Before having a kid, I’d see these moms around town, with strollers so full of Stuff (bottles, bags, toys, books, clothes, snack foods, and whatever else they could fit in the basket, bottle tote, recyclable sack and diaper bag), that I (naively) vowed to myself, “I’m never going to be like that when my baby’s born.” Then Fionn arrived, and I realized that there’s a reason why a mid-afternoon walk often requires the same intense preparation as a full day excursion.
With kids, you learn which items are essential and which items you can leave behind. And, as is often the case, there are many essentials. Sometimes you find a simple invention that not only saves space, it makes your life a whole lot easier.
I was reminded of this, and the general ingenuity of new mothers, when I met with Micaela Birmingham, amazing ‘mum’ (she hails from Toronto) and inventor of the CityShade. Always on the lookout for essentials that cut down on non-essential extras, I was incredibly impressed by Micaela’s invention, a sun/wind/weather shade that attaches to stroller system bassinets from Bugaboo, UppaBaby, and Peg Perego (among others).
Whether you’ve given birth in summertime or wintertime, you find that each season presents its fair share of challenges. One of them is the newborn-induced conflicting desires of ‘get-me-the-hell-out-of-this-house-NOW-or-I’m-going-to-go-ballistic’ and ‘crap, it’s too bright/windy/cold outside — plus, it’s naptime.’
Shortly after the birth of her daughter in May of 2008, Micaela proudly headed out for a walk with her new girl and her ‘we’ve-thought-of-everything’ Bugaboo bassinet, and winced as the sun blazed down on her precious newborn’s skin. Looking around, she noticed lots of new mothers were dealing with the same thing, using makeshift swaddles, jackets, blankets and towels – whatever ‘stuff’ they had with them – to shield their new children from the sun’s rays.
An architect by trade, Micaela is a problem-solver by nature. And being a new mother, she was determined to make things easier for herself and other parents. So she busted out the sewing machine, and created a prototype out of a dishtowel and some thread. Shortly thereafter, she recruited some friends as guinea pigs, then found a fashion designer to help her realize her invention. A year later, after constantly being stopped on the street by interested moms and dads, Micaela started her CityMum business with 8 CityShade patterns – all manufactured here in NY.
If you’re interested, please check out Micaela’s website here. For $70 (including shipping), the CityShade makes a unique shower gift that you know will be much used and appreciated. Plus, you’ll be supporting a fellow ‘mum’ and local businesswoman with a great idea.