A rather distant second was choosing and buying baby gear. Distant yes, but still pretty darn intimidating.
In the final weeks of pregnancy, I started a page with a listing of baby-related gear that we were investing in. Most of the stuff has worked out well, and a few quality products have served us well. I've updated the page with some brief comments on the items.
Interestingly I haven't worried much about parenthood itself, or felt particularly intimidated by it. Of course I get anxious over specific things, like driving after a long period of avoidance, babysitters, baby safety, going back to work etc. But those are individual issues I deal with as they come up. The everyday experience of being a mom with a baby is mostly an enjoyable one. On the topic of small pleasures, there are a few other things that really help me get through my days with less stress and flailing about, that I didn't anticipate pre-baby. I thought it might be interesting to share what they are.
One: Backpack diaper bag.
I started off parenthood with a shoulder bag, but quickly knew I wanted a backpack. This is a must especially when I'm out and about on my own, because it frees up my hands (which are otherwise occupied with baby/carseat/swing/bassinet/yoga mat or whatever other life or baby gear that I need to haul around.) I have the Fisher Price bag. It has many labeled pockets, including the outside one for the wipes which is very convenient. It can clip onto the handle of a stroller or grocery cart. Because it's black it's also unisex.
Two: Little black purse
I've made many compromises for motherhood with no regret, but I refuse to give up my small purse. Personal taste: I like a small handbag with essentials that I can find easily. And I don't really want to keep my wallet etc. in the diaper bag where I have to dig for it. I have a bit of a purse collection from the pre-baby days, but the one above works the best. It's flat so it rests against my body without getting in the way much. The wide strap makes it comfortable to wear across the shoulder and holds it mostly in one place. Several zippered pockets make it easy to reach car keys, phone, wallet, hand cream or whatever without digging. And in the cases where it's dropped or tossed awkwardly, it's less likely to spill things everywhere.
Three: Cart on wheels!
I think the first time I sat down to nurse in my glider, I thought: 1) I need a table then 2) I need a table on wheels! Pictured is the Raskog from IKEA. This is great in so many ways. Because it rolls it's always within reach but never in the way, and I also can roll it over to the change table (which I do when giving AJ sponge bath). The three shelves are an efficient use of space and several items can be kept close to hand. I also see this being very useful as AJ gets bigger (I can also see her trying to ride it, but that's another topic....)
Also pictured are the glider and baby buddy nursing pillow, both of which have been used every day since AJ's birth and were great investments. The glider is the nicest chair I have ever owned.
Four: Maternity bra that fits properly and supports
I bought bras several times during pregnancy and after birth, because the boobies keep changing (read: growing and getting heavier). Finally, after months of wearing not-quite-right underwear, I went to a specialty store (this one, for any readers in my city) and they fitted me. If you haven't been fitted for a bra, especially if you are bigger busted, YOU NEED TO GET FITTED. If you are pregnant do it after baby is born so that you know your size. For those of us with gigantoboobs, the chain stores do not carry big enough cup sizes. (Pictured are G cups, FYI.) This bra is by Cake Lingerie.
Five: Well fitted, flattering and comfortable jeans
I guess you could call them my mom jeans but I wore French Dressing jeans before baby as well. They are the best jeans I've ever worn. I did buy a couple of new pairs two sizes bigger because my body has not returned to pre-pregnancy size and shape; I'm not sure if it ever will or if I care at this point. Life happens so I wanted to have clothes that fit. FDJ is a Canadian brand, and the jeans come in various fits for different looks and body shapes. They also stretch in many directions so they are comfortable no matter what I'm doing in my day. I bought two pairs in dark blue, so they can work with both casual and more formal looks.
Six: Front closing dress (breastfeeding friendly)
I haven't worn this yet but am looking forward to doing so. There aren't many dresses that fasten in front, so I'm glad I found one. This one is a Joseph Ribkoff with a zipper that goes from neck to hem (sexy!) It doesn't look very impressive on the hanger but it does look very good on.
The following two have to do with the fact I live in a colder climate, with between four and eight months of wintry weather.
Pre-baby I wore heavier coats and jackets with a lot of accessories (hats, scarves, gloves etc.).
I found that didn't work very well with a baby. Again, there's so much to carry a heavy coat just gets in the way. And accessories become just one more thing to wrangle or lose. Also, SWEATY. Bleah. Light, short jackets and vests work much, much better. The jacket on the right also compresses into a small packet which is so great when I am going from outside to inside.
Eight: Footwear I can trust
Actually I've been a bit obsessed with footwear for years because I have had a couple of falls, including one when I was pregnant. Shoes and boots are something I don't cheap out on. When I'm out on my own with AJ, I will never wear anything but flat shoes or boots with very good grips and full support. When Mr. Turtle is with me to do some of the heavy lifting, I'll sometimes wear a low heel on a full support shoe or boot.
My favourite shoes and boots EVER? NAOT, of course! They are ridiculously comfortable and come in many fun styles.
What other surprisingly ordinary, extraordinary or out-of-the-ordinary items make your day much easier?