by Carrie Lauth
It is a strange but true paradox of postpartum motherhood that, at the time you are most vulnerable physically and emotionally and most in need of rest, you want a spotless nest for your new little one. Here are some "do during pregnancy" tips to help you enjoy the postpartum period more and stop worrying so much about the housework.
Prepare ahead of time
Most women, sometime shortly before they go into labor, experience a natural rush of energy and an overwhelming desire to clean and organize. Use this time wisely. Instead of folding and refolding newborn clothes, do some spring cleaning. Dust your baseboards -- be sure to squat instead of leaning over while doing this. Squatting is great exercise for pregnant mommies. It stretches the inner thighs (they need to be flexible when you're pushing baby out), feels good to your back and even helps your baby's head get into proper alignment in preparation for the birth.
Buy paper plates, napkins, and plastic cutlery and cups for use after the baby arrives. Now is not the time too obsess or feel guilty about Mother Earth. You need to focus on Mother You! Buy recycled if it makes you feel better. Eliminating dirty dishes when you have a newborn will go a long way towards keeping the kitchen clean. Spring for some of those handy disposable cleaning wipes too so you don't have extra laundry.
Do a thorough de-cluttering
The rule most professional organizers use is: If you haven't used it in a year, you probably don't need it or it would be better you to just rent the item in question rather than own and store it. Go through your closets, attic and garage and toss, toss, toss. And seriously rethink all the little knickknacks and whatnots you have around your home. These are dust magnets and will probably have to be put up when your baby starts crawling anyway.
Ask for help
It's very difficult in some independent cultures to ask for the help you need and deserve. But don't try to be a rugged individualist. Most native cultures expect little of a new Mom for a couple of months postpartum. She is pampered and taken care of by the women in her community.
Let me ask you: would you begrudge a postpartum friend if she called you asking for help? Of course not. It may even forge a deeper bond of friendship between you. So don't be afraid to call on your network of support for help.
Ask friends, family, neighbors, people you worship with, other moms at the mom's group you attend, etc. for assistance. Don't forget your baby's father as well! And consider hiring help if you possibly can. Remind your mother and mother in law that a housekeeping service is a great baby shower gift.
The postpartum "babymoon" period passes so quickly. Enjoy every minute and take lots of pictures. Baby will soon be crawling and then toddling around, and then the house will look really interesting!
Carrie Lauth is the host of http://www.NaturalMomsTalkRadio, a free Internet talk radio show and podcast. For more housekeeping with kids tips, visit http://www.natural-moms.com/homekeeping_organization.html
Copyright © Carrie Lauth. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.