• Shea Kropiwnicki

For the First-Time Mom

If you’re looking for a sweet and sappy post about enjoying every single waking moment with baby, this is not it. From a Mom of four under five years (who’s also a little Type A and will shoot it to ya straight), here are a few practical tips I’ve learned along the way.

1. Keep the boxes

You know that annoyingly huge box that Junior's jiggly jungle jumparoo came in? Do not throw it away! I tossed almost all of our boxes because I felt like I had to choose between becoming hoarder or throwing away the ginormous box for the baby swing. I regretted it! Are you planning on having another baby? You'll want to store that Rock 'n Play in something other than a black trash bag while you wait for #2. Are you planning on moving in the next couple of years? Moving boxes do not have an "odd-shaped baby accessory" option. Trust me, I know. Hellooo more garbage bags! Are you planning to sell or consign the bottle warmer? A box says "like new" and "excellent condition" to another buying Mom.

I remember going into our attic searching for the baby swing and returning with a realization that one of us must be a serial killer. I had to open 18 oversized, black garbage bags before finally discovering the swing. Find a way to store all those boxes because it will save you time, energy, and money! And a crime scene investigation.

2. Pick one type of sippy cup

Imagine this: a two year is nipping at your heels while simultaneously climbing you like a tree and repeating "juice, juuuuuiiiiiiccceeee" over and over while you, the keeper of the magical liquid, are searching for just one sippy cup with one matching lid. You don't want that kind of torture...I mean, pressure. I would almost promise that the sippy cup makers get together and purposely make their cups (and those little plastic inserts) different sizes, which means that NUK and Munchkin are probably run by terrorists.

Choose one (or two if you must) type of sippy cup, and then buy a billion of them. Read up on Amazon reviews, and find the style that you like best! We've had different ones for different seasons of life.

*This also applies to bottles, cups, bowls, and plates. See how nicely these Target Circo plates stack? If plates can make me feel like SuperWoman, then I'll take 100 please.

3. Buy loads of crib sheets

The Tiny Ticking Time Bomb is finally asleep so you begin to melt into your mattress because all fruits of the spirit are more like vegetables without sleep. Just then TTTTB wakes up in a fit of rage, and you discover TTTTTB (extra "T" for terrible) has wet the sheets. And you don't have an extra sheet. Or maybe you do and that one is still in the washing machine from 3 days ago when this same thing happened (we'll give you a break because TTTTB is rough on the brain). And it doesn't stop there! Poop, vomit, and even drooling from teething can call for a change of sheets. Get at least 3. And mattress pads too.

And if you say horrible things at 3:00 am while you're wrestling a fitted crib sheet onto 5 foot mattress by the light of the moon, it's because your apple of joy and banana of patience have turned into asparagus and brussel sprouts. And TTTTB will keep your secret because he'll never remember.

4. Don’t register for useless stuff

If someone asks what to buy for you, say something practical! You know what great-aunt Gertrude and your neighbor down the street would love to buy for you? Diapers and wipes. Or butt cream and baby lotion. Let them. Ask for useful, sensible things. If they buy you a diaper bag, that frees up some money for you to buy a monogrammed first outfit for frame-worthy hospital pictures.

Once upon a time many pregnancies ago, a first time Mom registered for a sweet little Winnie the Pooh bathrobe and slipper set. She arrived at her first-ever baby shower and began opening gifts. By the time she was done, she had received FIVE Winnie the Pooh bathrobes. Forget about the registry malfunction and the awkwardness of opening the same gift five times. How many times did she put baby boy in the bathrobe? ONCE. One time. For a picture. And he wailed. As cute as it was, it wasn't practical. How many Winnie the Pooh bathrobes did she need? NONE.

5. Buy clothes out of season

Q: When you buy an outfit for baby in December, should it have a candy cane or a jack-o-latern on it?

A: If you want that outfit for 50% off plus an extra 30% off (plus your 20% off coupon since you’ve signed up for those annoying emails from every baby store), it won’t have “Merry Christmas” on it, I can assure you.

Buy clothes out of season so that your kids aren’t naked AND so you can still afford to feed them. Start before the timer goes off on the bun in your oven, and you will always be ahead of the game. Do not shop for summer clothes in May, or you will overpay! If this makes you nervous, keep in mind that your baby born in January will most likely not be needing a 6 month fleece jacket and pants. Check the weight range on the tags, and give it your best guess. If you get it wrong, save it for baby #2, or gift it to a friend.

Grace Giver: In the grand scheme of things, none of this matters. If you have 85 unmatched sippy cups and spend $30 on a Valentine’s Day outfit, it’s going to be okay. God cares about your heart, not your unorganized attic.

Truth Teller: If you’re a Mom, God has given you a soul to shepherd into His love and to shield from the Evil One. If you really want to be prepared, start by praying for your child’s salvation. If you are interested in reading more about raising your child, check out another one of my posts titled What's for Dinner?.

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