With my due date now a four-day-old memory, I’ve been doing the best that I can to keep busy enough to get my mind off of the one thing everyone in my family’s itching to know: When is this baby going to arrive?
I’d like to say that I’ve been able to use some of this extra time awaiting Baby P’s debut doing the one thing that nearly every young mom has strongly urged me to do–stock up on sleep. Unfortunately, for as much as I’m trying to heed their advice, the sandman keeps shortchanging me. The best I did was a nap yesterday afternoon, which ran a surprising four hours long despite the sounds of my neighbor weed-whacking his lawn to Latin carnival music floating in through my window. But the reality is that I’ve been spending my so-called “free” time doing more cleaning and organizing.
Now, I thought I had done a pretty good job already. My nesting instincts definitely kicked in pretty hardcore around month six. Our kitchen remodel was finally complete, so I was able to move pretty fast from organizing my cupboards and putting away my nice dishes, which had been in boxes for the past year and a half, to finding a cleaning lady to come once a week (god bless Joselyn); installing a new closet organization system for our master-bedroom (Container Store and Elfa, you rock); re-planting about half of our front garden; hiring a carpenter to complete a set of built-in shelves in my living room (thank you, Scott); throwing out about half of the stuff in our basement before sealing the walls and floors (thank you, Lesley); and decorating the nursery.
But if there’s one thing that my mom’s really good at it’s getting to that expert level of organization. If it were up to her, about a third of my stuff would be sitting in garbage bags in my alley this morning waiting for the 7am garbage pick-up, another third would be in a box marked “Free” on the sidewalk in front of my front stairs, and the remaining third would be either folded neatly in a drawer or shoved in a plastic bin to be stored in the basement.
Although she really just naturally doesn’t mess around when it comes to getting organized, it feels like it’s in overdrive, which makes me think grandma-to-bes also have a certain nesting urge that rivals many mommas-t0-be’s own instincts. Take my mother for example. In the week that she’s been in town, she’s checked these items off the to-do list:
- Organized all the silverware, cooking utensils, and junk in my kitchen drawers (again Container Store is the best)
- Steam cleaned all my living room furniture and rug
- Scrubbed my porch
- Hung pictures/artwork
- Purchased a new dining room rug
- Put together a new laundry sorter and laundry butler/organization system
- Re-organized my linen closet
- Helped me sort through/get rid of a ton of old papers
And, if you can believe it, we’ve still got a to-do list for today that includes some additional organizing in my bedroom and the basement and a quick trip out to the grocery store to stock up on some provisions–assuming we don’t need to take a detour to the hospital, which is totally possible, even likely, at this point.
But I really wish someone would have included this tidbit of information about grandmas’ nesting instincts in any of the gazillion pregnancy books out there, especially the basic how-to-have-a-baby manuals like What to Expect When You Are Expecting, which is by the way, a fantastic book for mommies-to-be like me who just want facts and not a lot more. Because it’s just not my mom. My mother-in-law also exhibited some of this behavior. She came for a five-day stay last month and spent at least a couple days of washing baby clothes and then ironing them before putting them into dust-free plastic bins, which were organized by size.
The other thing that I wish I’d realized before now is that the nesting instinct spikes very close to labor. According to this Web site:
“The nesting instinct generally kicks in around the fifth month of pregnancy, however it can also occur much earlier or much later. Many women acutely experience the nesting instinct in the final days of their pregnancy, and this can often be a sign that labor and delivery is close at hand.”
I had no idea. I thought it was something that kicked in somewhere in the second trimester–thus the suddenly urgent need to wash baseboards–and sort of held steady before tapering off close to delivery as you get everything just-so in the nursery. (By the way, that whole baseboard thing is no joke or exaggeration. I was in my half-bath just this morning and happened to glance down and had the thought that I should really take a sponge to the baseboards in there again.)
So, just as an exercise, I decided to chart my nesting instinct intensity. I looked back over the past 41 weeks and thought about when I started to get really serious about getting stuff done.
As you can see from the chart above, there was some ebbing and flowing of my nesting instinct intensity. Contributing to the spike very early on in my pregnancy, before I even knew I was pregnant, in fact, was the kitchen remodel. I spent a lot of time stressing over the design of the kitchen and the product selections, racking up one major meltdown brought on by an out-of-ink fax machine that had me running to a local gas station to use their fax machine so I could save $1,500 on cabinets. In retrospect, my anxiety and all-over-the-place emotions (not to mention bad skin and bigger boobs) should’ve been an indication that something was up.
But that really didn’t get confirmed until I was in the 13 to 14 week mark. The news that Baby P was on the way definitely kick started some nesting instincts anew. The next big bump came after my 20 week sonogram when it was confirmed that baby was indeed a boy. (Good to know my maternal instincts weren’t completely off.) The news got my brain turning over some nursery theme ideas.
I hit another new peak around 27 weeks or so, when I spent the better part of my vacation in Chamonix, France, on the Internet, researching childcare options (still haven’t found one) and building my baby registry.
Things started going off the charts after 30 weeks. I wanted all my big house projects to be wrapped up by May 1 on the off-chance that Baby P would arrive early. (Good thing that didn’t happen because we wouldn’t have been ready.) As my husband can attest, I was pretty much a slave driver, insisting that we spend every waking hour on the weekends doing one of three things–cleaning, organizing, or throwing away. (He was not exactly happy about this.)
But by May 15th, I was feeling pretty great as I washed and folded a few newborn onesies, rolling them neatly and placing them in small plastic bins that I decided to use as drawer organizers. I had already stocked up on newborn diapers and wipes, as well as some breastfeeding relief products that friends had recommended. I was ready.
Or so I thought. But it’s amazing how a motivated mom can light a mommy-to-be’s nesting fire once again. I guess no nest can be over feathered.