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Pregnant but Organized

Brandie Valenzuela


I will admit that I am very fortunate. I have two children already, and they are ages 10 and 8, and are fairly self-reliant. If Mom can't tend to the household duties, they can help. However, with all that said, the Mom in me still wants things to go smoothly, especially that first week after the baby arrives. Starting with the first month of my pregnancy, I began to prepare for our big arrival, and I would like to share my tips with you.

As the woman/wife/mother of the house, I am the one who does 99% of the cooking in my home. I also know that in my personal situation, I will be having a scheduled cesarean section, and I will have some extra down time, compared to if I gave birth vaginally. I decided very early in my pregnancy, that I would prepare meals that could be frozen ahead of time, so that during the first week -- and maybe even the second week -- no one in my home would have to cook much.

This idea has proven to be quite easy for me to do. During my first and second trimester, I began to search the internet, my cookbooks, and our everyday favorite dinners for recipes that would freeze well. I even joined an email list that would help me in my quest to freeze meals for the family. I kept a list of the type of meals that I wanted to make so that during my last trimester, I could prepare one or two of these meals each week.

At 31 weeks into my pregnancy, I had the following in my freezer: Mexican Lasagna, Twice Baked Potatoes (side dish), Turkey Noodle Soup, Ham and Potatoe Casserole, Spanish Rice (side dish), and an Italian Lasagna. I also found that in the case of our family favorites (Mexican Lasagna and my Italian Lasagna) that it worked well to make an extra pan of the meal to freeze when I was preparing it for our dinner. My kitchen only got dirty once, but I now had two dinners out of my efforts!

If you are lucky enough to have a support system nearby, great! During your pregnancy, and shortly after the baby is born, sometimes people offer to help you. But often we tell those people that we are fine and we nicely say that we don't think we need any help, but we'll call if we do need something. Yet, we never call them. There is no need to feel guilty about saying to your mother-in-law (or others who offer) that yes, her help would be great. Let her know what you would need. Do you need help with your toddler at home? Would you like someone to help you with some light housekeeping? Tell them! Those who ask if you need help, really are asking because they want to be of service -- if they didn't want to help you, they wouldn't offer!

If you have many things that you want to get done by the time the baby arrives (detail cleaning, nursery, casseroles for freezer, etc.), take the time to list each and every thing down on a piece of paper. This is not the time to be a perfectionist! Only list those things that you 1) know you can get done with the proper planning and help, and 2) you would go crazy if it wasn't done before the baby arrived. The fewer weeks you have left in your pregnancy, the less time you will realistically be able to get things done. If you just found out your pregnant, you probably have 30-40 weeks to divide your list up in, and you can probably accomplish more.

With your list in hand, determine the approximate number of weeks you have left in your pregnancy, and divide your list up according to most importance. Depending on how big or how small your list is, and how many weeks you have left in your pregnancy, you may find that you can complete one item a day or maybe two items a week. This method is especially good if you want your home clean and organized before the baby comes, but you don't have lots of family and friends to ask for help.

The arrival of your bundle of joy can't always be planned perfectly, and often times your due date may end up around the same time as big events in your life. For example, my baby was due December 12, but was born through scheduled cesarean section a week prior. Even though the baby was born a few weeks before Christmas, I was preparing myself during the entire pregnancy so that I would not go crazy with the holiday rush. I decided early in my pregnancy that I want to take it easy in December, that I want to enjoy the new baby, my family, and the holiday season. To accomplish this, I began Christmas shopping and working on my Christmas cards in the summer.

Overall, planning for the big arrival day isn't hard. It just takes some planning and some knowledge to know when enough is enough. Remember that during that first week at home, your #1 concern should be your new baby, and everything else will fall into place.

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About the author: Brandie Valenzuela is married and a mother of two children. She is currently expecting their third child in December of 2000. If you like this article, then be sure to check out Brandie's FREE ezines: The Family First Newsletter and the Daily Holiday Recipe at: Pregnant but organized

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