Once again Father’s day is rapidly approaching and mums and children are scrambling to pull together ideas on what to get the man in their lives.
This can be a difficult proposition. I can’t speak for all men but I know that I’m not that easy to buy presents for – I’m not deliberately awkward, I’m just not materialistic and I have most of the things I want or need already. The things that I do want, I‘m very specific about – I’ll research them, read reviews, work out how much I need to save etc. I’m a strong believer in buying the best quality you can afford and not settling for cheap knock-offs.
This all leads to frustration and last minute present buying, just so you have something to hand to dad on the day.
Of course, there are the last minute / easy option presents that most dads have experienced at some point in their parenting career – they may have even given them to their own fathers. These stink of desperate present buying and only go to prove you haven’t really put any effort in for the man who spends most of the waking minutes in his life putting his family first… so avoid these where possible. Of course, we’ll greet any present with smiles, hugs and outward appreciation on an Oscar-winning method acting level but inside we might just be a little put out that that’s all we’re worth.
The comedy mug – this is something that I’ll grin at for the kids benefit and use for the next 2 days, until it works its way to the back of the mug cupboard. The next time I’ll see this is when I’ve not turned on the dishwasher and I’m forced to rootle around in the dark recesses for something to drink out of. I’m not a mug, so please don’t give me one.
Cuff links – I only have 2 shirts that don’t have buttons but I have around 20 pairs of cuff links – you do the maths and tell me if I need any more.
Grooming sets – you know the ones with medium size skin care products and some kind of abrasive pad in them. I think dads get given these by mums indirectly through their kids as a hint that you should wash more and that you’ve let yourself go a little. I have sets of these in my wardrobe that went off in 2011 and they’re still in their packaging.
Flowers – one of my ‘dad friends’ was bought peonies for Father’s day. I almost wet myself with laughter when I heard this. Never has such an obvious present for one’s self been dressed up so badly as a present for someone else. Unless dad is a horticultural wizard, don’t buy him flowers.
A cheaper version of something you know I really wanted – if I’ve expressed a desire to buy a certain thing, it’s for a reason. Take this random example – a power drill. To you, a drill is a drill, but to me a drill has impact and hammer actions, 15 speed settings, 2 gearing ratios, LED work light and lithium batteries with ergonomic handle. Please please please don’t buy something that isn’t the exact item I was planning on purchasing or I’ll quietly cry a little inside when I use the inferior version I’ve been bought, knowing full well that you meant well, but I’m now stuck with something that isn’t quite what I wanted and impossible to trade in without hurting little people’s feelings (This makes me sound awful but you all know exactly what I mean!)
So, now I’ve advised you what you shouldn’t give as a gift, let’s move on to what I’d actually like to receive. These are simple in nature and can be easily achieved with very little outlay – they just take a bit of effort:
Anything made by the kids – I know my wife hates this stuff and it quickly makes it into the bin (accidentally on purpose) but to me, if my children have taken the time and effort to make me something then, it means the world to me. It could be anything from a card to a picture, a cake or something else completely. These are the kinds of things that I’ll look back on in the future and smile about.
Breakfast – most days of the week I’m in charge of the morning routine, making breakfast for children while forcing my eyes to open properly, getting hair brushed, finding missing shoes, feeding babies, changing nappies etc. I never get time for breakfast myself and by the time I drink my tea it’s lukewarm and has a thin translucent skin on it. What I really want is a breakfast (not in bed – I’ve never understood why people eat in bed, just seems gross to me) where I do nothing. One where my kids tidy up afterwards and with tea that is hot. Perhaps the papers to read, but I don’t want to push my luck.
A day without arguments – this might be wishful thinking but It would be lovely to have a day when I’m not prying the children apart with my fingers or breaking up petty arguments about who doll’s head is who’s, or who flushed the lip gloss down the toilet. The phase “that’s not fair” would also be banned.
Time to do what I want – I know father’s day is a celebration of being a father, but perversely the reward should be not being a father for a day and doing what I want . To you, it might seem like a complete waste of time, but to me that hour off from parenting to go in the shed to finish off a project, ride a bike, do some shopping or whatever it might be, is important and valued.
To watch something on TV that I want to watch – with the advent of Netflix, the TV is now something that I occasionally see during the day, but can’t actually watch as it’s usually blaring out some god awful American programme full of am dram kids who wouldn’t know acting if it punched them in the gut. I would like 2 hours to myself to watch sport / documentaries without interruption from a child saying they’re bored or it’s ‘their turn.’
A 4- pack of my favourite beer / cider – I’m not saying that I’ll be drinking all day but someone to present me with a beer that I like would be fantastic.
As I said, I can’t speak for all men, but I hope that this at least gives you some things to think about. In the end we’re relatively simple creatures and as you get older, wiser and more creaky around the joints, you realise that the old proverb actual rings true – the best things in life, really are free.
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