I was in two minds where to put this post, on here or on YetAnotherBabyBlog, but I think this touches Project 333 more than pure baby stuff, so it’s ended up here.
When Hubs and I were preparing for the wedding, I succumbed and brought a wedding magazine. One. This week I succumbed and brought a baby magazine. One. I won’t need to buy another one. I brought it for an article ‘Mums Over 35, what to expect’ where I was helpfully told that I could struggle to conceive, would face more intervention during labour and after having the baby, would be tired. No shit Sherlock.
I had inadvertently brought an independent baby magazine, so one that isn’t published by Conde Nast et al, in a way I’m glad. Can you imagine the photo spreads I would have had to do battle with? As it is, check out these two:
I’m sorry they are skewiff, I can’t get them to line up, but my point here is this.
New parents, particular Mums, are vulnerable. There are unscrupulous shops out there that will try to convince you that you need EVERYthing on their ‘you have a new baby coming’ list. Which is complete and utter BS. You do not need a wipe warmer, and no I’m not joking. Someone has decided that babies need to have warm and cozy wipes on their derrieres, so god forbid the day when they’re at nursery or you *shock* leave it behind and have to wipe them with a cold one. They’ll probably jump out the window.
Hubs and I went to BabyBunting, an out-of-town warehouse, it’s where we are buying our pram, car seat and cloth nappies. For a grand total of $1000. It is a lot of money, however, one of the IT guys at work is also pregnant. They went through the shop with an assistant and their ‘essential’ list is $4,500 and rising. When they are tiny wee, they honestly don’t do much, and my brother has already admitted they’ve got piles of clothes that my niece can’t fit in any more, because they grow quite quickly!
The magazine is filled with products, all tastefully laid out, piled on each other artfully, their graphic designer is very good. As is their stylist, but people will now be whizzing out and buying the items featured in the pages. In the left hand picture, look at the girl top right, and I quote: “The Palace headband, $34.95, completes the look.” WTF. In the right hand picture, the pink tutu (!!!) is $55. The dress top right and shoes, cost over $100 for both of them.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m just not girly enough to appreciate pink and fluffy stuff. Maybe I just don’t know how to shop anymore; but being told I need to buy a cot, a bassinet, a bed, a pram, a stroller, a car seat, cot bumpers, (which look pretty but you can’t use when they’re tiny as they can contribute to cot deaths, so very useful), matching mobile, matching bedding, matching towels – the list is endless, and it’s already starting to annoy me.
I know that we still need to get more things for Peanut. But I also know that the ‘essential’ items that are listed are just not true. Ask any family what they actually used vs. what they brought, and I am willing to bet that the pile of unused items is larger than the used items. But because they didn’t know any better, they relied on the store and experts to tell them, so they brought it.
All over this planet there are redundant gadgets sitting in kitchen cupboards, because we buy into the advertising that our lives will be better, bigger, bolder with an ice cream maker, or pasta maker, or bread maker, or coffee pot, or fondu set. And you know what? They sit in the cupboards because the gadget will not change your life. Only you can do that. If you bring out your pasta maker weekly and churn it out while the sauce simmers on the stove, hurrah for you. You’ve found something you love and you use it.
Buying into advertising is dangerous, it is why people live from pay cheque to pay cheque. It is why people have to have a flat screen TV, and a DVD player, and a games console, an overseas holiday, the latest gadget, the whitest trainers. It’s why people borrowed against their houses, then though ‘Oh shit!’ when their precariously balanced house of cards collapsed.
Having a baby is expensive, it can’t not be, because you need to be able to transport them safely. But you do not need to dress them up in a $55 pink tutu. For the first 6 months Peanut is going to be in onesies, because he will be more comfortable in them than anything else, and he won’t give a shit about what he looks like. The advertising that is so tastefully done all the way through this magazine is for the adults, preying on sleep deprived, insecure if they’re doing the right thing, worried parents. Who think that if they buy baby legs, which are little leg warmers to protect crawling knees, everything in their world will fall into place.
If Project 333 is teaching people all over the world anything, it is teaching them that it is fine to live with less stuff. We’re going to start as we mean to go on with Peanut, he won’t want for anything, but we’re already struggling to justify buying these ‘essentials’, and keep laughing at the things we’re being told we need, like a whole bedroom display for the bargain price of $3000. And the cot didn’t even convert into a bed.