Hand-Me-Down Baby

Reading my birth month club boards, I am dismayed to see comments/rants from new parents complaining about getting hand-me-downs. Comments along the lines of “I’m sorry/Call me selfish, but I want the best for my baby. I am getting all new things and don’t know how to tell people politely that I don’t want their old crap.”

1. There’s no polite way to say that.

2. How is new “the best” for a baby? Am I crazy to thankfully accept “the worst” for my baby when friends and family have offered us everything from maternity clothes to cribs?

Understandably, some things are offered that are inappropriate, unsafe or just not your style. When my husband and I got engaged, my mother-in-law very sweetly offered her wedding dress, which was made entirely of polyester and caribou fur. A polyester, caribou fur wedding is inappropriate, unsafe and not my style. Besides, my mother-in-law was a petite young bride of 19, where I was a tall, progressively rounding 29 year old with freakishly long arms and legs – the dress was never going to fit. I thought the gesture was lovely, just impractical.

But clothes, cribs, toys, bottles? Bring it on.

It has been argued by a board poster that she had been dreaming of her baby’s nursery for as long as she can remember and well-meaning relatives are ruining this vision with clashing bed clothes. I have trouble with this as I was not the girl to dream of how my wedding day would be either. I was the reverse bridezilla – I grew increasingly frustrated with the money being spent on frivolity and nonsense. In the end, my husband and I, realizing the futility of convincing others that we were getting married “to have a marriage” as opposed “to have a wedding”, concerned ourselves with the sacrament of the wedding ceremony while party plans and centrepieces and bridesmaid dresses whirled around us.

In the same way, I’m not concerned with a colour scheme for the nursery or the cuteness of baby’s first outfit. I am thankful for a warm and safe home for our family. I am thankful for the friends who have offered what they no longer need, which keeps useful items out of landfills and saves us from wasteful spending. I see giving and receiving useful items as being good stewards of what we are all so lucky to have. A better world and a sense of gratitude for generosity is the best for my baby. Not a price tag I can brag about or a colour coordinated world.

And if it is so far from your style that there is no convincing yourself that the world will be a better place if you accept this pink, frilly, oversized crib set? Pass it on. Someone will love it, new or used.

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Filed under Baby, Frugal Living

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