x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Baby means a change in shopping priorities

Shopping trips are no longer about clothes and shoes for me, now that I have a child to think about.

In my wallet is a voucher worth Dh300 to spend on anything from any shop in Marina Mall. It was a birthday gift from a few months ago, and somehow, I've still not indulged in an impromptu shopping spree to make use of it. This past weekend, I figured it was time to spend a little money.

I never had a problem before in spending money; it came quite naturally to me. It helps that I am so able to suspend good sense and turn a blind eye to inflated prices: I am not known for my self-control. Which is why Mr T was so shocked, in a worried sort of way, when I ended up leaving the mall empty-handed.

I blame being so out-of-character, of course, on this pregnancy. Not too long ago, there was no one to think of but myself when it came to shopping, save for the random times when a gift was in order, or Mr T had done something nice and deserved an unexpected present. Otherwise, shopping was always all about me.

Instead, shopping now comes with a hefty amount of guilt and self-doubt that I did not intentionally sign up for. There is a lot of over-thinking now when it comes to where the money should be spent.

Should I buy a pair of towering heels that don't even fit my swollen ankles? But will I wear them later, or will I still be exhausted, chasing after a child in flip flops and week-old clothing? And if I were to retain my shopping habits, will I have enough money for the child's needs? How is everything supposed to work now? Do I deprive myself of the trinkets I want (and sometimes, truly believe I need), and instead spend my money on my child? Is that would a good mother would do?

The fun was taken out of shopping. Buying myself something new felt wrong. I had reached a stalemate; the Dh300 voucher was weighing down my bag, a burden I had not accounted for.

Babies don't really need all that much, I'm told: clothes are outgrown in no time, toys are discarded and found lacking in comparison to a set of keys, a mobile phone, or a piece of paper. But what is too much, and what is too little?

Then there's the other side of the conundrum, the fact that I take pride when my husband and I look and dress well, and would want the same for any child of mine. The baby's outfits have to be pristine, unique, cute, with matching shoes. I understand, of course, that shoes are not a necessary requirement for survival (especially for a baby who doesn't even walk yet), but what of a mother's sense of pride and satisfaction?

And wouldn't I be a better mother if I were a happy mother, sporting a new dress and a killer pair of heels? With a gurgling baby also sporting a new outfit and an extra cute pair of pretend shoes?

The only solution I could come up with – with Mr T's help of course – is to allow him to take over all my personal shopping needs, and then hope that the baby will be kept in a steady supply of beautiful gifts.