Everyone wants to bless parents-to-be, and there is certainly a long list of things babies need, from diapers to blankets to onesies to bottles and much, much more.
When I was pregnant with our firstborn, Daryl and I registered for all these essentials–a car seat, a stroller, a crib, a swing–and friends and family members and congregants blessed us beyond measure. When our oldest arrived, he had everything we thought he could possibly need.
Yet now, as a mom of three, I’ve realized that tiny hats might be adorable but there are far more nitty-gritty things a parent needs. Things they don’t tell you about in the baby books or the birthing class. Things that will make your life much harder if you go without them.
Here’s what parents-to-be should really register for.
A Spot Upholstery Cleaner
You’ve never seen vomit like the vomit that will come out of your precious little baby. And if you think that’s bad, wait until that baby is a toddler. Toddlers often vomit while running because throwing up is scary.
Yeah, you’re going to want a way to clean your mattresses and couches. Trust me.
If you live close by, you can borrow ours.
Because again with the vomit.
Also, you’ll find petrified string cheese under your sofa and rotten apples in the Lego bin and there will be diapers that haunt your dreams. Mostly you’ll just use your bare hands because you’re a parent, by golly, and you’re tough, but there will be times wearing gloves saves your sanity and possibly your health.
Under Eye Concealer
When I was pregnant with Lincoln, my sister Caitlyn mailed me a package. I opened it up, expecting to see an adorable onesie or a cute board book to read to our baby-to-be. Instead it was filled with several different kinds of under eye concealer.
“Trust me,” the note said, “this is what you will really need.” She was so right.
You will be so tired you will forget things. Important things. At one point you will lock your keys in your car, probably with your kid in the back, snoozing in a car seat. This will happen on a day when it is 102 degrees out and you parked in the sun.
Hide a spare key somewhere on the outside of your car. It’s way cheaper than breaking a window.
The lowest rates of satisfaction in marriage are the tiny tot years. It’s no wonder – they are exhausting. Even if you have a super healthy marriage before kids come along, once the little bundles of need arrive and things like finishing a sentence become a luxury, it’s tough to stay connected.
Daryl and I have a great marriage, but we work at it. We work on it. We’ve gone to marriage counseling from time to time for tune-ups because if you keep tuning up the small things they don’t have a chance to grow to an overwhelming size.
As one friend put it, “It’s easy to adjust the growth of a sapling. Once it’s an established oak tree, it’s much, much harder.”
A Backup Coffee Pot
When our firstborn was nearly two years old, our coffee pot broke. This wouldn’t seem like a big deal–appliances break, after all–but he was just getting over a nasty bug and no one had slept in days and coffee was our lifeline. He was also consistently waking up for the day at 4:30am, so we couldn’t even head out to Starbucks or McDonalds to get a cup to go.
Daryl literally drove to a 24-hour pharmacy at 4:40am and bought us a new coffee pot because it wasn’t a want, IT WAS A NEED.
I’m all for a minimalist lifestyle, but keeping a back up coffee maker isn’t a bad idea.
A House Cleaning Service
The immediate postpartum season is overwhelming. We had tons of help and love from our families and our church community, and it was still overwhelming.
After a baby comes, suddenly there are both not enough hours in the day to get everything done and there are so many hours in the day and you are awake for all of them.
Simple tasks like making a sandwich can become almost impossible between a squalling baby, a healing postpartum body, and the difficulties of establishing breastfeeding. You try spreading peanut butter on bread with only one free hand!
Yet you want a clean house because babies have tiny immune systems and need to be kept germ-free, especially for the first six weeks or so.
When Wilson was born, a dear friend at church gifted us a visit from a housecleaning service. They came to our house and made magic happen. What they did in those three hours transformed not only our home but it lifted our spirits. It’s hard to feel overwhelmed when your bathroom is just so gosh-darned shiny and there are fresh sheets on all the beds.
A Meal Train
Getting out for groceries? Cooking? As if. Having people bring food is absolute gold.
A friend set up a Meal Train for us with Baby #3 and we have been grateful for every single bite.
Because it’s good for milk supply or something. That’s probably not true, but it’s definitely good for the emotional adjustment. Because your body might be a war zone and you probably haven’t slept in weeks, but the right truffle can make all of that melt away, at least for a moment or two.
What would you put on the perfect baby registry?