I Stopped Folding Laundry to Prep for Baby #3

When I found out I was pregnant with my third baby, after the initial shock and excitement, I couldn’t stop thinking about this question: how do i do everything?

As a seasoned mom, I already know what the answer is—I am not. Although my heart, metaphorically, grew after the birth of my other two children, my capacity did not. I don’t need less sleep, fresh air or adult connection. While I attend to the needs of those I love dearly, I cannot avoid the simple fact that I have needs too. And I had early life experience that showed me the consequences of ignoring those needs.

During my first pregnancy, I read stacks of books on labor, birth, breastfeeding and parenting. In my second, I researched sleep schedules and avoiding sibling conflict. But, on my third? I haven’t read a single parenting book. I hope I remember the basics. Instead, I devoted my energy to strategic planning to do less.

My first trimester was a great training ground for this exercise. With two kids and an older body, the nausea and fatigue were worse than I remembered. I look at the piles of laundry every night and realize—dish towels are not Actually need to fold. It started to seem ridiculous that I fixed socks. In fact, why do we own this type? All black matches are easier, and no one is worse off for it.

Sulking on unisom and vitamin B, I consider the time it takes to cook a meal. What am I trying to prove by being a slave to the stove at night? Sandwiches are a perfectly acceptable dinner. Do I really need a clean plate for that slice of pizza? My kids learned how to run the microwave on particularly tiring nights (add water to easy mac and press “2”). I told myself I was teaching resilience and life skills as I taught them from the couch.

I still value my sleep. But my hygiene? Less. My polished toenails are almost always hidden on closed feet. My hair has developed a tolerance to a slightly less frequent washing schedule. I asked if every workout required a shower afterwards. I’m sure a fresh application of deodorant will be enough to hide the sweat I broke from half an hour at the barre.

This is my approach to preparing for baby number three: to figure out what I can outsource or what I can cut. Not the things that mattered—the time at the park with my kids or my mental health walks—but the little things that somehow got big and started taking up too much room.

And while I know that throwing my jeans back in the closet rather than the laundry is not Actually account for the amount of time it takes to raise and love another human, it’s like nothing.

I’ve learned that saying over and over in parenting and growing up yes to something always means to say no to something else. I want to stay open to things and people that matter. I want to let go of the busy work that isn’t being done.

This story is part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single motherhood story, and that every mother’s journey is unique. By amplifying each mother’s experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you are interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please click here.

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