Tuesday, December 15, 2015

An honest mom's guide to new baby essentials

I've read countless Pinterest lists of Essential Newborn Items. They range from basic to excessive, crunchy to mainstream, and more often than not, flat out ridiculous. How did I survive without 25 pairs of newborn socks or the $1500 stroller?! I'll never know. Zulily had a New Baby Essentials shopping category recently that included items such as facial masks for guests to wear to contain their germs. Friends don't let friends share air with their baby.

The simple truth is that what is essential to me probably isn't essential to you. What was essential for my daughter was very different than what was essential for my son. At five months old, my dear boy has spent zero minutes in a stroller, sleeping in a crib, or bathing in a baby tub.

So what do you really need for that new bundle of joy? Here's my honest list.

5. Stain fighting super powers
Even if you embrace stains as works of art, kids have a knack for staining the one shirt that is actually semi-flattering that allows you to easily breastfeed in public. Or vomiting on those pants you tried on for thirty seconds just to make sure they'll work for the Christmas party. Or pooping all over the sofa during a midnight diaper change. OxiClean, Shout, or your all homemade mixture of peroxide, Dawn, and unicorn tears is your friend even when your baby isn't.

4. Strong Coffee
It still amazes me that anyone can function, let along parent, without this nectar from God himself. There's no shame in copious coffee consumption when you haven't slept in weeks, months, or years.

3. Fresh Air
Even if it's walking in circles around your back yard, fresh air can help you and baby recharge. It's my first line of defense against a grumpy baby or grumpy self. You might even get a few minutes of exercise while you're at it.

2. Sense of Humor
When the baby poos mid diaper change, causing both you and baby to need to bathe and change your clothes for the third time today, and it's not even 10am. And it's the only day this week you've actually showered or been dressed by 10am. Or when you wake your husband in the middle of the night and tell him to stop crying, not realizing that three week old infant is the one crying. Or when your toddler is out back butt naked while you obliviously snuggle your sleeping baby on the sofa. Or when the toddler wants you to sing "Let it Go" after an hour long tantrum. Or when you're so tired you walk the dog and don't realize you come back home without the dog. Or when you're at the grocery store to fulfill your donut craving and the stranger in front of you, upon hearing you still have 3 months of pregnancy to go, loudly exclaims, "Well, I guess when you're that short, baby has nowhere to go but straight out!" Or when your toddler completely photobombs your pictures of the baby even though she refused to join when you wanted her to. Or when you spend your Saturday night in the store checking out baby equimpent after the swing breaks. Or when your toddler, who is the most outgoing kid you know and an expert at cheesing it up for the camera, hasn't smiled for a professional photographer in the last two years. Or when the toddler, who is the reason you cosleep because she's never slept a wink in a crib, insists on sleeping in the crib when you set it up for the next baby. Or that week she spent every night on the new dog bed rather than her brand new pink ruffly big girl bed. Or when you're 37 weeks pregnant and your husband decides we need to scrap our list of baby names and start over. Or when you go into labor at 39 weeks and baby is born before you've come up with another name. Or when the baby empties an entire bottle of oregano on the dog. Or that day that was so long that you didn't realize you put the baby to bed without a diaper. Or when your husband graciously agrees to clean the bathtub when your baby is a few days old, and he ends up with a chemical burn from your organic all natural cleaner requiring two different steroids, an antibiotic, and an anti-inflammatory drug.  Need I go on? You're going to need to be able to laugh at yourself. You may very well cry first, but being able to laugh will help.

1. Mom Friends
Everyone needs a friend who will come over immediately the first time the baby falls off the sofa, who will come pick up your naked screaming baby so that you can take a nap, or heaven forbid, shower in peace for just a few minutes, who will laugh at you when necessary. Friends who show up with coffee and ignore your mountain of laundry, who treat your kids as their own, and who support your family even when they parent completely opposite of you. Friends who will laugh at you, cry with you, and help you survive your tiny tyrants.