Let’s say that you like going to church and someone from there gifts you a super fancy outfit for your baby; shoes, suspenders, a button-down shirt — the works! Your baby looks at you like you have ten heads while you try to wrestle them into it, then is an uncomfortable mess while you sit through service; shoes flying off, suspenders falling down, milk staining that formerly crisp shirt.
This gift is quickly becoming a pain in the ass but now you feel like Edna is going to have her feelings hurt if you arrive with your hands full of baby in a comfy sleeper, instead.
Is a gift ever rude? It depends on the intention behind it. I feel like any gift given without expectation is a gesture of kindness and generosity.
But this particular gift –complicated clothes that are hard to get the baby in then are uncomfortable to wear for any length of time– begs the question: who was the gift really for? And what is the intention behind it?
I have been totally guilty of this – in my past I’ve given someone a gift based on what they’ll think of ME when they receive it. How special *I* will feel when they use it. Conditioning *I* adhered to that they may not even care about (like going to church or dressing up for it).
Don’t get me wrong; I have always tried to be a thoughtful gift-giver… Yet when I reflect, gifts were not always given with the sole intention of meeting the recipient’s needs and being something desirable and joy-sparking.
Often, my gifts likely bore the weight of my neediness and subconscious desire for approval, to be seen and loved. I loved, loved, loved being generous and giving away money as soon as I had it, but that was related to my own personal money stories and limiting beliefs around it.
Is it rude to give a little baby dressy clothes? First you have to ask, what is the intention behind that gift? What is a gift that serves a mother of young children?
Let’s have some empathy and consider her life:
1. She’s probably really tired
2. She’s probably wishing someone else would cook her food and clean her house
3. She’s probably wishing for a few extra sets of hands
4. She’s probably missing the days that she could go out without a baby screaming and uncomfortable
5. She’s probably physically exhausted
6. She’s probably missing needed time to take care of herself
7. She’s probably dehydrated and mentally exhausted from the mental load of proper care and feeding of a baby
8. She’s probably emotional often, riding the highs and lows of their first year of life
9. She’s probably feeling a little disconnected from the outside world
10. She’s probably highly attuned to her baby’s needs for comfort, nourishment, and security
So, not to be rude, but nowhere on that list is a need or desire for dress clothes for the baby. Can they be super cute and adorable? Of course. Do they serve either the child or the mom? Negative. Do they make the gift-giver happy when they see them? Yes. Is it necessary for a baby in 2018 to wear business attire? Nope.
To my former self and to all of you hunting for gifts for a lovely new mother in your life: forego cute and adorable unless it also really serves the needs or desires of either the baby or the mom.
But more importantly, to all of you amazing mamas out there, please drop any guilt around using or not using a gift. If you love it use it. If not, no worries!! A gift is not a gift to you if it causes stress.
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