Have you ever walked into a room or sat at your desk and looked at the pile of junk you have to do? As you stand there, you wonder how it is possible for two people, who feel like they are never home, to accumulate so many clothes and dishes. I’m serious. The amount of laundry piling up in my house with just my husband and I is insane and I know it will only get worse when little Davie arrives. I’ve never been a great housekeeper, but when I looked the third trimester in the face, I knew I had to start changing my clothes now to make our lives easier once our lives were turned upside down with a newborn.
The first order of business? Catching up on all the housework I hadn’t done in the first trimester. For those who didn’t know, the first quarter was tough. She was sick all the time and she had absolutely no energy. I was easily in bed by 7 and took regular naps on my lunch break at work. The house was absolutely the last thing on my radar and it showed. So this is where I started putting together my game plan.
Step 1 – Tidy up, deep clean and reorganize. I knew I wanted to get rid of as much junk around the house as possible, but I also knew that if I didn’t break projects into smaller parts, I wouldn’t get any of it. done. So I made a “Nested To Do List” where I broke down each room and what needed to be cleaned and/or replaced. I committed to doing one “big” project a week. Whether it was going through my closet and dressers or clearing out our desk (which had become a general problem), I did something every week. It has been a great help. Within a month my kitchen, laundry room, guest room, master bedroom, and bathroom were all checked out and cleaned. This included going through and getting rid of excess clothing, knickknacks, pots, pans, plates, shoes, bags, anything and everything that I didn’t need or use frequently was donated. I washed walls, cleaned ceiling fans, appliances, etc. This is spring cleaning in Crack. I swear it has made all the difference in the world and keeping it in the fridge helps keep it top of mind. I’ll explain why here soon.
Step 2: Set a new old. Start small, don’t make your new “rule” CLEAN ALL THINGS EVERY DAY. You are setting yourself up for failure that way. I started by making sure the dinner plates didn’t sit in the sink overnight. I made my sink with hot soapy water before I started cooking and when I finished something I put it in the sink. That way you avoid the “I’ll soak this in here overnight.” No. No more of that mom, just create more work for you tomorrow. The next thing I added was not allowing clothes to go more than a day without being folded and put away. This is so hard for me. I hate folding clothes with a passion, but do you know what I hate the most? Spending more than 8 hours cleaning and folding clothes. Yes, that has happened. Starting with smaller goals like that has made it easier to keep up with the big picture.
Step 3: Take 15 minutes a day and pick up the house. I can go into each room and pick up the clutter and put it where it belongs. I move the clothes to the baskets, the trash to the dumpster, the glasses to the sink, the shoes to the cabinets, etc. I have a smaller house now, so it may need to be adjusted for you. You may need to take 15 minutes a day and do a room or level. Any quick pick up when you can will give you more time to enjoy on your actual days off.
Step 4: Become a Lister/Planner. I have a list for everything, especially now. I invested in a Plum Paper planner and I love it. The fact that you can choose from so many beautiful colors, add so many different options, customize it, and choose your start month are things that I love. I will buy the second one next month. I got the vertical layout which allows me to add notes to the left side of my schedule. I keep the calls I need to make, the bills I need to pay that week, and any minor tasks I need to handle by the end of the week on the left. Mark once I’ve paid an invoice and it’s out of account. I made the mistake of marking “paid” on a bill before it came out of the account and it turned us upside down when it came into our account a couple days later. On the right hand side I have all my appointments written for the week or any other important meeting/date. Every morning when I get to my desk, I open the calendar and see what needs to be handled. Even a reminder to return a Redbox is helpful when the prego brain decides to attack.
Step 5: Learn to say no. This has been very difficult for me. I’ve always been forward, forward, forward with about 10 different things going on at the same time. However, once you are pregnant, you must understand that you have new energy limitations. Even on my best days so far I have a solid 3-4 hours of high productivity for house cleaning and then I’m done. I also have to take this into account in my working day. I’m most productive first thing in the morning, so if there’s something imperative that needs to happen, I handle it as soon as I get there. Which brings me to my next point.
Step 6: Be honest. I am very lucky to work with a very family-owned company and an office that strives to take exceptional care of its employees. Management was aware of our fertility struggles and was very considerate as we maneuvered through the diagnosis, doctor’s appointments, and the emotional roller coaster that followed. So when I found out I was pregnant I told them right away. I understand that many women cannot afford this luxury, so as you navigate your own first trimester, be sure to take care of your current responsibilities, but I would suggest not taking on any new projects. I think it benefited me and my team a lot that everyone knew about it so soon. They understood if I was feeling sick and took care of the phone calls that I had to jump past to get to the bathroom. They also considered making sure he had lunch early if he needed to sleep earlier or needed to eat earlier. Again, I am very hurt with my work family.
Step 7: Remember to breathe. This is going to be one of the most joyous and life changing events. I know how it can overwhelm you. What needs to be done, what needs to be cleaned, what needs to be bought, how other moms judge their plans, and everything in between. However, take the time to also focus on the things you crave the most. Something that excites me a lot? Get the car seat in my truck. It’s like an official “I’m a mom” stamp.
Balancing being pregnant, housework, being a wife, and being a co-worker can become a circus act, but with a little more organization, planning, and hard work, the transition will be smoother in just a couple of strokes. Happy pregnancy moms!
hugs and kisses