Registering for gifts has always made me very happy. The little pricing gun, watching your online tracking list dwindle down, knowing the presents you open were pre-selected – it’s a beautiful process. When it came time to register for our first baby shower, J and I were told about “The List” – a popular big box baby store’s print out of suggested must-have baby items. We stopped by to grab a copy. I stood very still, staring at what seemed to be over 200 items. This thought flashed through my mind: “What the hell is ‘layette’? Le what? Le who?” Seeing the look on my face, J gently removed The List from my death grip and led me to the Thai restaurant next door. Mus Mun curry with chicken makes everything better.
Fast forward to a gorgeous Saturday morning at one of my favorite south Austin coffee spots. I noticed a woman pushing the stroller of my dreams – compact, easy to maneuver, and red. When I asked her about it, we fell into a conversation about how much stuff you can feel pressure to buy. I loved her spin, “All your baby really needs is a soft place to sleep and your boobs.”
I found peace somewhere in the middle. I was lucky enough to have several awesome mama friends who combed through The List with me, voting on the items they agreed were essential. They had saved tons of gently used baby gear for me, and we registered for/bought a few things we were pretty certain we’d need, because of their function or their irresistible cuteness. Some things on The List actually became needs later, requiring some post-baby shopping. Through it all, I kept reminding myself that as long as our little one had us, we’d all survive.
The nesting instinct that comes over parents can be intense. If used for good, it can result in completed projects, an organized house, and a calm, centered you. If gone awry, it can convince you that you should be afraid, you should buy everything on multiple Lists, and if you don’t have a microwavable steamer bottle sterilizer that doubles as a baby monitor… game over. Deep, deep breaths. It’s not about the stuff. The most valuable thing you can give your baby is a healthy you – your arms, your milk and your sanity.
BPP Sanity Saving Tips:
- Remember that lists of “Must-Haves” can be treated more as “Helpful Suggestions.” Ask moms you admire for advice on what to procure before baby’s arrival, and what can wait, if it’s needed at all.
- Arrange in advance for someone to make runs for baby items you later realize would really help (and groceries, and Mus Mun with chicken).
- If you start to feel overwhelmed or unprepared, remind yourself of the truest essential for your baby: love. Pretty sure you’ve got a lot of that.
Here’s To Sanity and Layette,
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