Re. Birthday gifts between couples

(50 Posts)
MulberryJane Sun 19-May-13 10:01:19

Ive just got off the phone to my friend, it's her birthday and instead of the cheery phonecall I thought it would be she was quite upset! It turns out her OH has bought her a book on weaning (their LO is 4 months old) for her birthday and some flowers. She said she feels like he doesn't see her as his OH any more and sees her as 'mother' which makes her sad. She isn't speaking to him now and she's saying it's signalling the end of their relationship. I told her it was just a gift and it didn't signal the end of anything.

AIBU to think it doesn't mean their relationship is over? Is it an inappropriate gift? Or is she BU?

LoveBeingUpAt4InTheMorning Sun 19-May-13 10:02:45

Sounds more like he thought he was getting her something she would like and got it majorly wrong. Not talking to him won't help though.

DeafLeopard Sun 19-May-13 10:04:14

I think he thought it was a nice idea, and she might be a bit sleep deprived and not thinking clearly if a bunch of flowers and a book are grounds for divorce.

QOD Sun 19-May-13 10:05:34

I've enjoyed a fish slice, a Dyson and sweet f all in the past

Men are clueless until fully trained

QOD Sun 19-May-13 10:05:52

I've enjoyed a fish slice, a Dyson and sweet f all in the past

Men are clueless until fully trained

I would be massively pissed off. Totally inappropriate gift! You don't get people stuff like that unless they have specifically asked for it.

Oh, poor her, she sounds in a rotten state. There must be far more to this than a book.

I think instead of telling her she's being unreasonable, you might be better to try to offer her a listening ear and see if you can work out what else is going on?

I mean, it's not a massively wonderful gift, obviously, and I can imagine mates of mine going through the roof a bit, but it'd be the unspoken implications of it I'd worry about - eg., is he buying it because they disagree over when to wean and she feels he's pushing at her? Or because she feels that sort of item should be a household expense not a present? Or is she just really upset and almost anything would have hurt her?

Talk to her about it and see. (And, erm, if they stay together maybe a quick word to her DH before next birthday on the subject of 'gifts that aren't bloody stupid' might help grin).

jacks365 Sun 19-May-13 10:08:16

A book and flowers for a gift sounds like finance is tight. In that situation I appreciate a gift I couldnt justify spending the money on myself even if it is just practical.

Sounds like they both still need to adjust to being parents.

MsVestibule Sun 19-May-13 10:09:31

It depends what he normally buys her for her birthday. If it used to be a bunch of flowers, then no, throwing in a book about weaning isn't that bad. If he normally bought her a present that showed he'd thought about what she would like, then HIBU.

I think for her to say that the relationship is over is little over dramatic, unless there are a lot of other factors at play.

I can totally understand how she feels (even though its very dramatic and a not over the top) Sometimes I think little things like this can kick off a bit of a spiral of "He doesn't get me" If he doesn't care enough to get me some I would actually like, does he care at all. Etc etc.
Her baby is only four months, I know I was still slightly bonkers and still took everything to heart at that stage. Her DH needs a not more tolerance and understanding.

*a lot more

McNewPants2013 Sun 19-May-13 10:11:55

I don't get the big deal over adult birthdays.

Flowers and a card sounds lovely, perhaps the book was a wrong choice but an adult shouldn't be sulking and threatening divorce over a birthday gift.

Ragwort Sun 19-May-13 10:13:24

Personally I don't get this 'presents between couples idea' and surely its a massive over reaction not to speak to your partner because you don't like the gifts hmm - surely a more mature reaction would be to laugh it off and say you would really appreciate <insert present of choice> as a gift next time.

I tell my DH exactly what I want for my present, I don't expect him to be a mind-reader. He did buy me what I wanted for my recent birthday - a black dustbin grin. Equally he tells me what he would like, I have made the wrong guess so many times over the years so if he wants some obscure gadget for his fishing hobby then that is what I will get him.

Your friend sounds as though she is 14 and falling out with a friend from school.

Oh come on. Does anyone honestly believe she's sulking purely because of the book?


If she genuinely thinks that is the only reason she's upset and nothing else is wrong at all, she is either the world's most implausible control freak, or she is mentally ill. I am not saying that flippantly, I mean, if she genuinely thinks that is the only reason she's upset, I would be worried for her mental state.

I'd be pissed off with that. An eternity ring would be the ideal gift after a first baby.

TiggerWearsATriteSmile Sun 19-May-13 10:17:01

She needs to grow up.
She's seriously thinking the relationship is over because her DH bought a baby book.
It sounds like a thoughtful gift to me. At least he's interested in their child's development.

What was she expecting?

McNewPants2013 Sun 19-May-13 10:17:27

Perhaps the flowers was from him and the book was from the baby, that how I would look at it.

Samu2 Sun 19-May-13 10:20:30

Well obviously it runs a lot deeper than the actual gifts.

I will still a hormonal mess 4 months PP and felt very insecure about pretty much everything.

I would do some more fishing OP to see what the real issue is.

I've got to say ... if I had a baby, and my DH got me something where my reaction had to be 'at least he's interested in our child's development', I would be gutted.

He's the baby's father. Of course he's meant to be interested in the child's development, it's a basic minimum, isn't it?

I don't see how a book on weaning could fail to be a loaded gift, though. Unless she'd gone round Waterstones saying 'ohh, look, there's that book on weaning I really want' or 'hmm, DH, I am thinking so hard about weaning but I just don't know how to get the right advice'.

It sounds like a thoughtful gift to me. At least he's interested in their child's development.
Their child so why is he buying her a book? Looks like he thinks the baby is her responsibility alone- otherwise the book would be a household expense not a gift for the mother.

JudithOfThePascha Sun 19-May-13 10:27:45

Surely, with any present, the question is whether the recipient would want it or not is quite crucial?

There's nothing wrong with a book on weaning, per se, but if the OP's friend obviously wouldn't want such a book, then maybe it's a bit off. On the other hand, the DH in question has probably seen his DW reading baby books and thought, ooh she likes those. That's the sort of thing my DH would do. "Judith, I saw you making pastry last week, here's a brightly coloured pastry brush!"

These days, I point DH in the direction of my Amazon wish list. Whatever our current budget (very frugal at the mo) there's something there. It's not about lack of thought - in fact, it's usually when he thinks about it that it goes awry!

Perhaps, as baby is weaning age, there is a wider issue of feeling appreciated as someone other than baby's mummy? Unless there's a lot of other issues at play, she's probably just a bit sleep-deprived and grumpy.

DontmindifIdo Sun 19-May-13 10:29:42

See, often it's not the actual thing it's what it represents, so as bullet says, it's not that it was the wrong book, but that by giving it to her rather than just buying it for the family he's saying "this is your life/job now" not a family responsibility. Birthday gifts - unless otherwise specificially asked for - should be a gift for just the person who's birthday it is, not somehting for someone else/the whole family.

A book and flowers would be fine, if the book was on a hobby or interest of hers or a novel by a writer she enjoys, but a book that's about how to look after the baby isn't appropriate.

MulberryJane Sun 19-May-13 10:39:07

I've invited her over for a coffee tomorrow morning, I agree bulletwithbutterflywings, I think she feels he doesn't 'get' her and that she feels like the responsibility lies with her for everything. McNewPants - ill suggest that to her smile.

I'm still a bit nuts after 7 months so I'm sure her hormones are playing a big part in this as its only been 4. I do think a more thoughtful gift might have been a better choice, AKiss I like your suggestion! I actually got flowers for my first birthday as a mum but, then again, we don't do big gifts and I thought they were nice. I think if I'd got the book though I'd feel a bit rubbish too, it should be a household expense when I think about it.

Ragwort, I'm going to suggest she's clear about what she wants for next year. In fact, I may take this route too. QOD, were you not just a bit pleased with the Dyson? I'd be over the moon that my DH knew what one was smile.

Thanks for the help everyone smile

Best of luck tomorrow!

McNewPants2013 Sun 19-May-13 10:47:29

Good luck for tomorrow, a little suggestion Father's Day is next month perhaps he can have the Haynes baby book smile

HeathRobinson Sun 19-May-13 11:12:05

A book about weaning is what I'd order from Amazon or throw in the trolley at the supermarket. It wouldn't feel like a birthday gift to me.

Cherriesarelovely Sun 19-May-13 11:15:54

She's probably feeling a bit sensitive and low to react like that. My sil gave me a book on weaning for Christmas when Dd was 3 months old. I felt similarly disheartened and wouldn't give a book like that to a new mum for a gift. However, my sil is lovely and it was a very kind gesture. I was in the throws of pnd at the time.

QOD Sun 19-May-13 14:26:39

I still have the Dyson some 12 years later . But it should have been a hey look what I bought not a happy birthday. Infact, i think it might have been my 2nd mothers day gift which means I should have l t b

Oh god, my birthday is tomorrow and DP fucked up last year so I am almost dreading tomorrow! To be fair to him, he didn't realise that buying me something that we'd intended to get as a treat together would have bugged me as much as it did because it was what my ex did!

I didn't have being a new Mum as an excuse for my silent treatment either blush

pigletmania Sun 19-May-13 15:37:29

There must be more to this than meet te eye I think. I can't believe that anyone would overreact to a lousy birthday gift. One birthday my dh did not get me anything, a month later I recieved. Box of chocolates as my 'birthday gift'. He never made that mistake again grin

Sokmonsta Mon 20-May-13 08:14:32

Perhaps she had mentioned she was looking for a book on weaning and he thought it would be a good idea to get something she wanted?

Personally I don't get all the outcry over presents that aren't presents. But then I asked my husband for a new rolling pin for my birthday.

DorothyMantooth Mon 20-May-13 09:21:13

The OP said that the book made her friend feel as though her DH no longer sees her as herself/his DW, just as 'mother'. As a new mum myself (2 months), this is a familiar feeling to me - it is sometimes hard not to feel as though I am a cow (both in terms of function and size). My DH is lovely and treats me really well but I do sometimes wonder if he now feels this way about me too and wonders where his engaging and slim(ish) DW went. I am sure he doesn't, but sleep deprivation and raging hormones are not kind to those with overactive imaginations. I have found myself bursting into tears for the most ridiculous reasons over the last few weeks and am sure I would react the same as the OP's friend over my birthday. I am also sure this is just normal emotional upheaval at my new role exacerbated by extreme tiredness. OP's friend is likely still going through the same thing.

DontmindifIdo Mon 20-May-13 11:02:14

oh the bright side, he's not going to make a similar mistake at Christmas - DH has point blankly refused to ever buy me anything practical for birthdays and christmas after seeing a few friends deal with the aftermath of making a similar mistake...

DaveDeeDozyBeakyMickAndTitch Mon 20-May-13 11:05:06

Birthdays are for opportunities to buy things the recipient wants, not things the recipient needs.

MrD bought me a wok last year. I nearly hit him with it. It's a very good, extremely expensive wok, but it was essentially something he wanted.

DeWe Mon 20-May-13 12:05:34

It could be worse:
My df went on one Christmas about the brilliant present he'd got dm.
Turned out to be a book on housekeeping, dating from about 1950s...

Df nearly got brained with said book, and was very surprised. He genuinely thought it a really good present. confused

Though he recently found it (used to keep a table leg up) and has read it for himself, and is making use of the labour saving ways of cleaning the house in his retirement, so I guess dm is benefitting from it now. He's a bit strange at time df. grin

2rebecca Mon 20-May-13 12:11:39

If you want your husband to get you something specific then tell him or hint heavily about what you want.
What sort of exciting present does she get him?
Our presents are usually fairly practical.

I think it's got to be a combination of hormones and maybe there being more to it than just the present. I was a hormonal mess after the first DC was born and my birthday was a few weeks later, I went the opposite way and was irritated that people thought I would want stuff for me when all I was interested in was the baby, I didn't want babysitting vouchers, pampering stuff, novels, DVDs, I was just obsessed with DS. Just as well DH didn't think of an eternity ring, I really did think all money should be spent on baby things only at that stage and would probably have been very upset indeed at all that money being spent on me. With hindsight I see the error of my ways.

diddl Mon 20-May-13 12:14:35

As a rule we don't do presents-for bday or Christmas.

There's rarely anything that either of us want-so I think that this is the sort of thing my husband would probably get if he knew it was something I was interested in.

But does he know how she feels?

It probably wasn't to be hurtful on his part & he really couldn't think of/afford anything else.

GlassofRose Mon 20-May-13 12:49:29

Men are generally useless at gifts. My dad has bought my mum a paste table, a Dyson and many more "gifts"... but then he's also brought home gorgeous pairs of heels for the sake of it because he noticed she'd been eyeing them up. My ex once bought me Zumba DVDs for my birthday when I had been moaning I wanted to lose weight; he thought it was genuinely an amazing gift. The majority of men just don't think like we do - Shopping is far more of a "get in, get out" practical thing.

The idea that this signals a breakup for your friend means there is definitely something wrong. It seems that your friend feels undervalued as a person so really she should be communicating this instead of ignoring him. I don't think ignoring a man ever communicates anything other than your unhappy because they're still clueless to why.

Hopefully you can talk this out with her smile

Quenelle Mon 20-May-13 12:55:09

I remember when DS was around four months old, I was ranting away about DH to my mum, who just sat there silently with a confused face, much to my annoyance. I can't for the life of me remember what DH's terrible faux pas was now but it seemed like the end of the world to me at the time.

Best just to nod and smile sympathetically and not let her get too carried away. Hopefully she'll feel more like her old self soon.

BackforGood Mon 20-May-13 13:13:25

She is being totally unreasonable, but I suspect this may be driven by hormones and lack of sleep - never a good combination. I suspect most of us have said some pretty ridiculous things and totally over reacted to things at that stage in a baby's life smile

Presents between couples are very individual to the couple, indeed, all present are. I personally love practical presents, and my 'wish lists' always contain something for the kitchen or home or whatever that I think will make my life easier - I'd FAR rather that than some useless smellies or candles or books or jewellery or plants or gadgets or whatever other people might want. Personally I love cut flowers though, and I know some others who don't really like them. So it's no good saying what is or isn't a 'good' present.
Presumably, if your friend has a baby with her partner, she knows him pretty well ? So if he doesn't have a good reputation for choosing amazingly 'just right' presents, then why doesn't she drop hints / set up a wish list which he can choose from ? confused.

plantsitter Mon 20-May-13 13:27:43

If he is interested in the baby he could've bought the book for himself.

A book and some flowers is fine if that's the type of thing you get each other. But a book about weaning? I'm not surprised she's pissed off. It's not even really for her.

A trashy thriller and the promise of a few hours off to read it- now that's a present.

threesypeesy Mon 20-May-13 14:13:17

I would be furious with those presents. I think there must be more going on though as its not something you would consider ending a relationship over, but it is a shity gift.

DinoSnores Mon 20-May-13 17:32:15

I gave DH a kettle for his birthday this year.

We don't get the big deal about adult birthdays either, so tend to give each other things that we need if we give each other anything at all!

However, I don't think this is just about the book. Perhaps the real issue is that she does feel just like a mother, rather than having any other aspect to her life/character at the moment. It isn't helped by her sulking like a moody teenager though.

Chocoflump Mon 20-May-13 17:41:31

This is totally what my DH is like- infact for Mother's Day I DID get an Annabel Karmel weaning recipe book!!

The Mother's Day before that I was heavily pregnant with DC2, he bought me the 6 pack of tommee tippee bottles for our new baby.

I don't get angry- I think it's quite sweet! It's things I would have had to buy anyway, so the money I would have spent on them, I can spend on other things!

TSSDNCOP Mon 20-May-13 17:47:40

This is precisely why I have a list.

If you want to avoid this face -> angry then simply follow the list.


I'd be really pleased with that offering, and would see it as some beautiful flowers for me ,and an interesting (well reasonably !) helpful book about something important to me (weaning first baby) that affirmed me a bit as a mother too.

But then my DP once gave me a small paper bag for my birthday, with nothing in.
I think he was joking confused

Alwayscheerful Mon 20-May-13 17:50:26

I have received a paper shredder for valentines day and my friend received a crystal dragon for an anniversary present, do you think we are on borrowed time?

SirChenjin Mon 20-May-13 17:51:11

Why do people get so worked up over presents?? hmm

So it might not be quite what you wanted - so what?? Anyone who bases their entire relationship on the gift they receive needs a slap round the face with a wet fish.

WilsonFrickett Mon 20-May-13 17:52:27

She does sound hormonal and sleep deprived. Tea and sympathy is in order OP - although I do wonder if she's BF and the DH is hinting towards it being time to stop? I have a bent for the overdramatic too though!

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