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Rule 35: Don't Buy the Wipe Warmer

Aug 23, 2008
Liz Gumbinner is the co-founder and editor of CoolMomPicks.com, the popular shopping and review website for parents of young children. She's also a writer and columnist, and the author of top parenting blog, Mom-101.

I can't begin to add up the hundreds of hours during my first pregnancy that I dreamingly gazed online at organic knit baby booties and sweated over nursing pillow fabric choices, cross-referencing my selections with recommendations on two different message boards, three baby books, and the suggestions of a half dozen girlfriends.

Oh, the time suck of it all. Surely I could have put those hours to use writing the great American novel. Two of them. Then translated them both into Aramaic.

We are busy, we working moms; we spend our lives prioritizing obligations, managing our limited time, striving to be creatures of exceptional efficiency. But when it comes down to browsing those online registries, suddenly all judgment flies out the window and there we are, frittering four entire hours in the virtual "bath and potty" aisle making sure we have the absolute perfect duck-headed towel.

The truth of the matter is, your baby will somehow, magically get dry, regardless of your choice.

Resist, working mamas of the world! Resist those retailer-created checklists that suggest you simply must - must - begin your journey into motherhood in possession of 18-24 bibs, 62 side-snap kimono tees, an entire early reading library and the $200 ergonomic memory foam changing pad originally patented by NASA. I can assure you that even that cornerstone of the nursery, the crib, didn't go used in our household for a good year, and even then only because we felt obliged to justify the cost of it. There's just no guarantee as to what you need.

Now let it be known I have no problem with some degree of frivolity. Those brocade car seat covers can be mighty swanky, and indeed there's a reason that that $800 stroller is worth the $800. What makes me crazy are those "must-haves" from retailers that prey on our compromised pregnancy brains, then never make it out of the box: the digital thermometer (doesn't work on newborns); the infant high tops (good luck getting those on); the pacifier sterilizer (Hahahahah!). And, the most absurdly frivolous of them all: The wipes warmer.

Trust me when I tell you that no child on earth has ever failed to thrive as an adult because his excrement was not dabbed gently off his posterior at a delightful 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

While you're at it, go ahead and skip the full body bibs, the bathtub temperature monitors, the fancy white noise machines. You don't need that hat that pulls down over the baby's eyes so he can sleep better. You don't need the giant plush hand that "comforts" your child in bed at night. And don't bother with the childproofing items until you know whether you've got yourself a kid who's more of a light socket taster or one who prefers hurling himself full force into the coffee table.

The reality is, you may go back and wish you had one of these items. You may angrily shake your fist at me at 3 a.m. and curse my name, just knowing that if you had registered for that giant plush hand, it could have solved all of your child's sleep problems. It could happen. But it probably won't.

Be careful not to confuse the must-haves with the would-be-nice-to-haves. It will save you immeasurable time, energy and agita that you could fritter away on baby naming websites instead.

In the end, give yourself permission to forgive yourself when you go and buy all the stupid stuff anyway. Because you are pregnant. And you are crazy.

As excerpted from "42 Rules (tm) for Working Moms" Super Star Press, 2008.
About the Author
Laura Lowell is the executive editor and author of "42 Rules for Working Moms." She has gathered practical advice and information from working moms all over the world to share with others. She lives and works in Silicon Valley with her husband and two girls. http://www.42rules.com/working_moms/index
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