Fathers’ day is looming and so the wonderfully creative staff at our kinders, schools and childcare centres are busy preparing handmade presents from the kids for their dads. I am forever grateful, and astounded, at the many and varied ways teachers come up with cute little handmade gifts. Just think about the seemingly infinite ways a child’s hand or footprints has been used to create something specular. Impressive!
Every parent has strengths and weaknesses and I’ll confess that homemade gifts fall into the latter for me. I’ve been contemplating how else I can thank my hubby this fathers’ day. It occurred to me that what he really wants is not a new wallet or stubby holder, it’s actually not material possessions at all. Aside from the Richmond Tigers taking out the premiership in September, I reckon my hubby will be pretty pleased with this gift loot!
- Let him do things HIS way
So, from my own personal experience and research amongst friends, it appears us mums can be, er, rather particular (read: high maintenance) when it comes to parenting. So this fathers’ day I’m giving my hubby a break. It may not be your way (read: the right way) but see if you can go a whole day without telling him he’s rocking the baby wrong, dressing the children in inappropriate clothes, or loading the dishwasher all wrong. A different way does not necessarily mean it’s inefficient (well, not all the time anyway). Give the micro manager the day off, if you can manage it!
- Leave passes
I reckon this one will be a winner with all dads. We all know parenting can wreak havoc with “me time” but we must remember that “me time” isn’t just for mums. Dads need it too. Regardless of who spends more time with the kids, both parents need time to pursue an interest or hobby. So this year, create some “Leave Pass” vouchers. These can be popped secretly into his wallet or placed in a “Leave Pass” jar and he gets to choose when they get used, kind of like a Monopoly “get out of jail free” card. I am thinking of offering a: “Get out of swimming duty” card (as he unfailingly takes the girls swimming every Saturday at 8.30am), a “weekend sleep-in” pass, a footy coupon and a “Boys night out” ticket.
- A video message
A fun and entertaining (and perhaps revealing) gift from the kids is a personalised video message to their dad. This is especially fun if you have young kids as you can ask them questions about their dad and see how they respond. For example: “What do you love about your dad?” “How old is daddy?” “What makes him laugh?” “What does mummy love about daddy?” “What does daddy think of mummy’s cooking?” And so on. Have a bit of fun with it and don’t edit it. Keep it authentic and natural and it will be a treasured gift for years to come.
- His favorite food, guilt-free
In an age of sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and more diets and food substitutions, I’m feeling a little bit of fatigue about paying such close attention to what we eat. Pancakes for breaky? Steak and chips for dinner? Why not? Let him splurge on a favourite food, guilt-free. Cook him his favourite recipe, go to his chosen restaurant or bake a deliciously wicked cake with the kids and get them to decorate it. I made this one last year, complete with his ultimate dad’s day fantasy of Richmond making the finals. They did!
- Unlimited access to man cave
It’s pretty obvious why so many men retreat to their “sheds”. It’s not for DIY. Sure, they may tinker around with some little project but I think they really want some time free from nagging, screaming kids, chores, errands, and being told what to do, and how to do it. Basically they want to ignore the KPI’s we have set for them. Just for a little while. So this dad’s day, he can spend as much time in his cave as he likes, no questions asked. I’ll be inside writing his To-Do list for the following weekend!
- The kids all to himself*
Imagine this, an entire day without you to spend just with the kids. Could this be the ultimate fathers’ day gift? OK, this one could go either way. He may actually enjoy hanging out with the kids all day on his own without you telling him not to swing the kids so high, or how to dress them. Or not. Perhaps a half-day…
* Disclosure: I escaped on a girls’ night away last year on Fathers’ Day. Admittedly, we hadn’t realised the weekend chosen was Fathers’ Day when we booked it in. I am not sure how it went down, but I made up for it with the cake!
What do you do on Fathers’ Day? Do you have any gift ideas that won’t cost a cent?