Maybe it’s because we started out with most of the things we’d need to welcome a new baby this time, but as the weeks go by, I’m noticing that my to do list in prep for baby number three is far more emotion driven and way less about what needs to happen around the house. There’s a list for that, too, and I sure would love to check off some boxes between now and mid-September, but I’m finding myself way more vested in taking care of the things that might make baby’s arrival a more smooth transition for my heart than for our home.
This bleeds into my desire to make things as gentle as possible for Henry and Eloise as they transition in their roles, too.
While tubs of baby clothes are sitting in the attic, wall decor for the nursery is stacked in baby’s closet, and several larger pieces of furniture have yet to shuffle to new spaces as we make room, my mind is much quicker to jump to other things–things like making sure we capture maternity pictures, getting the kids squared away with school and schedules for the fall, and, before baby comes, finishing some writing projects that really matter to me.
I care about the aesthetics of things. I do. I just know that our living room wall color or the replacement dining room rug aren’t going to mean a thing to me if life feels like a complete mess inside my head and heart. So I’m trying to place the energy I do have on being healthy from the inside, out, and letting the chips fall where they may on some of the physical things that would actually be more fun to address in the short term.
In the exercise of minimizing our clutter and clearing out some physical space this summer, I find myself really challenged to keep decluttering while we get closer to baby’s estimated due date. It’s easy to want to add things to the nursery or to make changes to rooms in the house “before it’s too late and we never get to them,” instead of staying committed to letting more things go. While it’s definitely realistic that some tasks will be held off a bit when focus shifts to a new baby, it’s not as though life doesn’t change again once they’re mobile and more independent. We can certainly get back to projects then, and it’s doubtful anyone else will even notice they were on hold.
Letting go is not my natural tendency. I have to work hard at it. I want things a certain way, and I have visions in mind. Toning down my Pinterest-loving self and just being content with good enough is a stretching exercise for me, so that’s on my emotional list right now as much as anything else.
I’m doing all kinds of evaluating in this space where we’re likely eight or nine weeks out from snuggling our little love. How do I want to spend time with Henry and Eloise between now and then? What matters most to me? What can I do now that I definitely can’t once baby gets here? What are the non-negotiables, and what can wait?
I keep thinking about all of the moms and dads who welcome preemies into the world. Not only do they jump from baby prep mode into parenting mode well in advance, but they suddenly have potential health concerns, hospital bills, work schedules and care for other children to pile on top of the things they hoped to accomplish before baby arrived. Focus shifts from aesthetics to life-impacting choices that we don’t mix into paint colors and stroller styles and coming home outfits when we’re looking down the line to a due date.
More than ever, I really want to maintain perspective as we prep, even while I’m enjoying thoughts of baby getting closer and embracing the joy that comes with little steps toward baby along the way.
I want to be healthy in spirit–almost as much as I want to have a healthy delivery and a perfectly healthy baby. I don’t want to lose sight of the relationships that matter most to me or the things I need to keep in place to stay well myself (prayer, rest, time with the people I love, boundaries, exercise, chances to keep writing, sunshine).
A beautifully appointed, inviting nursery–one that’s just waiting to welcome baby–is a lovely thing. I’d be delighted to have baby’s room looking as I envision it before he or she ever spends time there. But an emotionally stable, sane mama–one who has bandwidth for this new stage that’s coming, for our other littles in tow, and for the curveballs that life throws often–is what I desire more than the completion of any other task or home project.
Heart space first. Physical space after.
I have a feeling baby will be more keenly aware of (and certainly more impacted by) my ability to love well over my ability to decorate well, anyway.
I’m so grateful for this third journey through pregnancy that’s allowing me to see even more of what really matters, and so thankful for the first two that have taught me well along the way. I’m always growing into this ever-changing role of motherhood, good days and bad days and every other kind of day in between.
keeping lists of all kinds while trying to keep myself in check,