I receive a bunch of parenting magazines each month, and in addition to some great articles, there’s always the latest in baby products and products that claim to make mom and dad’s lives easier. I like to browse through them while I have a cup of Joe, but instead of bookmarking the things I need, I usually find myself laughing at all the things that are unnecessary.
Sure, there are some really great items I have my eyes on; a baby beach tent, some safety products, and educational videos, but for the most part, and I’m sure veteran parents warned you: you don’t need all this stuff. Besides, I vowed I would not become the parent whose day trip to the beach looked like a traveling circus.
When I was pregnant, I argued with my mom about registering for my baby shower. My approach was to see what I could get handed down — or at a bargain — and then plan from there. But my mother wanted only the best (read: brand-spanking new) for her first grandbaby. I thought I was being practical, but she insisted that it was “better” to register for everything. And so we did.
Having two full days of baby registering was not my favorite part of my pregnancy. (How did my husband manage to get out of that one?)
My mom was easily sold into getting every item on the baby checklist. I wanted to find gender neutral products for the more expensive things, with the idea that if the next baby is a boy, we can save on that expense. Grandma wanted everything to be pink for her princess.
We made some compromises. In typical New Yorker fashion, I opted for mostly black big-ticket items: stroller, car seat, stylish diaper bag, etc. She got to pick out the nursery décor, with my approval of course.
We ended up being happy with our choices. I got to register for some products that I know will get extra bang for their buck, and she got to “go all out” for her granddaughter.
Deciding which items are worth buying, whether big or small, is overwhelming. There’s a huge baby industry pushing great — and not-so-great — products on parents, which is why I like talking to other moms and finding out what baby products they can’t live without. Recently, a mom friend of mine came over for a play date and brought me one of those mesh snack holders. I had no clue what it was until she explained that you place fruit inside so that baby can suck on it without choking. Genius! I went out and bought three more. (My dog liked them too, but that’s another story.)
I also have friends who swear by any toy that will keep their children entertained for more than 10 minutes. Every mom has her preferences.
In my short time as a mom, I’ve figured out what my go-to items are (besides my coffee maker). Luckily, most of Olivia’s clothes have been (gasp) hand-me-downs, and for that, we have been so grateful, because babies really do grow out of them in a moment’s time. I’ve been happy to pass on clothes and products that we no longer need, and try to think practically when making new purchases. Maybe I have to accept the fact that I’ll no longer be able to get up and go as I did before, and some baby stuff is needed here and there. A beach day where I grab a towel and a book is probably a thing of the past, but being with Olivia is still a day at the beach.
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