RAISING ELLE
Too Much Stuff
by Martinique Davis
Mar 18, 2010 | 1194 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
My garage is still a disaster.

Last week’s three-day organizing stint turned out merely to be a three-day “time suck,”

contemporary teenage lingo for “waste of time” (says my friend the high school teacher.) A leaky roof-turned-mold problem has once again turned the garage into the depository of all things we don’t know what to do with, and in this week’s case, it’s everything that used to exist in the three rooms currently being torn apart for mold remediation.

Oh, the joys of home ownership.

But as is the case in most bad situations, some good has come out of it. In the case of the moving-everything-into-the-garage-for-mold-remediation bad situation, the good is that I have come up with a brilliant idea.

(I wish I could say that through this exasperating process I have actually become brilliant, my heretofore buried acumen unlocked by some chemical reaction triggered by the omnipresent noxious mold spores I’ve unwittingly been inhaling for the last few weeks. Alas, I have not been able to come up with any other bright ideas, specifically ones that will make me a millionaire.)

My idea may be simple, but it could revolutionize parenthood as we know it.

Here goes: Never purchase anything for your child, unless the item has been thoroughly vetted by your parent peers.

This is why: If you think you know what kinds of things your kid will need, you end up with a garage full of stuff you never use and start to despise.

I don’t know a set of parents who don’t face some degree of frustration when it comes to the Excess Kid Gear department. When you’re expecting, you are lead to believe that your seven-pound bundle requires a thousand times her weight in stuff. The reality is that all she really needs is some diapers, a milk-filled boob and a couple of friends with older kids (or a well-stocked secondhand store nearby.)

The campaign to attain begins with the Baby Shower. This is when moms are first bombarded with the incredible promises made by every baby-swinging, -carrying, -cleaning, -entertaining, or other baby-something device known to woman.

Thinking she’s doing the right thing, a mom goes through the utterly annoying process known as registering. This is so that she, with any luck, will receive just what she wants for her perfectly planned layette.

The vibrating, music-playing baby seat with the organic seat cover. The instant thermometer you can use without waking baby. The trendy-chic mountain mom stroller that goes everywhere and does everything. These are all the types of items I, expectantly, put on my own baby shower registry list.

These will be the things that make motherhood so much easier!

As it turns out, the vibrating seat just irritates baby and the music it plays is kind of creepy. The thermometer gives a different reading every time, and the stroller is too wide to fit in the gondola and threatens to amputate a finger when I try to fold it down.

I end up with a battery-free bouncer from Wal-Mart (courtesy my neighbor who has kids), a basic underarm thermometer from Sunshine Pharmacy, and the stroller we use on most trips is the $20 “umbrella” stroller my mom swore by.

The Baby Shower is the first place I hope to instate my new, useless kid gear-reduction crusade. The next Baby Shower I’ll throw, only those guests who have kids can buy unsolicited items. While the expectant mom may roll her eyes at the supremely low-tech hand-operated breast pump I’ll give her, she’ll soon discover that it is quite possibly the best invention ever.

Those baby shower guests who don’t have kids will be given a list of parent-tested products from which they can chose an item to give. These will not be the cutesy, if I had a baby this is what I would dress her in kind of gifts most non-moms give at baby showers. Babies are only little enough to fit into that adorable chenille jumper with matching hat and booties for so long, and after she poops all over it once, Mom won’t have the energy to hand-wash it until it is far too small. Mom would appreciate a six-months supply of laundry detergent ever so much more.

Meanwhile, expectant mom will have no say in the items she receives at her baby shower. Trust me, she – and her uncluttered garage – will thank me later.
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