Monday, September 29, 2008

Oh, Baby!

This past Friday I got the chance to have the Day of Beth. Remember on Sienfeld when George declares the Summer of George? It was kind of like that, but a whole lot shorter. Thanks to my parents, who volunteered to watch the kiddos for 24 hours, and the City of Terre Haute, who sent my husband to training in the burbs of Chicago for week, I was able to have a day of adventure all to myself. Most of it included a lot of coffee and reading and even a stop at the lakeshore on clear, warm September afternoon. But let's get real, people. What's a girl to do when she finds herself alone in a big city? A girl must shop.

A store very close to the hotel intrigued me. The name? Buy Buy Baby. No consumerism here at all, I thought. But since looking at cute baby clothes is always more fun than trying clothes on my post-partum body, I decided to see what lurked within this mega store devoted to a person's first year of life.

This place was like Babies R Us on steriods. If you can imagine an item for Baby, they had it in 8 sizes and 18 colors. I walked around in awe at humidifiers, biodegradable diaper sacks, and strollers as big as my first car. I must have looked a little overwhelmed. The young employee who couldn't possibly have a child of her own asked, "Can I help you find anything?"

"No," I replied. "Just.....looking." And look I did. Furniture sets, food processors, bouncers, play yards, and an entire wall devoted to bibs. As I made my way around the store, I started to get a little ticked off. Have these people even MET a baby? My baby pukes. My baby poops. With that in mind, I doubt my baby would fully appreciate the designer bedding costing nearly $300. I got a little madder. They are sorely misleading the poor innocent people who wander in here, all a-dither about preparing for their first child, I thought. Babies don't need these things! My babies did just fine without them. You don't have to protect your child from every germ with the shopping cart cover. You don't need boppies and swadlers. Good ol' pillows and blankets work just fine, thank you. I was in full rebellion now. How could they take something as precious as a baby and turn it into just another way to prove you're better than so-and-so because you "care" enough to buy your baby the "best?" Stuff will never replace loving parents who spend time with their kids! I started looking around for a soapbox....

Then I saw IT. It was the sweetest little sleeper in baby blue with the most adorable print. Little guitars and drum sets....with a matching little hat. He could be a little rocker just like his daddy. I almost melted on the spot. Then I ventured to turn the price tag over and.....YIKES! Way out of the budget for one little sleeper that he will grow out of in a few weeks. I sighed. I tried to think of a way to justify purchasing it. I wanted that sleeper. I LOVED that sleeper. I almost heard an audible voice. "You hypocrite."

And I was! Maybe the reason I was so fired up about all the stuff in that store wasn't because I was bent on saving others from the perils of consumerism at all. Could I have been a bit, dare I say, jealous? Did I covet those who didn't think twice about spending thousands of dollars on their little bundles of joy? After an honest look, it was a resounding yes to both questions. The truth is, I do want the best for my kids. All that stuff is downright adorable and much of it is usable, too. The catty side of me wants to be the mom with the cutest kids in the trendiest clothes that everyone envies. But the Jesus-follower side of me realizes all the baby stuff will someday be gone. The baby will grow up, and the spiritual truths he learns will be far more important that the sleepers he wears.

I wish I could say I walked out of the store with nothing but an attitude adjustment and a reminder from God about how good I really have it with three awesome kids. Or it would be really funny if I found a sleeper covered in Bible verses. In reality, I settled for a cute onsie that says "Mommy's little monster" on sale for $5.99, cuz he's my chunky monster baby and I still have the urge to spoil him just a tiny bit...


Lisa Joy said...

"...the spiritual truths he learns will be far more important than the sleepers he wears."

Amen! There are much more important things to spend our time, energy (and even money) on.

Thanks for your post. It'll give me food for thought today.

Amy said...

Oh Beth! I am just now reading your blog, and have a lot of catching up to do!
I love those baby stores, too, but always leave there a little sad that I didn't buy any or all of the things that would have looked so adorable on Abigail.
But you are right, they don't need the majority of those things. And what one Mommy would say she couldn't live without in the wiping/feeding/raising of her baby, another Mommy could. Abigail has used her Boppy every night as a pillow, but I never used it once for breastfeeding purposes, when the couch pillow was right there.
Anyway, teach those spiritual is all that will last. Lovely post, Beth!

katdish said...

It's just incredible what first time parents will buy. I'm considering starting a public service website for expectant moms and dads called

For me, the hardest part about having a newborn was the sleep depravation and the resulting emotional roller coaster it put me on. What made it even more difficult was that no one ever told me about how difficult those first few months can be. But I am so grateful for that time. It caused me to surrender my life to Jesus. Much better that He be in control than me; I tend to make a mess of things.