I’m a huge fan of flowers, and like many women I absolutely love receiving a nice bunch, but I think that Steph Douglas has a good point that there might be other more suitable presents when you’ve just had a baby and don’t want to be mucking around with vases and flower arranging. I love the idea of her business and here she’s told us whey she’s started it and what it’s all about. For your chance to win the beautiful Care & Essentials package for new mothers, you can enter our competition running today, by clicking here.
The name of my business came even before I’d worked out what products I wanted to sell and the logistics of actually starting a business. It came from the moments after having both my kids when I was sat on a sofa, leaking like an old bucket and feeling sore and a bit scared about what had just happened. I felt a sense of overwhelming responsibility and, particularly the first time, a realisation that I had no idea what I was doing.
The doorbell would ring and there would be an enormous and beautiful bouquet of flowers. Lovely friends, family and colleagues wanted to send something for me to say ‘congratulations’. The sentiment was lovely and I know they were all sent out of kindness.
Flowers have become a go-to gift to send when someone has a baby, 96% of new mums receive them and of those most get at least 3 bunches. I didn’t have enough energy to be arranging the flowers, let alone enough vases. When you think about it, it’s a bit crackers that when someone is in a phase that is arguably more physically and emotionally demanding than anything they’ve experienced before, they receive another thing to care for.
It is an awesome thing, having a baby. You have created a person. It was like I was high for some moments of those first weeks. But it’s a rollercoaster and it’s also exhausting and hard and at times leaves you feeling anything but awesome.
If it’s the first baby, mums are probably feeling a little shell-shocked. If it’s not their first, it’s probably even longer since they had a bit of time to themselves and though they’ve done the baby bit before, juggling that with one, two or more older children is a new challenge each time. After both my children I definitely felt like I was getting it all wrong and that other people coped better than me.
With the confidence in my ability as a mother that grows as they get older (I’m not useless after all!) and from speaking to other women, I now know that no one finds it easy. Some people make it look easy, some say it’s easy, some forget it wasn’t easy but most at some point will have struggled with some or all of it – with the feeding, with the sleeplessness, the loneliness or with feeling a little…ahem…resentful towards their partner.
The gifts I sell on Don’t Buy Her Flowers are thoughtful packages put together that are all about the mum because I believe she deserves some TLC. The Care Package has a magazine, truffles, tea and a hearty flapjack, and a scarf which will fit when not much else might AND is machine washable. The Essentials Package includes dry shampoo for obvious reasons as well as eye cream, hand cream and lip balm. The Date Night In gives couples what they need to enjoy an evening together when going out isn’t on the cards; Champagne or wine, massage oil, candles and truffles. I have also teamed up with COOK food so you can add their vouchers to any of the packages, and give new parents really good meals that they don’t have to prepare.
There’s nothing for the baby in our packages – most people have got everything they need, and there will be loads more occasions for buying a child something they need or love. There are no trinkets. There is a time for joke presents, and this isn’t it. (I know someone that wept when they received a ‘Keep Calm it’s only a baby’ magnet).
So it’s not that I hate flowers, but on this particular occasion I believe there are better things that can offer someone that has had a baby some TLC. They need it. Something that helps them take 10 minutes to themselves, or gives them time with their partner. Something that tells them they are loved because someone is thinking of how they might be feeling.
In sending something that is for the mum, I think the giver communicates all those things – it acknowledges that they know. I’m a massive believer in the sisterhood and that being honest with each other about motherhood, relationships and careers can make us all feel better – I write a blog called Sisterhood (and all that). The messages that people include in the packages – You can do this, You’re doing brilliantly, Colic is a bitch – really make me smile. It’s a powerful thing, and I think that is why we get so many reports of recipients crying (in a good way) when they open their package. Chances are most mums will still get flowers, but with Don’t Buy Her Flowers packages you can be the person that gives them something they will really appreciate.
By Steph Douglas