parent opinion

'I just got rid of the last of our baby gear and it made me ridiculously happy. Here’s why.'

I finally did it.  

It’s been one of those jobs I’ve been avoiding for months, unable to cross it off my to-do list no matter how many weeks in a row it appeared. 

In hindsight, I guess I’d been avoiding it because a) it’s time-consuming and b) it requires a reasonable amount of energy. Two areas of life where there’s not a lot of surplus right now. 

It was only when my husband ordered a skip bin and told me he was cleaning out the garage that I knew it was now and never. You must know that my husband is an anti-hoarder, discarding obsolete items faster than you can ask yourself, does this spark joy? 

So, over the last two weekends, I rolled up my sleeves, pulled out our old baby cot, change-table, pram and accessories and cleaned them all up like a woman possessed. 

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I then photographed everything, wrote up individual descriptions and put it all online for free.

All the items were picked up within hours of being posted and as I watched the last of it being packed into the back of a stranger’s four-wheel drive, I unexpectedly felt utterly delighted.


Here are five reasons why it felt so good.  

1. Paying it forward 'feels'. 

We all know it feels good to help others. Research shows that acts of kindness increase happiness levels by releasing feel-good chemicals like oxytocin and dopamine into our brains in what is known as “helper’s high”. That aside, when the woman who took our pram told us she’d recently lost everything in a house fire and was in the process of replacing everything, well, I could have burst into tears. I was so happy to be able to help her in some small way and felt enormously grateful to be in a position to do so. 

2. The cathartic nature of lightening your load. 

There’s no denying that having a baby means having a lot of stuff. Leaving the house, for any trivial reason, is generally accompanied by a bulging nappy bag packed with an array of items to mitigate whatever planned or unplanned circumstances you’re bound to encounter along the way. It’s such a relief to leave the house these days with my kids and nothing more than a small handbag and a set of keys. Likewise, offloading the big-ticket baby items like the cot and pram feels like you’re purging yourself in some weird way. There is such catharsis in unburdening yourself of “the stuff”. Plus, that extra garage space is pretty handy too. 


3. It’s a big job off the to-do list. 

My youngest is four and has been out of his cot for at least six months, if not longer. All that time it’s been niggling at the back of my mind that I must ‘sort out the baby gear’. It’s so satisfying to have now tackled that job and to be able to put a big fat cross through it on my to-do list. Just like it’s great to get some space back in the garage, it’s also great to reclaim some much-needed mental space. 

4. My actions are aligned with my values. 

The thought of items I own going into landfill gives me all sorts of existential dread. Due to the fact that most charities are full to the brim, donating things doesn’t make me feel all that much better either. However, if I know the items are going to someone who’s actually going to use them, then it makes me very happy. It might require more time and effort on my part to clean and advertise the items, but it’s worth it. This is because I’m acting in a way that’s very much in accordance with my values – something I’ve come to learn, always makes me feel good. 


5. It signals the end of a very taxing parenting season. 

Whilst every parenting season has its challenges, there’s no doubt the baby stage is one of the toughest. 

From the relentless exhaustion to the steep learning curves of breastfeeding, and all that’s entailed with just keeping a teeny tiny person alive who is completely and utterly dependent on you. It’s A LOT. I don’t know a person out there who hasn’t been rattled by the early stages of parenthood; physically, mentally, emotionally, or otherwise. And if, like me, you decide to have multiple children, this stage goes on for many, many years.  

Saying goodbye to those essential baby items signifies that you’re out of the baby trenches, you made it to the other side. 

In parenting, it often feels like the sands are constantly shifting; you’re only just getting a handle on one phase and then it’s time to move on to the next. 

If you can catch those moments in between though, there’s a real sense of achievement to be found. Not only with closing the door on a stranger’s jam-packed four-wheel drive but closing the door on a particularly demanding parenting chapter as well. 

 Emily McGrorey is a freelance writer, full-time reader, part-time procrastinator, and aspiring author. She lives on Awabakal Land/Newcastle. You can follow her on Instagram here.

 Feature Image: Supplied.

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