I've had a frustrating week.
On Monday the painters came to paint our tiny home. They had agreed to start and finish one room at a time but made the impromptu decision to turn the whole apartment upside down - at one point it seemed that every room was full of stuff that had originally come from the one next door.
On Tuesday my laptop died, taking numerous half-finished translation projects and writing assignments with it. There were no warning signs, no blue screens or internal system errors. It just suddenly switched off and wouldn't switch on again. Did I mention that the painters were still in?
On Wednesday the handyman came to help the painters re-arrange some of the furniture and bore holes into the walls. Although my photos are up and the kitchen finally has some storage space, we also have a brand new dent in the bedroom wall and shelf that is so crooked our books slide off it.
At least the painters left that day.
On Thursday I waited with bated breath for the delivery of the baby's crib. The two guys who came to set it up appeared to share one brain cell between them and had obviously never put a piece of furniture together in their lives. First they lost two of the screws that hold the crib together, then they jammed the drawers in so they don't open properly - after two and a half hours of so-called work the crib is ugly, wobbly and not fit for a dog to sleep in, let a lone a newborn baby.
To top it off, I realised my cleaning lady had trailed bleach all over my new bathroom mats.
That's right about the time I lost it. I had spent a week watching people doing shoddy work and would have to spend the next week clearing up their mess. How would I ever get things ready for the baby, if buying a simple crib turned into such an ordeal?
Let's just say there were tears, right about the time my husband was trying to leave for work.
And then the baby kicked and I remembered.
It can be so hard to focus on what really matters. Getting the home ready for baby is such an important part of pregnancy. We all want to make sure the baby is welcomed into a perfect, beautiful home; that everything is ready for the new arrival. But in the end I really do believe this is just stuff we do to make ourselves feel prepared.
Baby doesn't care about dents in walls, crooked shelves or cribs. He won't notice if he spends his first week sleeping with me on a mattress on the floor or in a borrowed bassinet. He won't even see the crooked shelves and certainly won't notice the money wasted on yet another incompetent service or badly made product.
All he cares about his me and his father. As long as we're close, as long as we're simply there, he will be content. All the rest is just stuff. It's just things that we believe are necessary or important. If I can decide to live without a stroller, I can put up with living without a crib.
Whenever I feel overwhelmed, this is what I try to focus on but sometimes, and especially during a week like this one, I forget. Fortunately I have a little passenger who is happy to nudge me in the ribs when I need reminding.