No type of shelter represents a greater labor of love than a nest. Tiny pieces of the surrounding world, gathered together and strategically transformed into a space soft and safe enough to keep the most fragile shells intact until new life is ready to burst through them. Nests are built to exact specifications to protect and comfort their contents.
This is why, even though not all babies are hatched, most mamas feel that nesting urge. We register for our baby showers, researching and comparing and furiously adding to our Pinterest boards until every last onesie, blanket, tube of diaper cream, and weird booger-sucking device is part of a curated collection. When we’re preparing to welcome little ones into the world, we want the welcome to be warm, and because having a baby is kind of a big deal, sometimes we go a little overboard.
Sure, it’s a good idea to assemble the crib (and the bassinet, the swing, the stroller, the car seat, the baby carrier, the tummy time mat, and all the other receptacles where parents put their little humans on the rare occasions that they’re not holding them). Yes, you’ll want to make sure you have a year’s worth of diapers…or what you think is a year’s worth of diapers until your kid is born and you’re out of diapers a week later. Would it hurt to have a couple of casseroles in the freezer? Of course not! And then there’s all the fun stuff, like washing tiny laundry and choosing the perfect shade of paint for the nursery and deciding what kind of upholstered chair you’d like to spend the next several months in instead of sleeping.
But there’s something about the particular hormones-to-logic ratio that makes expectant mothers spend their final month or so of pregnancy organizing silverware drawers, alphabetizing board books, and scrubbing every last inch of everything, as though babies come home from the hospital and immediately inspect the cleanliness of the baseboards, make sure all the labels are facing out in the pantry, and confirm that an optimized tupperware stacking system has been implemented. It sounds a little silly, but if you’ve had a baby, you probably know exactly what we’re talking about.
Anticipation is an amazing source of energy, and a clean, cozy house is absolutely a worthwhile application for that energy. But if you find yourself scrubbing the finish off your floors or rearranging the nursery knickknacks for the twentieth time, here are a few places you can redirect your pre-baby motivation.
- Birth Plan
OK, so it may seem like a waste of time to create a birth plan when ultimately, there are a lot of factors you can’t control. However, the process of making one can bring up big questions you might not otherwise think of (especially if you’re preparing for your first child), and the security of having a strategy in place can help relieve anxiety. Plus comparing your birth plan to your birth reality after the fact is usually a good laugh.
- Life Insurance
While it’s certainly not as much fun as picking out an itty-bitty “going-home” outfit or buying all the cute baby hats on Etsy, it’s important to make sure that you have enough life insurance to cover your growing family. A 10-year term life insurance policy offers protection during the crucial early childhood years, and usually won’t have that big of an impact on the household budget.
When you’re busy growing a new human, it’s easy to forget about yourself. Once your baby is born, it will only get more challenging to find time for self-care, though, so catch a prenatal yoga class, treat yourself to a spa day, read a book (parenting books don’t count), go to the movies, or just make a little nest of your own and take a nap in it.
So build your nest...weave together a stray thread from your coziest sweater, the sweetest line of your favorite song, and the stems of a hundred wished-on dandelions. Line it with bruised rose petals and inside jokes and the sound your heart makes when you feel joy. Make it strong with good decisions and quiet plans and so much love, so when your baby bird finally hatches, it will be into the very softest fortress.