Imagine you’re four months pregnant. You’ve finally gotten past the morning sickness and start to regain some energy. You begin to enter what’s referred to as the “nesting phase,” where you spend your days reorganizing, envisioning the nursery, picking out strollers and planning for all of the necessary items your soon-to-be baby will need when they arrive. But there is one thing that seems to be missing from every expectant mom’s registry: something for herself.
Real talk, we are so eager to plan for all things baby that we neglect to anticipate our own potential needs as a new mother. Part of the reason moms often feel so overwhelmed is that they haven’t prepared for what is demanded of them in motherhood. Not only are you creating a precious babe during those magical and challenging nine months, but you are also becoming a mama, and mamas have needs like everyone else. So, here are some conveniences that, looking back, I wish I had budgeted for before I gave birth.
1| Date Nights
Everyone is always telling parents-to-be to “Go out while you still can!” While well-meaning, this is a damaging expectation to place on parents. Parenthood is not a life sentence of house arrest. There are plenty of reasons why brand new moms and dads don’t go out for dinner (or lunch, brunch, drinks … anything), but poor planning shouldn’t be one of them.
The next time you venture to your favorite restaurant during your pregnancy, buy a gift card! (You can also grab one at the grocery store checkout line or online in a snap. Sites like OpenTable make it easy to find your go-to joints or peruse new places if you’re feeling adventurous.) Even if you snag them in $10 or $20 increments, you can accrue a date night or two before your bundle joins the party. And there is zero shame in adding gift cards to your baby shower registry. After all, the purpose of a registry is to make sure you have everything that matters post-delivery, and your partnership certainly matters.
2| Cleaning Services
Another common phrase expectant women hear is to sleep when their baby sleeps. Seriously? Veteran mommies laugh at this because when would we wash the dirty dishes or fold a mound of laundry if we slept during naptime? (Though a nap does sound pretty freaking nice.) While understandably a luxury, having a cleaning crew is a lifesaver for new parents when the state of the house becomes too much to handle, leading to emotional breakdowns and a lack of well-being for everyone at home. We appreciate that businesses like Care.com require background checks for all housekeepers, so you can know the person entering your home has been properly vetted for the job. Consider adding three months of regular house cleanings to your registry and go ahead and schedule services prior to your due date. Trust me.
3| Delivery Subscriptions
Getting necessities delivered automatically is such a game-changer to help combat the effects of mom-brain. Whether it’s paper products, groceries, cleaning supplies or diapering essentials, Amazon makes scheduling recurring deliveries a breeze, so you don’t even have to think about it. The same convenience applies to meal delivery if grocery shopping and food prep isn’t happening. If you enjoy cooking, a meal delivery service such as Hello Fresh or Blue Apron would be ideal with their perfectly portioned ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes that usually take 30 minutes or less. If you don’t enjoy cooking (or if you’re like me and just don’t have the energy to), there are even frozen, ready-to-go meal delivery services available such as Cook Unity.
Ask any mother, and she will tell you that tending to her personal needs is typically on the bottom of her to-do list. However, taking care of ourselves isn’t selfish, it’s critical! Oftentimes the default parent is responsible for the overall mood of the home; if that parent is struggling, her children and partner will likely be affected. It is so important to not only be our best selves for our families but also to teach our children that we as parents (and people) matter. Think about how you receive self-care (such as getting your nails done or powering through a grueling workout) and add these items to your registry. Babylist lets you tack on favors and funds to any list, so family and friends can gift you some self-love.
Childcare can be the most difficult part of planning for a mom’s needs. Not only is it expensive, but it can be understandably challenging to find care that is the right fit for your crew, especially if you do not have family nearby to help. Check out Sittercity for reviewed caregivers in your area or search local Facebook groups for more mom-approved recommendations.
Another sentimental idea is to add a “Special Day With Baby” fund to your current budget or include this on your registry. If adding to your baby wish list, you can make the fund viewable to the select few people you would feel comfortable leaving your child with (i.e. grandmothers, aunts or your closest friends). This is an easy way to let your loved ones know that you are hoping for them to be involved. And many mamas would tell you that a night of babysitting could be more valuable than the most expensive baby item on the market.
You spend most of your pregnancy gearing up to bring a baby into the world, but don’t forget that you’re also becoming a mother, which requires its own set of proper preparations. Remember that you matter, and by prioritizing yourself in whatever way you choose, you’re prioritizing the most important (and favorite) person in your child’s life—their mom.
By Anneliese King