Babies and kitchens: both come with a huge amount of crap that you don’t need all under the guise of making your life easier. In fact these time saving devices tend to fix a problem that doesn’t exist and spend their time collecting dust in over packed cupboards. Also, you never need to buy anything new as everyone thinks they need these vital things (and are often included in lists that tell you so), so you can often find them second hand in the dusty cupboards of friends and family who will quite happily off-load them on you. That goes for kitchen stuff and kid-related stuff although not the child itself. They do like cupboards though.
I remember a friend telling us that we would soon need to move out of our one-bed flat when our impending child arrived because they “come with a lot of stuff.” Actually kids turn up naked and don’t need half the things you buy for them. We just think they do to make our lives easier. Much like kitchen gadgets. The reason you never need buy a bread maker is that someone you know will have one in a cupboard somewhere. We did and off loaded it onto a friend looking to buy one. In fact, it was gifted to us from a dusty cupboard elsewhere. They really at the gift that keeps giving.
You know why we did not use the bread maker? Because by the time you’ve weighed and measured, cooked and washed you realise that it is just as easy to make the bread yourself and will not look like a rectangle with a hole in the bottom. Or better yet, walk to the shop, hand over £1.30 and get a freshly baked loaf of bread handed back. Now that is quicker and cleaner than a bread machine. This third-hand machine is probably now languishing in another cupboard right now after a single use.
Last night I spent the night giving a slow cooker a good scrub. We had been gifted this from family because they no longer needed it. That should really have been the first sign that this was an unnecessary kitchen addition. I was told it needed a wipe down because it had sat in a cupboard for some time. Yeah with the remnant of dinner from 2003 still stuck to the inside. I spent an hour scouring the inside of this thing only to reveal underneath 2003 casserole a warning that said ‘do not place liquid in this section due to risk of electric shock’. I could have done with that information before I put a load of hot soapy water inside to scrub off said casserole. We had better get more than one use out of this. In fact, it had better live up to its promise that it would ‘change our lives’.
Everything you read when pregnant is full of advice of what things you will need when you get pregnant. Most of it you will use once and give up on. My favourite item that I was told would CHANGE MY LIFE was a door bouncer that he used once and cost me £30 for the pleasure.
Mumsnet have a helpful list of essentials you will need:
1. A Cot or Crib – If you get a moses basket, your child will sleep in this once, maybe twice if you are lucky. My cats spent more time sleeping in my son’s basket than he did. We even got a cat protector – a netting that goes over the top of the cot. All that happens is the cat sleeps on top of the netting inside the cot. Most babies end up in bed with you, you know why? You both get more sleep that way. Get a cot bed, they last longer and you will have more use out of them. I am still trying to figure out the essential use of the cot bumper.
2. Nappies – Yep, you will need these and lots of them. Why a life time supply of baby wipes is not on here too, I do not know. Resuables are great, much easier than your parents will tell you they are. Everyone warned me of the horror of reusables and quite frankly, they were one of my best investments.
3. Pram – another useless thing you are told to get. I did my research when buying my pram, talked to friends in London with kids, talked to my midwife, read reviews. In the end I took the advice of one friend who said she did not get a Bugaboo because everyone else did and then regretted it when kicking her pram down the street because she wasn’t able to get on the bus. My midwife laughed at me when my bugaboo arrived and said the maclaren was better. How I should have listened. My Bugaboo broke after 6 months and I am still trying to get it replaced. I stopped using it when I invested in a sling that I use every day. The only thing a pram is good for is parting the crowds of Oxford Street on a busy Saturday. Otherwise, stick them in a sling, you’ll get places quicker.
4. Baby Bouncer – This was used to enable me to take a shower. So yes it is useful, just don’t pay more than £30 for an all-singing, all-dancing one. The child doesn’t care. They stop using them after a few weeks and move onto the Bumbo instead. A big plastic seat that you are not meant to feed them in or place them on the kitchen sides but everyone does so anyway. Again, everyone buys one so get one second hand because they don’t stay in them long.
5. Breast Pump or Bottle Steriliser – You could probably just breast feed and live without both. That’s up to you. A dishwasher is more useful and sterilises the bottles at the same time. Or a pan of boiling water will do it too. Save yourself some money for coffee and cake.
6. A Sling – I cannot stress enough how much a sling will save you so much hassle. Every time I see a Mum struggle to get her pram on a bus or tube or there are already two prams on board I want to tell them to just sling their kids and London will open its doors to you. Kids sleep in slings and they can use them until 4 years old if you get the right one. That’s the trick. You need to try them out at your local sling library and get the right one for you and your child. Mine was £40 from ebay and I love it.
Now for things that you aren’t told you need but in fact you do:
1. The dishwasher – Anyone dare to take or damage my dishwasher will be damaged themselves. This is saves hours of my time. I do not even care that I am the only one to empty and reload it. I put plates, bottles and dishes in dirty and they come out clean.
2. Tumble Dryer – I love the environment, truly I do but I love getting the endless pile of washing done in a day more. Winter evenings are no longer spent staring at damp clothes drying by the radiator. Nope, they are spent marveling at how clothes I wore yesterday are back clean in the wardrobe today, not in a month’s time.
3. Lie-ins – Do a deal where you and your partner take one weekend day a piece to sleep in until naturally woken up by the screaming from the living room. Your life will be hugely improved.
4. A scientific knowledge of skin care products – All those sleepless nights, rushing around, never getting to pee in peace will take its toll and spending freely upon gorgeously packaged products will be a thing of the past. Unless you are a lottery winner. Knowing what makes a good moisturiser good will save you a lot of money. Currently I am testing some home made aloe vera stuff, but well I am a hippy and spend thrift.
5. Coffee (or tea) and plenty of it. – One of my most-used kitchen buys was the french press which gave me a plentiful supply of coffee throughout the day.