Every year, those of us who don’t spend the other 364 days posting things like #blessed are suddenly hard-pressed to come up with what we are thankful for.
Me? I’m thankful for friends who are having a baby.
There’s a dirty little secret all parents know: We have too much baby crap. It doesn’t matter how minimalist you are, how little space you have, or how much you’ve already pared down. You have too much baby crap. You will always have too much baby crap. That is, until you finally find a friend who’s pregnant.
You see, biology drives us to worry about our children – even the unborn ones. We worry about all the terrible things that could happen to them. We worry about all the ways we will screw them up. And of course, we worry about whether we are really prepared to have them at all.
Enter: the accumulation of stuff. Swings, playmates, changing tables, toys, books, those weird nose sucker bulbs. There is literally no end to the crap you can buy to make you feel like having a baby won’t completely upend your life in an unpleasant and chaotic way.
Bottle sanitizer kit? Got it. Teeny tiny nail brush? Got it. _____? Got it. And I’m one of the moms on the lesser side of hoarding.
This isn’t to say these items weren’t useful. It’s just that monetary (not to mention sentimental) value keeps us from chucking everything into a Goodwill (or trash) dumpster. Instead, we let go of the easy stuff, holding onto “just a few items” we “plan to sell” or keep “just in case.” These newly pregnant friends are that contingency plan.
When a pregnant friend comes along, it’s like Goodwill, Craigslist, and a baby shower all rolled into one. “Congratulations!” you exclaim, as you drop off box after box of tiny onesies, old board books, and sippy cups. “She’ll need these, I’m saving her money!” you tell yourself.
While that’s sort of true, it’s also mostly true that we treat our pregnant friends as a dumping ground for baby items we couldn’t bear to toss. We never acknowledge it aloud, but without these friends, our homes would be cluttered with leftover half packs of Size 1 diapers and partially empty bottles of baby powder. We need these friends more than they need us.
So thank you, pregnant friends. Thank you for the anxiety of a newborn that allows me to inundate you with items you’ll probably never need and end up passing along to someone else.
Thank you for graciously taking my stuff and thinking all of it will be useful to you.
Thank you for helping me feel like I am being green and re-using things, even if you turn around and trash them the moment I leave your house. I sleep easier, thinking I’ve somehow been useful to someone, even while denying my own selfishness.
Oh, and sorry about all the stuff.