I find that, like me, my “gratefuls” are increasingly closer to home as the birth of our baby girl becomes ever more imminent. Apart from sticking to Miss M’s regular outings (without which we would both go mad), and my joy and relief at the re-election of President Barack Obama, my world has shrunk to home and hearth. The kicks are everything, the regular tightenings are an obsession, my hospital bag is packed and I’m putting together a little bag for daughter #2 today. I’m organising and list-making and trying to rest as much as possible. Thirteen days to the scheduled caesarean date but I feel more and more sure that she’s not going to wait that long!!
In particular this week I am grateful:
* to my husband’s flexible workplace, which has allowed him to take Miss M to work on a few occasions to give me a break, and also cut his hours to mornings only in these final 10 days before his 4 weeks off begin – much needed respite for this big, tired mama;
* that the hospital is only 5 minutes down the road;
* that I got the lovely OB I wanted via public healthcare, that he’s on call the entire week before my scheduled c-section date, and that the OB I can’t stand is now off rotation until the end of the month (relief!);
* that I’ve found a sleep book I hadn’t yet tried, on my own bookshelf – Elizabeth Pantley’s The No Cry Sleep Solution – and so there is (I hope!!!!) some light at the end of the sleep deprivation tunnel for both daughter #1 and her parents;
* that my pregnancy continues to progress relatively easily with no major issues even though the minor ones are starting to get me down a lil bit at this point – I am, for example, sad that I had to (with great difficulty and much assistance) remove my wedding ring from my swollen fingers last night – but if that’s the most of my late pregnancy hassles apart from being so cumbersome and achy, then I’m grateful indeed!
I am lucky enough to have what I used to call my Sewing Room, containing a table where the machine can stay set up, a large storage unit, iron and ironing board, and fabric / haberdashery storage tubs. As my pregnancy has progressed, however, it has become the Junk Room. I’ve not sewn in ages and everything just gets thrown in there when I’m tidying elsewhere in a hurry – out of sight out of mind! I started to store and sort things for the new baby in there too. That was all going great, separate boxes labelled newborn, 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months and I even went through all my daughter’s wardrobe and boxed up everything she’s grown out of. I felt ever so organised and together. Then of course Miss M got in there and played havoc with it all. And we got her a single bed with all the associated linens and doona which piled up in there too while waiting to be built. And I started buying christmas wrap and cards which all got chucked on the table on top of Bounty bags, baby shower gift bags and presents that the new baby has bought for Miss M, and the (alas, many) story books that Miss M has ripped that I need to repair. And the ironing pile kept growing (and will never stop growing as I have now stopped ironing entirely). And my filing tray is fit to busting – I did have that Mission Control Centre that all the organiser books and websites suggest but it got buried under everything else months ago…
I am not sure if it’s hormonal nesting (am 37 weeks on Thursday) or just that I can’t bear not being able to find anything anymore, but this morning I got up and went a bit nuts with some long overdue decluttering. Having realised yesterday that I couldn’t find $43 worth of stamps that I bought just the other day, I was certainly aware that something had to be done. However, I was not expecting to become suddenly possessed by some greater Force. In the space of an hour I had a giant bag of recycling, another big bin bag full of rubbish, and I could almost see the carpet. I got rid of all the bubble wrap I’ve been hoarding for future use and all the flyers and brochures I’ve been keeping from the Happiness Conference in March, that I’m realistically never going to get around to reading. I was ruthless – I even went in the unit and emerged with a whole bag of stuff that I know I am never going to get around to eBaying if I haven’t by this point, and sent it the Lifeline op shop with my husband before I had time to change my mind. I found keepsake family christmas cards in a filing tray from last year that I still haven’t put in the Precious Things box, that was a bit of a shocker given it’s only seven week to this christmas – oops! It’s also finally occurred to me that there is no point having an ironing pile if I don’t iron any more (can’t stand up for long enough any more, oh how wonderful to finally have an acceptable excuse for being creased all the time). So that can all be folded and put away and if people (hello husband!) want pristine, crease-free t shirts well they know where the iron lives. Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh it feels good!!!
I’m not by nature a clutter-free super-organised person. I am sure that my child has a very good immune system as cleaning is not high on my list, especially now that physically I’m just not up for sweeping and mopping (again, how fantastic to have a good excuse!). My household management baseline at present is that we all eat good, healthy, unprocessed food as much as possible, and that the kitchen, bathroom and toilet are not health hazards. But I also detest not being able to find anything, ever. And I don’t like having drawers full of used bubble wrap, I think that is a bit weird. I don’t know if this morning has been about pregnancy nesting or not but I do know that I feel much lighter now, despite the fact that I am actually very, very heavy. I would love to be organised in all ways, all the time, but right now I have accepted it’s not going to happen. But if I can just get this room cleaned out, finish sorting the new baby’s clothes and wraps, get about six loads of washing done and write a new set of Things To Do lists, then I will feel in control again by this evening. Oh and I really must pack the hospital bag!!
Thanks to Home Life Simplified, The Organised Housewife, Slow Your Home and Planning With Kids for tips and inspiration on how to keep it all (just about) together. I have high hopes of entering 2013 with excellent plans and strategies for managing my family of soon-to-be-four!
Only those with toddlers will get that reference to a kids program full of, you guessed it, busy bees! Family life has made a very busy bee of me and sometimes I feel quite overwhelmed by the amount of things I have going on. I have chosen to add things to my schedule though, because I know I’ll be better off for it, and as an extension of that, my family will be happier. One of these is my decision to start a party planning business, which I officially launched yesterday. It was so much fun!! I know I’m going to love doing it, and hopefully make some money too, obviously! It’s more work than I thought it would be though, and that means that if my new venture is going to work without adversely affecting our little family unit, I need to be more organised than ever before. More lists!!
I also know that I need to stay grounded, which is where my quiet Buddhist journey comes in. I’m still reading, still learning, and still doing my level best to stay mindful in the midst of all the things I have going on right now, both the exciting and the more mundane. I know that the answers to my general discontent lie in this direction, so I intend to stay calm, breathe deep, keep posting to stay focussed – and enjoy the ride!
One of the things I am struggling to accept is that the SAHM’s To Do list is NEVER completed. I have just carried 16 things into this week from last week’s list. This morning we needed to drop one of the cars at the mechanics, and usually I would want to head straight back home as soon as possible to get on with all my chores and lists, and my husband and I would then spend Miss M’s 90 minute nap in separate rooms doing our own thing. Today I decided to stop worrying about all the stuff I have to do, be in the moment, and put Family Time first. Instead of rushing home I suggested that we take Miss M to the play park and then have a walk to the marina, during which she would fall asleep and my husband and I could be alone together during the day without distractions – a very rare occurrence! The sun was shining, the waves were crashing against the rocks, and we walked and talked about our plans for the year ahead, and our goal of buying a house by the end of next year. We even did some snogging on the harbour wall, which was rather lovely!
However, experience has taught me that throwing caution to the wind with regard to household management for even half a day in an unplanned manner can cause a chaos spiral, so after a happy family lunch I consulted my organiser and I got stuck in to some baking and cleaning. While my husband fell asleep on the sofa. And thus The Resentment started to simmer beneath my surface. Being mindful, I told myself that he had been up since 5am, that he would be doing dinner and bath later, that he deserves some down time too; and I managed to put a lid on it. Until Miss M decided the TV was boring and being in the kitchen with mummy and her floury hands and hot oven was way more fun, and he did not respond fast enough to my call. Then some milk was spilled (literally), and my red mist descended. All my good intentions and a lovely morning spoiled. And I felt so ashamed because while my daughter is too little to understand an argument between her parents, I’m sure she gets the vibe. I struggled to regain perspective and control, and eventually managed to explain to him how resentful I was feeling and why his reaction to the milk being spilled angered me (oh, how trivial it all seems now!!). An unhappy silence reigned. But then, a short while later, he said the magic words: “would you like me to do the hoovering?”. And just like that, peace was restored. While certainly unpleasant, this horrible quarrel was shorter than most – perhaps in part due to the beautiful morning we had shared.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.