Labor Demands

Although I’ve had two kids (and one without pain medication), I’ve never heard of the practice of giving “push presents.”

That’s “push” as in, “I the mother, having been through the wringer and pushed out this blessed event, hereby claim my reward.” Or “push” as in, “I’ve delivered something special and now I’m pushing you, my husband/boyfriend, to follow suit.”

As I began reading, I was prepared to be fully disgusted. I mean, really, a gift for pushing out a baby? How much more materialistic can we get? Just seeing the baby right after birth is amazing enough, no? But according to a Baby Center.com editor

“It’s more and more an expectation of moms these days that they deserve something for bearing the burden for nine months, getting sick, ruining their body,” said Linda Murray, executive editor of BabyCenter.com. “The guilt really gets piled on.”

Some of the examples given scream of upper-middle class privilege: diamond earrings, rings, watches, LV diaper bags, sculptures. But then, as I thought about it, I realized that while I may not have demanded diamond earrings, I did expect “extras” from my husband when I was pregnant: pedicures, pretty maternity clothes, getting my hair done, lots and lots of expensive ice cream. So while they may not have been extravagant, they were things that were definitely not needed, and I did think that I deserved them for doing my part to populate the earth. But I wanted those items prior to birth, not right after – the gift of the baby was enough. And I think I would have appreciated the gift of hired help to cook and clean more than diamond earrings that would not get worn.

On a more abstract note, I think this says a lot about the opportunity cost of becoming a mother. I think women are becoming more and more aware of how much life will change once you have a baby, and are looking for ways to compensate for the less glamourous side(s) of parenthood.

That being said, I would really like a ring with my children’s birthstones, in case the hubby is reading 🙂 I have been pregnant and/or breastfeeding for the past two years in order to bring your children into the world…

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