On the birth of our first daughter, I’ll be honest. I was…er…how do you say…cheap economical. I thought all these items — crib, nursing chair, changing table — were temporary, why should I spend a lot on them? This baby phase will only be around for a couple years anyway, right? While I did realize the importance of a good stroller (splurged on an Uppababy), I do feel like I may have missed out on some other niceties. Here is what I’m happy I spent the money on, what I wished I had spent more money on, and what I will never spend money on.
Happy I Spent the Money
1. The Stroller – Living in Brooklyn, we don’t have a car. So I knew I needed a solid, easy to maneuver, reliable stroller to get us to music class in the rain, navigate the narrow aisles of Trader Joe’s, and steer us through the maze of hipsters at Smorgasburg. I ended up purchasing the UppaBaby Vista. It was a good investment that I am so happy I made. It is the best stroller for our family as it has grown from a single stroller, to a double, to even a triple when I have a friend’s kid who wants to hitch a ride on the buggy board. When your family is as dependent as we are on our stroller, it is best to invest.
2. Nursery Art – I am not ashamed of using frames from Ikea (I mean come on, they are so reasonable!). What I put in them is where I spend the money. I bought two photos of baby animals (available here) that still make me happy when I look at them! I also invested in a huge 54 in. x 54 in. Marimeko kid-themed fabric print (available here), which looks awesome on the nursery wall and will look just as great in a toddler/big kid room. You should love the art on your walls, and this includes the nursery.
Wish I Had Spent More Money
1. Nursing Chair – I have a Mad Men-esque mid-century modern chair that is not so comfortable and doesn’t rock. What was I thinking? It looks good but isn’t functional. I sit in my friends’ rocking chairs with ottomans and oh my goodness – they comfortable AND appealing to the eye! I should have invested in this chair for those late night feedings and for the endless books we have to read the kiddos before bedtime now.
2. Crib – We bought a crib from Ikea. It’s fine. It really is. But had I known that my daughter would sleep in this crib until she was almost 4, I would have gotten something slightly more attractive. Four years is a long time to look at a piece of furniture that doesn’t make you happy. Invest in a crib that is good for your child and that will also make you happy when you have to look at it at 7pm, and 11pm, and 2am, and 4am…
3. Kids table and chairs – Wow this is embarrassing. I have a lot of Ikea in our house. The Ikea table and chairs we have is only $20. (Can’t beat if you are on a budget right?!) One of the chairs’ seats is only slightly cracked after 3 years. But now this table and chair set is not hidden in a bedroom, it’s in our kitchen. Where I have to look at it – that cracked seat– every day. It doesn’t bring me joy. But the kids love sitting there so I can’t really move it. Ugh, is it too late to buy a nice version when the kiddos are now 2 and 4? I think so! Invest in a nice table and chair set – especially if it’s in a high traffic area!
Wish I had spent less:
1. Clothes in the 3-6 month range – Little clothes are oh so very cute and adorable. But babies grow so fast that my kids got only a few wears out of each outfit and then it was packed and donated. Plus you get so many clothes as gifts from grandparents, friends, aunties, and uncles. So much money wasted on clothes at this age. Buy clothes that are bigger so that day when your baby’s diaper is popping out of the back of her skinny jeans like a reverse muffin top, you’ve got clothes on hand that are the next size up.
2. Baby toys – My kids find the most enjoyment from a box, a blanket, and a ball. All those electronic-migraine-inducing toys are short lived around here (thank goodness!). The real enjoyment comes from exploring a box full of Tupperware or playing with a bowl of water in the tub with a spoon. My kids are not cognizant of the beautiful Hape brand shape sorter they have. All they want is my old purse and some random knickknacks from the shelves to put in it.
There you go. That is my list. If you have the means spend where it counts and scrimp where it doesn’t. Good luck and god speed to every mother out there. Hoping today is a day of long naps in the crib. And if it is not, then hopefully have a nice stroller you can take baby out in!
– Holly Chase Foran –
Holly Chase Foran is a modern mom and former educator who contributes to Weeblog regularly and writes about “the funny bumbling thoughts we all have during the treacherous early years of motherhood”. Follow her on the WeeBlog.