Several of my friends are pregnant right now, a couple of them for the first time. This, of course, brings out the advice-giving busybody in me like nothing else. I really want to just sit down with my first-time mom-to-be friends and tell them everything I’ve learned in my four and a half years of parenting.
It’s not that I’m an expert or that I’ve learned anything groundbreaking. But when it’s new to you – and means the difference between losing your mind and not – I think any lesson a new mom learns is earth-shattering. So while I’m not about to delve into the debates of breast vs. bottle, work vs. stay home, crib vs. family bed, or disposable vs. cloth diapers (although, if you’ve been reading here for any amount of time, I’m sure you can guess what my preferences are on all of the above), I love sharing some of the other little things that have made my life easier as a mom.
After all, half of these things were tips I got from other moms, so it’s only fair for me to pass them along!
I’ve already written about shopping safely (and sanely) with a baby or toddler, flying with young kids, taking road trips with young kids and taking your kids to see their first movies. Today I’ll share a few things I’ve learned when it comes to dressing my daughter.
1. Learn to love hand-me-downs. Or garage sales or thrift stores or consignment shops. Whatever it takes to get your hands on a large amount of clothes for a little amount of money – DO IT. I’ve been incredibly blessed with a cousin who’s daughter is a few years older than Annalyn. They’ve generously shared clothes since my kiddo was born, saving me so much money and time and shopping sanity. When we’re finished with the clothes, we turn around and hand down the good ones to another cousin whose daughter is just a year younger than mine. (And then, in hopes of us having another baby someday, she gives them back when they’re finished!)
2. Find a quality brand you love. I simply love Carter’s. I have friends who swear by other brands, but Carter’s is my favorite. The clothes are always super cute, fairly priced (especially at the outlet store!) and well-made. They hold up to the abuse of a little person (and my belief that everything should be wash and go). And I can find them in several different stores. Whether I’m shopping at Walmart, Sam’s Club, Target or JCPenney, I can find cute Carter’s clothes in my kiddo’s size.
(For now. She’s almost grown out of even the largest size I can find at the Carter’s outlet. I don’t want to talk about it, though, okay? I’m in both denial and mourning about the whole thing.)
3. Buy in season. I know. The frugal folks will tell you to buy clothes on sale at the end of each season. But I’m telling you: your kids will grow in weird, unexpected ways. And storing all those clothes is a pain. (And if you forget you have them until that next season is two-thirds the way through? Well, you’ll wish you’d walked right on by that clearance rack!)
4. Give your kiddo choices. As she gets older, your darling daughter will develop opinions about her attire. Oh yes, she will. And that brown floral peasant blouse that you just love (and may have bought a version of every single fall since she was born)? Yeah, she’s not gonna go for it. So, my advice is to give her choices. “Would you like to wear this outfit today or tomorrow?” “Would you like to wear the pink dress or the pink shirt and gray pants?”
5. Let her dress herself. If you dare. And possibly retaining veto power. I definitely have veto power at our house, but some of the other moms at our preschool let their kids wear whatever they pick out. I suppose this one depends on your tolerance level. Big surprise – mine is pretty low.
6. Extend the use of your favorite items. Sundresses are my favorite piece of clothing ever. Obviously they’re perfect for summer, but stick a t-shirt and tights under a dress – and voila! You’ve got a spring/fall outfit. You can also add leggings under dresses that are too short. As a matter of fact, I just bought an adorable toddler dress today for Annalyn to wear over her denim shorts this summer!
7. Embrace the pink. Or the green. Or the polka dots. Or the Mickey shirt or the Dora socks or the monkey hat. Our girls are showing us their unique personalities and passions when they beg to wear the same outfit or color or headband every day. It won’t last forever. And all those people at the grocery store or gas station, staring at your pretty little princess? They know she picked it out. And they think it’s cute, too.
What advice would you give new moms about dressing their daughters (or sons)?
Psst, remember how I mentioned Carter’s? Well, not only are they my favorite brand of children’s clothing (seriously.), they’re also starring in a new movie. The brand will be featured in What to Expect When You’re Expecting, which is “due” in theaters on May 18.
To celebrate the launch of this movie, Carter’s is hosting “A Closet Full of Carter’s Sweepstakes” on Facebook and giving away more than $12,000 in prizes. You can enter to win the $5,000 Carter’s gift card grand prize or one of the other giveaways by entering every day on Facebook until May 18.
No Purchase Necessary to Enter or Win. A purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Void where prohibited by law. Participants must be 18 years of age or older as of the date of entry. Promotion begins April 16, 2012 at 12:00:01 a.m. ET and ends May 18, 2012 at 11:59:59 p.m. ET. Limit one (1) entry per person, per day. Complete Official Rules available at www.facebook.com/carters. Sponsor: The William Carter Company (the “Sponsor”), 1170 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 900, Atlanta, GA 30309. Facebook is not a Sponsor of this Sweepstakes.
Carter’s partnered with bloggers such as me to promote their upcoming feature in the movie “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” As part of the program, I received product or gift cards. Carter’s believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words, and therefore did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products I used. Carter’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.