The Anxiety of Influencing an Unborn Mind
We have nearly finished rearranging the whole of upstairs in preparation for the baby. Well, when I say ‘we’, I actually mean Adam has slogged all of our crap from room to room, moving our bedroom into a different room, his studio into what used to be our bedroom, our spare room into our old bedroom and the attics of family members, and a few pieces of furniture into the cleared out studio, ready for all the baby stuff. I’ve mainly watched and said ‘well done’ and other encouraging things.
My other task in all of this (a self-imposed task, of course) is deciding how to decorate our baby’s first bedroom.
This should be a fairly simple task. Paint the walls, slap up some decorative bits, decide where the furniture is going in the room, job done. Right?
Not if you look at any nursery decorating idea anything online. The internet is full of ideas and ‘inspiration’ that will inundate you with all the things you’re doing wrong. Before the kid has even popped out, you’re a terrible parent.
From sleek designs to over the top luxury, Pinterest, Apartment Therapy, Remodelista, and other such sites have shown me how I obviously have no care about my unborn baby. Other parents, however, have created all sorts of beautiful nests for their babies. Their babies will grow up to be world leaders. Mine, in some uninspired and badly designed room, will be their lackey, no doubt.
More than inspiring a design idea, or giving me any ideas about what to do, these sites and all their amazing and wonderful nursery photos have made me anxious as hell. Whatever I do, this will be our child’s first ever bedroom. The first things seen as colour vision develops will be in this room, the decor will be the stuff of childhood dreams or nightmares. I could really fuck our kid up with the wrong choices here.
I don’t even have any ideas for the room’s decorations, though. Surely that’s worse than having a bad idea. I can only think that my lack of ideas is somehow equivalent to not giving a flying shit about our unborn child. Right?
As much as I try to not let myself go down this route of ‘I’m a terrible mom and the kid’s only halfway cooked’, I do. Every night when I finish up with work, and start browsing for ideas, I do.
Even when I step away from the glorious inspiration of the internet and just think about what I’d like for the kid’s room, I go into swirling abyss of potential problems.
I grew up in a bedroom that was decorated with a very 1970s orange and brown wallpaper above wood paneling. Is this why I still dislike those two colours? Or did it inspire my love of bright things? Will our baby invariably hate whatever we choose for decor?
And while we know our baby’s gender, I don’t want to fall into a gendered room pattern. I want something gender-neutral that doesn’t scream gender-neutral.
We also want to raise our kid to be cool, and we aren’t the type to go for the cutesy fluffy animals and cherished Disney characters. But if we add things that we love into the room, will those things be our kid’s brown and orange? In 30 some odd years, will our child be writing a blog about the horrible bedroom decor faced from birth until whenever we got around to redecorating it?
Our ability to influence a child is something we are innately aware of, particularly since we recognise how much we are our parents’ children. With our tendency to photograph the living shit out of things, we also know that there will be a massive record of all the details of our child’s early years. Things to be looked back on. Proof of our bad design choices.
Or proof of our amazing design choices. Either way, there’s going to have to be a leap of faith. At some point, I’m going to have to find the tiny scrap of inspiration I’m happy with — and that Adam’s happy with — and run with it, influence be damned.
So far, we’ve agreed on a wall colour. We have most of the furniture for the room. Now all we have to do is make it so our kid won’t need therapy because of it. Simple.