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Your first lesson in parenthood: Baby registries

It’s interesting that one of the things I struggled with the most when it came to making my baby registry is still one of my biggest parenting struggles: I knew people (other parents) were going to judge. Some people were going to take a look at my registry and think, “Really? You don’t need that. You just think you do. No, you need this instead” or “That’s silly” or “frivolous.” In my head, there would be much eye-rolling and head-shaking at the items my husband and I had so carefully selected for our baby.

Did any of that happen? Maybe. I don’t know. Nobody ever said a word to us about our selections. Instead they purchased our selected items and celebrated with us at our baby showers. All that worry for nothing…

I still worry about that with many parenting choices. What will [insert name here] think of this decision? Will they think it’s over-the-top? Will they think I’m a crazy-crunchy mom? What if they misunderstand one of my parenting methods and think I’m being too harsh? Not strict enough? Do they think I worry too much? Do they think I should pay more attention?

Or worse, what if they think I’m judging them? When I’ve made a parenting choice that is different from other parents I know, I’m often concerned that they’ll feel I think their methods are inferior. Sometimes different is just different. Just because I choose to do something differently from another parent doesn’t mean I don’t approve of their parenting skills. It just means that my family has selected a path we believe in more, or that works better for us at that time.

There are lots of choices in parenting: some are clearly wrong, but most are just as good as the others. Just different.

What you have to come to accept is the fact that nobody’s opinion matters more than your own when it comes to your child. So, you know, frankly, your opinion about another person’s parenting doesn’t matter either. It’s a trade-off.

And I hope you can get on board with that idea right from the beginning, because it will make your whole pregnancy (and parenthood!) much more pleasant. All through pregnancy you’re going to deal with your belly being public property; rude, and sometimes downright offensive, questions; and unsolicited advice. You can choose to let all of this bother you, or you can choose to get over it. It’s part of being pregnant, right along with the morning sickness, stretch marks, and pissing yourself. At the end of the day, none of it matters. The morning sickness will go away; the stretch marks will fade; you’ll stop pissing yourself (ha! I lie…you will never stop pissing yourself); and people’s opinions still won’t matter. You just look at them, smile and say, “I really appreciate your input. We’re comfortable with our decision,” then you go ahead and scan the crap out of that wipe warmer.

All that said, we did register for a few things that it turned out we didn’t need:

Way too many nipples. Oh, the nipples. There were nipples of all shapes and sizes splattered all over our registry. They were everywhere. And I breastfed so it was nipples, nipples everywhere!

Diaper bag. You have to make sure you love that thing, because you will be carrying it for the rest of your life (ok, not really, but for a very long time). We registered for one I thought I was in love with. Turns out I wasn’t. I went through four bags before I found the one I loved.

Large and Extra-Large swaddle blankets. Why? How long are you really planning on swaddling Junior?

Bumbo. Everyone I knew had one so they must be necessary, right? Not so much. I think we used it twice.

Boppy. Same as the Bumbo. Everyone had them, so they had to be good. When I finally stopped using that thing, I was able to hold my baby comfortably to nurse. I did use it to prop him up sometimes, but that’s about it.

I can see how both the Bumbo and the Boppy would be useful and I did pack them away to use with the next baby. So I’m not totally writing them off. We just didn’t get as much use out of them as I thought we would.

That’s it. As it turns out, we did a pretty good job on our registry, so all my fears were for nothing.  If we had to do it all over again, there are things we may have added, but not a lot we would have taken off.

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