Before I had my son, I was one of those expectant mothers who swore that I wasn’t going to allow baby gear to overtake my household. I wanted to maintain some sort of respectable adult space so that I didn’t feel smothered by the all consuming sense of parenthood all the time. I wasn’t going to remove my coffee table from my living room and get rid of every piece of fragile décor. I was just going to teach my kid to be careful and not to touch that stuff. (HAHAHA). I thought it was important to still have some order and organization and to avoid letting the baby stuff become the centerpiece of every room in the house.
As it turns out, caring for a newborn requires a LOT of baby gear. Let me rephrase that, it’s not that parenting REQUIRES a lot of stuff. You could probably get by without a wipe warmer and a shopping cart cover. However, there is a lot of baby gear out there that does actually make the job easier. If you are lucky enough to have baby crazy friends and family, most likely they will buy you every product you could ever imagine (and then some) for your baby shower. And so it began.
In the months leading up to my son’s due date, my husband and I spent every weekend putting together strollers and assembling infant furniture. You’d be surprised how challenging some of this shit can be. If you and your significant other can sufficiently assemble a crib without starting a fight, then I’d say you are on the road to a successful partnership as parents because building that shit is stressful. Ever gone camping and tried assembling a tent with your spouse? It’s a major pain the ass, right? Now try putting together a gliding rocking chair with four hundred bolts and moving parts and one tiny Allen wrench (not to mention trying to do it while carrying 30lbs of extra weight and a massive bowling ball in your uterus).
Little by little, our house became filled with baby gear and I hadn’t even had the baby. Greyson’s closet and dresser were filled with freshly cleaned and folded newborn clothing, most of which he never wore considering he was born the size of a toddler. The swing, the most important piece of equipment we owned, was built and plugged in. We even had the car seat put into the car weeks before my due date.
It happened so fast that I didn’t even see it coming. After we brought Grey home from the hospital, it was like a baby bomb went off and left debris consisting of diapers, dirty laundry, and breast pumps laying all over every inch of the house. There was a bouncy seat in my bathroom and a baby play gym on my living room floor. The bassinet took up half of our bedroom. My nightstand was buried in baby products that we might need during the night, like burp clothes, diapers, and extra clothes for nighttime blow outs.
As the months went by, the baby stuff continued to build up. Greyson transitioned to bottles, so my kitchen counter was consumed by bottle parts and drying racks. When Grey began taking baby food, we built the high chair. The living room was becoming overloaded with baby toys and walkers. As he grew out of things like the swing and the baby seats, our basement (which was formerly our workout room) became mostly a baby storage unit. And you can try to maintain some adult space, but most likely, you will submit to letting the toys take over. Don’t get me wrong; with some crafty storage ideas and some organization, you can hide it. But whether or not it’s tucked away in trendy wicker baskets or cute leather ottomans, you kids’ stuff is everywhere.
This weekend, I threw out all of the baby bottles and put the high chair in the basement. I was so happy to get rid of the some of the gear that’s been overtaking my household. In reality, I know that every item we remove will be replaced by something else child related. So while there are no longer eight bottles and a bulky sterilizer claiming space in my very tiny kitchen cabinets, I now have two shelves filled with multi-colored sippy cups and plastic dinner ware suitable for a toddler.
The truth of the matter is, when you have children, you basically sign a contract granting them permission to overtake every inch of the house, down to the DVR list. How am I supposed to record The Housewives of New Jersey when my list is constantly 99% full due to daily episodes Thomas and Friends? Unfortunately, it just comes with the territory.
So rather than trying to disarm the baby bomb, I’ve decided to just do my best to maintain the debris. I’ll try to keep it as picked up as possible, but I’m not going to beat myself up over having a basket or two of toys in every room in my house. And as it turns out, it’s pretty tough to teach a toddler not to touch things that are fragile and to stay away from sharp corners…. So for now, my coffee table and my decorative candles are safely put away in the baby storage unit until further notice. And you know what, I totally OK with that.