There’s work to be done.

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) 


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Comments (18)

  1. pithy_epigrams

    Isn’t it cathartic sometimes to just vent everything out on LJ? Plus, it makes me feel better to know that you, Super Woman, has a bad day. 🙂
    That said, you are being too hard on yourself! You have a TON on your plate, give yourself a break.

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Haha at the Super Woman… you know that the blog eyes only see the good stuff, right? Anyway, I am taking that advice. 🙂

  2. littleloveflame

    I am amazed at hom much you are coping with at once, and think you DESERVE an occasional melt down.

    It’s AWESOME that you realize where it stems from – the problem comes when people are just not “been the picture of grace” and they don’t care why and they don’t bother to find out why and they don’t try to make things right when they are unkind to someone else.
    I admire you and though I’ve just met you have a deep respect for your marriage already – you guys TALK, that’s too rare in this world. More, you LISTEN, even rarer. 🙂

    I love the Albert Einstein quote and am stealing it for my LJ for a friend whose hero is Einstein.

    Thank you for friending me back and welcome to my journal 🙂 I I am glad you say you write alot, i am going to enjoy it 🙂

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Thanks for this comment. I agree, we don’t need to aim for perfection, but rather recognize that we are growing and evolving. It’s nice to know that I’m entitled to a meltdown! I definitely cash those in occasionally… 🙂

  3. purerandomness

    I’m glad you and Jeff were able to communicate with each other and have figured out a plan of action! I completely understand your need to have 10 minutes of ‘pick-up’ at the end of the night: it’s so much more difficult to start the next day when there’s the chaos of ‘yesterday’ still hanging around.

    I hope your goals work out, although I did notice that there was no quiet/relaxing/meditation time worked in there 🙂

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      There’s relaxing time in there! But you’re right, I should probably make it a bigger priority over these next couple of months.

  4. yayhappens

    Quality time is so important. The more of it I get, the more productive and functional I feel in more areas of my life. I’m glad you had a chance to communicate, and hopefully QT will become more regular for you both.

    It’s good to let it out, even if you do still have your good, cleansing cry, it takes the weight off! Here’s to a productive week! 🙂

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Thanks! And you’re right, it makes a big difference just refueling that connection in the relationship regularly. I end up feeling so much more energized if I can have that bit of my tank filled. 🙂

  5. moondaughter20

    I really enjoyed reading this.
    While I’m not a mommy (*sniff*) a lot of the difficulties you are dealing with seem familar, and I am really impressed by the work you have done to make life better for you and your loved ones.
    I’m glad you and Jeff can talk things out and work together on making life more manageable. That’s such an important thing to have in a relationship -good communication. 🙂

    And I love what you mentioned about gratitude. It is amazing how, no matter how crappy or out of sorts you are feeling, when you focus on being grateful for what you do have, it just makes everything seem easier.

    May all your days ahead be coloured with bliss, as that next big adventure grows inside you. 🙂

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Thank you for that last line! It was a beautiful thing to read tonight. I also agree that gratitude can really make all the difference. Sometimes when I find it hard to feel grateful I say something silly like “Thank god I didn’t get hit by a car today!” Anyway. There’s always something to be grateful for! I hope that you can find all sorts of things to be grateful for tonight.

  6. ladyfaith3

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you honest posting about all of this. thanks so much for making me feel less insane. I had a blow up very much along these lines just a few days ago and a good cry did help. Sometimes things just seem so big and overwhelming and we need reassurance that it will be ok.
    I hope you do feel better soon

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Yay for coinciding mama-meltdowns! It’s sometimes just really nice to know that other people go through this stuff, so I’m glad that my writing about it didn’t just come off as crazy whiny. Anyway, I always appreciate when you write about your hard days. 🙂

  7. prophetsong

    I can totally identify with that feeling of overwhelmedness and everyone is allowed a bad day once in a while. I really appreciate your honesty in being so frank about yours 🙂 However I agree with others that you are being too hard on yourself – you’re very pregnant and this is precious time both for you and for your little family unit as it is now. Give yourself plenty of space to enjiy that and don’t worry if certain other things after slip for a while. It’s all so temporary x

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Isn’t feeling overwhelmed just all-encompassing sometimes? I appreciate this comment- this is a precious time and I am going to try to savor it a little more over the next few months. You only get each moment once!

  8. Anonymous

    You know, you can always call US too, to come help with garden work/heavy stuff, etc. In lots of communities folks have “work days” like barn raisings or house raisings or field planting, etc. and I think it makes sense for us to do it on a more urban scale. We have canning days, it makes sense that we should call those same folks to help with planting, etc.! Obeth I’m sure would be happy to help Jeff with whatever, if he just asked.

    I empathize with feeling like more organization would help but also feeling so pressed for time that organization feels difficult to do. I wonder if you would like FlyLady? It’s a cool site that I think is good for starting routines and keeping things in perspective. Even if it wasn’t something you wanted to use daily, I bet you could get some good, simple organizational ideas from her/the site. It sounds like you’re already implementing similar changes/mini routines, but I’ve found her stuff helpful when I do it. It also saves me the work of having to figure out what to do on what day, at least in terms of housework.

    Oh, and I’m so sorry neither of us remembered about the clothes!! Funny that we both believed we had gotten them to your house–wishful thinking, and we probably TRIED to get them there a few times :). I feel like there are still some somewhere, because I know there were a ton of basic onesies and tshirts that I didn’t see in the stuff we found. We’ll probably keep finding stuff after our kids are way big. Ugh. Clothes.

    Love you! And seriously, ask me to come help you. This is a busy season and I feel like we’ll a) see each other a little more and b) get more stuff done and feel less overwhelmed if we ask for help.

    1. lilpeace


      This was me. 🙂

    2. Gracie (Post author)

      Thanks, you. I will check out Fly Lady more closely- I’ve only glanced. Maybe it’ll help give me more direction on those days where I feel that overwhelmed. Anyway, I agree about getting more organized in terms of community work stuff- I think it’d be really fun. It would help if I knew what the heck I was doing, though… haha.


  9. haurelia

    Minus pregnancy hormones, I am right there with you Grace! Some days are hard, and it’s okay for them to feel hard. You’re working together with your partner on so many levels…parenting, household, and just as a couple; it’s really nice to see that you two can get together and try to figure out how to work it so you both get what you need. That part is challenging for many of us as egos get in the way!

    I’m totally making “notes to self” about what I want my household routines to be once we get moved. I groove on the idea of Monday being bread day, Wednesday being groceries, etc. I’ve found it difficult to adjust to not “going to work” and find that if I keep my days structured, I feel better and get more of the stuff I want to do accomplished. Is there room to deviate? Sure, but it works a lot better if I get up, make the bed, get us dressed and fed, and clean up the kitchen after breakfast instead of having to clean up breakfast and lunch while I try to get supper made. So, I’m feeling a lot of connection to what you’ve said in this post, and thanks for posting it!


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