Jun 24, 2010  •  In Baby, Personal, Pregnancy

Already Feeling Like a Bad Mom

All the mommy/pregnancy blogs I read post tons of nursery inspiration photos, show off all the lovely DIY goodies they have crafted for their child(ren), and seem genuinely excited about filling their homes with baby clothes, toys, and accessories.

Me? Not so much.

Beautiful nurseries are nice, to be sure, but I’m too cheap and lazy to go all out. I would be perfectly happy to add a crib to the (already-bare) guest room and call it a day. J and I have joked about painting a Transformers mural à la Scrubs, but I doubt we will get around to even painting the walls a different color.

As for DIY projects, you can forget about it. As adept as I may be with a pencil/paintbrush/mousepad, I am a total DIY klutz when it comes to actual, hands-on crafts.

I also do not look forward to baby shopping. Like, at all. I still don’t go gaga over cute baby outfits and toys and I doubt that I ever will. I look at “must-have” items such as swings and bouncers and think, It’ll add so much clutter to our home! Does the baby really NEED this stuff? If our parents did without it, can’t we live without it as well?”

Please tell me I’m not the only mother to feel this way.

13 Responses to “Already Feeling Like a Bad Mom”

  1. robmercier00:

    The bottom line is always this: every parent will do their thing differently. There’s no 1 right answer, there’s no 1 wrong answer. The important thing is to love your baby, something all-too-often overlooked by parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles who think that buying lots of things for the baby is what you’re "supposed" to do. If that happens, she’ll grow up fine. Great, even. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that what you’re doing is "wrong" because it’s not what they would do. It’s normal to have second thoughts and reservations about most things, especially about whether or not you’ll be a good enough parent. The fact that you’re thinking (and worrying) about it means you’re on the right track! You & J do your thing, as only you two can, and the results will be amazing, as all babies are. :)

    All that being said, I would totally like to see pics of a Transformers-inspired nursery. ;)

    Love the blog (fairly new reader), keep up the great work!!

  2. Teresa:

    Bad mom? Because you don’t want to add a lot of waste to an already wasteful world so that your children will inherit a more beautiful environment? :-) I’d say don’t feel too bad about it.

    I felt the exact same way as you and so I sent my mother and mother-in-law to babies r us with the scan gun. Then removed about half of the stuff they put on the list. And then later I changed my mind and was willing to buy just about any gadget that would entertain my daughter for 15 minutes while I took a shower and put on clean clothes. I assuaged my guilt though by buying from second hand stores.

    So you’re not alone! Good luck!

  3. Mary:

    You’re not the only one. I don’t plan to put up a crib or buy the unnecessary things for my son. Like you, I’ll all about keeping it simple and if our parents didn’t get it for us when we were young and we turned out perfectly fine, then our children really don’t need them either. I’m all about saving money and having less clutter in our small two bedroom apartment.

  4. While we painted Piper’s room (turquoise with chocolate trim), added four framed owl pictures and drapes (and an as-yet to be applied decal that is up above her crib taped in position), and bought a 199.00 rug (GOD), her stuff isn’t great. Her dresser and bookshelf are from Ikea, her crib was a hand-me-down, her glider was a gift, and that’s it. Her crib is the ugliest thing ever, but I so don’t care. I am all about efficient. There is no fancy bedding (that shit is EXPENSIVE and useless- you can’t use the bumper or the quilt so why bother paying hundreds of dollars for SHEETS??), her crib has an ecru mesh bumper, a chocolate brown fitted sheet over a waterproof mattress pad with a sheet-saver on top, so you can’t even SEE the brown sheet anyway! I don’t care. She’s not any less loved than the parents who spend hundreds of dollars on baby bedding- when most babies won’t even sleep in their crib for months anyway.

    Without hand-me-downs Piper would be naked and playing with empty Aquafina bottles. I’m cool with that.

  5. Jimmer:

    I cannot stand the clutter! Too much STUFF. Robmercier was right, every parent is different; I’ll add that every kid is different, if only to complicate life. Our oldest kid has been 14 since she was born, and she had to be stimulated at all times – bouncing her while sitting down wasn’t good enough…she had some sort of built in altimeter that must’ve blared in her ears "Daddy is sitting down while bouncing you!" So, the swing worked pretty well.
    Our second kid, however, was the complete opposite; you could just lay her on a blanket all day and she was happy…which only aggravated my attitude toward all the stuff we still had laying around.

    Pretty much the only things I recommend are collapsible high-chairs or the kind of chair that attaches to a counter/table. You’re on your own with all the other crap (pun intended).

  6. Jen:

    If you’re not into decorating and clothes, it totally makes sense that you don’t want to create a whole themed nursery with paint and rugs and shiny furniture and a closet full of cute outfits.

    You sound extremely practical to me.

  7. LHR:

    you sound completely sane and practical. babies don’t need that much stuff, and being a new mom, you have no idea what baby will really need anyway.

    however, once you have the kid your aesthetic sense may go out the window a bit. we don’t have many toys, but i can tell you that brightly-colored, obnoxious things are usually pretty effective in keeping the kid entertained. also, especially in the hazy, sleepless newborn days you’ll be desperate enough to buy things that you shouldn’t need…like bouncers, swings, white-noise machines, etc, etc etc…

  8. I don’t think you should feel bad. We move a lot for my husband’s job, and so when the time comes for us to have kids, we won’t be painting a nursery or going crazy decorating, because we’re renters and it will all just have to come down in a short amount of time anyway.

    As you said, I didn’t have any of that growing up, and I don’t feel deprived for not having had it, nor have my parents ever been apologetic for not painting a nursery or handcrafting nursery artwork. I think if you want to do it and have the means to do it, it’s great. I admit to visiting ohdeedoh.com from time to time to check out cute kids’ rooms. But in the end, there are more important things to worry about/spend time and money on.

    I’m sure I’ll be tempted to buy way too many clothes/books (and toys, if our dog is any indication)…so to each their own!

  9. MrsW:

    I’m the same way. Our baby’s "nursery" is a section of our room, with a crib, changing table, glider, and dresser that are all either gifts or hand-me-downs. I do have a Classic Pooh wall-hanging that I’d like to put up, but haven’t got around to it yet, and that was from the thrift store, anyway. We have neither the space or resources to give her a beautifully coordinated room or lots of toys, so instead we spend our time on her, with lots of play with the toys we do have and lots of cuddling and talking.

  10. Did you watch Babies yet? I think that movie reinforces that fact that you’re baby will be happy in a hut with some sheep. Laughter and love are universal.

    And don’t worry about not accumulating all of the baby junk now. You’re probably already starting to get tons of stuff that you’ll never use. The moment a baby comes into the house, it’s hard to keep all the accesories at bay, so you are doing yourself a favor by not stocking up now.

  11. None of my kids ever even *had* a nursery. ;) When I had my first, I already had two step-children and a two-bedroom apartment, so giving the baby a whole room to himself was just not going to happen. He slept with us until he was done breastfeeding at night, and then slept in the kids’ room. I did put some stickers on the wall over his crib, but that’s it. Remember, if you decorate the room for a baby, you’re just going to have to do it all over again in a couple of years. I say, don’t do it unless it’s something you enjoy!

    As for buying all of the "must-haves," I think the only ones who benefit from that are the companies that make and sell all that junk. Most parents I know have a few essential items that work for *them*, and the rest of it either ended up collecting dust or they never bought it at all. I think the best thing is to buy the bare essentials at first, and then buy more if you find that you really need or want it.

    These are the only things that I think virtually all parents need to buy before the baby’s birth, because you need them pretty much right away:
    – A carseat, because they won’t let you leave the hospital / birthing center without one. Even if you give birth at home, you can’t take the baby to the store (at least not in a car) to buy a carseat unless you already have one.
    – Diapers and wipes, especially if you plan to use cloth, because cloth isn’t available in hospitals or corner drug stores. If you use disposables, don’t buy a ton of the newborn size right away. Some babies outgrow them fast, and some are born too big for them already! You can always buy more if you need them.
    – At least a few outfits / blankets. If nothing else, you have to get the baby dressed to go to the store to buy more clothes. New babies don’t dirty their clothes much, except for the occasional diaper explosion, and they outgrow them quickly, so you only need enough to last until laundry day.
    – Bottles / formula, but only if you plan to bottlefeed. Only buy a couple because you might not like them / the baby might turn out to be allergic / you might decide to change brands. Don’t buy them at all if you plan to breastfeed; just having formula in the house can thwart breastfeeding success.
    – A place for the baby to sleep, whether he sleeps with you, in a bassinet, or in a crib. (Research shows that co-sleeping is safest for babies whose mothers breastfeed them in bed. The practicalities of this cause mothers to instinctively assume a position that protects the baby from being smothered, allowing them to safely gain the advantages of co-sleeping, such as a lowered risk that the baby will stop breathing in the middle of the night.)

    Highchairs, slings, bouncy seats, toys, fancy clothes, teething rings, and everything else can wait. Once you start parenting, you’ll realize what items will be most useful to *you*, and you can buy them with a lot less worry about whether you are wasting your money and accumulating junk.

  12. Helene HT:

    "It’ll add so much clutter to our home! Does the baby really NEED this stuff? If our parents did without it, can’t we live without it as well?"

    omg! i coudln’t agree more with you!! i’m 21 weeks pregnant and i still haven’t gotten one piece of baby clothes bought. worse, i still look at my own stuff instead of the baby’s when i go shopping!! and sadly… i don’t feel bad at all =b

  13. I started out TOTALLY against purchasing things for the baby. We got by on hand-me-downs (including crib & carseat) and gifts for most of the first year. Over time, I have softened a lot on certain purchases as I learn their unexpected value. Example: I really loved having special outfits for Christmas and her first birthday, and decided she MUST own a tutu and a bee costume. Turns out my parental memories of this short and precious time have decided they demand certain props. And I’ve totally given in on a constant parade of new, cheap toys (later passed on to other kids when they become boring) because sometimes I’m desperate to amuse her and a new $5 toy can buy hours of relative peace. Yet we still use a portable cooler as a diaper bag and a stepladder bungeed to some furniture as a baby gate. In the end, it’s all about doing whatever works for you — not being afraid to skip a generally accepted "must have" OR to make a random purchase on a whim just because it makes you happy.

    And the kid is 15 months old and still sleeps in our room. We might have moved her in the last month or two if we had a nursery ready, but WE haven’t been ready to move her before this. Again every couple is different, but, especially if you’re into the whole attachment parenting thing, a nursery really isn’t a big deal in the first year or so. (And the wall actual decor even less so!)

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