When I found out that I was pregnant with Baby Jup I cried for weeks, while frequently wondering “Who approved this?!”. Aside from the sheer shock, I was extremely overwhelmed with having to relocate from Hawaii to New York for my new job. Most of the time I felt as if I was barely keeping my head above water. Pregnancy seemed to multiply my anxiety and stress (although I am so grateful for Camille). My mind was always in a million places and I really felt like I was losing my mind. In fact, sometime in the first trimester I remember talking to Jo and then bursting into tears because I realized that Beyoncé was also pregnant, and it was “not fair to the Queen that I too was pregnant because this was a special time that should be 100% about her.” Losing. It. People. Most of all, I remember the anxiety that I felt when I took a moment to really consider all of the things that we had to do in preparation for our first baby.
One of the most daunting tasks on my ever-growing to-do list was figuring out where this babe would sleep. At the time, Jo and I lived in a one-bedroom apartment (albeit spacious for New York), and our lease was not up until well after my due date. I seriously considered getting one of those cardboard Finnish baby boxes as a bassinet to place on the floor by our bed, but that was just pregnancy brain talking (thank you husband for talking me out of that)! Also, our cat, Violet, would have totally claimed the boxinet. Anyway, we eventually got rid of our office furniture and turned it into a baby nook and while it was not a traditional nursery, it totally worked.
For many first time parents, creating an insta-worthy nursery is a non-negotiable. But over time, baby puke and poops find a way to get on and ruin everything. Trust me. ***If we decided to go through this parenting thing again, we would totally opt for a non-traditional nursery; similarly to what we did with Camille … but with a lot more intention.
There are several merits to creating a nursery space that is not so cookie cutter.
Reason #1: Get creative!
You will be spending countless days (and nights) in this space and so it’s best to consider your needs and wants just as much as baby’s. Does your soul delight when in the presence of art? Find ways to integrate lots of artwork that makes you feel good. Maybe you’re a person like my friend, Irmak who loves to travel. She’s Turkish and from her visits she has beautiful Turkish textiles to reflect that. Her boyfriend, Spencer, also enjoys travelling and he collects license plates from various places that he’s visited. Find ways to create a nursery that reflects what you love (including baby) and radiates your energy. Trust me, baby won’t mind that you’ve fostered a place that reflects your interest (in fact baby won’t even notice).
Reason #2: BABIES. ARE. EXPENSIVE. PERIOD.
I mean, we dropped almost 2k just for Camille’s stroller. We also chose to not spend a boatload of money in other areas too. Balance people. If finances are a concern, perhaps take inventory of the furniture that you already have, and repurpose it in your little one’s room. Another option is to scout out affordable pieces at flea markets that you could integrate into the nursery. We’re so lucky to live in Brooklyn because it is a goldmine for vintage furniture. If you are looking for inexpensive ways to create a comfy place, just seriously contemplate the integrity of the piece that you are considering dropping some cash on. You ultimately want your money to go far, so invest in high-quality pieces that will last a while.
Reason#3: Babies grow super fast. Like scary fast.
I’m still in denial that I was ever pregnant, and now I have an almost two-year old. How Sway?! Anyway, investing in traditional baby decor may become outdated FAST AF. Opt for transitional pieces that can grow with your kid without much more effort on your part down the line. At some point you may want to make some changes to your baby’s nursery and it would be much easier to repurpose a klismos chair than a pink plush princess chair. Just saying. Also, be sure to consider the material of the pieces. Opt for performance fabrics which are made to repel liquids, resist staining and can be cleaned easily and often.
Reason#4: You seriously don’t need a new space. FR FR
If we could manage staying sane with a newborn in a one-bedroom apartment in New York it can be done. Obviously, you might not want to stay in the same home forever, but consider reimagining your space and not opting to move the second you get the positive sign on the pregnancy test. This will save you stress and money. You don’t need a new space right away, just brainstorm on how you can make better use of the space that you already have. To do this contemplate on getting rid of stuff, play around with layout apps like Hutch, and take inventory of what you already have and how you can reuse it. Think outside of the box.
Inadvertently, if you are opting for a non-traditional nursery, you are also opting to become unstuck from cliches. Don’t feel compelled to fit into what a nursery “should” look like. Be creative, make smart and safe choices, and ultimately foster a loving place that you would love to raise baby in. Have fun.