One of the best kept secrets of parenthood is how surprisingly cheap it is. I, for one, have grown up always hearing about the expense of raising children. It is one of the main themes of our culture relating to parenthood. How many times have you heard of someone delaying parenthood, or foregoing it entirely, because they feel they just cannot afford it? It is true that as kids grow, their needs change and the cost of higher education these days has been rising drasticly, but these are things that you can save for gradually with a good financial plan in place, inshaAllah.
As Allah mentions in the Quran: “And whoever fears Allah, for him Allah brings forth a way out, and gives him provision (rizq) from where he does not even imagine…” (Surah At-Talaq: 2/3)
Thus, you can relax and trust that Allah will provide for your children exactly what is written for them to receive.
In Western society, there is also the issue of marketing and our consumer culture, which deliberately plays off of new moms’ fears, anxieties, and ignorance to sell all kinds of superfluous baby-and-mother products. The unfortunate side effect of all this marketing is that it has made us all think that we have to buy all this stuff to give our new babies a solid foundation in life and thus created the illusion that having a baby is expensive. It is exactly this myth that I would like to dispel, and hopefully save you money, with the following brief list of things you definitely do not need to get in your first year of motherhood. So, in no particular order:
1: A Bigger House
This has to do with giving your baby a separate room to sleep in. Everyone knows their own space limitations and there may be certain situations where you will have to upgrade the living arrangements (on the street for example). However, in most cases, what you have will do just fine. I am of the belief that children do not need their own room separate from their parents until about 3 years old. For babies, not only is it unnecessary, but, in my opinion, it can be damaging to their emotional development to be put to bed in a separate room. It may not seem that far to you, but to them it might as well be the middle of Siberia. Babies have a constant need to feel close and connected to their mother, even at night. Putting your baby in another room, at best, is just going to wear you out with dragging your tired self all the way over there every time they wake up in the night.
2: Changing Table
This is considered to be one of the standard furniture items in a western baby’s room yet it is one of the most unnecessary and also potentially dangerous. Instead of laying out $100 for a new changing table, you can change your baby on the floor for free and there is no risk of them rolling off. Since you do not want to get poo on the carpet, you can buy a little fold-up travel changing mat to use at home or anywhere for under $10. That is what worked for me at least. You do what works for you; just do not get a changing table.
3: Bassinet/Moses Basket (or whatever you call it)
I have heard several different names for this one, but it is basically that cute little basket thing, often including some kind of canopy, that you lay your new-born down to rest in. It may be cute at first, but your baby is only going to be sleeping in it for about 4-5 months before they get too big and you have to go out and buy something else. Depending on the size of your baby, this time frame could be even less. Do you really want to shell out up to $200 for something like that? Just get a big, toddler-sized crib/cot to begin with and watch your child grow into it. If you think they are just too cute and absolutely must have one, at least shop around for good deals or attempt to get one second hand.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this topic where we will explore numbers 4-7 of the things you don’t need as a new mother inshaAllah.