It’s been a hard week, y’all. Trying to figure out who is well and who isn’t, making it to whatever functions we can, trying to keep up with extra laundry and dishes, sanitizing pretty much everything to stop the spread of germs… I am exhausted. So exhausted that last night while I made dinner, I put my wine glass down and let go of it before it was firmly in the counter. It fell over and shattered on the granite. Like I said, it’s been a week.
Anyway, it’s time for a little update about what else has been going on! Here’s what I’m doing currently.
Finishing || my Christmas shopping! I’m almost completely finished buying gifts, and that feels great!
Hosting || my friend Andrea’s baby shower this Saturday! I’m finalizing my Costco list and getting out my nice serving platters. I can’t wait- I haven’t hosted a nice party at my house in a while!
Watching || Just Friends. I had never seen this movie, and I was scrolling through Netflix comedies and it popped up. First of all, Ryan Reynolds is nice to look at and I’m sure somewhere he has a movie he acted well in. But he’s not exactly a genius, am I right? Secondly, I still enjoyed it. I giggled a little, and saw a few familiar faces I haven’t seen in years. All in all, it’s a B movie for sure, but if there’s nothing else on, I’d watch it again.
Anticipating || Advent and Christmas. I love this coming season, and I’m actually surprised at myself for waiting to put my tree up. I’m usually an early decorator, but I guess I’ve been a little too busy to get it all together. Probably better that he baby shower this weekend doesn’t have a Christmas theme!
Running || because I go crazy when I don’t. I need to do some exercise and burn energy however i do it, but. Onus points for running because I love the added fresh air and sunshine. I love running this time of year- not too hot and not too cold. I pushed out three miles today at a fast pace because I was time crunched but wanted a hard workout.
Well, that’s it for me right now. Not too much time for things when people have been sick! What have you been up to currently? Is your tree up?!
If you’re like me, at 29 years old, you’ve been to a billion baby showers, possibly including your own. You’ve known young moms and old, had at least one close friend have a baby, and needed to hit up the local baby store for a set of bottles or a sweet, monogrammed blanket.
That being said, those gifts are sweet: bottles, blankets, teethers, etc. They’re thoughtful, useful, and probably from the mom’s registry. But there are a few things that, as a mama who’s attended some baby showers, I’ve learned are really great gifts that new parents love, even if they aren’t quite as cute in the gift wrap.
On the heels of the success of my “10 Tips for Soon-To-Be Moms“, here are a few unconventional but awesome baby shower gift ideas.
1. Stain remover. I really love the BabyGanics Stain Remover (find it on Diapers.com) personally, but Shout and OxyClean also are winners. I always include a bottle of the BabyGanics with whatever I get the new mama.
2. Clothes in bigger sizes. Yes, those newborn outfits are cute, and yes, the tinier they are, the cuter, somehow. BUT there are two reasons to stay away from the tiniest clothes you see: 1. Everyone else is buying them, too. While newborns probably have lots of costume changes, no mama needs 59 outfits for the first week of the baby’s life. 2. Babies grow really, really fast. And some babies, like my J, never wear newborn sized clothes anyway. He was a little long and a little porky for most of the newborn-sized clothes I had, so he jumped straight to three months size. I’d love to have gotten more cute clothes in nine months size and up, even all the way to 3T! Kids always need play clothes, and if you’re worried about sizes for the right seasons, just get t-shirts and leggings (girls) or jeans because those are can be worn in every season.
3. Restaurant gift certificates. Whether for a date night before the baby comes, or after, or for take out during the first few weeks where life is a blur, providing a meal is always a good thing.
4. Laundry detergent, dish soap, or hand sanitizer. These are great gifts, because we go through TONS of it in the baby’s first month or two. Dreft or any natural brand (insert second BabyGanics plug) is great for laundry, natural dish soaps (Honest Company, Mrs. Meyer’s, etc) for paci/bottle/teether washing, and hand sanitizer for every single soul who walks through your front door. Sorry germs, ain’t nobody got time for that.
5. Diapers or wipes. Some mamas have a huge bias when it comes to these (brands, cloth diapering, etc) but it’s easy to ask them what their plan is, and offer to contribute to it. Even if you’re cloth diapering, it can be an expensive undertaking. And just like clothes, diaper sizes change often as well, so don’t get two jumbo cases of newborn sizes… go all the way up to 4 or 5 if you want. I promise. They’ll be used.
6. Don’t be afraid to go gender neutral. This is important especially for bigger ticket items. It’s super cute that your baby girl’s carseat is covered in pink flowers, but when your second baby is a boy, and you have to buy a new one, that’s a big bummer. This also applies, in my book, to things like burp cloths, muslin swaddles, crib sheets, bath towels, socks (Yeah, I said it. What’s wrong with white?), and toys. I know, you can get teethers and noisemakers that are all princessy, or all have trucks on them, but why can’t you just get the ones covered in giraffes?
7. Baby food pouches. For the most part, these things stay good a long while, and they’re great even for moms who want to make their own baby food, because you can find things that might be out of season, or that are a little more expensive fresh for the same price – not to mention they are GREAT for being on the go. Choose simple, though, and get pouches that have only one or two ingredients (just peaches, or plain ol’ applesauce) instead of blends, and always go organic. (I like the Plum Organics brand a lot, just by the way.)
8. Housecleaning service. I don’t think it’s too forward to pay for a few hours of a housecleaning service so that mama can worry not about her floors and toilets during the first month or two post-partum. She’ll just thank you later.
9. Wine, booze, coffee, and chocolate. It may sound silly, but after nine months without any (or with very little) of these things, it’s a welcome change to enjoy them in moderation – you know, except the chocolate. Don’t bother moderating the chocolate.
10. Salon gift certificate. Maybe a facial, a massage, or a pedicure, but definitely a winner. If you’re brave, you could add a clause about keeping that sweet little snuggler while she gets pampered!
What else would you add? Anything else super useful that gets overlooked?
I was excited to attend a baby shower over the weekend for a friend who is due with her first baby in June. There were a total of 6 of us (out of maybe 17 or 18) at the shower that were pregnant. Even knowing that a shower is typically a lot of gals around the same age, I felt like that was a lot! But it was SO fun to see gals in every stage of life – and several stages of pregnancy – getting together to celebrate my friend and her new little life she’s expecting.
I think one of the most important things we can do is celebrate pregnant women. Celebrate women in general, obviously, but there are so many unique ways that you can celebrate and bless women who are expecting. Whether or not they have supportive families, if they got pregnant on the first try, or tried for years, new lives are worth celebrating. As a mother of soon-to-be three, I believe that feeling celebrated for every single one of my pregnancies was really special for me. It wasn’t necessarily a shower or gift or party that made me feel special – it was friends’ and family members’ reactions to our announcement, and meaningful things they said (and are continuing to say) throughout.
Women need encouragement. Expecting mamas and new mamas often need it even more. They need to know that they are made for what they’re doing, that they will figure out the best way to raise that little one. Does that mean it’ll always be easy and come naturally? No. But it does mean that we should encourage all mothers in their journey.
I saw something recently about how a mother who had experienced a long journey with infertility and finally was blessed with children through IVF felt the need to defend her children against someone who said her children were “synthetic”. Who on this earth has the right to say that to anyone? To suggest that babies, children, humans are anything but God-given and made of DNA and cells and souls just like “the rest of us” is the most awful thing you could say. So many mothers today are faced with insecurities and fears, not to mention the ever-growing plethora of choices about every single thing to do/be/get for your baby… why would one then start attacking the babies themselves, saying terrible things about how or when or why they were brought into the world?!
So this is where I feel a call to be encouraging, supportive and just plain loving to mothers of all experience levels, all walks of life, and all kinds and numbers of babies. Whatever the reason you become a mother, you should still be celebrated, supported and encouraged. If you know a mama, or a woman who is expecting, do something nice for them. Say a kind word, pop a note in the mail, or pick up their coffee. If you’re close to them, get them a gift, throw them a shower (or sprinkle!) or pray with/for them. I guarantee you, each of them needs a little love, a little encouragement, or just to be seen, known, and loved.
It can be hard… pregnancy, waiting for an adoption to go through, enduring fertility treatments, having little ones, or struggling with teens. All of those things can be hard on a woman, and I know that sometimes a little encouragement can go a long way. That nice thing you do for the mom? It’ll benefit the child, too.