Continuing my blog series, Preparing For Baby The Minimalist Way, today I have a special guest post from my dear friend Liz Wilcox. Liz is Mama to an adorable little 2-year-old girl named Chelsea and they live together along with her spouse and their family dog in a 380 sq ft RV. She writes all about full-time RV living on her blog. It’s safe to say Liz knows a thing or two about being a Minimalist Mama because she has no other option living in a tiny home! Today Liz is going to share some advice that every first time Mama is unsure about and every seasoned Mama is hesitant to do when preparing for baby- regifting. She also has tips for dealing with a few other motherhood taboos.
So without further ado, here’s Liz…
Some etiquette expert was quoted “Nine times out of ten, regifting will come back to bite you in the butt. It doesn’t have a lot of good spirit to it.”
Alright there little mama-to-be, you can quote me that it’s a total crock and regifting is totally cool for you, new moms, and ole pro mamas who are just tired of all the stuff. You know what? I’ll go ahead and just put myself in quotes. Here ya go:'Regifting is totally cool for you, new moms, and ole pro mamas who are just tired of all the stuff'- Liz WilcoxClick To Tweet
Yeah, that looks nice.
Why regifting is more than okay
So you’re carrying around this little bundle of joy right now and while every person you waddle past tells you how glowing and beautiful you are, all you can think about is the burning conflict within your mind between keeping life simple and doing what is best for your baby. Or maybe you’ve already had your baby and now you are sitting in front of a pile of stuff you’ll never use and contemplating the morality of regifting.
I get it. Been there. Done that. And you know what?
When I finally decided regifting was okay and began giving away some things I did not want/need to other moms that did, I started to feel good! I was feeling so weighed down with the responsibility of keeping up with or trying to use all these lovely gifts that I felt I had no time to bond with my baby. And this was before she was even born!
Regifting allowed me to rid myself of the excess responsibility and focus on the things I did want. Chelsea’s nursery was styled to my liking because I didn’t have to fit every piece of decor I was given into the room. It freed up my time doing dishes because I didn’t have 15 different bottles from 5 different makers. And most of all, when my baby did arrive, I got to hold her more because I didn’t have all these “must have” swings and rockers and chairs to test out.
Bonus points of regifting
Regifting also allows you to serve.
I cannot tell you how much I regifted. I scoured Craigslist the first few months after Chelsea was born looking for other mamas out there that needed what I had. There were bathtubs, blankets, onesies, toys… I was like Santa Claus, girlfriend.
How’s that for a bite in the butt, etiquette lady?
4 other taboos you should be totally cool with
Oh girl, if you thought regifting was a touchy subject buckle your seatbelt ’cause you’re about to get a crash course in momma taboos.
1. You should be totally cool with selling gifted items.
Alright, so if that lady thought regifting was a big no-no, I’m sure she’d just about gasp at the idea of selling a gift someone gave you. I’m here to tell you go’on wicha bad self.
When I was pregnant, I got literal boxes of clothes shipped to me from a friend because well, she was trying to help me out. I went through each box and was in love with each item. I picked each one out and put it over my belly giggling as my husband tried to pay attention. The enormous gift really did bring me joy.
But then it didn’t.
By the time the baby showers were through and my little bundle of joy had made her way from belly to bedroom, (again) I was overwhelmed. Ohmygosh, does she have to wear every single piece of clothing she’s ever been given? What am I going to do with these 0-3 shorts? There’s a blizzard outside.
I phoned my friend.
“Liz, why don’t you go on Facebook and sell the clothes? It sounds like you have a lot and just sell all the summer clothes to someone who is having a baby in the summer. I obviously know they’re useless to you now.”
Danggggg, I knew there was a reason this girl and me were so tight. I sold all the clothes in bulk for a very cheap price. I then put the money in Chelsea’s first little piggy bank where it sits today waiting for her.
What’s so taboo about that?
2. You should be totally cool with keeping tags on stuff and return them if never used.
This taboo pretty much goes hand-in-hand with number one but if you’re feeling like this is a little too much for you, I’m here to ease your fears.
Being a mom is hard. Keeping up with your newborn’s schedule is enough without feeling obligated to ensure your perfect little angel wears every single brand new outfit he was gifted. But we do feel that way don’t we?
Let me tell ya something. The person that gave you the outfit or bath toy (or whatever) INTENDED and DESIRED to make your life just that much easier through their gift giving. But guess what? Life happened and the gift got buried and never used. Now you’ve found it and have no use for it. The way I see it, instead of stressing about what you should do with it (the absolute opposite of the gifter’s intention and desire) you should return it and get something you can use or use that money/credit for something that will make your life easier. When you do this, the gift giver’s intention is played out.
Just think on that one for a bit. Go on. I’ll wait.
3. You should be totally cool with the way your house is pre-baby.
As someone who lived in a hotel room while in college, I’ve always liked to keep things simple. Then I took a pregnancy test and got that big ole plus sign. In an instant, the world was incredibly unsafe and every one and their mother alerted me of all the ungodly dangers my household possessed. Here are a few of my favorites.
Get a baby gate! Those stairs are absolutely terrifying. Look at this gate on Amazon. It’s only $119. A small price to pay for security and peace of mind.
Have you gotten your outlet covers yet? Please, oh please tell me you’ve purchased those! If you do NOTHING else, cover your outlets. Only a monster would let her baby be susceptible to a gazillion volts of electricity like that.
What color are you gonna paint your nursery? Don’t do pink or blue, it needs to be gender neutral in case, well, you know! Yellow might be nice except psychologists say it leads to depression. Green, well maybe if you want it to look like frog leather. Your choice, dahling! Your choice!
Seriously people? Enough!
Again, the home you live in right now is fine.
Your newborn cannot move around and therefore does not need outlet covers, staircase gates, and heck! Babies can’t even really see color for a while so you’re safe with the current color of your wall, no matter what shade of yellow it may be!
Liz, how can you say that? Safety should be your number one priority, for Pete’s sake!
Well, from 6 months to 18 months, my child lived in a house built hundreds of years ago with a coal stove, staircases that were impossible to fix gates to, and a kitchen with no floor and nails that popped out randomly.
I seriously never stopped hearing “That house is a death trap.” Well spoil alert, my kid is still alive.
As your baby begins to move and you learn what type of mother you are, you put in safety measures (as you should.) For me, that meant closing doors behind me and keeping a close eye on my baby in certain rooms. It meant teaching her to walk up and down stairs very early and very carefully. And yes, I even got some of those things for cabinet doors to keep them shut.
Being a minimalist mama allows you certain freedoms and privileges.
So I can hear two arguements from the points I’ve made today.
- What about what others have to say about me regifting/selling their stuff
- I’m not willing to put my kid at risk not having this/that/the other
Let’s address the first point, shall we?
Being a minimalist and telling myself this is the way I want to be in all aspects of my life, including raising children, has set me free from caring what others think. Of course, I don’t go around parading the fact that I sold your gift for cash, but if you know me well enough you know that I do not like excess and I want my life to be as simple as possible.
If I’m worried my loved one might be upset about my action, I tell them my intention beforehand. I say “You know, I just love that onesie you gave me but unfortunately Chelsea never got to wear it. Do you mind if I take it back to the store and use that money to let her pick out a toy? She has a lot of clothes in her current size but we are lacking in the toy department.”
Who would say no? And if they do? Ask them what they want you to do with it. Either way, you get the object removed from your house which is your desired result, anyway.
And the second point?
Well, that’s all you baby! If it makes you more comfortable to have all sorts of safety measure in place, go for it! As a minimalist, I simply prefer to start with as little as possible and buy/obtain as needed. Another privilege I receive from minimalism is the clutter free space. My home has very little for my child to “get hurt on”, and my mind is free to pay closer attention to my child and her surroundings. This might sound like crazy hippie talk, but I’m telling you having too much visual clutter is a tremendous cause of stress for women. Clearing your space before baby gets here may be the only precautionary safety measure you may have to take in order to bring baby home to a safe home.
A final point
Alright little mama, now it’s time for you to relax. After all, you’ve just read through 1700 words of mommy taboo and that’s gotta be exhausting for your already-stressed mind. Just know when you’re ready to do a little nesting again in the house for baby, if you feel the urge to purge (in whatever form) you should be totally cool with it. Stay strong little mama.
Liz Wilcox is (of course) the brains behind lizwilcox.com. Not only is she a fellow Minimalist Mama, she is best known as being a motivational expert, using her passion for storytelling and humor to empower others to take life by the (well, you know) and reach their maximum potential. Her Inspired Me Challenge is a free challenge that will take you from dreams to achievable goals in 14 days (Sign up! I just did!) and her Facebook page is another great free resource where you can find plenty of motivation and laughs.
Did you do any regifting after preparing for baby? What is the biggest motherhood taboo for you? Share with us in the comments below!
Be sure to check back soon for the next post in the Preparing For Baby The Minimalist Way series- 10 Areas Not To Overlook When You’re Decluttering Before Your Baby Delivery!