hears the microwave beeping, the kids running through the house, and you catching up on the game is not restful. You and the kids must leave the house. Go to a movie, go to a park, go sit on the neighbor’s front steps. But you must leave.
That thing that she has dropped 100 hints about – pay attention. You keep seeing that ad for a Pandora bracelet on your kitchen counter? Is she trying to keep track of all her walking steps in her head? She’s read every review for a new Broadway show? Hint hint. This one’s easy dude. She’s left the breadcrumbs.
Your continued prayers, undying love, unflinching commitment and a hug. Trust me. She’ll be eternally grateful.
(And do you need a “don’t buy this” list, too? Perhaps I shall prepare that too, just to be safe.)