Months ago, Mary was reading some pregnancy thing in bed, and warned me that she would likely “nest” during the third trimester. She described “nesting” as re-ordering the household and compulsively cleaning. It sounded like more pregnancy nonsense to me, and actually didn’t seem all that different from her usual behavior.
One day however, I came home and found her scrubbing the walls. Yes, the walls. This was only the beginning. During her insane nesting phase, she has:
- Completely rearranged the bedroom, forcing me to work on a weekend.
- Prematurely installed cabinet locks all over the apartment
- Cleaned out the closet and bought three over-the-door hooks
- Scrubbed the shower and toilet (she never cleans the bathroom, I always do)
- Relegated my custom woodwork TV stand to a lowly “bench”
- Replaced it with a “media center” with childproof-able doors
- Hand-washed something like 30 cloth diapers
- Forced me to clean out the whole kitchen and deal with the cockroaches under the sink at gunpoint
- Prematurely installed stove knob covers (how am I supposed to cook now?)
Do I sound ungrateful? Maybe I do. But after a long day at work, the last thing you want to see when you come home is 30 half-washed cloth diapers in a bucket in the middle of the bathroom.
Instead, I think you’d rather see a cheeseburger ready for consumption.
Taking Advantage of your Wife’s Nesting Instinct
In seriousness, all of the above things are valuable, with the possible exception of the wall scrubbing. Everyone I’ve talked to has emphasized the value of having all of the above already done by the time your child arrives and your sanity leaves (or so I hear).
Here are some thoughts you can use to stay sane, and perhaps even happy, when your wife interrupts your gaming to ask for help:
- Remember you have to do this stuff eventually. Might as well do it today. I guess.
- She’s doing productive work. Celebrate. It’s another thing you don’t have to do.
- If she asks for help, remember it could be worse. She could just straight-up ask you to do it yourself.
Finally, it’s perfectly normal to be frustrated with the timing (Do we really have to childproof the cabinets now? We literally have 5 months) even if you ultimately appreciate the effort. Set realistic standards for yourself. Think of all the fathers who aren’t even present. You’re still doing better than all of them, and that’s all anyone can ask.