Friday, June 02, 2006

Babies Are Not Accessories

Warning: The following post is a rant. Content is unstable. Do not try to logically analyze.

Here’s a trend that has bothered me for quite awhile: luxury items for babies. Oh, I know a free market is a free market and it’s a dang fine thing that people can buy whatever they want.

But luxury baby goods? Strollers that cost more than my first car? Haute couture onesies? I mean, there’s conspicuous consumption and then there’s turning a little human being into a fashion accessory.

Having a baby is, for the most part, a great equalizer of the classes. Except for the ultra-ultra-rich who have fleets of nannies, most of us, whether well-off or poor, must learn to live with spit-up stains on our shoulders and the faint odor of baby poo in our homes. We dress the baby in cheap, Elmo-print t-shirts because clothes on babies stay clean for mere minutes.

But now there are well-to-do parents who are pretending as if their little one isn’t a cute-little-bag of bodily fluids but is instead a miniature fashion model ready to jaunt off to Paris for a high class social gathering. As if the baby knows or cares that it’s wearing a designer bib.

Look, I don’t have a problem with people who buy nice things. Premium brands are, with few exceptions, better made, better performing and better looking. The fact that they also imbue greater status is a nice bonus. The desire for status is, after all, a pretty basic human instinct and not an urge that’s worth railing against.

But when people start using their babies as status statements, that’s where I get irritated. The point of a baby isn’t to show off how phenomenally rich and stylish you are. I can’t help but think that parents who turn their children into accessories are fundamentally selfish. I wonder, does the parent care more about how they look than how their baby is doing? Maybe not. Maybe you can be fully fashion conscious and fully baby conscious at the same time.

But this growing trend sends an awful message: that parenting is about the parent—that you don’t have to sacrifice anything, that you can go-on being the stylish rich kid who everyone admires. That’s not how it works. When you become a parent, you must give up a lot of your own wants. That’s not to say you can’t be fashionable. But that is to say that fulfilling selfish desires can no longer be your top priority.

The baby comes first. And he or she could care less if they’re wearing Ralph Lauren or a t-shirt with monster trucks.


Blogger Kevin said...

Don't let it get to you. Whether it costs a little or costs a lot, it's still gonna get shit all over it. Besides, it's a free country and people can be as stupid as they want to be.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Dyre42 said...

I know exactly what you mean Alan. I woman I used to work with once said to another employee," I only buy my baby girl designer clothes and not that stuff you can get at Marshall's." to which I interjected, "I buy my kid garanimals but I have five grand saved in his college fund."

Although for the first nine months of my son's life he was often dressed in Christian Dior baby clothes as my mother in law had scored them at a yard sale held by one of the people that you were just posting about. I will say that they did tend to fare better than the garanimals when it came to longevity.z

2:54 AM  
Blogger AubreyJ said...

You outdo yourself at times Alan...

2:08 PM  
Anonymous honest company said...

I have pretty much been a loyal buyer of honest diapers from day one, but have tried expensive diapers on occasion, only to come back to these. They are the better deal and don't fall apart. I have had tabs rip off on Huggies while attaching them to my kids. I like the expensive diapers best.

2:20 AM  

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