Anniversary Ideas, Broke with New Baby Edition
August 10, 2018 7:52 PM   Subscribe

What are sweetest things that take lots of love but little time or money to prepare?

Our 2nd Wedding Anniversary is coming up in a month or so. Being a thoughtless oaf, I could use some suggestions of nice things to get for / do with my wife that involve neither extensive secret craft and prep time (because we have our first, very demanding new baby at home) nor very much money (because it turns out having a baby is obscenely expensive).

I'm providing few details in hopes of wide ranging, unprompted responses; I've wracked my brain and google, and could really use some novel, foreign seed crystals.

What great, sweet, simple, cheap things have you given/done/been given? What would you, a stressed and tired new working mom, appreciate?

Help! Thanks!
posted by lordcorvid to Human Relations (19 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Around the time my daughter was born, a friend gave me earrings with your wife’s birthstone, which was very nice. I ended up doing the same for my SIL for her son and for my mother for her two grandchildren. You could theoretically combine with her birthstone. Etsy is a good source for not too pricey new or vintage versions, and unless your baby’s birthstone is diamond, they tend to be less expensive.
posted by vunder at 8:15 PM on August 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

I’m a tired new mom. Things I love for my husband to do for me:

* Take the baby and send me out of the house on a weekend day for 2-3 hours with instructions to go sit at a cafe, eat/drink something delicious, and read a book.
* Take the baby and send me to take a long bubble bath with a book or magazine.
* Take all the overnight wakeups and/or get up early with the baby and let me sleep in.
* Take awesome photos of me with the baby (and him too when tripods are possible).
* Go on a long walk somewhere pretty with me and the baby in the stroller so we can actually talk to each other while keeping the baby entertained.

None of these are typical “romantic” things, especially since most involve *not* spending time with me so he can care for the baby and I can have some time off, but we also have a very demanding baby and I appreciate any of these more than chocolates/flowers/sexytimes/whatever at this point.

This is really sweet of you to think about when you have limited bandwidth with a new baby. I’m sure she’ll be thrilled with whatever you come up with!
posted by bananacabana at 8:15 PM on August 10, 2018 [19 favorites]

(Ugh, I meant “my birth stone” bad post editing)
posted by vunder at 8:24 PM on August 10, 2018

Yes get a photographer for a mini-session of family pics. I have SO few photographs of myself during the baby days and it’s a powerful thing to look at them now and see how happy I was and how beautiful I was building my new family even though I really didn’t feel it at the time. I always felt wasteful and splurgey about paying for photography but have never regretted the photos I got back
posted by sestaaak at 8:24 PM on August 10, 2018 [9 favorites]

Is $120 too much? If not, I'd consider getting her a zeel massage gift certificate, if you are in a city where this exists. I have given this as a gift and what's nice is that the recipient doesn't have to plan in advance. When she's ready for a massage, you take the baby out, she calls zeel and a massage therapist comes to your house. For me, actually going to a massage therapist at a spa location in another neighborhood is kind of stressful -- planning, getting there, then getting dressed and back into life... it's often not as restful as it should be. But imagine just spontaneously deciding "I need a pro massage now" and then going to sleep afterwards at home...
posted by nantucket at 8:54 PM on August 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

Get the house cleaned.
posted by k8t at 9:25 PM on August 10, 2018 [7 favorites]

Organize a "date": bottle of wine, a sugary bakery treat, and sit on your front stoop talking about how this is a tough time but she is amazing and you are building your beautiful family together. Also, if you have a favourite fancy restaurant from your pre-baby days, you would be amazed at how many will do takeout for you, especially when you explain it's for a sleep-deprived new mom.
posted by TheLittlestRobot at 10:27 PM on August 10, 2018 [9 favorites]

You've got a month, write a gold old-fashioned love letter. Its simple, heartfelt, unique, and something I guarantee your wife will treasure for years to come. ("Oh honey remember that second anniversary when we were broke as a joke and you wrote me that beautiful love letter?") You could write about how your love gets stronger each day and because of it you've brought this wonderful new life in the world and you couldn't imagine being on this journey with anyone else. But your words and your feelings from your heart - how you feel about being a dad and husband now. Toss in some favorite song quotes or special memories you have of her.

You're probably like, "No, I don't want homework, where would I even begin?" But trust me on this - each day for a week, write down one thing you love about your wife. Just one thing a day for a week. At the end of the week, you'll have plenty to write about.

Or if you're not comfortable doing that or you want to have a little more fun with it, write it as it was from the baby: "Hey mom, I'm dictating this to Dad because I haven't mastered the fine motor thing yet, but there's some stuff I need to tell you about what a great mom you are to me......"
posted by NoraCharles at 10:57 PM on August 10, 2018 [10 favorites]

In the same vein as NoraCharles suggestion, instead of one love letter you could fill a jar with little love notes and memories (just a line or two) so that she could take one out whenever she feels like having a sweet pick-me-up. And of course, you can combine this with some of the other wonderful suggestions above!
posted by Blissful at 11:33 PM on August 10, 2018 [4 favorites]

Could you plant a tree in your yard or in a park where it'd be allowed to grow? This is probably not the right species for your part of the country, but here is a one year old oak seedling for $12. You could maybe even find one that is two years old. Trees grow strong, live a long time, and provide a home for many creatures.

Getting takeout and sitting on the porch is right on as a way to handle the date. And as a new mom, I was extremely sentimental, so some symbolic gift about lasting family love (like the tree, birthstone jewelry, or photography idea) are all good.
posted by slidell at 11:36 PM on August 10, 2018 [8 favorites]

A non-sexual massage (back, neck, shoulders, feet, or all of the above) would have been really appealing to me when my kid was a baby. But new moms sometimes get “touched out” so it really depends on your own wife’s needs.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:12 AM on August 11, 2018

For a friend’s birthday, I made a list with two other friends of 10 reasons she was amazing. So if you don’t have the energy to write a long letter, consider making 3 handwritten lists: A list of the X things that make her amazing; a list of the X things that make you grateful that the two of you are married; a list of the X things that make her a fabulous mother. I could not believe how happy my top 10 list made my friend on her birthday. As others have suggested, it is really nice to have something you can look back at later when you’re having a hard day and be reminded how much you are loved.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:15 AM on August 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Hide post-it notes around your house with little sweet messages of love and appreciation. Some should be easy to find, some in spots she rarely looks. The best magic of this trick is when she finds the occasional note years in the future.
posted by spindrifter at 3:06 AM on August 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I’m a big fan of the love letter too.

But something else you might like; one year for our anniversary, I used google maps & Internet to get pictures of every house we’d ever lived in and made an album. You’d be surprised at how many photos you can get online these days, so I even found interior shots of places we’d rented at the turn of the century in another country. We’d been together a long time when I did this so I had a lot of places I could log.

Maybe an album of significant places? First date, favourite hang outs, place you got engaged etc etc it’s your story so far and you can add to it together.
posted by stellathon at 3:13 AM on August 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Write the pregnancy and birth story from your perspective. Focus on how strong and caring your wife has been through her introduction to motherhood, and the changes you've noticed in her. A letter to celebrate the mother she's become.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 6:09 AM on August 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

For my 30th birthday, my mom got photos of mine printed and put them in an actual photo album, along with a card from both my folks. It was really touching and made me cry. Could you make a photo album, and a sweet card or love letter to go with it?
posted by cnidaria at 9:11 AM on August 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

Some years ago when money was tight (isn't it always?) my SO and I agreed, for xmas, just one modest present. I did that but then got several small, inexpensive things and hid them all around, in places she was bound to find them- inside the microwave, under her robe on a hook in the bathroom, in her pillow case, you get the idea. Her joy and anger as she discovered them little by little was marvelous. I still do it, mainly for her birthday, and it still makes her happy but kind of drives her nuts. I'm sure you could come up with 4 or 5 things, wrap them creatively, hide them around, and let the fun begin!
posted by vrakatar at 11:12 AM on August 11, 2018

bananacabana has it if you have an introvert or independent type wife. Everything else listed is lovely, but all I wanted then (and honestly all I want now) is uninterrupted relax or nap time. Take the baby out of the house for as many hours as you can muster and let your wife just BE. Cozy bed, a pillow, quiet, and NO ONE ELSE around? Worth more than diamonds. You mean I can noodle around all morning and maybe shower and just do what I want? Keep your dang Lexus with a big red bow.

Seriously give her the gift of time and space, with a lovey card or drawing explaining it if she likes that kind of thing. It is simple, low prep, cheap, and APPRECIATED. Go all in and offer it as a weekly thing. Congrats!
posted by this-apoptosis at 8:40 PM on August 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Take the baby and get out of the house for the whole day. LEt her go out if she wants of she can stay home half clothed and poop with the door open. AT that time it just felt good to do the bare minimum an dlike eat ice cream and watch maury on the couch without being interrupted every 5 minutes.
posted by WeekendJen at 12:24 PM on August 13, 2018

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