My sister and I have come to the firm agreement that we both LOVE being moms, but we both HATE being pregnant. We both get icky-pukey-yucky-grossy sick from about week 5 to week 16 of each of our pregnancies, and during that fateful three month window, it feels like the earth still orbits around the sun, but somehow we’ve been left flailing in outer space, where nothing gets done and it takes all we’ve got to keep those in our care fed (whether by takeout, the pizza delivery man, or boxed mac and cheese), clothed (hopefully in clean clothes – most of the time) and bathed (whether by rain shower, snow shower, or the occasional bathtub adventure).
I readily admit, it’s hard for me to feel human, let alone like I’m a good mom and a good wife, during the first trimester. I watch the laundry pile grow, the grime in my shower grout breed, the dust particles multiply, and who knows what else from my lack of cleaning congregate, accumulate, infestate, and escalate throughout my home. In a couple more weeks I’m sure my house would be an exciting science experiment for anyone who’d like to come take cultures from my breeding ground of grossness. Jusssst kidding. We’re not quite “that” bad around here, but we sure have seen better days, this house and me.
Due to my lack of energy (translate, ability to keep up with their constant motion…did I mention I have two walkers now?), my boys have found new and interesting ways of getting into greater trouble. Somehow they just know my energy has disappeared and I
probably won’t jump off the couch in time to stop whatever ruckus they’ve started.
Thus my 14 month old’s joy at re-arranging all the items in my kitchen Tupperware cabinet:
Or my toddler embellishing the bathroom floor with toilet paper:
Also this week, the door in my Toddler Bear’s room got re-decorated. It’s so fancy I really should pin it on Pinterest. He found a brown crayon in his room during nap time. The whole crayon is now on the door in a most gorgeous design. I’m not posting a picture in case my landlord happens to read my blog (Thank you, thank you Lord Almighty and Crayola for washable crayons!!!).
And yes, I find it hard to keep calm and not loose my temper when my preggo hormones blaze against Crayola and bear cubs’ shenanigans and toilet paper mountains and the fact I can’t stand the thought of cooking or folding laundry.
However (and surprisingly for me!) I’ve found it easier to cope with the lack of order and the family circus chaos this time around than with my other pregnancies. I think a few key components in my daily routine are truly making a huge difference in my first-tri life.
In no particular order, here they are…
1. Guilt-free TV. I let my kids watch TV when I’m pregnant, and I’ve learned to feel absolutely no guilt or remorse for this. It’s as necessary as saltine crackers and club soda with a spritz of lemon to my sanity. I let them watch 15-30 minutes in the morning while I get my morning household chores done, and I let them watch about the same length in the late afternoon while I’m making dinner. I stick to Baby Einstein, Curious George, Bible sing-alongs, and Leap Frog math and alphabet DVDs, so the hope is they might learn a little nugget or two while I fry their brains so I can get a few things done. It truly helps so much.
(That is one serious episode of Curious George, lemme tell you!)
2. Guilt-free daily nap. That would be nap time for ME. As soon as I put my boys down for their afternoon nap, I head upstairs to my own bed. This is normally the time of day I get my cleaning, laundry, blogging, reading, workout and shower in, but I forgo all of that (or move it to another time of day) for a one hour rest. It makes SUCH a difference in my ability to get through the rest of the day.
3. Praise and worship music. When my hormones are a raging mess, I’ve found that praise and worship music playing softly in the background while we go about our day has a profound effect on soothing my soul, and raising my mind to my Maker. It really draws me into a heart of worship and puts everything in my life in clearer perspective. It might be my imagination, but it seems to soothe the boys too. My current favs on my iPad playlist are It is Well: A Worship Album by Kutless, Watermark (their self-titled CD), and anything/everything by Hillsong and David Crowder Band.
4. Exercise. I’ll get into more detail about this in another blog post, but working out even during first-trimester morning sickness has actually helped my
morning all-day sickness. I read a pregnancy blog last fall by a mom who worked out through her first-tri sickness, and she claimed it helped immensely with the sickness and everything else. I was skeptical but intrigued, since I’ve never been able to get my bum off the couch other than a walk around the neighborhood during the first weeks. Thanks to coaching, support and encouragement from my awesome Hubs, I’ve been able to work out semi-consistently (albeit not every day) during these awful sick weeks. And it’s helped my energy and sickness quite a bit. It also gives me a sense of self-accomplishment, which greatly helps my mood.
5. Lots of laughter. When the Mama feels grossy, it’s easy to bring down the mood of the entire household. So I’ve learned that extra occasions for riotous laughter and fun are much appreciated during these crazy weeks. For us, that’s been the construction (and deconstruction) of many family room “forts” or “tents”. The boys LOVE playing under our chair and blanket forts, and giggles and squeals of delight when Mom or Dad or sometimes BOTH get under there with them – well let me just say it’s priceless.
6. Rotating toys. My kiddos are little (2.5 and 14 months) so it’s quite unfair of me to expect them to entertain themselves (or play nicely with each other) while I try to veg on the couch. They have very short attention spans. One thing that’s helped is to rotate out some of their favorite toys. Even 3-4 days without their favorite car or truck or train is enough to make it feel brand new when I bring it back out for them. So I’ve been rotating toys in and out of basement storage, and it’s garnered me a bit of extra peace and them a bit of extra fun. Even moving toys to different rooms has become a novelty for them.
7. Sunshine. Nothing helps like sun in lifting my mood and my sickness symptoms. And it’s so helpful for the boys to be outside too. We’ve been walking every day above 55 degrees. Which hasn’t been much lately, but we’re grateful for every chance we have in the sun!
8. Indulge. I’ve often joked that the keys to successful motherhood are coffee in the mornings and wine in the evenings. They just help SO much with kicking my brain into high gear in the wee hours and helping me wind down with my Hubs after dark. Needless to say, I’ve given up the imbibing for the next several (make that 6 – hiss boo) months, but I have found another good friend to replace my favorite glass of red. You guessed it. A girl’s other best friend. Chocolate.
My grandmother, an avid Dr. Oz watcher, tells me that Dr. Oz recommends one piece of dark chocolate every evening. Apparently it’s good for your heart.
So I’ve gotten attached to this bad boy:
I respect Dr. Oz, so I’m sure he has a valid point about chocolate being good for the heart. But I know one thing for sure.
Chocolate is good for my soul.