Some moms always know the perfect gift. Not just for their own child, but for any child partaking in a present-procuring activity. They show up to every birthday party with the ultimate impeccably wrapped contribution; one that meets all current safety standards, fosters a love of learning, encourages creativity, all while remaining gluten-free. I am not “that” mom.
No, despite my own mother’s best efforts to instill it in me, I did not inherit the shopping gene. But while I may have come up short when it comes to the gift of giving, I did manage to excel in the gift of re-gifting.
Simmer down, “that” moms! Before you grimace in disgust at the thought of something so tacky, let me reassure you that I have other really good reasons for resorting to regifting. Like, my daughter has been invited to a party this afternoon and I completely forgot to go out and get a gift for her to bring! Or when she’s been invited to two or three parties on the same weekend and I am too cheap to buy three birthday gifts and formula for my infant! I’d love to be the mom who is always prepared with the perfect present for any occasion but sadly, I’m not “that” mom. So in those moments, I work with the gifts I have….the gift of being a world-class re-gifter.
The key is to think ahead for instances such as those I just mentioned. When my daughter gets a duplicate gift, I keep the spare. If she receives a really cool Play-Doh set featuring characters from a TV show she doesn’t watch or a movie she hasn’t seen, I store it away. This way, I’m ready for those panic-stricken moments when I’m faced with the reality that a party is about to start and we’ve got no gift! Because that is the mom I am.
So for all you other imperfect parents out there, I highly recommend making this strategy a routine part of your parenting plan. But be prepared, especially if you have an unusually observant kiddo like I do. Be ready with answers and cover–ups if needed. When my daughter received a bag of king-sized M&Ms with one of her birthday gifts, I didn’t do a great job of hiding my dismay. Great. Just what I wanted to contend with. More sugar after she’s been eating cake and ice cream and cookies all afternoon! Luckily, I remembered she was invited to her friend Savannah’s birthday party the following weekend. So as soon as she was distracted with the next gift, I swiped the candy out of sight. She never even mentioned the candy. She’d forgotten all about it. Yes!!! #ParentingSuccess That is, until the next week, when Savannah was opening her gifts at her party and pulled out the bag of M&Ms from the gift bag we brought. My daughter immediately ran over to me and demanded to know if those were her M&Ms from her party!
“No, of course not!”
“Well then where are mine?”
“Will you show me when we get there?”
Your kid might be smarter than you think. But now you know to be prepared. And that is my gift to you and every other imperfect parent out there.
And while this scheme….I mean, plan of action…is essential to any not-“that”-mom who repeatedly finds herself in need of a present in a pinch, it can save you in an even more vital situation. The scenario typically goes something like this:
My daughter opens a birthday gift from an evil out-of-state relative, whose child I may or may not have sent a mini drum kit to six years ago for his birthday; a momentary lapse of reason they clearly have not forgotten or forgiven.
“Mommy look! Make your own glitter slime!”
“Oh wow! That will be so much fun!” I say with my lips. But in my head I am already calculating how many hours after I stash it away in a dark crawl space it will take for her to forget she received this instrument of destruction. How long until the dark visions dancing through my brain involving me cleaning masses resembling sparkled snot out of my carpets can cease?
My husband does his due diligence and distracts her with another shiny object she can unwrap while I swoop in undetected from behind and remove the nefarious beast from her sightline. And after a good, strong cake and ice cream-induced sugar coma combined with a severe case of stimulus overload sets in, she has successfully forgotten about the slime.
Because really, that’s only half of the mission. I have managed to erase my child’s short term memory of this villainous craft but it’s still taking up space in my closet. Plus, there is still that fear in the back of my mind to contend with. You know the one I’m referring to. What if we suddenly get an infestation of termites that eat a giant hole through the wall of our crawl space that my daughter should happen to wander through one night while my husband and I sleep and she stumbles upon that slime–making activity set?! What if she opens it up and starts attempting to make slime?….Without setting down any kind of plastic covering first? Unlikely, yes, but definitely not impossible.
And this is where the critical skill of re-gifting comes in to play.
Thanks to my award-worthy talents, that slime builder kit found a new home just a few weeks later after a princess party for one of my daughter’s classmates. This imperfect parent managed to pull off the perfect caper. I’m not so sorry to admit that those visions of grimy glitter goop all over the walls are now Jordan’s mom’s problem.
If you’re reading this blog, Jordan’s mom, I hope we can still be friends!