One of the questions I ask my new clients is, how long have you been disorganized? Has it always been like this for you or was there a time when things changed? More than fifty percent of the women I meet with always say, “It was after having my second (or third or fourth) child that things fell apart.” I would guess this is a common occurrence throughout our country, and probably the world.
So, why is that and what can we do to help? A friend of mine, Alicia, and fellow blogger over at Culinary Bliss, recently had her first baby. She had lots of help getting ready for this first little one. Since I’m not a mom myself, I asked her why she thought so many women become disorganized after a second or subsequent child. Her thought was that, first-time moms always get a little extra help, but once you’ve done it once, you’re expected to know how to do it the second or third time around.
I definitely think this is true. I also think that in our culture of STUFF, we place value on the number presents we get rather than on the meaning or implications of them. The scene from the first Harry Potter movie comes to mind, where Dudley is examining his stack of birthday presents and isn’t concerned about what the presents might be, only that there’s only 36 presents, and last year there were 37. Grandma and Grandpa (and others of course) want to shower the second child with gifts as much as the first one even if there are plenty of hand-me-downs that the second child could wear or toys or books that could be played with or read.
This again comes down to intent. Perhaps parents aren’t thinking about the increase of stuff a second baby has the potential to bring, perhaps parents aren’t making their intent for their lives clear to the rest of the family. When you’re planning for a baby shower or even just when talking to family about what you need and want for this new baby, think about what areas of your life you really need help with. Do you really need more clothes or toys, or would asking a sister to help out cooking freezer meals for the months after the birth be more of a help to you? More stuff or a weekly or monthly appointment where Grandma watches the kids for a couple hours so you can get out of the house and see your friends? (Even if family lives out of town, perhaps they would be willing to give babysitting money rather than more stuff – you never know until you ask!). Get out of your head about the toys and clothes and think about where you could really use some help, then ask!
Sometimes part of the problem is that the first baby’s outgrown toys or clothing have no semblance of order to them, so now instead of digging in that box to get the 0-3 month clothes out (which are mixed in with every other size he has outgrown), it’s just easier to buy new stuff. If you’re going to be using the first baby’s clothes or toys for the second little one, it’s extremely helpful to have this stuff organized. Organize the clothes by size. Organized the toys by what’s appropriate by age. And Label, Label, LABEL! It will be a snap to pull out what you need even during those days when you wonder if the children will ever let you sleep again. A little preparation will go a long way when getting ready for a new baby, whether it’s the first or fifth one.
Holistic Professional Organizer and Coach at Synergy Organizing, LLC
P.S. I would LOVE to help moms organize an alternative baby shower – maybe we organize your friends to help you stock the freezer or arrange for other help for the coming months, whatever your idea, I’m here to help you move smoothly into the next era of your family!
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