Monday, 22 February 2016

Home schooling and managing a household while in the 3rd Trimester

Caring for children while heavily pregnant is a hefty task in itself whether you are home schooling or not. For me; I'll have a range of ages all with different needs to be met during this third trimester. I have one son attending school outside the home, one son being home schooled, and a pre-schooler and toddler both at home too.

During the first trimester we took an early school holidays while I felt the sickest between weeks 6-9. Then I continued home schooling my 6 year old with the basics of going through his phonics and maths workbook and listening to his reading. Then he spent the afternoon completing online lessons of ABC Maths Seeds and Reading Eggs while I occupied my favourite recliner. For more on how I manage morning sickness see this post.

I breezed through the second trimester feeling fantastic and full of energy, at times forgetting I was even pregnant. Now here I am, a few weeks into the third trimester and already feeling my body wanting to slow down. When I'm in the third trimester I try to push myself...but I find I just physically can't. And the bigger my baby belly gets the more I slow down, get sore and find myself making a dash (or waddle) to the nearest chair or bed, whatever I can find to sit on, every time I enter a room. If I drop something on the floor I get so frustrated because it's soooo much effort trying to pick the object back up again. I'm known for picking toys and clothes and things off the floor with my toes to avoid having to bend down! But by far the hardest thing for me to deal with in the third trimester is the fatigue that plagued me in the first few weeks of pregnancy makes a come back. Some days I'm yawning and feel so tired like my head may roll off my shoulders all days long. I lose motivation to do anything much at all; cooking, dealing with the children's needs, and even having a shower can seem like such an effort. And all I really feel like doing during these last few months is curling up in bed and having a big long snooze.

Here is a list of some of the strategies I have in place during the 3rd trimester to help me make it through. 

1. Get enough sleep at night. 
Usually I need a good 8 hours sleep every night to function well the next day but while pregnant I find I need 9 hours or more. It can be hard to have a good nights sleep because of the discomforts of carrying a large precious baby upfront but also we have always had a toddler while I'm in the 3rd trimester too. We can be woken up by our teething toddler or one of the older children up to three times a night. 

So the best way to get enough sleep even when being woken in the night is to go to bed early. 

I'm writing this for myself because I do struggle to discipline myself to go to bed early but when I do it makes SO much difference to how I function and how much I get done the next day. It even helps me to feel better emotionally the next day too. I feel like I can be a greater blessing to my family when I go to bed early and prepare for a good nights sleep. 

What time is early exactly? That's up to you. A good way to work out when to go to bed is to count back the amount of hours sleep you need from the time you need to wake up in the morning. I set my alarm a little later while pregnant to help me get enough sleep too. If I plan to wake up at 7am I will need to be asleep by 10pm in order to get 9 hours sleep. It takes me a little while to wind down and prepare for bed so between 9.30pm - 9.45pm I need to think about switching lights off and preparing for bed. If you are still tired in the morning or completely had it by the afternoon keep going to bed 15 minutes earlier until you are feeling well rested and energetic throughout the day. 

2. Plan rest into your daily schedule.  
When in the 1st and 3rd trimesters I need to rest in the afternoon. In order to bless my family by having the energy to cook a healthy meal for tea I find that I must spend the afternoon resting or napping. This means that I won't get as much done as I was previously and this can get frustrating sometimes. But I find if I don't take time to rest in the afternoon by tea time I am physically exhausted and cannot even stand on my own two feet any longer. You are carrying a lot of extra weight in the 3rd trimester and it's important to take some time to put your feet up. If I'm feeling frustrated about not being able to get much done during this time I just remind myself that 

pregnancy is only a short time really and wont last forever. I'll be back to my old energetic self again in no time. 

I plan my rest time after lunch while my toddler is having her nap. First we have 'quiet time' where everyone is required to sit or lay down and do something quiet without speaking to each other. Preferably in separate rooms (though not always). This gives us all a time out from being in each others faces and calms the atmosphere of our home. The children usually do a puzzle, build LEGO, read books or sit and play with a toy of choice. I will sit in my chair and make the most of the quiet house and have my Bible reading and devotion time. After quiet time I ask the children to tidy up their rooms and get ready to use the computers.  I'll set up them up with their online ABC Reading Eggs or Mathseeds lesson. While I continue resting. If I am very tired I'll shut my eyes for a while or just read or do some writing or planning. When resting I try to stay away from social media and web surfing because I find these things don't serve me well and can leave me in a negative mood. 

We do discipleship, book work and read alouds for home school in the morning, while we're all still fresh.  

 3. Delegate.

Learn the art of delegating. When everyone in the household are working together, life for the heavily pregnant mum can go so much smoother. Young children can pick up all the toys. Older children can help with laundry and cleaning and heavy lifting. My children are not quite old enough to help with cleaning yet, though there are little things I could teach them to do but haven't got around to doing this yet. Luke has taken over our weekly cleaning jobs which he is quite happy to do on his days off or in the morning before he leaves for an evening shift at work. 

When grocery shopping I kindly ask the checkout operator if they could pack my bags very lightly so not to hurt my back and most supermarkets are happy to send a worker to push your heavy trolley for you and even unload any heavy items into your car. 

4. Don't forget to pray

Philippians 4.6-7 says; 
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (emphasis added mine)

This is profound. Our 'to do' lists may be larger then we can accomplish and some days we may not feel like getting out of bed and facing the day. But we don't have to worry about anything. Anything at all!! Prayer will change everything.

If we will just surrender ourselves to God and bring our heavy hearts and jumbled minds to Him in prayer. He will give us peace. Guaranteed. 

5. Slow Down
 During the third trimester we may naturally lean towards slowing down because our bodies are physically getting tired quicker. But just because we need to slow down doesn't mean all our family members will slow down! I think the best thing to do is to stay home as much as I can. We don't go out for as many outings during this time so I don't over exert myself. If I've had a stressful few days where doing a lot of running around has been unavoidable then I'll often take a few days recuperating and regaining energy at home. Try to find your pregnancy rush/rest balance. For example later this week we had to get the house ready for an inspection and I had some appointments and errands to run. By the weekend I was so exhausted that it took me the whole two days to recover. We had to cancel an outing that we had planned but it was vital that I didn't go out if I wanted to have energy to manage my household in the week to come. And we had a lovely weekend relaxing together and by Sunday evening we were feeling refreshed and ready to take on another week. 

6. Eat and drink healthy and nourishing food and drinks.
If we are filling our bodies with sugar, deep fried foods and artificial additives them we wont feel or function at our best. To serve our families well and to feel as energetic as we can we need to eat natural whole foods. I'm a big fan of 'The Makers Diet' books by Jordan Ruben. It lays out the foundation to a Biblical approach to healthy eating that is not 'faddish' and doesn't leave out any food groups. Just eat the best you can within your own budget. Organic foods are a bit expensive for us but I make sure I drive out to our local fruit and veg shop that has great specials on local produce. 

Try drinking raspberry leaf tea. I drink 2-3 cups of it during the third trimester. It contains vital nutrients that are all beneficial to your body (including your uterus) and your growing baby. Click here to read about the benefits of raspberry leaf during late pregnancy.

I make sure I take a good pregnancy multivitamin as well as magnesium and calcium and vitamin D3. 

Most of what I have written has more to do with caring for yourself during the third trimester then managing your household. But I have found that when I take care of myself I can be a greater blessing to my family and am more likely to be able to manage life well during this time. 

Blessings to all the pregnant mothers out there, may God keep you and your baby safe and healthy!
Peta xo  




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