If there’s anything that experienced parents can all agree on, it’s that you can never really be too prepared for parenthood. If all the “preparing for parenthood” guides out there are any indication, parenthood requires a whole lot of compromise, and a lot of learning-on-the-go.
But even though you can’t completely prepare for parenthood, this doesn’t mean you can just throw caution to the wind. It’s best to attend to the things that you can prepare for, like baby supplies and furniture. It’s also a good idea to think further into the future and cover your bases, especially in terms of the clothes you’d like your children to wear.
This is rarely an issue for first-time parents, because baby clothes remain to be the most popular gift at baby showers. But children go through countless growth spurts in their younger years, and the need for longer-lasting, more practical clothing becomes all too real. The solution might actually be simpler than you think: unisex clothing.
As Eco Baby Steps notes, one of the most important considerations for choosing children’s clothing has to be its lifespan. “Every child does not need a wardrobe full of new, expensive clothing, and clothing doesn’t have to last just the 6 months or a year that a child fits it,” they write. “When we choose clothing that lasts, we share the costs of quality.” Katie Pietrasik of Tootsa MacGinty agrees wholeheartedly, telling Wales Online that, “Clothes for children should be built for sturdier purposes than the changing vagaries of style – to be passed from sibling to sibling, or friend to friend regardless of gender.”
By investing in unisex clothing, parents ensure that their kids are equipped with clothes that allow them to be children, embracing each growth spurt and adapting with them, and still allowing them to run around and climb trees. Unlike most designer brand clothing, unisex clothing is often made to be easy to alter, so parents can extend sleeves and pant legs to account for any growth spurts. It’s also made with durable material that protects children and lets them move.
The choice to secure unisex clothing for your kids can also help you many years down the road, when your first child gets his or her little brother or sister. Because unisex clothing is so versatile and easy to mix and match with other pieces of clothing, it saves you from going through the trouble of buying a new wardrobe for your youngest again.
It’s also important to keep in mind that there’s nothing wrong with giving your second and third children hand-me-downs from their big brother or sister. As The Huffington Post is quick to remind us, “Babies don't know — and don't care — if they are using their older sibling's hand me downs. They don't have it worse than their older siblings, just because they don't have a fancy new bouncy seat.” Hand-me-downs are the primary reason why most parents spend less on their second children, having learned the necessities and had some of the essentials (like car seats and strollers) already piled up.
Remember, it’s not always about buying everything you need. As with any other challenge in life, the trick to preparedness is adaptability. You can never truly be prepared for parenthood, but you can cover your bases, and start planning ahead.