Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Baby Planners

I am in full procrastination mode, avoiding the onerous task of finishing our annual Christmas letter. Right now I'm thinking of bagging the whole thing and sending out some Fourth of July greetings next summer. But since I just purchased a roll of 100 stamps, I suppose it would be wise use them before the cost of postage triples six months from now and I'm stuck attaching 75 one cent stamps to each envelope.

I admit, it does seem rather ironic that I am procrastinating writing one thing by writing another. But this is fun, not work, and as we all know, fun should always come before work. (Right, Mom?)

Since I'm currently in the market for baby products, news articles related to car seats and strollers generally catch my eye. I usually come away from such articles thinking, "$800 for a stroller? Really? These people are morons." But now, I realize the people who buy $800 strollers have nothing on the people who hire someone to do the purchasing for them.

Apparently, enlisting the services of a "Baby Planner" is the thing to do when you are expecting a little bundle of joy. One mother who subscribes to the service (which can cost up to $150 an hour) justified it by saying, "Everybody has different opinions. Then you ask your friends and they have different opinions." Ergo, hire an expert.

Um, I hate to break it to you, lady, but your baby planner will have yet another opinion, most likely steering you toward the most expensive things on the market. But, as a bonus, she will install your car seat for you if you don't have time (the lack of which seems to be the motivating force behind many parents seeking the help of baby planners).

For heaven's sake, if you don't have time to pick out a car seat or do a little research among your friends and family, just what are you going to do once Junior arrives? Of course, actual parenting is a non-issue for many of these people, I'm sure - that's what the nanny is for. (Another little Baby Planner bonus - she will do the nanny interviewing for you. No need to inspect your child's primary caregiver personally!)

The thing is that babies really don't need a lot. They certainly don't need enough things to warrant hiring a professional to procure everything for them. Food, clothing, diapers, a car seat, and somewhere to sleep - that about covers it. Parents will figure out what else they need or want as they go along. Half the stuff these baby planning experts want you to buy before the birth of your child are not even necessary until the kid is 6 months old, anyway. You do not need to have your high chair set up before you bring your baby home from the hospital.

Besides, why would you want to take the expensive suggestions of a "professional" over the advice of a friend who has actually had a baby or two? A fancy stroller may be good in theory, but in reality it will probably be a pain in the neck (and the wallet), and a friend who has been through a stroller or two could give you that advice for free.

The only possible explanation I can come up with for this ridiculousness is that parents have stopped thinking of babies as children and started thinking of them as trophies whose sole purpose in life is to make their parents look good. If that is the case, hiring a baby planner is just another way to get a head start on that trophy spit-shine.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to spend $800 on a Bugaboo stroller. Only the best for my children.


mean aunt said...

No, Bonnie--$1600 on two Bugaboo strollers. Surely you weren't thinking of reusing Michael's stroller or sharing a double stroller. You need one per nanny.

Megan B said...

LOL, mean aunt!!

I vividly remember being obsessed with getting bumper pads for the crib before Kinley was born. I cried about it, I braved blizzards for them when I finally located them in stock. $12 plain pink bumper pads from Baby Depot. It never occurred to me that she wouldn't roll for 5 months... For the record, I now hate bumper pads and haven't used them at all for my boys. Oh, but they were the mountain I was willing to die on at the time. I literally laid awake at night fretting about not having bumper pads. Should have been more concerned about the cheap, scary, unsafe carseat we got... yikes!!