Jason once told me, “My shopping skills are totally wasted on you.” What he meant was that he is capable of contributing meaningful comments like, “I like how that one fits around the waist, but I like how the color of the last one matched your skin tone,” while patiently seated in the armchair next to the dressing room. But this skill of his is never put to use. Because I don’t like shopping.
I blame my mother. She is the oldest of 12 children. My grandma was a stay-at-home mom, and my grandpa was a cop. They were not rich. At age 18 she took a vow of poverty and donned the nun’s habit. Shopping was a lost cause by the time she left the convent at age 36. And so this traditionally feminine art was never passed down to me.
Occasionally I have gone shopping with friends. To be social. And with the right friends it can be enjoyable. But usually I find it uncomfortable. I mostly trail behind my companion like a puppy dog, focusing on our conversation, until I remember that I’m supposed to be looking at stuff. I strategically time trips away from my friend and thumb through hangers or piles or bins awkwardly. So as to appear like I’m into the whole “shopping thing.”
Now I will say that I’ve grown to like shopping more as my income has increased over the years. I think this is because I tend to shop like a boy. I don’t shop until I need something. And when I do shop I prefer to do so in clean, well organized stores. So as to find what I’m looking for as quickly as possible. And that tends to cost more. If I ever grow to be ridiculously rich the first member of my “staff” will be a personal shopper.
But it doesn’t stop there. I also do not like acquiring things I don’t want and won’t use. I don’t like them taking up otherwise neat and organized space in my house. It seems like there’s a constant influx of trinkets being handed out (at work especially). A pen with a big plastic flag on the end, a glow stick for Halloween, a calendar, yet another pair of safety gloves.
I LOVE getting rid of these things. Almost more than I like getting new things. My mom went through this big feng shui, clutter clearing kick a few years back so I feel like I can blame this on her as well. (Sorry Mom.) And that’s kind of remarkable considering that the house I grew up in never really had a lot of clutter to begin with.
Just this weekend I started cleaning out our kitchen in order to create a little space for things like baby bottles. And found myself having this conversation with Jason about a wedding present we hadn’t registered for but received anyway…
Me: Is it okay if I get rid of this?
Jason: Uh…I don’t know…
Me: We’ve never used it.
Jason: It’s just really nice.
Me: I know. But we’ve never used it.
We also went to IKEA to pick up the makings for some shelves we’re (i.e. Jason is) going to install in our bathroom. Also on the list was a $3 motion-sensing night light for the baby’s room. Here’s how that conversation went.
Jason: Why don’t we get two?
Me: Why do we need two?
Jason: I don’t know. It might be nice to have another one.
Me: Where would we put it?
Jason: I don’t know. We could put it in the hall or…
Me: Let’s just get one. We only really need one.
My point here is not to say that Jason is a hoarder. Because he’s not at all. He’s actually quite alike me in the business of acquiring things. Nor is it to highlight how agreeable he can be. Even though he can be. (One of the many reasons I love him.)
All of this is building up to what I really want to say. Which is that minimally preparing for a new baby is really freaking difficult. All along I have been very clear about wanting to buy only the essentials ahead of time. Mostly because of my personality, but also because we have a very minimal amount of already filled storage space in our house. If we find we absolutely need a rose-scented diaper wipe warmer down the road I figure we can get one then. For half price off Craigslist. And Jason has been right on-board.
But I suppose not everyone in our circle of family and friends knows this. And so we are acquiring…(sigh)…gifts. Some gifts that we wanted. Some homemade gifts that I absolutely love. And some that we didn’t ask for. Some fairly (geometrically) large gifts. Things that others felt we couldn’t live without. Things that I would have preferred to wait and see about.
And I feel so helpless. Like I won’t be able to carve out enough room for it all in time. Like the baby industry marketing machine has been shoved down my throat. Like I don’t get a say in how we begin our parenting journey (this part of it anyway). I feel angry when I have to write a thank you note for something I already want to get rid of and guilty that I’m not more appreciative.
And I feel like a bad blogger for writing such an absurdly long, Debbie Downer of a post. Is there anyone out there that can at all relate? Forget about relating. Did anyone actually read this whole thing?