Buying off the mother

Buying off the mother

If I ever tried to give Melanie a gift in payment for going through labor, I think she’d bean me over the head with it for being a sucker for yet another materialistic scam being pushed on gullible sheep, I mean, consumers.

Men who thought their lavish-jewelry duties were over after they purchased the engagement ring might get a shock when their babies are born. That’s when it’s time to shop for the “push present (search).”

But a bouquet of flowers won’t usually cut it. Nowadays, many husbands are expected to buy expensive presents to thank their wives for dealing with pregnancy and “pushing” through labor. The latest gift-giving occasion is just one more for men to add to their list—along with Valentine’s Day (search), birthdays, holidays and the all-important anniversary.

“My husband does not believe in jewelry, so I saw it as the perfect opportunity to cash in on the whole societal pressure thing,” laughed Seattle mom Julie Leitner, 32, who got a white gold and diamond bracelet in the $800-$1,500 price range when her daughter was born.

Push presents, which are usually jewelry but don’t have to be, have gained popularity in the last few years. Once one new mother gets such a gift, her friends embrace the trend and pass the word on to their hubbies. “I’d been told by so many people that you’re supposed to get one that I just assumed it was the norm,” said Leitner.

But many men are clueless about the concept. Some aren’t even very involved in buying the actual present. “I wouldn’t necessarily say the gift was from me,” said Bruce Owen, 35, of Oakland, Calif. “[My wife] picked it out. She bought it. It was more as if I didn’t have a choice.”

Because the baby itself is not present enough? There’s something almost ... “prostitutional” about it. Melanie says she wouldn’t mind a bouquet of flowers. If I bought her a $1K bracelet she’d turn me right out and send me back to the store to return it.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli