Who Knows Best – Mother or Babies R Us?

This might piss someone off. I apologize in advance to a lovely friend who is due soon and I’m so excited for her! I was in Everett yesterday in their version of South Bay Center at Babies R Us. Basically the Everett version of South Bay Center is more spacious, clean, and the people give each other warm smiles in the checkout line. Oh, and there are more Brazilians. Coincidence?

I actually went to Babies R Us for something else, but while I was there I asked them to print off a friend’s registry. I had a chuckle. I admit it. I’m a jerk. I chuckled at some of the items on the list. For the love of g-d and all things holy, who needs all this bottle paraphernalia? Who sanitizes their bottles? (I mean besides boiling them in a pot of water). Is it me? Am I careless, or have I just been a mom for 3 1/2 years?

In response to my comment that registries can be overwhelming for expecting moms, the woman at the Babies R Us Registry desk told me “That’s why we’re here to help.” Yes and no, right? There’s obviously a strong incentive to sell sell sell. Do you need a diaper bag and a stroller bag? Do you need a wipe warmer? Do you need a bottle warmer, a bottle cooler, a formula dispenser, etc? Most expecting moms don’t have enough firsthand experience to know what you really need for a baby and what’s a “nice to have.”

I stayed up late last night finishing Anna Quindlen’s Every Last One. It is a lovely book. It is more sad, emotional, and violent than her other books. It’s told in the first person of a mother of three. She is loving, involved, dedicated. She breastfed. She nurtured. Her kids grew up. One went to high school. The twins went to middle school. They became their own people, and in doing so brought other people into their lives’ and into the lives of their family. And tragedy struck.

Random House interviewed Anna at the end of the book and she explained that this story was partially inspired by the new trend in Helicopter Parenting – how parents hover, watching their children with a microscope, picking them up and healing every little scrape before it’s had time to hurt and bleed. And without even considering it, kids grow up and the time comes when a parent can’t heal the wound, or be there for the accident.

Expecting parents don’t know what’s coming. No one does. Every child is different, has its own challenges and joys. The only thing you can really do at the pre-baby stage is prepare the best you can. Retailers do their part by providing information on products, user reviews, allowing people to create registries, and more. But they also sell a sense of security to expecting parents that if they buy more, more, more of those “necessities” they’ll have an easier, safer ride as parents. True to a point, but it’s more psychologically pacifying I think. Parenthood is ride no matter what. There will be healthy days, there will be sick days. Your kid will fall off of something. Trust me. Your kid will eat. Your kid won’t eat. Your kid will cry. Your kid will laugh. Go with it. Babies R Us is great, but mother and father still know best.

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