I am 8 weeks exactly (as exact as one can be with babies) away from being a mom of 2 under 2. That being said, I am trying to look forward and prepare for caring for myself while caring for a toddler and a newborn. Part of that preparedness is figuring out just exactly what “self-care” is and what it looks like.
“According to my research” (to borrow a line from that one character on The Magic School Bus), there are TONS of things moms can do to take care of themselves and thus help them be better moms. Now, I haven’t read all the articles and books out there that cover the topic of self-care. It’s not physically possible to do so while keeping a 15 month old from killing herself or destroying the house. However, in all the articles I have read the one thing I have yet to see mentioned is taking time to clean the house.
Maybe it’s because my goal is to be a good housekeeper while being a good wife and mother. Or maybe it’s because I just hate not being able to find the thing I need when I need it in the place I expected to find it. Or maybe it’s because I’m 8 months pregnant and can’t see past this massive belly.
Whatever the reason, I need a tidy house to stay sane. A tidy house means a clean kitchen, laundry that is at least washed and dried (bonus if it’s folded and put away), floors that are swept and vacuumed, and a bathroom clean enough that I won’t be embarrassed if guests drop by unexpectedly. Thankfully, most of this I can do with Little Miss’ “help” (or hindrance, depending on how you look at it). But there are some days when I can’t. Those are the hard days.
Those are the days when I have to stop, breathe, tell myself it’s okay to let the carpets go another day without vacuuming, it’s okay to leave the dishwasher until tomorrow, it’s okay to just take a quick swipe at the toilet and wait to clean it properly.
And then there are the days when the only way I can keep it together is to feed Little Miss a continuous stream of graham crackers, cheese, and other snacks while I clean. Little Miss doesn’t like always like it when Mommy doesn’t drop everything to read the Dr Seuss Alphabet book for the 9th time that day, but I tell her that a “sane mommy is a happy mommy.” This is not a concept Little Miss can really understand at this time in her life, but as she grows she will appreciate having a happy and sane mommy.
The trick to all of this is to plan ahead and to make the choice to set things up for success now while I just have one kid to chase. And it is a choice. A choice to take/make time to clean and tidy, to involve Little Miss in the endeavor, and to change and adjust processes to facilitate productive speed in completion of the required tasks. So the next 8 weeks will be spent in planning and preparing for the coming days when I will have two kids to care for. After all, Proper Prior Planning Prevents (Pissed) Poor Performance.