I haven’t carted a diaper bag around for months. Benson is 20 months, so I no longer need a ready bottle within reach, my jockey box is filled with diapers and wipes — and if he’s ever in need of a snack, he need only pick from the dozens of Goldfish crackers on the SUV floor.
When I did cart around a massive bag filled with baby paraphernalia, it always seemed to brim with bacteria despite wash after wash. A diaper bag is on the front lines of daily warfare while a mom cares for a baby, so it suffers mass casualties.
It makes sense Mom would need top-of-the-line equipment to survive the day, but does it make sense to spend hundreds of dollars when baby is only a baby for a short time?
Before babies, I was familiar with brands like Michael Kors, Chanel and Fendi — knowing full well they would cost me my firstborn.
Ladies cruising around with bags from such designers definitely had to be in the money to afford such a label — yeah, right. This might be true if one just ignored that average credit card debt hovers in the thousands.
After Scarlett, I learned moms swapped Fendi for Petunia Pickle Bottom, or Timi and Leslie, dropping around 300 bucks to cart around diapers, bottles and crumbs. Initially, I wanted to be that mom, who kept up appearances, who could have a person hanging from her breast but still be hip, but then reality set in quickly. Children destroy everything.
Scarlett came home in a beautiful dress from a local boutique, she sported clothing that Suri Cruise would allow to touch her Hollywood skin, and Scarlett looked adorable — at least for the 10 minutes she went without spewing or setting off a poo-bomb inside her Pamper that invariably coated the bamboo fabric caressing her baby skin.
Washing her clothes came with intense guilt. I tried to justify the wearing of expensive baby clothes. It took weeks for me to drop the boutique and head on to Target for infantwear. One loose bottle lid had me giving thanks that I saved my $200 and avoided Petunia Pickle Bottom, instead going for the blah brand.
I don’t begrudge a mom her right to choose lovely diaper bags; in fact, I’m sure the hand embroidery makes parenting much easier, but I do find myself instantly questioning her common sense.
The Department of Agriculture releases annual figures on what families spend on their children. For a two-child married couple of middle income, it costs between $12,000 and $15,000 per year. Add in your designer diaper bags, Bugaboo stroller (which could pay for a semester of college tuition), and Pottery Barn crib bedding, and it could cost a family another $5,000 just to get that baby through the first year of life.
Seems sensible, especially since the first years of life are supposed to be the cheapest, according to statistics.
My mother’s mantra to all of her children was repeatedly: M-Y-O-B, mind your own business.
Yes, I should stick to that now, but I can’t help but feel irritated when I see women wasting money on expensive diaper bags and strollers while many Utah families drown in debt.
A woman I know threw her family so deep down the debt hole, she took to Facebook to sell her baby’s name-brand clothing and her used designer diaper bag, in hopes of making up the difference.
Spending into oblivion for your first child is a common pitfall experienced by the novice mom.
We want the best for our baby, we’re trying to express how much we love this short experience through materials, and we don’t realize how destructive these seven-pound meatloaves can be to all things.
By my third, I’ve learned hand-me-downs are best for baby. I express love through my patience and time, and realize why my parents continually repeated, “We just can’t have nice things.”
I dedicate this column to mothers just starting out. Instead of forking over big bucks for designer baby duds, and diaper bags, put the money away and save.