Recently, my mom begged me to do a baby announcement for the birth of my second son, and I declined, using the reasoning that baby announcements are basically low-key asks for gifts. Okay, hear me out.
I’m not saying this to be rude, or ungrateful, or provocative, but I just had my second baby, and I really don’t want you to send me presents.
For the first kid, I needed everything. We sent out a baby announcement when he was born (I didn’t have a shower due to Jewish superstition), and I got lots of stuff off my registry that was legitimately useful: car seat, stroller, feeding pillows, books, swaddle sacks, swings, bouncers, etc., etc.
For the second kid, I kept my registry hidden from public view and told my parents that I would send the link directly to anyone who asked. You know who asked? Nobody. You know why? Because people just send you stuff they like, and while that is awesome and super generous, it’s unnecessary.
Most people buy clothes. I really don’t need clothes. As a second-time mom, I’ll let you in on a secret: I’ve got Bibs, Books, Blankets, Boppies, Bottles, Buntings, Bouncers, Bassinets. . . all the Baby Basics. I saved it all, and whatever I didn’t save I borrowed from my network of mom friends. My newborn will wear the same stuff his brother wore—the same ten or so onesies that he will have poop blowouts in and quickly outgrow and a few new things his great grandma bought for him that are great for photos. . . that he will have poop blowouts in and quickly outgrow. And guess what? Even if it is personalized with his brother’s name on it, I promise my newborn isn’t going to notice or care.
The stuff I actually need—the stuff I put on my registry–is pretty unsexy, and the truth is, nobody wants to get you boob leak pads, or butt cream, or extra pump parts, or wee-wee covers to put on the changing table, on top of the cover, to prevent replacing it every time you change the baby. THIS is the stuff that I find myself shelling out money for repeatedly, and these things were the registry items that go un-bought.
Here’s the other thing that is true: having one kid is tiring. Having two kids is. . . let’s just put it this way: I can’t remember the last time I finished a thirty minute TV show in a single night without falling asleep. Every time someone buys me a gift, I do what my parents raised me to do: I send a thank you note. Because, of course, I do; it’s good manners and someone was thoughtful enough to send me something and I just do it. But finding the time to write thank you notes in between nursing, pumping, changing diapers, managing a toddler and occasionally trying to sneak away for a nap is challenging. It’s one more thing to add to the to-do list.
I’m sure that not every mom feels the same way I do about presents—especially if it’s her first kid— but I do know that my own approach to gift-giving has certainly changed. When someone I know is pregnant, I will send a gift card to Amazon. I can fantasize that a new mom will use the gift card to buy adorable onesies, but I won’t get mad if she really uses it to buy, say, replacement bags for her diaper genie.
And I’ll tell her not to send me a thank you note.