Don’t Buy Her Flowers

So here we are. The Sisterhood (and all that) blog has a new home, and I have launched a business – Don’t Buy Her Flowers.

When Mabel was a tiny baby two years ago I had a business idea because, frankly, I found newborn babies tough. I loved their little old man faces off, but I felt exhausted, a bit lost, sore and a bit more exhausted. The idea was gifts for new mums that are better than flowers. Flowers seem to be a go-to present when someone has a baby; 96% of women receive flowers after giving birth. I had 8 bunches when I had Buster, less when I had Mabel (presents definitely dwindle a bit with the second child) but still more than I had enough vases for. I was grateful for all the things that people had kindly sent – I know they didn’t have to send anything. I just thought that if someone does want to buy something, there must be so many things that would be a bit more thoughtful or useful than cuddly toys, trinkets or items that a lot of new parents have already got.

Since I had Buster nearly four years ago, whenever a friend had a baby I got a few nice things for the mum and shoved them in the post in a Jiffy bag. If they lived nearby, I left food on their doorstep. Now, I’m no Mother Teresa. I spent a fair amount of the last four years on maternity leave after having two babies close together, so I had a bit more time to do these things. It made me feel useful. I received such lovely cards and messages of thanks for these hastily put together packages and meals, friends outpouring gratitude basically because someone had thought of them.

After I had Mabel I started to realise that this idea could become a business. I came up with things that might encourage Mum to stop and have a hot cup of tea, or to have a bit of time with her partner, or to eat a hot meal without having to think about the cooking. A lot of us don’t have our families and close friends on our doorstep – the people that you want around when you’re still leaking like an old bucket and wearing leggings or pyjamas at all times. Many women are having babies a bit later, so maybe the sudden change in pace and responsibility comes as more of a shock than it would have if we were younger. Maybe we feel we should be coping better because we’re ‘grown up’.

I had both my babies around the same time as my friend Mel and we were very honest with each other about how we felt, perhaps because we were going through it together. Of course I talk to my husband too, but there are some things he can’t go through. For almost four years Mel and I have known when the other is anxious, happy, sad or constipated. She realised I was pregnant with Mabel before we did; Doug went to get fish and chips, I said I didn’t want any, he didn’t get mushy peas, I threw some chips at him and rang Mel crying. She gently suggested perhaps I should take a pregnancy test and whaddya know, she was right. We had each other for support, to reassure each other we weren’t bonkers, and that our husbands weren’t pigs (or sometimes back us up if they were). I suppose the idea behind the blog comes from finding the kind of honesty we share hugely reassuring. Then when she was heavily pregnant and I’d had Mabel, Doug had to go away with work and she came and did some ironing, fed me, held my newborn while I bathed my toddler and then held me while I cried. I know not everyone has that or we’re not able to do that for others all the time. The idea behind Don’t Buy Her Flowers is to give a little something to someone that has had a baby that will make her feel cared for.

Since having my own kids, I want to cry when I see someone that’s just had a baby. It’s a little socially awkward; everyone else is cooing, congratulating and back-slapping Dad and I’m fighting back tears and an urge to squeeze the mother really tight (which I know would be inconsiderate on account of the rock-like porn-star boobs you have at the beginning). It’s just that I remember it so well. Feeling ecstatic and sad and proud and mental and scared. Worrying that I was making a total pig’s ear of it and that everyone that saw me also thought I was making a pig’s ear of it. The utter exhaustion – waking for the 6th time in the night to a crying baby and thinking ‘I just can’t do it. I can’t get up again’. But you can and you do. Even though we might not realise it until later, or maybe we never really do, as well as a beautiful new life we have gained a phenomenal new strength. That bird in her early 20s that cried over a boy that wasn’t even very nice to her? Pah. She’s got nothing on you. Well, except the perkier boobs.

Anyway I just wanted to explain why the blog looks a bit different, and I’d love you to have a look at the rest of the site. ‘Sisterhood (and all that)’ will carry on as before. A huge thank you to everyone that has read this blog, shared it, commented, disagreed with it (yes, even them). Without wishing to sound like a plum this was the start of a new chapter and, coupled with Doug’s fearless support, the response gave me the courage to quit my job and get on with it. The blog felt like a slightly smaller step toward coming out of my comfort zone before I was ready to take the next giant leap. It’s also been reassuring to know I’m not the only woman that has felt, at times, bonkers. I’m most definitely not alone in getting annoyed about who puts the bins out either.

I’m not going to harp on about it, but if I’ve learnt nothing else in the last five years, I know that life is unexpected. Just when you think everything is peachy, it can take a turn. I’m quietly terrified, but also not willing to spend the next thirty years wondering ‘what if…?’. It’s squeaky bum time.

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54 thoughts on “Don’t Buy Her Flowers

  1. Kate says:

    I bought one of these for my mum for Mother’s Day and she loved it!!! Thank you so much….a fab idea! Hopefully someone will buy one for me one of these days!!

  2. Mel says:

    i sent this package to a friend recently for the birth of her 3rd child and she was so touched to receive something for HER. Loved the scarf, loved the chocs and loved feeling thought of at a time when she was pretty tired and feeling anything but special. It’s a great idea with a really great ethos behind it. Know it’s going to be a huge success.

  3. Sara says:

    What a brilliant suprise to receive a DBHF package full of lovely things. Next friend to have a baby will be sent one of these, that’s for sure!
    Now all I need is for the boys to leave the house so I can read my glossy magazine and enjoy the chocolate (without having to share…).

  4. Nic says:

    I’ve just received the Date Night In package and it’s fab. I’ve already finished the wine (good wine!!) and the chocs are going down nicely! The products are really good quality so I’m really chuffed. My husband has already promised a massage so the lovely bottle sits waiting on the table… We’ll see how long it takes him!!
    I will definitely be buying these as gifts for my new mum friends (and dropping very large hints to any other halves out there). Great idea Steph. Good luck x

  5. sara says:

    I have just received one of your care packages from friends from my son’s class at school after having my third child. Fabulous idea and was so excited to open it. It is great to get something for me that is useful and makes you feel good. I would definitely buy one of these for friends in the future.

    • Steph says:

      This is so good to hear, thank you for leaving a comment Sara. Definitely deserved. Congratulations, I hope you can enjoy a ‘break’ long enough to have hot tea! X

  6. Sarah (@tamingtwins) says:

    Well done Steph! As a Mum to twins who received dozens of bunches of flowers, this is such a thoughtful and considered concept.

    It’s not about those flowers we’ve all received not having been appreciated, but it’s just offering people the chance to do something a little different. It’s perfect.

    I cannot wait for my next friend to pop!

  7. Katie says:

    Absolutely LOVE this idea, although i’m not a mum (yet!!) can see how these would make much better gifts than flowers. Have some friends in mind already who they’d great for. Good luck Steph, good for you!!

  8. George says:

    Love this idea – and agree that flowers (whilst amazing the rest of the year) are just another chore to deal with in those first few weeks. The Cook vouchers are inspired – the modern day equivalent of making a lasagne, for those not close enough or who don’t have the time. My favourite gift after my first was a tube of fancy french nipple cream and a back massager! Best presents ever. Good luck.

  9. Chloe says:

    Great idea. New mums can seem very tricky to buy for, but I think a lot of people just need a bit of guidance in the right direction. I remember feeling a little dejected that the baby and even my other half got more thoughtful presents than the ones I received, when looking back, it was me that needed a little treat the most. We basically received a ton of alcohol (too tired, breastfeeding, and in post birth recovery to enjoy it properly), and chocolates (no complaints there, but bit of an ‘afterthought’ present), and the same bloody Neil’s Yard mum and baby set a million times over. I’m not even sure what I really would have wanted, but I guess just something that seemed like a real treat or a luxury. Or even just some of my old skincare favourites and makeup – it doesn’t have to be a ‘mum’ present just because you’ve just become one.

  10. brummymummyof2 says:

    Fab idea lovely! We all love a bunch of flowers but to be honest in those hazy first days it would have been lovely to have another treat. It’s also something that can be taken to the hospital or ordered if you are far away from your loved one. Brill! And good luck with it all xxxxxxx

  11. Jude says:

    I love this post and how we’ve watched your business grow over the past few months. It’s such a natural step for Sisterhood to be pampering mums in their most vulnerable, exciting and emotional times of their lives. Yay! Go Steph! Now, I just need to get pregnant again…

  12. Potty Mouthed Mummy says:

    This is such a wonderful idea, I have been sharing with everyone I know who knows people with kids on the way. I was exactly like you – too many flowers and not enough vases. Flowers are still lovely, but when you have a tiny flat and 20 bouquets, they can lose their appeal!! I would have adored something like this when I got out of hospital. Just wonderful and I am sure it will be a success with you at the helm my lovely xx

  13. Complicated Gorgeousness says:

    What an amazing concept. It is not just the gifts but the idea of receiving a box of goodies in the post that is just for you when the world starts to centre around a small baby. There is a time and a place for flowers and they are lovely to receive – but on your birthday you wouldn’t want 12 bunches so why when you give birth. Well done you xx

  14. jo says:

    Hey Steph, Follow your dream woman! What a great idea – don’t suppose any florists are going to go out of business because of you either. You’ve so got it, I remember the stress of not knowing what the fuck to put all the beautiful flowers in – didn’t detract from the giver, they were kind, but it was more about them. A meal for an exhausted Mum and her family or smellies when even a trip to the chemist is impossible, is a kindness that will always be remembered. Wish you the very best of luck. Jo X

  15. Goldenone says:

    notonthe highstreet, icantbelieve its not butter!! I don’t suppose shopkeepers, butter makers and cows were up in arms with those brands and i think they’re doing ok.

    Great idea, great name and good luck to you

  16. Hayley says:

    This is a great idea. I have three children and my very favourite gift was given to me when my youngest was born, by a good friend. She had collected my two older children from school, delivered them home to me fed and brought half a dozen magazines and a large chocolate cake. She even made the cup of tea! What more does a girl need?

  17. Hannah says:

    Flowers are lovely and i get your not dissing them as a present just saying there may be some essentials that would suit a new mum better. I love a big bunch of flowers for my birthday but in all honesty cant really remember the flowers i got after having my babies (I do remember the moet) but can see how opening one of these lovely gifts would be exciting and just for me! I wouls still love to recieve any of them and with a 2 and 1 year old the dinner date night in would be a great christmas gift (hint hint) Well done for being brave enough to say it out loud

  18. Saran says:

    Good concept….offensive name to each and every florist out there. The gesture is that of the giver, they decide what to offer and if they choose flowers to give who are we to judge? Yes, there are better gift ideas and I’m sure your intentions are good but why use a another product in your name? Seems a little thoughtless and irresponsible. I’m sure there are many florists who will be saddened by this as you’ve instantly undermined their trade. Yes, flowers are the easy option but some people love them! Others are wise enough to say they don’t want flowers. You’ve obviously chosen flowers as your target and clearly reasoned why but there are positive elements to flowers too, the same as any other product. Im not against your concept, just the name. An imaginative concept but very unimaginative name – if you’d thought about it more, a woman with your experience should have known better to do this. Very disappointing!

  19. Myles says:

    Sorry to say but think the name ‘don’t buy her flowers ‘ is highly offensive to all those hard working early raising, florists out there , most of them mainly women ! Maybe you thought it was attention grabbing in a quick ,cheap way to call that . The reason being you can’t change vases .Not SISTERHOOD to me ! If be happy receiving the flowers instead any day

    • Steph says:

      Thanks for your comments. This is about one specific occasion in a calendar of occasions when people buy flowers, rather than taking on the entire industry. It’s definitely not just about changing vases.

  20. Kirsty says:

    I LOVE this idea – it’s not just great for new mums. After 3 years not working I’d had to stop buying my usual fancy moisturiser and was using stuff from the supermarket. When my fella sent me flowers on our anniversary – through the post – I could have cried. I knew they’d cost a fortune and every time I looked at them I wanted to smash them over his head.

  21. Miguel says:

    Hi Steph!

    Well done on starting up a business. I wish you all the best in your new adventure!
    3 years ago I opened my own business – it was always a dream to run my own flower shop. It’s not an easy job working long hours in a freezing cold but I always kept smiling as I’m so happy and proud of what I’m doing.
    I was hurt then I heard the name of your company which creates such a negativity related to flowers. As you worked in marketing and branding industry I’m sure you could create a better name for your company and not offend anyone.

    • Steph says:

      Hi Miguel – thanks for your comment and I’m glad you’re happy and proud. Anyone that looks at the website can see that this is about a particular occasion ie after a baby has been born, rather than about flowers or florists. I love flowers! I also feel passionately that many new mums find it tough and anything that might make them feel a bit better is important. There is definitely room for everyone.

  22. Amy Ransom says:

    Well done Steph. Great idea and I love the name :). You’ve certainly been busy. Good luck with it and I will share. Having just visited my friend with her first baby this morning (2 weeks old), I so get what you said about just wanting to hug them whilst everyone is cooing. Having a baby is such an odd, extreme, overwhelming time. X ps see you’re stocking Laidbare-do you know Sarah Silvester?

  23. Caroline (Becoming a SAHM) says:

    Love this, such a fab idea. Always nice to hear someone else who struggles with the baby days. We have a 2 1/2 yr old and a nearly 3 wk old… Baby days are hard so gifts that help mummas feel a bit better sound like an amazing idea to me!! X

    • Steph says:

      Thanks Caroline – and three weeks with a 2 1/2 year old! I would definitely well up if I saw you. Hope you’re ok and being kind to yourself, and thank you. It’s really easy for people to forget how that first bit feels so having your comments is really helpful. Lots of love (and good wishes for some sleep tonight) x

  24. Dawn says:

    Great idea Steph! I’ll be sharing this with all my mummy friends. I remember wishing someone would bring me some really good nipple cream and those ice pack things to stick in your bra. I had to send hubby to boots in the end – he was great about it but surely one of my girls could have rocked up with some. Oh and copious amounts of chocolate and cake. 6 months later and those gift boxes still sound like heaven. Best of luck Steph x

  25. Ems says:

    Such a great idea Steph – I got about 10 bunches of flowers in one go when I had my baby earlier this year (6 from my mother in law bless her!) All hugely appreciated but in hindsight changing the water every few days was a chore I could’ve done without! Gorgeous pressie boxes, good luck xx (ps bins out is the mans job, lol!!)

    • Steph says:

      Thanks Ems – I think that’s it, it’s not that flowers aren’t lovely but there’s room for other gifts, especially if you might get ten bunches! x

  26. Sam says:

    What a fab idea Steph! You’re so right – there are so many better and more thoughtful gifts than flowers for a new mum. I was given some wonderful things by my work colleagues and a lovely new mums toiletries pack from a good friend which had things for mum and things for baby with lovely patchouli type fragrances – one of my favourites! Really really good luck with your new enterprise hon 🙂 Xx