Go Gear-Less Mommies!
Last month I had to travel to Chicago to attend a funeral for a dear friend. Since my youngest is under 1 year it was free to take her along, and made it easier to find care for the others while I was away. Since I flew out in the morning and planned to return that night, I didn't take anything with me but my usual purse, with a few diapers and wipes stuffed inside, and an extra onesie for the baby.
On the plane I struck up a conversation with the passenger next to me - as you do. When she heard I had 4 children, she commented that I must be at pro at travelling successfully with kids. Then she noticed that I didn't have anything with me. No bottles, no snacks, no toys, not even a stroller! I joked back, "yeah, I know after all these toddlers - you don't need all that stuff!"
I Have Always Been a Minimalist Mother
Now don't get me wrong, I didn't start out my career as a mommy with all the gadgets. I remember shopping in Motherhood in Galway while expecting my first, and having a total panic attack at all the "stuff" it seemed I needed. I responded by not buying anything, and started motherhood with little more than a pack of diapers and a few sleepsuits. No crib, no changing table, no baby bath, no monitors, no highchair, no nursery with all the gadgets and decor, no diaper genie - virtually nothing (except the mandatory car seat).
Pretty soon I discovered, "hey, I don't really need any of that!" I changed the diapers on the floor or bed. She didn't sit up or eat solid food for 6 months, and when she started she happily sat on our lap. I learned I could do almost anything while simultaneously holding her. I also discovered that the psychic thing http://its.yale.edu/news/lux-talk-travelling-scriptorium-nov-16 between mommies and toddlers is real, and any time she woke up from a nap or was in distress, I knew about it even if I didn't hear her.
Of course eventually we did get the crib, but that is about as far as it went. Over the course of having 3 more toddlers and moving back to America, we were given (new or hand-me-down) a lot of gear. Diaper Genie -ew, it is gross and smells! Baby swings - they all hated them. Bibs - they rip them off and/or the mess finds its way all over the clothes anyway. And so many of the toys/books/clothes are used so rarely and then just accumulate and take up space and you can't wait to move them on to someone else!
New Mothers, Please Think Twice!
Now, I might be an extreme case. But take it from me: I guarantee that half of that gear you are thinking you need - you DON'T! And even if it seems like the brilliant solution to a common mommy-problem, chances are high that the baby won't like or use it, or you will find it actually causes more work. And even if it does work like you thought it would, your baby's development is so rapid, it's usefulness will be so short-lived and soon it will become a big (most likely plastic) nusiance taking up valuable space in your home. Then you will think "well, I should hang on to it just in case, or for the next baby" and the baby gear will pile up uncontrolably in what little storage areas you have available.
So, in short, don't give in! Try life without it first, and instead feel great about how much your mommy-hood has NOT contributed to polluting this wonderful world your new bundle of joy will be living in. And....you can save the money for their education instead (or a much-needed babysitter!)