According to the 2000 US Census, 70% of mothers with young children work outside the home, although a huge percentage of those women work only part time. The high-flying career woman who spends 15 minutes a day with her offspring is more a media creation than anything else. 30% of mothers with young children do NOT work outside the home at all, preferring instead to make the necessary sacrifices to give their children the best possible start in life, which is shockingly independent of designer clothes, frozen pizzas and a big screen TV. Children with mothers at home have what they need most: time, attention and love.
So, three out of every ten mothers are at home full time, and obviously that is the best possible gift a husband can give his wife: the opportunity to fulfil her most basic obligations as a mother. A word for a moment in support of men who would LOVE to have their wives at home, but have been raised in a school system rigged to advantage women and then forced into a work culture that outsources men’s traditional work, but not women’s (http://judgybitch.com/2012/11/22/boys-are-stupid/). And another word in support of men who would LOVE to have their wives at home but have discovered themselves married to women who actually have no interest in providing anyone with the best possible anything, excepting themselves, of course (http://judgybitch.com/2012/11/16/how-to-pick-a-wife-advice-for-single-men/). And finally a word in support of men who would LOVE to have their wives at home but who are all too cognizant of the fact that she can chuck him out of the home he paid for, turn him into a weekend Daddy while parading her latest fuckbuddy in front of her shell-shocked children and force Husband 1.0 to pay for the whole damn charade. Those men are scared, and rightly so.
Notwithstanding all of the above, three out of ten women with small children are at home, making the living their husbands earn worthwhile. And with the Christmas Season coming up, here are some suggestions for what to get your angel in the house.
It goes without saying that unless you are Mitt Romney rich, any decent wife will be completely horrified if you splurge on something terribly expensive. There are ALWAYS better things to spend the money on or just save (can the kid’s trade school accounts have too much money?), so please, don’t fall for the bullshit media message that she will value your gift in economic terms only. If she does, oh hell. You’re in trouble buddy. Save that money. You’re gonna need it.
The gift of time alone
One thing stay at home mommies don’t get a lot of is time alone. That doesn’t automatically mean time away from you or the children, although that can be nice, too. For me, personally, I like being alone in the house, but available to respond in case something terrible happens and one of the kids needs Mommy now! That’s the whole point of being at home, isn’t it? That you are available when the children NEED you, not from 7:15 to 7:25 AM and from 5:45 to 6:30 PM. Children can be very inconsiderate of corporate schedules, whacking their heads at any time of the day or discovering a monster under the dining room table at precisely the time you have a terribly important marketing meeting.
Time alone in the house is a treat, and here are some suggestions for how you can make that happen.
Bubble bath and a glass of wine
Oh, heaven. Even better, when you start the bath, pour the wine and have towels standing by. Then you herd the kids outside for a game of Find Daddy or upstairs to watch Power Rangers Dino Force for the 800th time. Either way, mom is relaxing alone but still available. Throw in a book and you will the Best Husband Ever.
Dark roasted coffee (or a specialty tea, which ever she prefers), a box of chocolates and a magazine on a subject she loves
Let her curl up in bed for a few blissful hours and escape into her own private world of crafts/architecture/astronomy/fashion/whatever. A small caveat: please read the headlines and ask yourself if they are conveying what you want them to convey.
True story: one Mother’s Day, Mr. JB forgot to pick anything up for the woman (me) who had just given birth to his chunky, happy little son (36 hours of labor – LittleDude has a giant head!). Oops! He rushed out the door and came back a few minutes later and sheepishly handed me a box of drugstore chocolates (all the good stores were closed on Sunday, and hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?) and a magazine and the intention of letting me rest in bed all day. The magazine: Oprah.
WTF? We don’t have commercial television in our home at all, and if we did, Oprah is pretty much the last fucking thing I would watch. It gets better though: the lead story was HOW NOT TO LOOK FAT IN A SWIMSUIT! I kid you not (wear heels is the answer. Fucking stupid Oprah.). Yes, six weeks after giving birth I got to contemplate whether I might look fat in a swimsuit. It was so outrageous, it was actually hilarious. At Christmas time, I had a beautifully wrapped box from Mr. JB that contained another Oprah magazine, this time with the headline screaming HOW NOT TO LOOK OLD.
Seriously, someone needs to fire the editor at Oprah. A lot of men got in shit over those magazines. So seriously, read the headlines before you buy! Save yourself some pain.
Yoga pants and a gift certificate for the local studio
Or whatever physical activity she prefers. I love walking myself, so warm socks and a map is a great gift for me. You probably know what she likes, so go ahead and give it to her. Time to focus on your strength and endurance and celebrate the wonders of a woman’s body without having to stop to vacuum crushed goldfish crackers out of the rug or unclog the toilet is truly a gift.
Popcorn and a DVD of the movie she wanted to see in the theatre but never got a chance to
Tucking her up on the couch with her favorite movie while you take the kids swimming or to the park is an awesome gift for two reasons. First, she gets to watch a movie uninterrupted by any pee breaks except her own, and second, you won’t have to sit through ANOTHER Ryan Reynolds movie. Win-win!
THE GIFT OF FEELING SEXY
One of the nice things about life before children is getting up, getting dressed, doing your hair and putting on makeup, leaving the house feeling and looking your best. Once children arrive, those things are no longer a priority (or they shouldn’t be) and a bare minimum of effort is all you have time for. I think most moms miss that special preening time (I know I do) and there are a bunch of little things that you can do to bring that feeling of being sexy back.
An hour at the spa
A massage, hot rocks, deep conditioning treatment and the sounds of the rainforest. It’s truly like heaven and an hour is plenty. I’ve noticed at the spa I like to go to the hour-long package is buried at the bottom of an exhaustive list of day long pampering options which, quite frankly, are too fucking expensive and all day? Really? I’d be bored out of my freaking mind. An hour is great, thanks.
A hair appointment
Women’s hair is expensive. Two color highlights and a cut takes two hours and will cost more than $100 dollars, which is why I have mine done twice a year and touch up my roots by myself in between. I’m lucky though. My hair is still quite fair and I have no greys, yet. Women with darker hair and lots of grey will not be able to wait six months between appointments and still look good. If you can afford it and your wife happens to care, there is nothing like feeling that your hair looks great! Of course, this is a total and complete luxury, and if you can’t afford that, then you can’t. It’s a box of Miss Clairol and that’s life in the big city, kids. Ammonia smells terrible (the main ingredient in hair dye) but the kits come with gloves and instructions and if you really want to make her happy, help her. Feeling pampered is a key part of feeling sexy. Wait til the kids are in bed though. You do NOT want to chase a naked toddler through the house with that shit dripping everywhere. Trust me.
The key to buying lingerie for women is to buy what you think SHE likes, not what YOU like. She is the one who gets to wear it, so her comfort should come first. Victoria’s Secret is my favourite because it’s sexy, affordable and comfortable, the trifecta of perfect lingerie. Check the sizes, guys. Bras and panties both have little tags that tell you the size, in case you don’t already know your wife’s bra size. Sequins, lace that goes past the seams and ruffles are all itchy as hell. Give them a pass. Sparkly is awesome. Always. I’m very suspicious of people who don’t like sparkly.
A manicure is a colossally stupid waste of money, which is why it makes the perfect Christmas gift. A gift you should give her a few days before so she can enjoy beautiful hands for Christmas day. Assuming she gives a shit about her nails.
THE GIFT OF YOURSELF
Mr.JB and I rarely spend a lot of time alone together. We are together almost all the time he is not at work, but not alone, and for the most part, that is how we like it. A while ago we found ourselves alone in the house, with all the children occupied elsewhere, and we went for coffee together and it was absolutely lovely. We don’t like to pay for babysitters or be very far away from our children, but when Grandma and Grandpa are in town, we take advantage, and since Christmas is a time when there is very often family around, try and find some time to go somewhere together, just the two of you. Christmas is a great time to remind yourselves why you fell in love and married in the first place.
Merry Christmas, in advance.
And don’t leave this shit til the last minute!
Lots of love,