This statement – and the usual smugness with which it’s delivered – annoys me tremendously. While my irritation is somewhat rooted in my own resentment at being far from “set-up” when my daughter was born (I was a legally single, 25-year-old student when I got myself knocked up), my contempt for this statement also arises from its classist nature.
Here’s what you’re actually saying: only people with money are fit/deserve to have babies.
This is how our society is now wired. If you have money, you can offer your children the best resources in education, extracurriculer activities, organic food, brand-name clothing, monstrous housing, electronic goods, cell phones, holidays and toys. Because we all know the amount of money you spend on your children is a true measurement of how much you love them.
And guess what! You can start proving this love before your child is even born.
In his new book, Charles Duhigg details how department stores actually figure out that you are pregnant (before you even start showing!? WTF?!?) so that you can receive flyers and coupons to start spending money ASAP. That’s right, they start marketing to you when your baby is still as cute as an inchworm (see above photo).
Here’s an excerpt from Duhigg’s book:
“…for companies, pregnant women are gold mines.
New parents buy a lot of stuff–diapers and wipes, cribs and Onesies, blankets and bottles–that stores…sell at a significant profit. One survey conducted in 2010 estimated that the average parent spends $6,800 on baby items before a child’s first birthday.”
~ Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit
Can we please stop and breathe for a moment? Despite what your hormones are screeching at you, can we all just be rational here and think this through for a minute?
If you want a baby or you’re already pregnant, there are some things you’ll need – like diapers, maybe bottles. Other than these essentials, you’ll also need:
- a car seat
- a stoller (imperative so that you can leave your house and maintain a semblance of sanity, but you do not need a pimped-out $750 stroller. I think @kellyoxford sums it up best:
“If your kid’s stroller is as big as a smart car: fuck off.”
- a bed
That’s seriously it. In fact, use this rule: if my mom/dad didn’t need it, I probably don’t need it for my kid*. Your baby does not need wipes warmed up before they grace his/her precious bottom. Your baby does not need a bathrobe (unless it’s to do hilarious Hugh Hefner impressions). And I’m pretty sure your baby doesn’t need anything that’s being billed as “trendy” or from a store with “boutique” in its name.
Your baby needs love, nourishment, a roof over his/her head, and you not to be a jerk by spending his/her post-secondary education money on a stroller to make you look cool in front of your friends.
*Please don’t apply this rule to the car seat. It may have been OK for our parents to bring us home from the hospital in basinets on the truck’s floor or let us stand on the passenger’s seat next to them on the way to swimming lessons. But they didn’t know any better. They also fed us KD and blew cigarette smoke in our faces. They truly didn’t know any better, so just forgive them already.