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The other day the girls and I went to our local farm to pick blueberries. It was a hot and humid day. Elise kept insisting that I hold her while we picked because an unfamiliar farm cat kept creeping around through the bushes. After we picked, the girls ran around looking at the chickens, rabbits, and sheep. By the time we got home, and finished baking up a blueberry tart, all I wanted to do was lie on the couch and drink iced tea. So when Julia asked me if we could eat the tart for dinner—with organic vanilla ice cream to top it off—I decided to say yes. It was a perfectly delicious and simple meal.
Now that the baby's birth is rapidly approaching, I've decided that simple living is the best way to get through the final nine weeks of pregnancy (and beyond). For the most part, we've been sticking really close to home—if we go out at all. Instead we hang out in our yard and find things to do. Yesterday, Nelson made a swing for the girls with an old rope and piece of scrap wood. They were thrilled. I'm so glad we decided not to buy the five hundred dollar manufactured model we saw earlier in the season.
My focus on simplicity is also helping to alleviate some of the stress I feel over the arrival of the baby. Instead of worrying about all of the things that need to get done—like getting Elise into a big girl bed so the crib is freed up or getting back some loaned out baby items—I've decided to ask for help. My mom has agreed to paint my grandfather's twin bed frames for the girls and those friends that borrowed items are graciously delivering them to my doorstep. I've even enlisted the girl's help with household chores. I used to think they were too young, but they are doing quite well with basic tasks. I found a great chore chart over at Simple Mom. So far, it's working like a charm. Asking for help always feels hard, but once you embrace the idea, it's as simple as can be.
Getting rid of stuff has been another huge stress reliever. I've scaled back the amount of toys in the girl's room. And I sorted through our containers of baby toys and whittled it down to just a handful worth keeping. I've also gotten rid of all our plastic kid's dishes and utensils in favor of break resistant glassware. Now that I'm free of the zillions of caps, plugs, and snap together bowls and lids, getting a meal on the table feels a lot easier. And my home is a bit greener too.
When you're 31 weeks pregnant with two small children, a large neurotic golden retriever, and a traveling husband, life can feel pretty complicated. But when you scale back, ask for help, and serve the occasional blueberry tart for dinner, life is actually wonderfully simple. At least for now that is!
Shelley Abreu is a freelance writer and mom of two. She writes more about parenting and simple living at www.parentgood.com.