The Presets of Parenthood
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The Presets of Parenthood

The question of material maternity has been plaguing me lately.

I sat down with a friend of mine the other day and talked about babies and their “stuff”. Friends of hers were getting rid of their toddler’s baby stuff and were looking to pass it on to another young family. Mike and I are completely hopeless and just sort of stared at our friend with wide eyes and slightly gaped mouths.

“We have no idea what we need outside of food, diapers, clothing, and a place for our baby to sleep and rest between snuggles.”

It’s starting to feel like shopping for baby is like shopping for a new car. Will we get the sensible and affordable four-door sedan, no bells and whistles? Will we be getting the hopped-up-on-vehicle-steroids SUV with all the fixin’s? Or will we stick to what we’ve got and supplement with bicycles and ZipCar?

So far, we’ve got a crib, a few onesies, and some diapers/wipes. We’ve even got a couple of decorations for ZomBaby’s room. But outside of that, we’re clueless. It’s not that we haven’t started asking these questions. We’ve researched. We’ve asked around. We’ve poked around MetaFilter for answers (most of which were incredibly insightful and useful — hooray for MetaFilter!).

I’ve determined that I am, in fact, a pouch mama (unless this baby is really big, in which case I’ll have to reconsider my stance). I like the thought of decorating the baby’s room with robots. I want to create an atmosphere of health and happiness within the nursery.

I don’t want to be inundated with… stuff, especially stuff that we don’t need. Stuff like an abundance of toys that won’t get used. Or large strollers. Or an excess of clothing that our baby will grow out of just as quickly as he grows into them.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten with my exploration into the world of babyland.

I feel like that makes me a bad mama-to-be. I’ve been sitting here focusing my time and energy on building my biznez (and a new one on the way) that I’ve been pushing thoughts of baby to the back-burner. Sure, I think about the little guy all the time — I’m constantly rubbing my belly and talking to him — but as far as preparation is concerned, I’m not committed.

I’m committed to this little family of ours, I really am, but I can’t help but feel like there’s something wrong with the way I’m tackling mamahood. Shouldn’t I be overjoyed when people ask me about the baby, instead of meeting their inquiries with barbs and snide remarks about him having dance parties late at night? Shouldn’t I want to go into baby stores and stare at baby clothes?

And there I go again, shoulding all over the place.

Expectations are a bitch to deal with, especially when you’re brand new to an entire culture of parenthood. I have these preconceived notions of what a mother is, what a father is, what parenting looks like, and what I want for my own children based on these presets. It’s not easy to override these presets with new ones.

… so what now? Do I try to override them now? Do I try to settle in and figure this shit out when the baby comes?

This is the worst game of twenty questions ever.

Photo by guruant.

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