Push It Real Good

At the conclusion of a non-commercialized, peaceful Mother’s Day with my boys, I took a quick trip to the Redbox kiosk to return a movie and, on the drive, heard a commercial that raised my blood pressure. It was a local jeweler advertising the options they had for “push presents” for new moms.

“Give her a gift that shows how much you appreciate everything she’s sacrificed for the family… even if your contribution goes unnoticed.”*

What’s a push present? It’s that moment when the hubby/baby daddy whips out a little blue box at the conclusion of childbirth.

As a woman who has birthed three boys — without epidural and with pitocin — you would think I’d be completely on board with that idea. But I’m not. I hate it on a couple of levels.

First, it says horrible things about our society’s need to give a blue ribbon for everything. Pregnancy and childbirth is natural. Yes, it’s hard. But it’s natural. And it has its own reward. Do we really need to take it up a notch and say you need special recognition for it?

Second, it takes what should be a beautiful moment and commercializes it. Did the new mother do something worthy of diamonds? Hell, yes. But it reduces the worth of bringing a new life into the world by equating it with a monetary gift.  If one doesn’t receive a “push present,” is her sacrifice somehow less valuable? Or does the father appreciate it less?

Third, push presents have become such a “thing” that they’re expected. Among younger mothers I know, push presents are discussed and – *horrors* – asked for (<— really, you need to read that link) during the pregnancy! As in, they put it basically in a registry so the dad-to-be knows what’s expected. Yet another way for men to fail and women to hold something over their heads.

Not to mention, how many people can really afford a blingy push present? Wouldn’t a better present be a deposit in a college fund? Or making sure the family has no debt?

As you can tell, the push present thing, to me, is just another symptom of what’s wrong not just in society in general, but in many relationships. Expect, expect, expect. Take, take, take. Me, me, me. Spend money. Focus on keeping score.  Instead, how about this? Treat each other with love and respect during the pregnancy, and then, at the culmination of this miracle – a healthy birth – sit there together as a new family, cuddling that baby, look in each other’s tear-filled eyes, and soak in the moment?

*I couldn’t find the ad audio online so I’m paraphrasing the line that ticked me off so much. Gender wars, anyone?!?

I’m not the first one to write about this (duh) – great post at Trees Flowers Birds

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I Love Being a Woman

Today I am so grateful that I am a woman who was born in the United States at the time I was born. I have the opportunity to freely express myself as a woman (and own the consequences).  In the coming weeks I am going to be highlighting the ways that the Feminist/ERA movement has harmed my generation, but today I’m about gratitude.

Gratitude that because I am a woman I can be a mom.  I loved the feeling of growing a human being inside my body, feeling the child kick and move and sit on my ribs. I loved knowing this person before birth – feeling a connection that only intensified in that second they were placed on my belly after birth. I love that as a woman my body is soft and snuggly – not manly – to provide a comforting hug.

I love creating a peaceful home for my boys.  Call me crazy, but most of the time I even love the laundry and cooking and cleaning that goes with it.  It’s how I show my love.  I love that the people I have the most fun with are the ones that I gave birth to.  I love that as they grow up, when something bad or good or funny happens they want to tell ME.

I love that as a woman I have a quiet strength – I don’t have to stomp and scream to make a point.  A confident woman can assess a situation and quietly affect change. I enjoy that mystical thing called woman’s intuition.  I am concerned with feelings and flowers and love jewelry and high heels. I like pretty dresses and handbags and everything girly.

I also have a career, pay my own bills – don’t rely on a man for anything material at all. Someday I would love to be in a relationship where we are equals, with a man who appreciates and celebrates my femininity.  Until then, I’m secure and happy with myself as a woman and don’t look to a man to give me worth.

So, in honor of International Women’s Day I say thank you to God for letting me be born in a time and place where my confident voice would not get me killed.  Thank You for allowing me to be a mother – a way to fully express myself as a woman and influence the next generation.