This is a long requested post that I finally feel qualified to write! It's true - I'm expecting my first child in September.
My husband and I feel incredibly blessed. For a long time, we didn't know if it would be possible for us. Now, though, I can see how perfect the timing is.
Confession time. For the first few years of my career, I worried a lot about how I could serve the women I felt called to serve without the experience of motherhood. I remember that being a heavy criticism about Marie Kondo when her book first came out.
I believe that it was easier for me to do this work on my own without young children to look after. I don't think the work I've done is going to make my life more difficult once I'm a mother if my pregnancy has been any indication of what's ahead.
I'm not used to my body not being my own, to needing naps, to needing to eat every couple hours. For better or for worse, I'm used to pushing through to get things done, and I'm realizing that's not a good option anymore.
I need to become more flexible in how I manage my time and energy.
I'm getting used to being at the mercy of energy spurts and learning to be compassionate with myself when I am too tired to be as productive as I'm used to being.
But what's nice is that I don't have to worry about my space. It can get messy now if I am in the middle of my day and need to lie down and wait to get my energy back. Once that energy is back, I can pick up the house in 10 minutes. Or my husband can because it's easy for him to know exactly where everything goes.
Being organized has allowed me the flexibility that I am needing to cultivate going into motherhood.
The last thing I want to worry about, with a little one around, is my space. I'm grateful that we can maintain our home in a streamlined way, so my husband and I can afford to focus our energies on our expanding family, our individual growth, and on each other.
Are you also starting a family and want to prepare your space so you can feel supported by it through all the changes, rather than fighting against it? Read on.
Do It During the Second Trimester
Getting organized sustainably doesn't happen overnight. And in my opinion, there' s no other way worth doing it. Think about it - do you want to spend your time and energy on systems that aren't going to hold up? Even if you're taking a half-assed stab, it can still feel like a lot of effort - for little-to-no payout. In my mind, it just makes sense to do it once and do it right.
Sometimes I get applications from prospective clients who are expecting a baby in less than a month. While I'm glad to see them reaching out for support during a time like this, unfortunately, there isn't much I can do for them at that point, because it does take time, it does take energy, and in hiring someone like me, it does take logistics.
So, if you are pregnant, I would start making arrangements in your first trimester, with the goal being that you're doing most of the work during your second trimester. This is the perfect time during pregnancy to do it because you aren't physically that big yet, you have a lot of energy, and you're not bumping up against a tight timeline. Plus, it will provide you a lot of clarity on your needs when you are sourcing baby gear.
Focus on Function
In my home organizing program, we focus on unblocking five key areas of your living space before we finish it off by setting up a household storage plan.
The five key areas that focus on - the kitchen, the entryway, papers, the bedroom, and the bathroom - are areas that you need to function to have a smooth daily life. By prioritizing the functionality of these areas first, we can work with the remaining space in creating a storage plan that will meet the rest of your needs. When you have a young family, you can be incredibly supported by this concept. You don't have to struggle unnecessarily to do the day-to-day things that parenting involves.
When I am working with expectant families, we are creating a structure for the tasks they need to do in each area in their current child-free life - but we are also planning for future stages. It's essential for your space to provide a structure that will make transitions simple. For example, in the kitchen, they might need a spot to store bottles and other feeding accessories. In a year, this might turn into sippy cups and little snack containers. In a few years, this might turn into lunch boxes and water bottles.
Ask Yourself These Decluttering Questions
In my experience, being pregnant has prompted me to re-evaluate my life. While I don't want to sacrifice my sense of self to morph into someone else's expectation of what a mom looks like, I also can't deny that I am at a crossroads of sorts. I am at the start of a new journey.
At the start of any new journey, I'm wondering what I am taking with me into the future, what's relevant to my next phase, and what I'm outgrowing. This isn't necessarily a linear process or something that you wake up with all of the answers to. It's ongoing and intuitive. And it's a skill that will help me do the same for my children, that I will eventually teach them to do themselves.
The way I honor this in my life is to create a ritual around decluttering. I happen to enjoy observing moon cycles, and one piece of esoteric wisdom that I like to honor is that it's easier to "let go" when the moon is waning - that is, the two weeks after the full moon and before the next new moon. Specifically, the three days before the new moon are supposed to be the most potent for clutter clearing.
What I like about this is that I'm not thinking about decluttering all the time. I loosely create a place in my schedule around it to think about it, look around, and see what's no longer a fit for me. That way, I don't have to wait until the clutter has congealed and I'm due for a big purge. I've found that this is a level of effort that's do-able while managing a busy life.
Getting organized before welcoming your new family member is not only a gift to yourself, but a gift to your child as well. Not only are you clearing the way to be more present for them, you're cutting through unnecessary of daily stressors that can impact your mood. You're also setting your children up to have a peaceful home life and habits that will serve them throughout their lives.
I'm looking forward to sharing more insights on my work through this lens of pregnancy and motherhood.