The other day I was in some Big Baby Store to buy a gift for an expecting friend’s little jellybean. Like most busy people, I avoid errands whenever possible and do most of my shopping online, so it had been a while since I was face to face with a cavernous room of baby items and I was rocketed back to the day my husband and I walked through this very store for the first time in order to create that abysmal registry for ourselves. Faced with all those choices, all that plastic, the bright primary colors, the endless array of seemingly “must haves,” I literally froze. I think that was the closest I might have come to a full on panic attack.
Did we really need all this stuff? The store would have you believe yes. When, in fact, the answer is no…for the most part.
Sure, there is always a new gadget that will make a parent’s life easier and you will have friends swear by this product or that, but the real answer is: it’s not about the stuff.
In fact, if I was to cultivate a list for expecting parents, it wouldn’t be a registry filled with actual things. It would be a list of resources.
So, in that spirit, here is my other “R” list: resources. They are not all experts offering advice, they don’t offer a window into perfect parenting…because there is no such thing. Rather, I think of this list as a group of virtual friends who are also along for this crazy parenting journey.
- The One Who Tells It Like It Is: Bunmi Laditan/The Honest Toddler
If there ever was a parent who could peel away the shiny veneer of the perfect parenting image from our societal conscious, it’s Bunmi Laditan. Laditan is a mother, writer, and creator of the famous and hilarious Honest Toddler twitter account. Her comical accounts of her “Pinterest Worthy” dinners and her frustration over buying vitamins for her children give a more realistic portrait of parenthood than any parenting advice column I have read. But underneath the parenting humor which we all identify with, Laditan reminds us, more importantly, that we are all human: imperfect, exhausted, often overwhelmed moms and dads who are just trying to navigate our children through this world. She also has a book called Toddlers are Aholes, It’s Not Your Fault that is a helpful reminder to those parents blessed with strong-willed little ones.
And here’s a fun fact: After my husband, she was the first one I told that I was pregnant with our second.
- The One Who Makes Me Laugh: Raquel D’Apice/The Ugly Volvo
Writer, mother, and stand-up comic Raquel D’Apice just did two amazing things at almost the same time: she released her second baby and first book into the world. Her book, Welcome to the Club: 100 Parenting Milestones You Never Saw Coming, is the perfect gift to give to someone you love but who also needs to know what’s coming their way in an honest, loving, and humorous way. I don’t know her baby’s name, but I am sure almost as much thought was put into naming him as well. Even if you are not a parent, you can still appreciate D’Apice’s wit and writing craft, such as her hilarious famous Christmas list and Yelp reviews of newborns. And for a more in-depth look at parenting and life with (and without) kids, she also has a podcast called Kid/Life Crisis with Katie Compa.
- The Ones Who Inspire…But In A Way That is Totally Doable: What’s Up Moms
So if all the moms from around the world got together at a collective cafeteria, I’m pretty sure the cast of What’s Up Moms would be the popular girls: they’re gorgeous, funny, and well dressed. At first, I kind of wanted to hate them. But then I kept watching their videos and realized: Oh, they’re just like me! Granted they’re a more glamorous, film-ready, better dressed version of me. But still. Once you watch, you can see that these girls are talented, creative, and every day, real life mothers. Their YouTube clips are short enough that I can watch them in between temper tantrums or right before preschool pick-up. The crafts and cooking demos are actually manageable and not some crazy impossible Pinterest monstrosity. And their mom hacks are pretty genius. Their best work, however, would have to be their music videos. Sorry, Taylor Swift, but their parody of Blank Space fits my lifestyle a little more than the original one.
- The Ones Who Reflect Our Lives: Story of This Life
Story of this Life by the Anderson Family is the story of all our lives with children: navigating the holidays, potty training, and just trying to get things done. Whether you’re looking for a laugh, a sweet moment, or just want to be reminded about how totally exhausting yet amazing parenthood can be, this family will show you. And if you’ve never done Christmas with a baby, you need to watch this.
- The One Who Knows His Stuff: Jamie Grayson/TheBabyGuyNYC
So, yes: there will be stuff you will need for your baby. I admit it. Diapers are a given. A car seat is pretty necessary. And there’s some other stuff that for sure will be helpful easing you into life with a newborn. But wading through all that stuff on your own can be a nightmarish disaster. Where do you start? How do you know what to pick? Out of all the resources on the internet, I have found Jamie Grayson aka TheBabyGuyNYC to be one of the most helpful and, by far, the most entertaining. He works with companies to introduce products to new parents but his reviews are honest, funny, and reliable. Basically, I know if Jamie has put his stamp of approval on something, I can trust it. And that says a lot. Plus I’ve never heard anyone talk about car seats and breast pumps sound as interesting and entertaining as he does.
Other places I feel give good information about stuff you actually need and stuff you really don’t need include:
And the Baby Bargains Book
I hope that might have been helpful to someone. Or helped someone laugh. But at the very least, you get to see where I spend some of my time on the internet…when I am not looking at videos of monkeys cuddling with tigers of scrolling through pictures of my own kids that is.
If you would like an easier reading experience, I suggest signing up for emails. (I won’t spam you and I’m not selling anything; I won’t even know your address.) If you see value in this post, please feel free to share. If you would like to see pictures of my family coming out of church or my son covered in marker (not the same day, thank goodness), I am getting better about being on Instagram. I can also be found on Facebook, which I understand a little better because I am old.