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The Secret To What Men Actually Want For Father's Day

{Father’s Day last year and the only thing missing was our kids. Thank you babysitters!}

Here is the latest from Heels in the Hills’ resident mama blogger, Barbara King, on surviving Father’s Day with some creative gift ideas…

After years of totally failing at Father’s Day gifts, I had almost accepted myself as a Dad Day gifting catastrophe. From the lukewarm and oddly crunchy “coffee” I once presented to my own dad on Father’s Day years ago, to the bag of misshapen ill-fitting socks I bought at Walgreens for my husband last year, I was a disaster. But after talking to some friends I’ve realized I’m not alone in my gift-giving flops. For the dads in our lives that aren’t our husbands it’s easy enough – a gift card, a phone call, a handwritten note – almost anything is acceptable and everything is appreciated. But for our baby daddies, it’s a whole different ballgame.

See, for Mother’s Day us moms want the same thing each year: Time alone. We beg for a spa day or a day in a hotel. We don’t want things – we just want to sleep, shower, and eat uninterrupted for a 12-hour period of time. But for Father’s Day we are all about throwing last-minute gifts at dads and cramming hours worth of exhausting activities into one day. Dads say they don’t want anything and the more I think about that, the more I realize that – as rare as it may be – maybe the men are right. The perfect Father’s Day gift is the non-gift! And what dads actually want is almost always the complete and utter opposite of the gift idea.

The Secret To What Men Actually Want For Father's Day

{My husband on official daddy duty at Annie and Tony’s wedding last summer.}

Here is what I mean:

Gift Idea:

Breakfast in bed (preferably fluffy pancakes decorated with cute organic blueberry eyes and a shiny red strawberry smile,) made by his darling children, and delivered promptly at 7am.

What He Actually Wants:

HE WANTS TO SLEEP. Stay the hell away from the bedroom for as long as possible and let him SLEEP past 7:30am for the first time in 5.5 years. Don’t even enter his bedroom until at least after 12pm and even then it should just be to make sure he is still breathing.

The Secret To What Men Actually Want For Father's Day

{If you want to totally ignore me and make some homemade pancakes this year – I swear by this recipe from Aunt Cindy down in Tennessee. Best pancakes I’ve ever eaten and whenever I use this recipe it’s like a taste of heaven.}

Gift Idea:

A watch.

What he actually wants:

TO NOT HAVE TO LOOK AT A CLOCK. During the week he has work, meetings, appointments, pick-ups, bedtime, all at specific hours of the day. So this Sunday, let the guy have a clock-free day.

Gift Idea:

A gift card to a classic shaving barber shop.

What he actually wants:

FOR YOU TO FINALLY LET HIM GROW A BEARD! Come on! Just let him divulge in his weirdo mountain man fantasies for once. While you’re at it, tolerate his shaggy hair and help him make a sexy man-bun so you can pretend he’s Chris Hemsworth. Don’t worry, by mid-July his beard will feel like sweaty prickly fire ants eating his chin so he will shave it off and never try again.

Gift Idea:

That super cool tie you bought from that boutique on Hyperion.

What he actually wants:

TO NOT HAVE TO WEAR A TIE. EVER. We live in southern California where “upscale” means “bathing suits are acceptable as clothing” and “black tie” means “bathing suits should be at least be kind of covered.” Forget the tie.

The Secret To What Men Actually Want For Father's Day

{For the first Father’s Day after my son was born we opted for sushi take-out which was actually just a secret gift for myself since I didn’t eat sushi throughout my pregnancy.}

Gift Idea:

Sexy lingerie for yourself. *This is in theory my favorite type of gift because it’s “for him”…but it’s really for you. And of course this gift is strictly for your man. However, this still doesn’t work because…

What he actually wants:

TO SEE YOUR BOOBS. I mean really. Whether it’s a pink silky lacy corset thingy or your old, stained nursing bra he does not care. It’s the precious cargo beneath that fabric that he loves, even post-baby.

The Secret To What Men Actually Want For Father's Day

{My daughter gave this drawing to her dad last year. She is already 100 times better at gift giving than I am.}

So for Father’s Day this year, don’t shell out cash on gifts and material items. (Which is good news anyway because you probably have a joint bank account.) Let your baby daddy sleep in and when he crawls out of his heavenly sleep coma he will be so grateful that he will remember this as the best father’s day ever.

Have you ever had a total gifting fail? If so, let me know about it so I know I’m not alone! Wishing everyone a very happy Father’s Day!

Barbara King-Wilson is an actress and writer living with her family in Los Angeles. Follow her @TheBarbaraKing and visit her at!

More from Barbara:

How To Raise The Future Female President of America

Dear Cool Mom At The Park…

So, Preschool Graduations Are A Thing Now

How I Didn’t (But Really Did) Find The Perfect School

10 Things That Cost The Same As Private School In L.A.

Three Schools You Can Only Find In L.A.

26 Questions To Ask On A School Tour

How I (Almost) Lost My Mind Applying to My Kid’s Elementary Schools

10 Questions L.A. Kids Have Asked Me

3 Signs You’re Ready To Be A Mom

Mommy Choices

2016 Resolutions Reality Check

My Minor Obsession with the PERFECT Holiday Photo


  • Andrea Dennis says:

    Bad gift story: I gave an ol’ boyfriend a blue seahorse keychain that I got at the Natural History Museum in London. I thought it was the perfect mix of manly [blue] and sentimental [to match the seahorse tattoo, named Cyril, that’s on my ass]. He begrudgingly kept it on his keychain for a year before admitting to me that his buddies teased him about it daily. I wasn’t mad when he gave it back to me because, ten years later, it’s still on my keychain and its my second favorite seahorse ever. Cyril, you’ll always be #1! I allowed to use the word ass on this blog?