My friend Rebekah is about 34 weeks pregnant and is in that hardcore nesting phase, so much so that she went to her parents house and started cleaning theirs too! Listening to her recount her nesting adventures reminded me of my own neurotic self trying to prepare for a new bundle of joy.
Shep was due in April and from Christmas onward, I refused to let a weekend go by without spending a solid six hours each day deep-cleaning my tiny apartment. It was so tiny, I ran out of things to clean. At that point, I’d just start cleaning things a second time. Was that really necessary in order for my home to be ready for a baby? No. but it sure made me feel a whole lot better!
The nesting instinct is not some old wives tale - it is a real (studied) phenomenon. I wonder how much of that nesting instinct is the body's way of coping with anxiety versus a biological drive to prepare a safe space for your child? Either way, cleaning the crap out of that little grate that runs along the bottom of your fridge suddenly becomes the most satisfying feeling. Looking back, I see that maybe I went a little overboard; my nesting instincts might have made me seem more than a little irrational. Even if it’s embarrassing, I’d like to share with you some of the things that I felt were an absolute necessity - and how I view these things now that I'm no longer pregnant.
Look - houses are for living, not to be overly sanitized like a medical clinic. It's okay for your floor not to be perfectly picked up all the time; to have a little bit of dirt tracked in the front door on your rug is not the end of the world. But to a pregnant woman that dirt is a legitimate threat to her baby's health safety and well-being! Now that I'm no longer pregnant, I can be a little bit more at ease. I don't feel like I have to sweep my floor more than once a day anymore! Those of you who have experienced the nesting instinct firsthand will relate when I say that I was sweeping my floors... let's just say, an alarming number of times everyday. I knew it was becoming a problem when my husband came in the door from work and I followed him into the kitchen with the broom sweeping his “outside shoe dust” behind him.
I am by no means a petite pregnant woman. When I am with child, the whole world knows with zero doubt. Of course as you know, pregnant women in the second half of their pregnancy tend to be a little unsteady on their feet, because the weight of the baby has sort of thrown off their balance. So it should be no surprise to anyone that my husband came home from work one day to find me standing with one foot on an easy chair - and one foot on the coffee table - arms over my head, with a bottle of dusting spray and a microfiber cloth. I was bound and determined to "properly clean" the fan blades on my overhead fan so that my precious new little bundle of joy wouldn't have to breathe in even a single particle of dust.
Oh, how irrational I was!
If I could do it all over again, I would start cleaning earlier on in my pregnancy. I'd ask for friends and family to come keep me company (or even pitch in) while spiffying up the place. Or, I'd just hire a service to take care of the weekly tasks that turned into daily tasks - and in some instances, multiple-times-a-day tasks. The hidden blessing in having two children under the age of two is that you're forced to lower your standards quite a bit. So while I wanted to turn my home upside-down and inside-out to prepare for my daughter's birth, I simply couldn't clean to the same extent that I did when I was pregnant with my son. The good news? My daughter was just fine coming home to a less than picture perfect apartment. My husband was more than fine with me not perching precariously on our living room furniture! And I was more than fine relinquishing the mom guilt that I felt for not being the world's most perfect housekeeper.
So nest away, mama! But don’t let it get the best of you.
What is the funniest thing you cleaned while you were nesting? Can't wait to laugh with you on Twitter @pi3sugarpi3.