Now that you’re in your third trimester, Baby’s arrival feels like it’s around the corner. So much to do, so little time! You’ve got your energy back, but how are you going to get everything done before you meet your little one face to face?
From picking a baby name to selecting a pediatrician, put down your to-dos on paper or your computer. Lists make the future feel manageable and allow you to get a complete snapshot of everything that needs tending. Divvy up the tasks with your partner and put your names next to each item, with a time for getting it done. A good number is six daily chores for each of you and a check-off before bed. “My lists helped us to organize and accomplish everything from choosing a car seat to organizing the baby clothes,” says Lisa, a San Francisco mother of three. With your task-management system in place, you’ll find you can give yourselves important downtime, too.
Prepping for baby is a team effort, so talk to your partner about everything, from where the newborn will sleep to what your childcare arrangement will be. Your partner can take on everything you can – excepting a few fundamentals, like breastfeeding and birthing, of course. Things you should cover include adding the baby to your medical insurance and deciding who will send a Baby Bugle birth announcement e-mail – a perfect job for one of the new grandparents or your best friend.
Everyone wants a piece of your joy, so don’t be shy about asking those close to you to pitch in. You can be specific about your needs without sounding pushy (or plaintive, as in the unhelpful, “Do something, anything…”). Telling your partner, “It would really help me if you could shift the washing to the dryer,” lets him know that he’s needed and valued. Asking your mother to take your toddler for an hour or two while you run errands involves her in the preparations – and gives you a breather. And don’t forget younger helpers. “My 14-year old niece Anna was invaluable,” says Lauren, a New York mom who was on bed rest. “She stayed with us over a weekend and helped sort the baby clothes into sizes.”
Split your days into manageable chunks of time.
“I always made my doctor appointments first thing in the morning to clear the day,” says Beth, a mother of four in Illinois. Allow two hours for a specific task, such as clearing out a closet, then stop and switch to something else. If you’re taking time off work, meet your partner for lunch to register for baby gifts. If weekends and evenings are your prep times, invite friends over for a cook-in. Together, you can prepare meals while you socialize – and freeze what you make, so you’ll have plenty of ready-to-eat meals when you need them.
Set limits for what you take on
It’ll be good practice for the years ahead. “I just can’t manage that right now,” is a great way to say ‘no’ nicely. “It’s too much for me,” lets the other person know that you have your hands full. Telling yourself enough is enough can mean a quick iPod time out, or leaving the office early and bringing work home, where you can put your feet up and take breaks as you need them.
This information is not a substitute for personal medical, psychiatric or psychological advice.