There’s work to be done.
Posted On April 30, 2010
There’s nothing like raging pregnancy hormones to get you feeling… I don’t even know. This morning I woke up in a huge funk. Basically everything that Jeff had done for like two days prior I could find problems with. He was a goner from the start. The house felt unmanageable, and I was pouting after Jeff left and stewing over my issues with him. Wah wah. Then I started rushing around trying to find the 0-3 month baby clothes (I’m working on organizing all of this kid stuff now, so that I don’t have to deal with it last-minute, and there’s also a woman that I wanted to have like half of them who is in town tonight, so I was feeling like I had to find them now), and they were NOWHERE. I was crawling around on hands and knees, tearing closets apart, even looking in boxes of electronics in the crawl space… it was just a lost cause. I even called Jeff and accused him of stashing them somewhere weird and complaining about his lack of organization. Poor guy just agreed that it was probably him, and said he’d help me when he got home. I went out to the garage as a last resort (it’s really just Jeff’s shop, so I knew it wouldn’t be there), and Vera proceeded to bolt across the neighbor’s yard, squealing with glee, across the sidewalk, and right into the street. She’s been doing this lately. I ran after her, yelling, and she tripped right in the middle of the road. I was on her heels and also fell, in an effort not to stomp on her. I grabbed her up, squeezing her little cheeks and scolding her while I stormed back into the house. Then I sat her in a chair and explained yet again why running in the road is not okay. Poor thing had a scraped knee and hand, and we both just cried for a while. After she was settled and we had made-up, Jeff called. I just laid right into him- all the while knowing that I was feeling sensitive and unreasonable…
I have not been the picture of grace today. Part of me thinks I just needed a good cry. Anyway, my perspective is better now. My talk with Jeff ended well, and we both figured out part of what the problem is. We both are feeling the tug of these projects, and this pregnancy is just whizzing by. I have only 2.5 months to go before baby arrives! On top of this strong urge to organize everything within the house, we’ve got a huge garden to deal with. I won’t go down the list, but there’s a list. It was really good to talk about it.
Me- feeling often like I am left doing the basics constantly (childcare, planning, cleaning, cooking, etc.), and finding it hard to find time to do projects or some of the deeper organizational things. I’m also occasionally dealing with feeling uncomfortable in my body- clothes not fitting right, just ugh… I also end up feeling like Jeff and I haven’t been getting enough in the way of quality time, which really seems to affect me emotionally at 6.5 month pregnant. I’m in need of a little more these days, and if my "tank" is low then it seems to leave me feeling pretty directionless.
Jeff- feels like he never has enough time to get to the projects he wants, always feeling like he’s juggling between his job, us, work at home, and his friends. Also struggling with the lack of physical help in it all- I can’t do much heavy shoveling of dirt and stuff like I did last year, so he’s kind of on his own with some of it. Also generally feeling anxious about the family shift and how to fit everything into place before hand.
We’ve come up with some basic things that will help us keep our perspective and motivation.
- We’ll do more of the garden work together, we’d been pretty separate with it lately. Working side by side could really help us see what the other person is doing and have more appreciation for it, not to mention being more of that "quality time" I so need these days. Maybe we can start doing dinner dishes together, too. It’s usually one or the other (or neither) of us, so it’d be nice to just get that job done quickly each night.
- Jeff is asking for some manly help from friends, to keep him from feeling too burned out. It’ll also be a good excuse to see friends. There have been some friends who are eager to help him with building projects and have actually offered their time. I think this will be really good for him.
- We’ll reinstate date night. We had date night for a long time, and it just kind of fizzled out. There’s so much that we can do, and should do, before baby comes. Jeff is very sweet and said he’s got fun plans for us for the next one, so I’m feeling loved. 🙂 It’s also a good excuse to just let ourselves off the hook once a week.
- Jeff and his/our projects… this one is tough. He really just spends his days at work, and so evenings and weekends are divided up pretty tightly as it is. There’s really not much more actual time that we can make for it. I do see ways that I can try to help him, though. I can try to make life a little more streamlined- I can have dinner ready right after work so he can take a breather and hang out for an hour without it feeling too late or rushed. I can empathize more, rather than seeing him choosing these projects over me or Vera (because most of these projects are for us anyway). Same goes for friend time. He’s always got one designated night a week to go out with his friends, and then we try to get together with other friends and manage everything else too. I think I can definitely try to help him reduce his stress about not being able to do it all.
- My projects/time/etc. Same as Jeff. We’ll just have to take it easy and help each other. I do think that I can be more organized, and I have some ideas for how to do that.
- Relax. If we are tired or overwhelmed, we can relax. I think that sometimes I feel like I can’t do that, and I end up being way more lazy than I probably would have been if I’d just sat down and read for a little bit. It reminds me of when I was quitting smoking. Every time I told myself I couldn’t smoke more than x cigarettes a day, I’d smoke like double that. It failed miserably to try to monitor or guilt myself into action. I ended up quitting successfully after a period of shameless smoking and a random cold-turkey quit completely on my timing. Anyway, it’s just important to simplify these things.
As for me, I think I have a few things that I can try to turn into routine that I think will greatly improve things.
- Every morning I will get up, eat breakfast, change Vera, and empty the dishwasher. Emptying the dishwasher will help me to always put the new dishes into the dishwasher, reducing the dreaded kitchen clutter and helping me stay more organized for meal prep and all the cooking stuff I have to do. Dinnertime dishes won’t seem like such a chore, because it’ll really just be from dinner.
- After morning stuff, I will go upstairs with Vera and exercise. She enjoys it, and is now at the point where if I want to really work out on the elliptical or something I just set her up with a show that won’t drive me crazy and we watch together. Otherwise I can do some yoga or weights or lighter exercise and she can do it with me (in her own adorable 2 year old way). This will help my energy levels through the day, and it will help with the body stuff that is likely to just be more present in the next several months. Given my history, I think it might be a tall order for me to always be grateful and peaceful about this body change. I can already tell I’m a little thicker, and it just triggers that little thing in my head that says it’s not okay. I am going to work on my gratitude, and I really do love what my body is doing. I just have baggage, so I figure if I stay healthy and am doing what’s best for my body, it’ll just keep me that much more balanced- both emotionally and physically.
- I will use my online calendar and stick to it. Laundry day is laundry day. Menu plan on Tuesdays. Make bread on Sundays. Unless something really gets in the way and pushes something out, I’m going to do my best not to move too much around. Now timing may change, but I think I can likely at least keep the day that something is assigned to. This will hopefully just further simplify things so that I can work on other projects rather than be completely caught up in a mess of whatever.
- I will pick one room/space to work on each week as an organizational project. I’ll just use whatever free time I have to work on that space, and when the week is over, I’ll move on to the next. I’ll just rotate like that until I feel satisfied. I’m hoping that this will keep me from feeling too overwhelmed with this nesting stuff- trying to take it all on at once.
- Each night while Jeff puts V to bed, I do a run through and straighten the house quickly. I don’t want to spend more than 10 minutes on this. A lot of what keeps me from feeling motivated is just overstimulation- pieces of paper on the floor, little toys that migrated to the couch, crumbs and little shoes everywhere… it’s fine, it’s life. I think if I clean up every night, it’ll help me relax before bed and it’ll create a cleaner space for us in the morning.
- Take Vera on a walk somewhere every day (weather permitting). We usually go out somewhere every day, and we at least hang out in the yard, but I think it’s really good for both of us to go explore our own environment. It helps her burn more energy, and it’ll also be a good time for me to train her to stay nearby and away from roads… Plus it’s good time together- looking at flowers and plants, meeting new people, exploring, etc. I love hearing her tell her Papa about the bug she found or the person she met or the thing that scared her that day.
- Try to use some of my "plopping" time more wisely at night. I really, genuinely want to craft and read and whatever more than I want to zone out to something on the tv. That’s good sometimes, but it so easily becomes routine. I don’t think I would regret reassigning some of that time to things that I truly believe have more value in my life. I also really don’t see any other time that I could use for that stuff, either.
Anyway, it feels good to get that stuff out. I feel motivated, and much better about things today. Tonight Jeff and I are going to have a nice dinner outside (it’s 80 degrees!), move a bunch of dirt from our driveway into our new flower/herb bed, put Vera to bed, and go upstairs to watch a movie and repot a bunch of our seedlings. This weekend will be busy and good, I’m sure. I hope to keep it simple.
Quote of the day:
"Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." (Albert Einstein)