How Do You Clear Your Mind When You’re Overwhelmed???

I can think of MANY ways to clear my mind when I’m NOT pregnant! But when you are pregnant, pregnancy brain and the pending arrival of your little one is all consuming. And you can’t have some drinks or let loose and get wild with your friends or exercise until you break a fantastic sweat – especially in your third trimester. This will likely seem laughable to many, but I decided I needed to write down what is keeping me up at night when I am trying to fall asleep (to Matt’s snoring), when I wake in the middle of the night (to Matt’s snoring) and when I wake to cramps and contractions. Does anyone else get up and do this?? It clears my mind and removes the jumbled chaos that causes me to lose focus, become really forgetful and agitated and makes my mind RACE, especially at night.

Ironically, as I begin jotting things down, I realize this is a classic “Stephanie To Do List.” I create long “to do” lists and then categorize my annoying list and give myself deadlines. For example, I will write everything down that I am thinking about and will begin to notice buckets of issues that I need to tend to such as: baby & pregnancy – house & chores – photography – Mattelyn – holiday & gifts – personal – business – seriously, about as Type-A as you can get and should ACTUALLY be categorized as: “Controllable” and “Non-Controllable” – “Doable” and “Wishful Thinking” – “In Your Dreams” and “Just Isn’t Going to Happen Before Your Due Date.” I am sharing because although it seems overwhelming, overbearing and just simply ridiculous, I have made these types of lists as a result of what keeps me up at night since I was very young – my dad has always encouraged us to WRITE THINGS DOWN. They are actually therapeutic in a way because I get it all out of my brain and I can actually then concentrate on the really important items that do need to be done. It’s like a stream of consciousness or brain storming, if you will, that ends up resulting in pretty effective prioritizing.

“I almost always identify that which is really bothering me and my mind ends up finding time for what makes me happy.”

I made these lists throughout college when dedicating time to term papers or heavy studying for a big exam, my career when learning a new client or writing a strategic plan or presentation, when we were preparing to sell our house, buy a new house and the big move, and now with parenthood – where everything is a new learning and there are no real ways to study or prepare for what’s ahead – it’s all trial and error! I save these lists in my Evernote app on my iPhone and often add to them and start new ones as needed. They are also interesting to look back on as time goes on. I also cross-compare my to do list with my Pinterest page (follow me here) which is more of an eclectic collection of hobby wishes, but I usually have recipes I want to try and things I want to remember for Mattelyn or gifts for people or new ideas for organizing the house or great parenting tips. I would love to hear what others do!

At 30 weeks pregnant with twins, this is my “To Do List” – (not a bad one to share or to keep in mind if you can take anything away from it…)

  1. Keep these babies inside for AT LEAST 6 more weeks!!! (YIKES!)
  2. Figure out names for the twins (Ya’ think????)
  3. Pack my hospital bag for C-section 4-day hospital stay – coming home outfit, pajamas for in the hospital, two coming home outfits for twins
  4. Purchase twins coming home outfits – pajamas from Ralph Lauren’s Baby Layette collection  view collection here polo_us_041012_baby_newborn_promo
  5. Pack both of the cold-weather car seat covers
  6. Pack Mattelyn’s hospital bag / diaper bag – include snacks and activities
  7. Pack small square canvases for footprints at birth
  8. Drink 140+ ounces of water a day or 4 liters of water to stave off contractions
  9. Check blood sugar 6 times daily, record, fax weekly to endocrinologist, administer nightly insulin shots
  10. Record timed daily kicks for both babies – bring with to dr’s appointments
  11. Print calendar with all OB appointments, non-stress tests, Ultra Sounds – weekly now
  12. Get flu vaccine and whooping cough vaccine
  13. Let pediatrician and let the office know about potential due date and make sure we call when admitted for scheduled C-section
  14. Map my quickest route to the hospital with least traffic or potential traffic issues – now 45 minutes away with our new move
  15. Add hospital address and Emergency Room phone number in my phone and Matt’s phone
  16. Make sure I have above diaper bag with toys and a blanket/night-night and extra clothes for Mattelyn already in it – put in car now
  17. Find comfortable PJs that I can wear postpartum in the hospital and slippers I like. Needs to fit after a C-section (no elastic) and be tandem breast feeding accessible (no “booby” pj’s) – long button up flannel night shirts from Victoria’s Secret V321679_47P
  18. Purchase comfortable nursing bra (try to predict size postpartum – yeah right)
  19. Purchase twin nursing pillow from – still haven’t done yet!butter_twin-340x340
  20. Purchase a book on potty training for my 19 month old daughter – buy her a book, toy to play with on potty chair, special soap for hand washing and pull-ups41qZS9v2YAL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_
  21. Purchase a book about tandem breast feeding twins and co-sleeping twins – sleeping and feeding schedules – Amazondownload
  22. Read books I purchase when I can’t sleep
  23. Re-read the best book ever on sleep and feeding schedules – “On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep,” by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam download (1)
  24. Prepare double recipe casseroles, crock pot meals and freeze for when twins arrive and I have no time to cook meals – label and print recipes with thawing and baking/cooking instructions
  25. Make room in freezer for breast milk and frozen meals
  26. Download my next assignment for my photography class (assignment already late)
  27. Figure out Mattelyn’s Halloween costume
  28. Vacuum twins nursery and wait for the replacement damaged crib to be delivered
  29. Organize twin’s nursery – both closets, put away clothes and gifts from people
  30. Go through tubs of Mattelyn’s newborn things and pull out anything that might work for a boy – put tubs back into storage properly labeled to figure out selling, keeping and giving away to pregnant friends or family
  31. Buy burp rags, swaddling blankets and more diapers (150 diapers a week with twins – I am pretty sure the four boxes we have haphazardly purchased will get us through a week once they’re a month old – still have no newborn diapers)
  32. Purchase and hang room darkening curtains for twins nursery – (Pottery Barn – Dupioni Silk black out drapes in dark henna)
  33. Purchase bottles and nipples system
  34. Set up nursing station downstairs – pump, nipple guards, nipple cream, bottle inserts for freezing, iPhone Sony play station with the Pandora lullaby station – download breast feeding app I plan to use and set it up on phone download
  35. Complete guest bedrooms and organize the rest of the boxes in the extra bedroom in case of additional guests – blow up beds, guest bath towels, etc.
  36. Set up downstairs bedroom for twins arrival – bed for my stay after C-section, diaper changing station, twins pack-n-play for sleeping
  37. Bring down (to living room) the Land of Nod breast feeding swivel rocker “The Dylan” from Mattelyn’s room – this is the best seller for breast feeding moms of multiples because it has a ton of room for a dual nursing pillowUph_Dylan_Glider_Microvelvet_SLA_5011026
  38. Stage diaper storage area downstairs – purchase diaper wipes, wipe warmer, pampers and diaper rash cream
  39. Purchase for nursery:

    *PureGuardian Ultrasonic Warm/Cool mist 100-hour humidifier after three other humidifiers, we decided to go with this ultrasonic humidifier for our daughter’s room and it was a huge improvement. Read about our experience with others here.h1510

    *Munchkin Nursery sound machine and projector best one because there is no timer or limit and will run all through the night  pTRU1-11791681v150

    *Changing pad and changing pad covers

    *Diaper Genie and refills

    *Sealy Waterproof Mattress Pad Covers – set of 2 17500618288575p

    *Bookcase from Land of Nodcubic-tall-bookcase-java-12-cube

  40. Encourage Matt to work on basement “living area” where guests and Mattelyn will be running off steam and playing and watching TV and being loud while twins are sleeping and I’m trying to figure out tandem breast feeding while healing from a C-section
  41. Complete decision on how to decorate the twin’s nursery – purchase the wall hangings / photos
  42. Find newborn socks – (newborn socks – not 0-3 month socks) – we had this problem with Mattelyn because she was long and skinny and jammies with feet didn’t work very long with her and we needed pjs without feet but had to have socks to keep her warm and couldn’t find any that were small enough and stay on during her naps and nighttime
  43. Purchase the sleep sacs we plan to use with the twins
  44. Put new humidifier when purchased for nursery in spare room we will be staying in and they will be napping in during the first month
  45. Organize my MacBook Pro  and download all photos off desktop to Seagate 4 terabyte external hard drive
  46. Purchase an additional photo memory card for my camera
  47. Begin list of Christmas Presents for all of Mattelyn’s cousins and both sets of grandparents
  48. Finalize twin’s newborn photo shoot
  49. Update Christmas card address list
  50. Purchase stamps for Christmas cards – pre-print labels for Christmas cards now
  51. Purchase storm door for front door to house before Halloween
  52. Plan Christmas outdoor decoration – Urn fillers and wreaths for door – cordless with timers
  53. Purchase stroller and car seats
  54. Get hair highlighted – base hair on guesstimated due date now – week of December 3rd
  55. Need manicure and pedicure
  56. Have 5 nursing/C-section outfits picked out and in drawer in spare room down stairs for after home from hospital including pajamas and robe
  57. Organize Mattelyn’s outfits (pants and shirts with socks) in her drawers so they are easier for Matt to access to dress her on his own
  58. Use Groupon purchases before expiration dates
  59. Prepare menu for Mattelyn’s breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner and nighttime routine for grandma and grandpa
  60. Prepare list for store for Mattelyn’s food while in hospital recovering and especially during first two weeks – stock essentials, snacks and milk
  61. Research preschool for Mattelyn and potential start dates
  62. Swim lessons and dance class for Mattelyn – beginning in March after her two year birthday
  63. Write down on calendar / notebook family birthdays, Mattelyn’s doctor appointments and twins follow up doctor appointments now – October, November, December
  64. Buy Mattelyn’s winter coat NorthFace, gloves, hat and scarf (grandma purchased snow boots) toddler-girls-8217-thermoball-8482-full-zip-jacket-A8H0_18D_hero
  65. Finish writing thank you cards/notes
  66. Naptime cots for basement
  67. Finish Etsy projects and fulfill orders for I make carseat canopies and matching waterproof changing pads.


    Handmade Carseat Canopies with matching waterproof changing pads in a variety of trendy colors and patterns.

  68. Christmas stockings – order once we have names! Plan new fireplace mantel for the holidays img84j
  69. Discuss family holidays for this year and plans for visitors once babies are here
  70. Read nightly to Mattelyn about having new babies in the house and her role
  71. Finish writing my letter to Mattelyn about how she is my first born and finish creating my book to her with maternity photo shoot
  72. Keep working on the twin’s baby book – use twin app and finish creating book about pregnancy
  73. Keep a list of things friends and family have purchased for us, given to us, passed down to us, made for us for thank yous
  74. Purchase Mattelyn’s Holiday outfits and photo shoot outfit
  75. Purchase twins newborn wraps for photo shoot
  76. Just a final note: These babies will be born heading into the dead of winter – three full months of Chicago winter cold

I know I will have much more to add to this list. Again, perhaps listing out your thoughts and creating a to do list might help you prioritize and organize and not feel so overwhelmed when faced with daunting tasks or experiences in life – it sure has me. Try it and see what you think! Sometimes knowing someone else has these types of lists is comforting! I also included links to things I am planning on purchasing or have purchased because they are tried and true and I use them every single day with my 19 month old daughter. Cheers and feel free to let me know any other important things I am forgetting that I should be aware of!!! Thank you and hopefully now, I can get to sleep!! Zzzzzz……

5 thoughts on “How Do You Clear Your Mind When You’re Overwhelmed???

  1. I got a notification that you linked to my c-section packing list, so I came to see your website. I always check, but almost never leave a comment. 🙂 BUT, I loved your list. I got sucked into it. I happen to love lists too, as a fellow Type A person and having had twins before. I hope all goes well! And if you want a bit of unsolicited advice, potty train your daughter closer to three instead of right now. It will be easier for you if she is still in a diaper, because she is bound to pick the moment you have been feeding your twins for 2 minutes and just got comfy, to need to go to the potty. And taking the babies out will be fun enough, you won’t want to visit the public bathrooms you didn’t even know existed at every place you go to. 🙂 Alright, that is all the unsolicited advice I’ll offer today. Sending thoughts that you can get as much possible done on this list, especially #1.

    • Oh I LOVE your site!!! I haven’t left comments because I just get busy. But you have NAILED how I think about things. I appreciate your advice and let me tell you, the fact that you have twins, makes me want all the advice you have to give!! We are getting ready to dive into this head first and I guarantee that we are in for a surprise. Thank you for much for your comments and I love your list for the hospital – so many things that we forgot last time and this time, we aren’t right next door to the hospital – my husband will be driving back and forth with my dad from home. Luckily, my mom is planning on helping me out in the hospital and with my daughter who will be about 20-21 months when they arrive. Wishing you a beautiful October day!! Now I want to read more on your blog about twins!!

  2. Steph, once again you amaze me with your ability to keep everything organized. This list will also help anyone who reads your posts, that may be planning on gift giving for the twins or for any Christmas gift. I myself am taking notes! I sure miss you and Mattelyn and of course Matt, too!

    • Thank you mama!! You know all too well these lists I am talking about. Remember the one I made for getting the old house ready to sell?? I will never forget handing that to dad and his face! He said, “With a list like this, we should’ve come a week earlier. Let’s get started – no time to waste!” Although they can be overwhelming, it at least gets the little things I can get caught up on written down and out of the way. You’re sweet to say you’re taking notes. LOL. I love you to the moon and back! So excited to be on this journey together. And so happy again you and dad are here and ready to help us out (and have fun and meet your new grand kids!) XOXO

  3. You have so much on your plate, sweetie!!! I wish I was there to help. Great idea on keeping things organized instead of overwhelming. I need this…and I only have one kid! Very helpful. Thank you for sharing! And good luck with everything!

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