Here's an idea: Don't give a pregnant woman a label maker. As I wrote about two weeks ago, my nesting instinct has kicked in, or rather, I've turned into a crazy organizing, cleaning freak. I'm not sure where all the energy is coming from, but I've organized my entire house (except the basement and garage—I'm saving that job for Nelson). I bought a car-load full of clear plastic bins and organized every loose item into categories. Then I sat and whipped out 10,000 gazillion labels. And just when I thought I labeled everything I could possibly think of, something else occurs to me: a container of fish food, a goodwill box, and even, strangely, a container of empty boxes.
I've been thinking about why the nesting urge is so strong this time around. I mean, seriously, I got up at 4:30 the other morning to clean my bathroom. With the girls, I certainly felt the need to complete necessary shopping and prepare the nursery, but it was nothing like this. So I did a little reading about nesting. One article noted that nesting gives an expectant mother a feeling of control and a sense of accomplishment. Another source credits nesting to the primal instinct of creating a warm, safe environment for our baby. Both seem on target to me. As my life gets busier and busier, it's been hard to keep up with all of my adult responsibilities and devote quality time to the girls. My desire to organize and streamline my home environment must be related to the worry I feel over possibly missing all those precious infant moments that happen in the first several months of a baby's life. I definitely want to create a safe and happy home for the new baby.
Wanting control is another possible motivation. Having three children seems scary at the moment. On many days, I barely hold it together as a mother of two. I want to do a better job. I want to serve my kids healthier meals, read to them more often, do arts and crafts more frequently, and spend more time outdoors. Yet with all the other things to accomplish, this can feel overwhelming. Organizing with such insanity might be my way of gaining some control.
Whatever the case, I can't really see a downside. Even though I've made the girls entertain themselves in the morning—so I can label everything but my underwear—I feel that sense of accomplishment one article referred to. By the afternoon, I'm ready to relax with the girls. Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the lake. We swam together and made sand castles. Sometimes when we go to the beach, all I want to do is sit on the shore and watch. But my cleaner, more organized home has given me a sense of peace. And with just 10 weeks to go until the baby arrives, a little peace is just what I need. That Mother Nature of ours is pretty smart.