Stuff on my Mind Lately -- Braxton Hicks Contractions, Minimalist Parenthood, and the Siren Call of the Baby Registry!
A quick note -- if you tried to email me in the last couple of weeks, dear friends, I tragically did not receive your messages. Why? Because technology hates me, and a perfectly functional email / server configuration suddenly decided it wasn't properly set up after all... and it took me a minute to realize that my lack of email correspondence was a tech problem and that I wasn't actually getting the Silent Treatment from the universe as I feared. SO relieved that the universe and I are still on speaking terms after all!! Moral of the story... if you had tried to get in touch with me, please email again. It should reach me now!
Stuff on My Mind Lately -- Braxton Hicks contractions!
My pregnancy app informed me a few days ago that "some women will begin experiencing Braxton Hicks around now" but sheesh, I've been having those bad boys for a couple of months at least. Not that they're really bad, and there's honestly no reason to think they're male either -- but I was having one as I started typing about it, so they definitely qualify as "on my mind". 😜
The app also said that the more Braxton Hicks contractions you have ahead of time, the fewer you will have to have during actual labor, presumably because your uterus is so freakin' Jillian-Michaels-style RIPPED after all that practicing / exercising. Sounds totally scientific, right? *nods hard to convince both of us*
Stuff on My Mind Lately -- Minimalist Parenthood and the Siren Call of the Baby Registry
The main thing I've been pondering lately, however, is what minimalism looks like in the context of babyhood and parenthood... and how cleverly baby registries are set up to UTTERLY THWART minimalism entirely!
If you've been around my blog very long you know that I like to cultivate simplicity in my surroundings. This is partly because I have ADHD, and if I'm not careful with my things they end up stored in disheveled piles that make it hard for me to think clearly. It's also partly because I prefer to collect and decorate with things that hold stories and memories, whether that's ceramics that decorated my grandmother's home when she was a child or carved Buddha statues that my dad purchased while he was stationed in Vietnam. Long before I read (and loved!) the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I had my own philosophy of minimalism, which declared that all my things had to pay rent to stay in my home, whether that was in the form of utility or aesthetics. If it wasn't useful, wasn't beautiful, and didn't make me happy, I should evict it.
Enter baby-to-debut-soon... and BABY REGISTRIES! Let me tell you, there is some super devious psychology behind baby registries! (Behind any kind of registry, honestly, but we'll just focus on baby registries right now...) The first part of that psychology starts with the incentives and the completion discounts. A free box of baby stuff for opening a registry? Okay, I'm hooked, thanks for the cute stuff! Now what? A completion discount to buy anything left on my registry once baby comes? Yes please! Oh wait, that means I better list everything I POSSIBLY could need on the registry, so it will be eligible for the discount at the end... I wonder what I will need?
And that's where the whole thing really gets devious.
Because that's when the baby registry starts throwing the lists at you.
Those DUMB lists.
Here you have an adorably clueless new parent-to-be, wide-eyed and wanting to be prepared for this crazy new life adventure that has hijacked her body, and the registry goes, "now honey, these are the things you have GOT to have." And, scared of inadequacy and wanting the best for her baby, the new parent nods obediently and goes cross-eyed reading reviews and checking things off The Big Bad List.
And look at how dumb these lists are!
That's right, you MUST have a crib-bedding set. Even though a crib-bedding set serves no purpose beyond being cute, and in fact putting ANYTHING in the baby's crib (including "breathable" crib bumpers, quilts, security blankets etc) is listed by the NIH as a risk factor for SIDS. And the Mayo Clinic says to "keep the crib as bare as possible." Suddenly the "must-have" crib bedding set and crib blankets, and the "good-to-have" security blankets, all appear in quite a different light, don't they? A very minimalist-friendly light, I might point out...
But poor hormonal, anxious mama-to-be might not know any of that, and keeps clicking, determined to provide her baby with a cozy night's sleep.
Stuff on My Mind Lately - DUMB Baby Registry Lists, Minimalist Parenting & Braxton Hicks.. https://t.co/VGGJbMZSKh 😉 #33weekspregnant #OMG— Sarah Eliza (@REALsaraheliza) March 16, 2017
In addition, do you see how much clever repetition happens on these lists? Receiving blankets and swaddle blankets are pretty much EXACTLY the same thing, and then there's crib blankets and wearable blankets... All adding up to 21+ separate pieces all designed to serve the exact same function, of simply keeping your baby warm. Whaaaat?
You don't have to be an avowed minimalist to think that's crazy!
Basically, of that list up there, the only things that seem like compelling NEEDS to me are crib sheets, swaddle blankets, and waterproof pads that are going to double as baby-changing pads. And I feel no pressure about whether or not my assessment of that is 100% accurate or only 80%, because I can always adjust it once the baby arrives.
Deep breaths, fellow Minimalist Mamas! 😤 Join me in repeating one of my favorite mantras... I'm totally allowed to figure this out as I go.
And, as further reassurance, take note that I have been informed by several awesome Minimalist Mamas (who have a lot more experience than me) that all you REALLY need for baby is diapers and something to feed him / her. Funny how the companies behind baby registries don't popularize that viewpoint, huh? 😜
To conclude, I'm not saying that there is no place for blankets in baby's life... in fact, we've already been gifted a perfectly lovely baby blanket that I know we will treasure... but it's going to serve as a soft and comfy base for tummy time, or maybe a cozy layer for stroller and carseat outings, until baby is big enough to be past the scary possibility of SIDS. Because minimalism is all about multitasking with our possessions... and owning 21 difference pieces of cloth all designed to keep baby warm doesn't qualify.
Unless, that is, you live in Alaska or somewhere with a similar climate. In which case, I readily conceded that keeping baby warm might look a little different for you!
PS -- if there were any specific baby items that made life as a new parent a little easier for you, please do let me know in the comments... I'm a minimalist, not a masochist! 😉
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