7 free gift ideas for people with kids

What’s that, you say? You don’t know what to get for a parent you know this holiday season? Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.

1. Nothing

This isn’t an altruistic, “I have so much love in my life that I don’t need things” request. It is a “my house is overflowing with toys, juice boxes, Cheerios and dog hair, I cannot squeeze one more thing in this place.” Truly, you don’t need to give a parent much besides an understanding look and a pat on the back. We’re totally fine with that.

2. Time

Not time to myself, though it would be nice. Not time for just my husband and me, though we would enjoy that, too. I mean that I want time. I want you to figure out how to bottle up chunks of time so I can pull an hour off the shelf, uncork it and relive it, like the hour my son and I spent playing in the leaves in our old backyard, or the precious moments I spent on the couch with my daughter when she was just a few hours old.

3. Understanding

I really want to call you back. I think about it every night before I fall asleep, or it occurs to me while I’m putting the baby down for her nap that I should give you a ring. I miss you, sweet friend, and I want to hear your voice and talk about current events and laugh about old memories. Between your work schedule and our nap and bedtime schedule, it seems we just can’t get the timing right. For now, can we please just send each other texts separated by hours or even days at a time and know that we love and miss each other?

4. Patience

Yes, you did tell me about our spa appointment, I just forgot. Shoot, I knew my nephew’s birthday was coming up, I just couldn’t remember when. Thank goodness for Amazon and its two-day delivery. I became a parent and lost my mind. I keep trying to get it back, but I can’t remember where it is.

5. Memories

Please help me remember my life before kids. I don’t regret one second of my life now, but I love reliving old days with you. Remind me of the time that we tried to convince that pizza guy to give us free food, or the sunny day that we snuck onto the football field and hung out on the 50-yard line and looked at the clouds for hours.

6. Support

Nope, I don’t do things the way you do/did. We don’t always see eye-to-eye, and we might even totally disagree on topics like breastfeeding or co-sleeping. Instead of the snide remarks, eye rolls or insults, please just support me. I’m a parent. Sometimes I do great, and other days, I struggle. Having support helps.

7. Empathy

Look, we know that not everyone knows what it’s like to have kids, or to have kids who don’t sleep, or to have kids who are sick, or to have kids that throw tantrums, etc. If you really want to make someone’s holiday, you can try to have some empathy for people in those situations simply by modifying your conversations a bit. You could stop saying things like, “I’m bored,” or, “Wow! I got sooooooooooo much sleep last night,” and instead say things like, “You look nice today,” or, “No, I didn’t notice the stains on your shirt at all.”

These are the gifts that will keep on giving all year long. Sort of like a Bacon of the Month Club membership, but with way less fat.

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