I’m not good at giving myself a break.
When attacking a task or project, I’ve always preferred to tackle the entire thing, beginning-to-end, in one go. Even if it’s a fun painting project, having to wait for layers of paint to dry frustrates me to no end!
Tackling a project before I was pregnant did not include taking breaks, unless it was for a quick meal or snack, or using the restroom, or getting some water, something fast before I would get back to work.
And now that I’m almost ready to pop, what is everyone reminding me to do?
“Take it easy, make sure you’re not doing too much since you’re super pregnant!”
“Don’t forget to take a break!”
“Rest a lot, both you and the baby need it!”
I’ve read a lot of mommy-blogs about “Things pregnant mommies want to hear.” Apparently, “Rest up” is something all of those other mamas want someone to tell them.
“Rest” is the one thing people keep telling me that keeps really ticking me off.
I want to yell back “You think I have time to sit before this baby comes?! I need to unpack, get baby’s room ready, clean baby’s clothes, keep up with everyday house maintenance, take care of my dog, grocery shop, cook, and do laundry. Oh, and I just freaking moved across the country to where I know almost no one, so I can’t phone a friend to come over to help in exchange for coffee and food. So how about you fly over here and help clean and unpack if my resting is so important to you!?”
Of course, I don’t yell that, because I know everyone means well and wants what is best for me and the baby, and to yell all of that back would be rather unkind and unloving of me!
I have been trying to be good. In between tasks, I make sure to take a break and sit for a little while, something Netflix and Game of Thrones books has made a little less annoying. But every time I’m resting, even when I can tell I need to take a break from unpacking, organizing, and cleaning, I find myself feeling guilty.
Can you believe it? Guilty. Like I’m doing something wrong. Like I should be able to handle accomplishing ten tasks in a row, all of which require a lot of bending, picking up, moving, and being on my feet, despite carrying around an almost-full-term baby in my belly. Even resting with my Hubby in the evenings after dinner, watching one of our favorite shows, I feel like I’m doing something wrong for not still cleaning, even if I’ve had a productive day and I’m having a good time relaxing with the love of my life!
My only explanation is that it’s nesting instinct gone into overdrive. I was starting to think that the “Nesting Instinct” was just a rumor, but it is very real! And for me, I’m pretty sure that instinct is being pushed along by the desire to not have anything left to do once the baby is here except heal, nurse, and give snuggles. So until all of my nesting tasks are done, I feel guilty about leaving an important, pre-baby task undone! How could I dare to bring that child here without every little thing in its proper place?! (Yes, that’s the unreasonable pregnancy hormones talking.)
Hubby has been really diligent about helping me, and really trying to help me relax. And I think he figured out the secret: on his days off, we get a TON of housework, unpacking, and projects done around the house, with me being project manager and him being muscle; me doing smaller, mostly-sitting tasks and him doing the lift-and-moving tasks. And it’s been helping! Our house is more open, cleaner, and more organized than it has been since we moved in, and it’s largely thanks to him telling me “Here’s what we’re getting done, and you’re going to do it while sitting.”
But two straight weeks of “nesting, nesting, NESTING” finally pooped me out.
So after a weekend of tackling projects around the house, I was tired. So tired that even after a full 9 hours of sleep (making a human bean makes you extra sleepy), I woke up tired.
So yesterday, after yet another OB appointment was finished and Hubby was safely off to work, do you know what I did?
I gave myself permission to have a day off. It took some debating with myself, but I was pooped. I had no motivation to get anything around the house done.
So I rested. And it was good.
I made easy meals. I cleaned up after them. I took care of my puppy and played with her, let her in and out of the house so she could run around outside. I did do one load of laundry, but only because we were completely out of socks. (Oops.) I unpacked nothing, all afternoon.
The rest of my day was made up of Netflix, a couch, crocheting, some research about baby things around the internet, and this blog.
And it was good.
I finally think my Hubby and family are right: mommies-to-be need to rest. My not-vacuuming didn’t result in the house falling apart. Everyone had the clothes they needed, even though the laundry wasn’t all sorted out in perfect piles. And the few organizing tasks that are half-done aren’t any worse off for being ignored for one day; they’re still there, and I can tackle them later today. Or maybe tackle part of it today, and part of it tomorrow, since I now know that little elves won’t come along in the middle of the night and un-do all of my half-done projects while I sleep.
So this mama-to-be learned her lesson: Resting is good, and even necessary sometimes. Every day doesn’t have to be a full-on couch potato day, but I’m now okay with taking an hour or two to myself to recharge and relax, especially as I get really close to the due date. (I have a feeling an hour or two may grow longer as the date gets closer!)
I’m giving myself permission to take breaks. And it will be good.