DEAR MISS MANNERS: Since announcing my first pregnancy to close friends and family, I have been inundated with offers of free baby equipment. Most of these offers come up naturally in conversation.
I don’t want to appear ungrateful, but I was looking forward to the experience of getting everything new -- something I rarely allow myself in life, plus I am an older mother and able to provide for myself better than I would have been a decade ago. Aside from that, I am simply unfamiliar with a lot of these supplies and don’t know if I want them, nor if I have the space to store them.
And to be honest, babies are messy and I don’t know that I want used items; I’d rather see them go to someone without means. My hesitation is usually followed up with an admonition that I’ll change my tune once I realize how expensive baby stuff is. How do I gracefully decline or rebuff these requests without offending?
GENTLE READER: Without explanation. You are only inciting a smug-parent war and, as you will see, your life will soon be filled with those.
“Thank you, no, I already have more than I need,” is a sufficient answer. But if these parents insist, Miss Manners recommends that you then discreetly donate the items or give them away, so as to avoid a lecture. Having your water break is also a good distraction.