How to Prevent a Domestic Disturbance

Written by Danny.

As the loving husband of your favorite Simple Bites Editor (Aimee), I’ve got the inside scoop on what really happens around here and today, I’m going to spill the beans and tell you one of our family secrets. We have a serious problem in our home, one that could very well lead to instability, sharp words, lost sleep and much, much worse.

Usually when there’s a problem in a relationship, both parties are partially responsible, but this time, I confidently accept no blame. It’s all squarely on Aimee’s shoulders.  You see, Aimee alone has a problem.  A serious one.

Her doctor has said that she needs to slow down and stay off her feet, but instead, she’s nesting.

Okay, so maybe it’s not so dramatic as all that, but I have come home from meetings at 11:30PM to find Aimee scrubbing pots and pans (the ones in the far back of the cupboard) with a vehemence I have rarely seen.  And although we both believe in the benefits of a well-stocked pantry, having enough to fill our backyard bunker until Y3K is a little excessive.

So as it turns out, I’ve had to take my own advice from my previous post on helping, and chip in to do the things that need to be done. Aimee is growing our third child; I’m more than happy to pick up the slack so she can give every ounce of energy to this pregnancy.

Here are some examples of ways that our family is coping with this gestational malady. Perhaps you’re experiencing something similar – a sick spouse, a deadline, or a shift in priorities. If so, here are a few ways to team up with your spouse to equally share the household load.

Stock Food

During the Christmas holidays, we got out our biggest pot, and made a huge batch of spaghetti sauce/chili, which we portioned out and froze.  Along with some stews, coconut chicken curry, lasagnas, and pot pies, we have 25 meals stocked away in our chest freezer.

These easy meals will only need a fresh tossed salad and warm loaf of crusty bread to become instant meals for the weeks ahead while we adjust to a newborn. Although Aimee conceptualized and oversaw the production of those meals, I did much of the legwork and washed every dirty dish.

Lists, lists, lists.

Aimee is a FANTASTIC list maker.  Me – not so much (but I’m getting better at it every day). I try to anticipate what needs to be done, but it helps to have a list.

If I have a list of stuff that she wants done, I can ensure that any “heavy lifting” ones are crossed off before she gets to them. With that crazy nesting instinct, things can’t just sit on her list, because she’s driven to do them.  I need to ensure that I’m just one step ahead.

Also, lists come in handy when you’re stocking the food mentioned above so that you know what you have left once you start drawing from your reserves.

Communicate

This probably should have been the first one listed, but they’re all so important.  Communicate verbally.  Send emails.  Write lists.  Draft plans. Schedule the week. Review all of the above.  Together.

Plan

We never know when the little one will come, so we’re planning on having all the main stuff done by early February (and hopefully that’s early enough!).  If we wait until the last minute, it probably won’t be the end of the world – after all, we’ve already been through this twice before.  But for that exact same reason (we have 2 boys now), our family isn’t quite as flexible.  The kids are going to have to eat at some point – and I’ll probably be in charge of that.

Actually, Aimee once mentioned that she wouldn’t have time to spoon-feed them at the table if they were taking too long to eat at our family meals.  The boys look of concern was genuine as they both heard: Mommy is not going to feed us anymore once the baby comes.

I guess that’s what daddy’s for.

Do you have any suggestions to help us manage this delicate time in our lives?

About Danny

Danny Bourque is a mechanical engineer who is known at both home and work as either “the geek” or “the numbers guy”. He is very methodical and genuinely loves to analyze almost anything that piques his interest – including food.

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Comments

  1. Steph (The Cheapskate Cook) says:

    What a great list! Love it.
    I would add flexible attitudes if I had to suggest anything else. While structure and planning is essential for a smooth transition, a flexible, easy going mindset is helps when plans get changed or sleepless nights get the better of one or both of us.
    Excited for you guys and the new baby.
    Steph (The Cheapskate Cook)’s last post: One of the Easiest, Heartiest Meals to Frugalize

  2. Ditto what Steph said above. Don’t set your expectations too high for how smoothly things will go on the homefront. Be flexible. And, accept help from friends/family that offer. Wishing you all the best!
    nancy’s last post: Mac & Cheese | No Blue Box

    • We’re certainly open to offers of help. Anyone want to clean our bathrooms? Apparently I missed that on the list. (see comment below)

  3. To take it one day at a time. Not everything has to be perfect. As long as your priorities are the same and you are going in the same direction there is not much more you can do. (i think). Félicitation pour le bébé !

  4. As someone who has very low expectations for what her spouse can and will clean around the house, I’m already in awe of what you’re doing for your family. Good on you! My only words of advice are that sometimes the way to a woman’s heart is through a clean toilet.
    Casey@Good. Food. Stories.’s last post: Building the Bar: Casey’s Favorite Glassware

  5. Absolutely precious!

  6. When Dads help check things off the list, it makes the day so much more productive. Lists help us so much, and it also lets Dad know ALL the random things that need to get done.

    Thanks for sharing how you help. Good luck in the coming weeks :)
    Emily @ Random Recycling’s last post: How to Make Your Own Yogurt

  7. Wow do I miss you guys! This is so funny and well written. Thanks for the little glimpse into your lives.

  8. Danny, you are an excellent writer. Love this post!

  9. Excellent list! Just curious about a little detail – what do you use to freeze portions of food? I’ve tried large zip-lock bags, reused yogurt containers, tupperware… have you found something that works best?
    Liz’s last post: 7 Ways to be a Curious Eater on the Cheap

    • I’d really like to know this, too! We don’t often freeze meals because we just haven’t come up with a good method to store them.
      Tara’s last post: How to Decorate Around Radiators

      • Based on my past month of help, I now have the background to answer this question!

        Soups go into wide-mouth quart glass jars with plenty of head space so they don’t shatter.
        Spaghetti sauce/chili goes into reused yogurt containers (we have 1kg containers, which hold about 1 quart)
        Lasagna gets frozen right in the pan. Some of the pans are square cake pans, some are enamel dishes, and some are disposable containers – like getting a doggy bag.

        Once they’re frozen solid, you can sort and pile stuff the way you want, i.e. don’t worry about squishing that rock-hard lasagna.

  10. Who knew way back when I was observing you two sneaking peeks at each other that someday I’d be reading a great blog post about the way you’re preparing for the arrival of your third child? Makes me happy just thinking about it! Blessings and much love to you both.

  11. I love it when husbands are so willing to help out; good for you both that you are planning ahead for things to go as smoothly as possible. My husband is always willing to lend a helping hand but he really stepped it up when I was on bed rest and trying to nest while laying on the couch. He tried to do as many projects as he could and involve me as much as possible so I didn’t feel useless.
    Steph’s last post: A Story on Transitioning to Motherhood

    • Sounds like I feel the same as your husband: always willing to help out, but stepping it up when needed. Not easy on the sleep schedule, though. I’d like to be banking the quality sleeping hours as much as possible before baby comes.

  12. Evernote is a great free program that can be accessed through just about everything – PC, Mac, smartphones, etc. The basic level is free and the premium cost is affordable. My husband and I share an account. He is an engineer also and he likes lists, but “his way.” Evernote to the rescue. We set up a grocery list in Evernote and I can add items to that list and he will stop and pick them up. He took the list and formatted it to his mind’s map, the way he wants to shop in the store. Also, we have set up honey-do lists the same way.

    Those frozen meals etc. could be added to a note in Evernote and then you can keep up with what you have, and maybe suggestions of what to serve with the meals. I really don’t see how parents don’t have Evernote. We use it for a lot more, the sky’s the limit. You can see Evernote blog for tips.

    You are blessed to have such a “together” wife.

    • Hi Lynda,
      I’ve poked around in Evernote, and have tried to make it “click” a few times with little lasting success.

      I’ve also recently tried Trello.com, and think it’s great (but cloud only), and am working on some projects with people who are endorsing Wunderlist really hard, and I have to sign up by week’s end to participate (they are also huge Evernote fans, so I’ll ask them what the specific uses/advantages are for each).

  13. Great post… It is great to be ready especially in the food department with young kids around… Enjoy this season of life it is such a wonderful time, and it goes by so quickly… The sleepless nights and diaper stage is coming back soon but with that the smell of a newborn baby and all the joy she will bring to your beautiful family… ENJOY every moment… Being organized brings a kind of peace to the excitement that is about to unfold… Can’t wait to see her…

  14. I guess by writing this post, you have just proven that you are really a loving and doting husband.

    In the case of Aimee, we couldn’t do anything about it; we can say that it is jus her maternal instinct in full gear. Good thing that you try to help her out in any way you can.
    Bernie’s last post: how to learn photography

  15. Great partner in crime — kudos to Danny for understanding :)
    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com’s last post: Spiced Chicken w/ Pomegranate Arils

  16. This is some great advice! I’d add that it’s also important – once the nesting is over and the baby has arrived – that mom can feel secure that other people will chip in to maintain all that crazy work she did during the nesting phase. Not scrubbing the pots from the back of the cupboard, obviously, just making sure the home doesn’t devolve into chaos during the early postpartum period so mom and baby can focus on getting strong and adjusted to the magical and powerful changes afoot. Lovely article!
    Stephanie’s last post: when mom gets sick

  17. My only comment is more of a question. Where did Aimee find you? Wonderful post, thanks for giving us your perspective.
    I think you have got everything covered.

  18. Mommy is not going to feed us anymore once the baby comes. LOL! I love it! Good thing you’re so prepared and knowledgeable, Dad :-)
    Emily @ Make It Happen Mama’s last post: Photos & Family Musings

  19. I need to get my hubby in the loop. He knows I’m nesting (it’s fairly obvious..hehe) but the stuff I need him to do isn’t on a list, it’s in my hormonally raging brain. My lists are long and in my computer.

    So now I’m inspired to make one that is on the fridge for all to see!

  20. Fabulous post! Best of luck to your family with the wonderful adventure ahead, it sounds like you’re prepared with all the essentials.

  21. Sounds like you’re on track for this, but be prepared to take care of the boys and the house and Aimee for the first bit. Her only worry needs to be taking care of the baby the first few days. And definitely take people’s offers for help, although some might be intimidated to bring a meal since Aimee is such as awesome cook!
    Bernice
    Living the Balanced Life’s last post: 10 ways to eat more vegetables

  22. Awww…this is simply the sweetest post. Great advice as well! My hubby did the same for me when I succumbed to the nesting crazies :D
    Tickled Red’s last post: Barbados ¦ Part One – Deep Seeded Love

  23. Good to see you contributing once again. Even taking some of the blogging slack it seems.

    My suggestion: move to Calgary and live in cohousing…

    Congratulations again on Bourque the Third!

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