Thursday, July 12th, 2007
Embarrassing Gifts for New Parents: Share your Horror Stories
Do all new parents receive gifts they would be embarrassed to use, or just me?
For my first father’s day, two weeks after my daughter was born, my mixed-up wife gave me a bumper sticker that read, “Men who change diapers change the world.”
The message makes a nice sentiment for a greeting card, but driving around town with that sticker on my car is excruciatingly self-congratulatory. It doesn’t matter that I’m proud to be a dad. It doesn’t matter that the sticker was given to me. Publicly displaying that message implies that I’m saying, “Look at me! Look at how good I am! I’m full of myself!”
My wife thought it would send a message to other dads that they should be more involved. Umm, no.
I still have the sticker, in pristine condition, in a box in the bottom of our closet.
[Update: those two preceding links have since gone bad. Sorry, I don't know where you can buy those T-shirts now. No, wait, I'm not sorry.]
On a day I desperately needed to do laundry, a friend I’ve known since kindergarten caught me in public wearing the shirt. The first thing he said to me was, “Did you buy that?” while pointing at my chest. I had to explain why I was exuding self-congratulatory schmaltzy charm.
I do regularly wear the shirt thoughâ€¦ to bed. My daughter wears her shirt too… on days Mom is taking care of her.
To my discredit, I did buy my daughter a plain red pocket T-shirt because I wear one, and my daughter loved matching her dad.
I got to thinking about these gifts when I ran across a product called Daddy Tags. It’s two silver military-style dog tags. One contains an engraved letter of your choice. The second tag contains the names of up to three children and their birth dates.
Let’s remember that dog tags are worn for the purpose of identifying dead and wounded soldiers. I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a Daddy Tag, or maybe that’s the only situation in which I would.
Feel free to be disgusted at my atrocious comments, especially if your car has bumper stickers promoting your diaper-changing savvy.
Or, feel free to share your own horror stories about new parent clothing and gifts you simply couldn’t bring yourself to use.