A friend of mine is expecting his first child in the spring and foolishly took to facebook in search of friendly advice on what he and his wife should register for. Not surprisingly, everyone and their mother had an opinion including one woman who wrote that advice from other parents is “unnecessary” and then went on to give her two cents on his entire registry. I couldn’t bring myself to comment (for reasons I’m sure I will share at a later time) but his post did get me thinking about all of the items on my baby registry and how one in particular, the wipe warmer, will most likely be looked at in years to come as the reason my generation of parents failed their children.
Although it’s true there are a lot of mommy must haves that can, for one reason or another, be labeled “unnecessary”, I’m pretty sure that with the invention of the wipe warmer came the potential beginning of the end of common sense parenting. I’m being dramatic I know, but from a practical standpoint, the notion that a baby needs to have wipes warmed before they touch their skin is absurd. If you are using a wipe chances are, said baby has been sitting in his or her own excrement for some time and although a warm wipe is lovely, I’m fairly certain that in the long run, he doesn’t care about it’s temperature as long as it cleans his ass. This insight, courtesy of hindsight of course, because I, like so many other parents drank the Kool-Aid and kept my wipes heated for almost 3 years with my first child. Three. Years. Looking back I realize that in my attempt to do everything right when caring for my son, I forgot one very important thing. Babies are born tough. If they can survive the trauma of actually “being born” than surely they can survive a room temperature wipe.
I understand that this may seem like an attack on the wipe warmer industry as a whole and for that, I apologize. I do not want an Oprah vs. The Texas Cattle Ranchers type backlash so I want to be perfectly clear; my beef is really not with the wipe warmer itself. It’s with the fact that we as parents are consuming without question. We buy this stuff on the recommendation of other parents, some of whom are being paid to push, but never stop to ask ourselves “is this complete and total bullshit?” We have been told that we must have an entire list of things to properly care for our infants and operate under the assumption that the more of those things we have the better the parents we will be. We claim to know that every baby is different and yet we pre-register their needs without having ever met them.
With my second child I vowed to re-instate my common sense and ask myself one question before I commit to any product that society has claimed a mommy must have. “Would my ninety-five year old Grandmother wish she had this when she was raising her kids or would she call me a douchebag?” In the case of the wipe warmer, I don’t even need to ask, Doris would unleash such a verbal assault on me that it would give Alec Baldwin a run for his money.
So to my friend who is about to embark on this wonderful journey called parenthood I say this; register for everything…register for nothing, it doesn’t really matter. Parenting is wonderfully rewarding and horribly agonizing no matter how many gadgets you have. Common sense will help you navigate your way through the sea of B.S. so if nothing else, register for that. And when all else fails just talk to your friend who doesn’t believe in advice…I’m sure she has all of the answers.
This post is dedicated to my sister-in-law who, to this day I’m certain, still has her wipe warmer in it’s original box in the closet. Lisa, you’re our only hope.