Thursday, May 5, 2016

One More Thing Mothers Judge Each Other For: Push Presents

Technically, I didn’t push out my daughter. She was cut out of me during an emergency c-section. It was traumatic and scary, but successful. Within an hour after surgery, she was in my arms- this squirmy pink little thing. She was three weeks early, but  still absolutely perfect. The day we came home from the hospital, my husband ran out to pick up some necessities and when he returned he surprised me with a beautiful charm to add to the charm bracelet I had already started. My Push Present, he explained. I loved it then, I love it now, regardless of what judgments come my way.
Push presents, for those who may be confused, are gifts given to a woman after the birth of her child, by her partner. I am sure you can come to the conclusion on your own as to why it is called a “Push” Present. It is usually a piece of jewelry to mark the event, but I’ve also known woman who have received other small gifts. It’s a new practice, starting sometime after I was born, so my mother never received one or knew what it was. Out of the handful of women I know who have had children, only one woman was given a Push Present. Many of the others didn’t really know what a Push Present was, and a few said that it would have been nice, but they weren’t give one, and one knew what it was but didn’t want one.

I wanted one, and since my husband didn’t know what a Push Present was, I was happy to educate him. We talked about it briefly once. At first, my husband laughed at me about it, “You actually want a Push Present?” He asked. “Yep!” was my reply. I did, and I didn’t feel bad about it. Honestly, I just thought it was a kind gesture my husband could make in an effort to say, “Hey- thank you so much for growing a human inside of you, and going through the painful process of delivering said human.” Later in life, I would be able to look at my present, or wear it, and remember that special day. I honestly didn’t think there would be so much judging that would take place surrounding the idea.

Little did I realize that there would be so many women who would be appalled at the idea that I would enjoy receiving a gift after the delivery of my baby. Several times during my pregnancy while on Mommy Forums the topic of Push Presents came up and there were a lot of commenters who said things like, “My present is baby!” Well- obviously! Anyone out there who thinks that a woman would rather want a ring then their actual baby after the birth is crazy! Others would say things like, “I don’t need a present.” Neither do I, I don’t “need” a present, but none of us “need” presents, that’s why they are so special when you receive one. Another often repeated comment, “My husband isn’t going to get a present, so why should I?” This is true, my husband would  not be receiving a present, but to me that’s okay. The idea is to get the person who did all the hard labor-literally- a gift. My husband is not a neglected man, by any means. Finally, many woman posted that this was an expense they couldn't afford. By no means, should a Push Present create financial hardship! That's just downright irresponsible. Push Presents aren't meant to be something grand and majestic, rather something sweet and meaningful, and within your means.

I have to admit, after reading post after post, and blogs about how stupid and selfish Push Presents are, I definitely started to feel bad about wanting one. Was I being selfish? I guess in the most basic sense of the word I was, but then, does that mean anytime we get excited about the prospect of gifts from our loved ones for special occasions we are also being selfish? Yes, materialism is a problem, and that an over infatuation with things can affect your ability to appreciate what really counts in life. I get that. But I also think this wasn’t that big of a deal.

I finally decided that it didn’t matter to me what others would think. If my husband bought me a Push Present then that would be a special moment between the two of us. And it was. I love my little charm, and every time I look at it I think of that terrible turned beautiful moment of my daughter’s birth. I can hear the doctor telling me that my daughter’s heart rate was falling and she needed to perform a c-section and get her out. I can still see my husband’s eyes widen and his nervous smile as he looked at me, both of us knowing we were going to meet our baby girl that day. My Push Present is not just something pretty and sparkly that I wear around my wrist; it is the fear, excitement, pain, and overwhelming joy packed into a small silver heart. It is not something I am either ashamed of or proud, it just is. I am not sure if I will get a Push Present for every child I have, but if I do, I will happily accept the gift because I know it’s a tangible way for my husband to show his love and gratitude to me for helping our family grow and thrive. 

Life is too short to always be so judgemental. As mothers, we need to celebrate each other more and criticize less. Don't worry, mothers who have received Push Presents (myself included) know there is more to life than objects, we know it’s all about the beauty of our children. You may think our gifts are stupid, but that’s okay. On the days when I am working late and miss my daughter the most, I know that I can look down at my wrist and see that little silver heart and be reminded of the little girl who now holds a piece of mine. How can you judge me for that?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Big Problem with Little Lies

There is nothing more that I hate than when my husband lies. I’m not talking about big lies. I’m talking about small ones, like if he paid the phone bill on time or mailed something I asked him to. Tiny, seemingly inconsequential lies that come out of the mouth like a burp-a stinky reflex that one claims they have no control over. Some of you may be wondering, what’s the big deal? So spouses fib every once in awhile to keep the peace, so what? The big problem with constantly telling little lies is that eventually, with each lie, your word crumbles in the eyes of your spouse. Once a person’s word loses its worth, the respect one has for each other goes with it, as does the trust.   

Think about a wall. Picture it in your mind. It’s tall and strong, made with whatever infallible material you want. There is no bringing down this wall because it has a solid foundation. This wall represents your marriage. Fibs are tiny cracks in the wall. From afar, you don’t even notice the cracks. You think the wall is strong and can withstand anything. Then, as you approach it to get a better look, you realize with every tiny fib, more and more of the wall cracks and loses stability. A big lie would create a big hole- you can clearly see the problem, and you can usually fix it, if the wall is worth saving. Try repairing a wall with thousands of small cracks. Not only is it close to impossible, but even if you are able to repair the cracks, you may begin to distrust the original integrity of the wall. You question its strength and ability to withstand hard conditions.This is what can happen in a marriage when someone is constantly lying to the other over petty things. It may not seem like it, but that person is slowly and painfully chipping away at the foundation of love, commitment, and truth that the marriage is meant to maintain. From afar, the relationship may look unbreakable, but in reality it is one major crack away from crumbling. Once it crumbles, it may be too difficult to collect all of the pieces to rebuild.

So, what can you do to deal with this issue? I believe the best way to handle this is to figure out why the lies are happening in the first place. This is a time for both people in the marriage to take accountability for what is happening. For me and my husband, the problem is twofold: I can overreact when things don’t go as planned, and my husband hates conflict. So, when an issue arises where he may have to tell me something that could cause a conflict, and deal with my drama, he may lie instead to pacify the situation. Once we figured this out, it meant that both of us had work to do. Now, I am sure it’s obvious, but it should be stated that my only expertise on this matter is that of my own marriage. But, I’ve spent plenty of girls’ nights with friends to know this is an issue in many marriages. There are times when it is still a problem in mine as well; however, it has exponentially improved once we figured out what the underlying issues were.

Lying is a slippery slope. It may seem like an easy fix in the moment, a way to avoid an argument or disappointment, but it creates a harmful lasting impact. The big problem with little lies is you may never know the damage you are causing. The slow breakage of  trust and respect between you and your spouse, even when unintentional, can create a situation that can’t be fixed. If you are going to take one thing from this post, it’s this: Both people must accept responsibility and agree to work towards total honesty if lying is an issue in your marriage. Once you sit down and figure out why the lies are happening, you can start to rebuild the foundation of trust and love that brought you two together in the first place.