My husband and I are at the beginning of our journey as parents. When we found out we were pregnant, we were elated. True nerds that we are, we started lists for just about anything we had to decide. One of these lists focused on our baby’s spiritual needs, and the other, on the little one’s material needs.
Experienced parents know (and parents-to-be, you have been warned): there is a LOT out there when it comes to baby gear. Some of it seems essential; some of it is totally adorable; some of it doesn’t seem necessary but makes life easier; and some of it is apparently completely useless.
As my husband and I waded through the lists of items suggested by various stores and parenting resources (on top of all the recommendations that were being made by family and friends), the question that came to mind again and again was: do we *really* need all of this?
On the one hand, it seems like we are constantly encouraged to spend a lot of money on items that will fill up our living space but might or might not come in handy.
On the other hand, neither he nor I have experience as parents so who are we to tell?
How do we balance our feeling with our lack of experience? I mean, it’s not like my husband and I don’t want to buy things for our little one; we want the baby to have everything it needs and we want those things to be quality products in as many ways as possible—including standing up as much as possible to ethical concerns.
What we decided to do was to research everything we were being recommended, from those we deemed essential to those we really don’t understand why we would need. For each item, we decided on which one we would buy should it become evident that we need it. We identified an online store where we could purchase said item and have it delivered within a reasonable amount of time (which varies according to the item, of course).
We figured that we are all caught, in North America, in a web of over-consumption. But our lack of experience strips us of the ability to differentiate if some things are actually needed or if they are being pushed on us by this consumption machine. So starting with the strict minimum then building on it with pre-done research felt like the best middle line to tread.
The most interesting thing we have noted to date is that we feel like we need more than we did before we started our research. We don’t know yet if this is because we have learned from all our research and the great advice we have gotten from our friends, or if it is because we have fallen under the influence of the consumption machine. All we feel we can do now is wait until the baby arrives and figure it out step by step, weighing the situation as it evolves and learn with each item we choose to purchase or not if we are being practical or just consuming for nothing.
This parenting thing just got even more interesting.
Picture courtesy of Wonderfelle Media