What is a push present (and do I need to buy one)?

There are better things you could be spending your money on, Dan Colasimone writes.

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Look, I’m going to be straight with you from the start. I’ve been anti push present ever since I knew push presents existed, which was about the time my kid was born.

“A what?” I hear future dads everywhere asking. A push present. It’s what you get your partner after she has pushed out the baby you both conspired to create.

It is supposed to be something personal and nice for her; a ring, a necklace, some earrings … a tiara? I don’t know. Something nice.

“Y tho?” Good question my young apprentice. Well because we need to thank our partners for going through the pain of labour. Honour them. APOLOGISE for impregnating them in the first place and thus causing them such pain and discomfort.

To me, though, this doesn’t stack up. Don’t get me wrong, I think my wife is a goddess for going through all the nasties of pregnancy and then the ordeal that is labour. But it’s not like we had a choice in the matter. We didn’t fill out a form after having sex to determine who would carry the baby.

*Wife takes drag of post-coital cigarette*: “Honey, do you mind bearing this child for nine months and giving birth to it? You know how I get a sore back.”

“Sure thing, babes, I’ll just tick ‘dad’ on the form.”

The more astute readers will have picked up that that was a fictional scenario – there is no box to tick, dads don’t get the chance to take on the pains of labour themselves.

Now that reasoning sounds fine to me, but most of you with partners will realise it won’t necessarily hold water when you explain it that way to them.

So here are some more very good reasons not to buy a push present.

Money

I can think of about a thousand things I would rather spend money on just after the arrival of a new baby than a bauble for my wife.

Nappies. Baby formula. Our mortgage. Red Dead Redemption 2. Clothes for the baby.

You’ll be living on one wage and struggling to buy the essentials.

This is literally the LEAST appropriate time to be buying anyone a superfluous present.

Time

I’m sorry, but when am I supposed to find the time to shop for a present when my wife is about to give birth/has just given birth?

I’m either going to be working my arse off at work before I sheepishly disappear for a few weeks of paternity leave or doing some essential chores to help out the household.

You know, stuff like putting together a cot or trying to figure out how to install a baby seat in the car.

It’s probably a commercial sham

The fact that I’d never heard of push presents until recently makes me assume the whole thing is another capitalist grift by, you know, tiara companies or something, to force us to part with our money.

Like Valentine’s Day. Don’t get me started on eternity rings. Do you reckon my grandfather bought my dear grandmother a push present? You can bet your life he wouldn’t have spent his last few florins on such claptrap.

Besides, he probably only got a couple of hours off for the birth before he had to be back at work.

I’ll honour my wife in other ways

If I’m just coming across as a total arsehole here, allow me to defend myself (and hopefully not in the way celebrities do when they’ve done something terrible, by making everything worse).

None of this is because I don’t love my wife or think she is deserving of presents. I would shower her with gifts if I could afford it.

I just think I can revere her in much better ways. Like, for example, by devoting my entire life to her and the baby. By taking as much time off work as I can to help in the first few weeks, by getting up at night so she doesn’t always have to, by massaging her feet, by cooking her nice dinners and making sure she has the time to eat them.

Surely the gift of devotion is infinitely more valuable than a $500 diamond-studded tiara?

OK, I realise that tiara push presents are probably not a thing and I’m not doing myself any favours by bringing it up all the time. But you get my point, right?

Yeah, but what if she really wants one?

So just say hormones are going a little haywire, not much sleep has been had, and despite all these excellent, well-made arguments, your partner is quite forcefully making the point that she deserves a push present.

Why not give her something that will help her look forward to a future when she doesn’t feel like she’s a barely-human milk machine.

Say, a voucher at a nice restaurant that you can both look forward to using a couple of months down the track?

Or a bottle of her favourite booze that you set aside for when the kid finally starts to sleep through the night? Anything that’s a little reminder that there’s life again after the gruelling first six-to-eight weeks.

And if that doesn’t cut mustard, at least something that is mildly practical and will make her life a little easier; a small TV for the bedroom or a Kindle to read while breastfeeding or an Audible/audiobook voucher?

In the end, I’m not going to tell you how to run your relationship.

If you want to buy a push present, go for it. I will remain stoically against the idea – at least until my wife starts yelling at me, saying the kid is not really mine anyway, and asking for a divorce, in which case I might get her a little something.

I WILL grumble about having to do it, though. Oh boy will I grumble.

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