All Those Must-Have Products…
What’s A New Mom To Do??March 7, 2009
After you have that first kidlet, and a couple of years after that, you are presented with so many ‘must haves’ and, being a good mom who wants the best for Little One, you buy far too many of them. Well, I did, anyway, sometimes feeling the fool. Items to make your baby more comfortable, safer, cleaner, smarter; your life easier, cleaner, stream-lined, systematic– all those gadgets and gizmos the nice, well-intentioned moms in the park told you that you really should have. (Hey, made their lives better, right?) Well, the ads in the parenting magazine you’ve been reading (with all those utterly cute kids’ pics in) say they are ‘must haves’. And then, the flip side: those products you need that simply don’t exist, so you compensate, jerry build, wondering how it is that babies have been born since the dawn of time and what you need does not even exist yet. Are the must-haves worth it? Can the non-existent necessities be fashioned affordably by mom?
I’m an ‘expert’ by mom-dom alone. No studies over time here, no surveys, no specialized market analysis. But if being a product target in the real world isn’t scientific enough, what is? I’ll start the maiden launch of the Fingerprint Files with a few:
Shopping Cart Covers: Huh? Wow- sounded great to me, too!! But…huh? While Little Cookie was still in infanthood, I began my quest for a shopping cart gizmo. Got my mom in on the action. At a super hefty price tag, I grew discouraged- we were talking $50 plus here. At that price, I expected functionality of purpose, ease of use, and it better be quality stitched and in a print I felt like showing off to any other moms I might run into while sifting through blinding arrays of soup labels.
Not talking brands or makers here. But I finally found a gorgeous one, brightly colored, with safety straps, generous leg holes, lots of cushy drapy padded fabric…which brings me home to ‘huh’? Really, a baby in one arm, a mass of screaming colored material in the other, trying to align everything, getting baby in- then having to hunt mightily for the right way the straps were supposed to work…
There are those who swear by these things. Power to them! Not me. I tossed the crumpled fabric in my cart and warned baby that she would have to work on her immune system, because that train wreck wasn’t on my already harried agenda. I still have it. Used less than once. Crumpled in the upper reaches of her closet. That was two years ago, and she is still alive and with us, and doesn’t get sick much.
Fingerprint take: If you can do without: do without! If not, but the tag is on the steep side- take a piece of desireable fabric, cut a couple of leg holes, and drape it over the cart’s handle and baby seat. Same protection for about $4. You can use the shopping cart seatbelt without having to juggle your child.
Safety/Walking Harnesses: Moms of twins, move on- this isn’t for you. All others, I am ashamed to say that my wild child earned her right to be harnessed, and that I, as her mother, earned my right not to deal with all those straps and buckles after purchase, before first use. Okay, maybe I’m strap and buckle challenged, but I would rather write another college thesis than to have to figure that thing out! Maybe I just picked up the wrong one, but I ask you–why would I ever try another after that particular misery of motherhood failure?
Same price alternative (and only a few nasty glares)- one of those marvelous, self-retracting dog leashes. For the strap impaired, it works just as well. After giving up on the physics and mechanics and nano-mega- uber technology of the harness, I was thrilled to simply pull back a simple lever with my thumb, insert through belt loop, and have my child within any distance I desired!
If you are anything like me, the glaring stares don’t touch you, as you know you are simply being protective of beloved kidlet. But there are drawbacks. I was at my wit’s end at a large chain drugstore as Little One ran through the aisles, pulling things off shelves, thinking it all very funny, and I could get little done. So I dragged her lovingly to the pet section and grabbed one of these wonderful leashes and attached. And she was delighted, and I was delighted. Until she got on all fours and started to bark. Then only she was delighted. After a couple of weeks of demanding she be leashed for each and every minor outing (um…like getting the morning paper from the driveway), she then refused to be leashed for anything, insisting she was not a dog, afterall.
Wipe Warmers: Just before Little One was born, the most adamant advice I received was that I absolutely must make sure I had a ‘wipe warmer’. It was like a mantra- ‘Need a warmer, need a warmer…’ I waddled my fat self to Target for a wipe warmer and read every word on every box to make sure to get the right one. Not sure which I bought, but I do know the box was very specific in dutifully letting me know that there would be no dastardly drying out of wipes, no browning, no burning.
That wipe warmer was another piece of…well, let’s just say, good thing I had wipes on hand. As dry and brown as they may have been. And they were. Wipes aren’t cheap–at $7-$9 a family pack. My week of warmed wipes cost quite a bit more. And I started wondering–why is a warmer needed anyway, even if it DID work as promised? Wipes will be the temperature of the room, afterall, with a slight cooling based on alcohol content. Live next to Santa? I’m willing to bet you have heat. If not, then you’ll be spending on something more urgent than a little box that makes your wipes prematurely browned.
In-Nursery Diaper Disposal Doo-Dads: Laugh outloud, I think all new moms either buy these or get them as gifts at showers from generous friends who are childless. Okay, I’ll admit to the purchase with high hopes of convenience. And, though I can’t name a brand because it’s been a while, it was great. It was spectacular! For the first few weeks, when all was “calm” on the olefactory front. I did have a bit of a problem with my particular purchase, because I was alone trying to put the hard plastic pieces together in the final hours of pregnancy, utterly unable to force the pieces into place without fearing contractions, but that isn’t my biggest gripe.
Biggest gripe: Very short ‘shelf life’, so to speak. Really, what’s the ‘shelf life’ on a used diaper? Exactly. The reality is, no plastic bin is going to save your husband from having to empty the trash. Constantly. It’s a given. My opinion, just take the trash out from day one, because no matter how often you clean your diaper genorama, or try to cheat mother nature, in a short few weeks, you’ll be taking the trash out daily (hourly) anyway. Skip the doodad, spend the difference on that cushy monogrammed blankie that will be cherished and, no doubt, loved forever.
So much for the nay-sayer in me at the moment. Next time, a few ‘must haves’ that are really Must Haves.
Love to you and your Little Ones!