If your kid hasn’t had a birthday yet, then the kid’s mom hasn’t had a Mother’s Day yet, and that means you’re facing down a challenge. Her first Mother’s Day isn’t quite on par with the birth of your child or your anniversary (this is a manufactured holiday, after all), but that’s exactly why it’s such a trap — you don’t have to get the suite at the Park Plaza, but you have to do something.
Fortunately, not screwing this up is pretty easy. Here are a few common sense tips and ideas that will show her you know that carrying, delivering, and feeding your child is a bigger gift than you can ever really repay (but you’re willing to try).
1. The Gift Of Sleep
Honestly, if you haven’t already been doing this you’re kind of a horrible person. Get a bottle prepped for the morning, figure out how to load the carrier or stroller without her help, and head out for a good long walk right around the time the kid normally starts screaming. Yes, this means you have to walk around with a screaming baby, but your lady will be blissfully unaware that the whole neighborhood thinks you’re bad at fathering.
2. Plan Things Close To Home
About that suite at the Park Plaza: Even if you can/want to book it, don’t. This is not a day for babysitters; it’s a day to be together as a family. Think the senior citizens’ shift at that hot new restaurant you would have already gone to if you weren’t new parents, or better yet an in-home massage from a service like Zeel.
3. Start A Tradition
Nothing fancy — maybe it’s just breakfast in bed or a picnic, but make it something you can repeat every year. If it is going to be breakfast in bed, make sure you master the art of pancakes first.
4. Don’t Buy Off The Shelf
Whatever you plan on spending (and it doesn’t have to be much — remember this whole thing is basically Hallmark’s fault), buy something you can personalize. A necklace with the kid’s name, a killer shot of the 3 of you in a worthy frame, or even something you make yourself. She knows you don’t have a lot of time these days, so keep it simple.
5. Write Something
Renowned couples therapist Esther Perel gave this advice for Valentine’s Day: “It changes the whole thing; you took time for me, you thought about me, you’re telling me.” It’s actually even better advice for Mother’s Day, because this time around it’s a lot easier to come up with things to say. (Hint: just praise her for the exceptional job she’s doing with the kid. How amazing she still looks is another good one.)
6. Don’t Throw Your Kid Under The Bus
Just because your kid is too young to decide on, purchase, and wrap a gift doesn’t mean they’re off the hook. Well, actually, they are off the hook because you’re going to do it for them. You’re such a sucker — they’ve totally got you wrapped around their finger.
7. Do Better Than Carnations
Carnations are the official flower of Mother’s Day. Carnations are also lame. If you know her favorite flowers, just get those; if you don’t, you can’t really go wrong with orchids, lilies, or poppies. Or have the experts at a new school online florists like The Bouqs sort it out for you.
8. Get Together With Friends
The fact that your social life has taken a hit is no secret to your friends with kids — they’re just as lame as you are now. Mother’s Day (any holiday, really) is a great excuse to get the gang back together and hang out in short bursts between making sure your kids aren’t falling down stairs or drinking nail polish remover.
9. Leave The Kid Out Of It (For A Little While, At Least)
Even though it’s a family holiday, the kid will go to bed eventually, which is your cue to connect with each other, remember why you fell in love in the first place, and share a moment. Note: this doesn’t mean you have to get laid (although it might totally get you laid).
10. It’s Thursday: You Haven’t Blown It Yet
Two words: Amazon Prime. Your favorite retail sinkhole has a robust Mother’s Day Gift Guide, most of which is available for next day delivery. If it’s Friday … you kinda blew it.