This post is by request and I think I have about 50 friends (maybe a little less) that are pregnant right now, so I hope this will help simplify the “waiting game”.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to PLAN.
Fail to plan, plan to fail. This list should be tailored to your family’s specific needs, but here is what I do to get ready for baby:
1. Get your housework down to a science. A great way to do this is to check out and subscribe to FlyLady. Go to www.FlyLady.com and she will help you divided your home into “zones”, tackle clutter areas (a.k.a. “Hotspots”), and turn the cleaning aspect of your life into a well-oiled machine. If you have three of four weeks before your baby arrives, that is plenty of time to completely makeover the way your clean your house. It’s amazing how, once you get your house clean and begin to use FlyLady’s methods, a mere 20-30 minutes a day will maintain a clean house. Do it!!
2. Food. I don’t know why, but as a mom, I feel so much more relaxed when all of my meals are planned out, I know what’s in the fridge and pantry, and I don’t have to think about what I’m going to make for breakfast. Start by doubling your favorite dinner recipes over the course of a few weeks. This is much easier if you have an extra freezer, but it can be done with a normal fridge/freezer as well. If you make chili on Monday, double the recipe and freeze half. Label it with the date and what it is and stick it in the freezer. To save space, use gallon sized freezer bags whenever possible. For example, last time I made spaghetti, I made a TON of sauce, I poured the excess into a freezer bag, labeled it, and now, when we want spaghetti again, all I have to do is defrost the yummy sauce and boil noodles. My other tip is referenced in the “Back to School” post. Make breakfast foods and freeze in individual wrappers; breakfast burritos, cinnamon rolls, muffins, biscuits…the list goes on. Yes, you can buy these items in the freezer aisle and stick them in the oven, but that costs a LOT more and takes more time to prepare those the morning you’re ready to eat them. If you cook and THEN freeze, it only takes about a minute in the microwave.
3. Laundry. Yikes. I suppose this COULD be included in ‘housework’, but I think it’s a catagory all by itself! Laundry is the bane of every mother’s existence. Just when you feel like you’ve achieved victory over Mount Washmore, the kids and hubby get home and suddenly you have another LARGE load of misc. dirty laundry and it’s back to square one. The best advice I can give is: JUST DO IT. Laundry stinks (well, not when it’s clean, but you know what I mean), so you need to make it part of your everyday routine. For me, I do at least one or two loads EVERY day. As they come out of the dryer, I pile them on my bed and while Owen takes a nap, I turn on the TV in my room, or a favorite CD, and I fold until it’s complete and then I PUT IT AWAY. For me, putting it away is the hardest part. It’s not so hard to fold it and make lots of nice little piles all over my bed, but actually bringing it to three or four different rooms, putting things on hangers, finding room in drawers; THAT’S the yucky part. Surprisingly, the putting away process only takes about five to ten mintues. I don’t know why we make it so painful. Get in a good routine NOW and it will be much easier when baby (or BABIES) arrive. Another good system is to have a laundry sorter in your laundry room. For us they consist of “kids clothes”, “adult clothes”, “whites”, and “towels/linens”. As soon as one divider gets 3/4 full, I do a load. That typically prevents those mornings when your husband is whispering, “honey, do I have any clean underwear?” Enlist the kids! My six year old gathers the laundry from every room in the house (yes, it’s in EVERY SINGLE room) and sorts each piece for me in the laundry room. This saves OODLES of time. 🙂
4. This is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your household as you await the arrival of the new baby (or BABIES)…get your children on a schedule and be CONSISTENT with discipline. I know, I know, it’s hard to hear, but you’ll thank me for it later. It’s so hard to be consistent, especially during the summer months, when you’re exhausted, sore, moody, hungry…all those lovely symptoms that come with growing a human in your womb. It is so very important that your children are getting enough sleep. Put them to bed early every single night. It doesn’t take long for children to adapt to a new routine. If they usually go to bed at 9:00pm, move bedtime to 8:00. Most kids are up by 7:00 or 7:30 in the morning and they need to be getting ten to eleven hours of sleep at night. It would be to your benefit to have an extra hour of peace and quiet at night, and your child’s teacher will thank you (especially if the teacher is YOU! 🙂 Discipline is a tough one, but so very important. If you’re not already consistent with disciplining your children, it will be nearly impossible to control them when the baby arrives. It is vitally important that your children know what is expected of them. Most discipline issues stem from disrespect and disobedience. If you already have specific punishments for these infractions, BE CONSISTENT. Your child WILL push your buttons and push the limits when the baby arrives. Show them that you mean business and that your expectations of them will be the same when the baby arrives. Good luck.
5. Communication. Create a “master schedule” for each person in your home. It is important that all of your waking hours are accounted for. It is also important to have a family calendar somewhere in the house (usually the kitchen or office) so that you and your husband know what’s going on in each other’s day to day life. I know that sounds silly, but I can’t tell you how many times I will think I’ve told Josh something important only to find out I never mentioned it to him and I didn’t write it on the calendar! Make your needs known. Let your friends and family help if they’ve offered. If you need to, keep a list of the people who have offered help, whether it be babysitting, cleaning your house, bringing you a meal. Swallow your pride (if you have any left after three or four kids! LOL!) and take all the help you can get. I’m not sure I agree with “it takes a village to raise a child”, but it sure makes the process easier on Mommy and Daddy in the beginning! Most importantly, you must maintain ‘communication’ with your heavenly Father. Make time, find time, create time to spend in prayer and in His word every day. If Mommy isn’t full of joy, grace, mercy, and love, how can we expect our children to be? Take care of yourself. Make sure you get a shower, get out of your jammies and maybe even put a little make up on every day. It’s amazing how much better you’ll feel just doing those things. Take care of yourself! Mommy is the glue that holds it all together! But our ‘glue’ is only effective if God is the active ingredient. Okay, if I get any cheesier, my computer might shut down.
Good luck my dear preggo friends!! I LOVE YOU!! And please put me on all of your lists of “people to call in time of need!”