Mother's day present for a new mother to be
April 26, 2005 9:41 AM   Subscribe

My wife is in the very early stages of pregnancy and mother's day is coming up. I'd like to get her something that would be the right mixture of sweet and useful.

She's somewhat difficult to buy for. There are things I know she likes that are sort of out of the question for one reason or another, like clothes or jewelry. I've been thinking she might like a gift certificate of some kind for yoga, preferably something targeted towards pregnant women, but a gift like that creates an obligation for her to go. I've also been thinking about getting a maid, which is something we've wanted to do for a while anyway, to have someone come in at least a few times a month.

Those of you who have gone through a pregnancy, or had a loved one go through one, what was something that helped you through it? Or, what was something you wish you would have had, or something you wish someone could have done for you?
posted by RustyBrooks to Human Relations (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
First, congratulations to you and your wife! I was thinking of a massage, but ooh, a maid? I think a maid sounds like a fabulous idea. I wish we had had one when I was pregnant.
posted by Lynsey at 10:07 AM on April 26, 2005


Massage or maid are both really, really good ideas, and you'll almost certainly end up getting her both over the course of the next few months. You really can't go wrong either way, and whichever one you don't get her for Mother's Day, you can get for her birthday, or just a "Happy Second Trimester" gift.

Regarding massage, at this point, any good massage therapist will do, but as the pregnancy progresses, she really should make sure to see someone who's trained in handling massage for pregnant women. (It starts with stuff as basic as having a table that cradle a pregnant belly, but there are a lot of issues around safe/unsafe pressure, etc., that should be taken into account once the pregnancy's well-advanced.)

With that in mind, you'd be smart to do some research up front and start with someone who has a real background in massage during pregnancy. That way, she won't need to switch massage therapists half-way through, and it'll be clear to her that this is something she can look forward to along the whole experience. (Massage therapy starts to become much less of an indulgence, and much more of a practical utility, by the third trimester.)\

The housecleaning service is a really great gift too, though.
posted by LairBob at 10:18 AM on April 26, 2005

My wife would be very irate were I to get her a maid, or something like that, as a gift -- the implication being that housecleaning was her job, not a shared responsibility. In other words, the maid would be (at best) a bowling ball with my initials on it. D'oh!

That being said, I don't have a helpful suggestion.
posted by sohcahtoa at 10:26 AM on April 26, 2005

Massage can be a mixed blessing during pregnancy. Pregnancy can bring on all sorts of weird sensitivities and too much sensual stimulation can be hard to take. Or so I've heard. I've also heard this is especially true in the late stage.

If your wife has to work or do much around the house, give her a long day off. Rent a piece-of-crap movie that she really enjoys. Light candles. Make food. The works. Perhaps at this stage you can practice some light touching and she'll be able to tell you what works and what doesn't.

Regarding yoga: I wouldn't create any more obligations for a pregnant woman. Pregnancy is hard work to begin with.
posted by argybarg at 10:28 AM on April 26, 2005

Response by poster: sohcahtoa: first off, you wouldn't believe how after all these years I still say your name whenever I use trig functions. But secondly, regarding your comment, I do understand what you mean, it's a difficult issue in some respects. See, we *have* divided up household chores in a somewhat stereotypical fashion. I do some cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc, but she does much, much more of it, and I do pretty much all of the mowing, weeding, landscaping, etc. type chores. Although I would be insulted if someone got me, say, a lawn service, for a present, it's more because it would come with the implication that I was not capable of doing my duties, that that I would be pissed at the implication that it *was* my duty to do it. Know what I mean?

But anyway, we've talked about having a maid before and I know it's something she wants.
posted by RustyBrooks at 10:41 AM on April 26, 2005

sohcahtoa writes "My wife would be very irate were I to get her a maid, or something like that, as a gift"

That's a very good aside I forgot to make--definitely make sure that if you chose to get a housecleaning service, you careful to frame it in such a way that doesn't imply "Hey, you won't even have to clean up after me while you're pregnant!"

That being said, I can attest that it is _totally_ possible to bring this kind of thing into the picture in healthy, supportive way. We haven't used a service ourselves for a cpl of years now that the boys are older, but both times my wife was pregnant, she really did appreciate having a nice, clean house every week or two without worring about it.

Also, keep in mind that the state of your house is likely to become very important to her towards the end of the pregnancy--I know it's not fair to make generalizations about the "nesting instinct", etc., but I have yet to know an expectant mom who didn't really care about the state of the house a baby was coming home to. Doing your bit to help make it nice, through your own sweat and maybe also by hiring a service later on, will be much appreciated.
posted by LairBob at 10:43 AM on April 26, 2005

Response by poster: I should also add, because it's funny and I get looks of horror from my family and her family whenever it comes up, that I got her a kick-ass vacuum for christmas this year (a dyson animal). She begged me for it ;) Makes sense to me, she does vacuum more than me, and our old vacuum was a piece of crap. With the new one, one of us can vacuum every other day or so quite easily and quickly, and the house is relatively free of the constant dog hair.

I believe you on the nesting instinct. I've actually noticed that it (used to) kick in right before her period also, actually. She gets very concerned about the cleanliness of the house.
posted by RustyBrooks at 10:47 AM on April 26, 2005

Response by poster: It probably would not hurt for me to get her something along with the maid service, the more I think about it. I think it's a good gift and I think she will too but a tangible little something would probably be appreciated.
posted by RustyBrooks at 10:53 AM on April 26, 2005

In my pregnancy, even though I wanted a clean house, I would have been squirrelly with a maid about. After the baby was born? I would have begged for a maid. I suspect that you'll know your wife better than we do about that.

What did I wish for during pregnancy? Nice creams and lotions for the belly and other parts. Body butters from the Body Shop. Ginger lollipops for nausea. Nice decaf tea. Bath stuff, as I ended up soaking more and more (until I dinnit fit in the tub). A nice fluffy robe. That's at least what I wished for near the end. (I'm normally not a Body Shop kinda gal.)

What I would want if I had to go back in time? All the things you can't do with a kid. A night out -- a movie theater, a restaurant you don't bring kids to, some place that doesn't allow strollers, etc. And then at the end a note saying that it's all nice, but it's worth giving up to be parents, etc.
posted by Gucky at 11:04 AM on April 26, 2005

My husband hired the housekeeper during my first pregnancy using this logic---I, too, was a bit put off, but then he explained that he didn't want me breathing or touching unnecessary chemicals while tiny heart valves, optic nerves and finger buds were forming within.

Worked for me. (Of course, there's the question of the morality of exposing housekeepers to those things, too, but since that's their chosen profession...?)

Same logic while nursing the baby, too. In addition, he always scooped the cat box (toxoplasmosis), pumped my gas (fumes), and stirred Ovaltine into milk so it was just chocolately enough but not too chocolately when I became INSANE with hunger.

I once knew a woman who insisted her husband buy her a new piece of nice jewelry with the birth of each child---but, uh, that always seemed a little bloodless to me.
posted by DawnSimulator at 11:09 AM on April 26, 2005

Congratulations. My wife was about 4 months along at Mother's Day last year.

The thing that we did that we were most satisfied with was take a final (for awhile, anyway) "just-the-two-of-us" trip. The two of us went to San Diego and stayed at a really nice hotel. We ate nice dinners and got massages. We sat in bed and ate ice cream and watched television. We slept in. We walked (slowly) along the beach. Now, we are really really glad we did it. Perhaps you could plan something like that for her? Even a weekend would be nice.

My wife liked the massage so much that she wanted to go back later in the week for another one.

Good luck.
posted by AgentRocket at 11:16 AM on April 26, 2005

Congrats on the coming baby.

Yoga = work. I understand your aim here though, so why not send her to a dayspa for some treatments? Facial, massage, wraps, that sort of thing. Maybe give her a gift certificate and the spa's "menu" so she can make her own day out of it. Maybe you could offer to deal with the baby for a whole day at some point down the line when she feels she's at the end of her rope and the spa day would be most appreciated.

I love the maid idea.

For a material item, you could possibly tuck the certificate or whatever into this...a memory book for her (or the two of you) to work on for the baby. My mom has one for each of us and they're very treasured. It contains information about her pregnancy, our birth, and then info for each of our little milestones. They are much snazzier now than they were in the 70's and you can now include photos and clippings and such. Some ideas:
A Baby Book for You
Baby's Memory Book
Oh Baby! A Journal
posted by suchatreat at 11:35 AM on April 26, 2005

I know you said no jewelry, but how about a nice special edition Swatch Mother's Day watch? Both sweet and useful.
posted by schoolgirl report at 11:51 AM on April 26, 2005

You could write her a nice story about your past or future, or a letter about how much you care for her. That is a nice tangible gift to go along with the cleaning service, and while the service will be extremely helpful for the next several months, she'll treasure your writing forever.
posted by lorrer at 11:53 AM on April 26, 2005

Response by poster: She and I were just chatting and I was showing her some of the funny stuff I came across while looking for presents (not that I really said I was looking but, come on, she knows). Stuff like a belly casting kit, various shirts like "Knocked Up" or "He did this to me-->". She said she wanted a shirt that said "I'm not fat, I'm pregnant" and that I should get one for myself too. I love my wife.
posted by RustyBrooks at 11:58 AM on April 26, 2005

The Body Shop has all sorts of wonderful products for expectant (amusing; I typed 'expensive' first) mothers. I believe the line is called Mamatoto.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:44 PM on April 26, 2005

Response by poster: I know she likes Body Shop stuff. I searched through there and I don't see anything maternity related. I have to admit for a boy like me the body shop is a dizzying array of stuff. I'm really not sure even what *types" of things she would like much less her actual preference in scents, etc. This could be even more of a problem given that her sense of smell is changing as we speak. The other day we had to leave a restaurant because the smell of food was making her sick -- this was, before this, her favorite place to eat.
posted by RustyBrooks at 2:38 PM on April 26, 2005

Be aware that a lot of average day spas will not do massage work on pregnant women. I've had one refuse to give me even something as seemingly innocuous as their normal mani-pedi because they involved hot oil massage of the hands and feet. If you go that route, be sure to check that they'll make a good range of services available to an expectant mom.

Another lovely idea in addition to a nice dinner/evening/weekend away would be a gift certificate to a photographer who can take some portraits later in the pregnancy and then after the baby is born.
posted by Dreama at 4:52 PM on April 26, 2005

Seconding the 'be careful of fragrances'. I could literally smell *eyeliner* when I was expecting - and it was not a pleasant experience.

I think a combination of 'shmoopy' gift and a housekeeper would make the best mother's day gift combination ever - congratulations to you both.
posted by Space Kitty at 5:06 PM on April 26, 2005

Here's the shmoopy side: a handcarved keepsake box of heirloom quality, something she can pass on to your future child and say "Your father gave me this for you when you were just a tadpole." In it, she can store mementos of your child -- a lock of hair, a first drawing -- the things you prize above all others and want to hang on to forever.

For now, it should contained the hard-nosed side: an envelope announcing a year's worth of housecleaning services. Grin widely and say it's a gift for you both because you have better things to worry about right now. That'll dispel all sexist notions toot sweet.

Oh, and congratulations!
posted by melissa may at 6:14 PM on April 26, 2005

I don't mean to call anyone out, but damn:

Maybe you could offer to deal with the baby for a whole day at some point down the line when she feels she's at the end of her rope.

This is NOT a gift. Seriously. This is your share of the duties. Not that I don't think you know this already, but, jesus. Soooo not a gift.
posted by aclevername at 7:20 PM on April 26, 2005

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