Recently I was talking with a wonderful friend and reader about my cleaning routine. It has been a while since I shared what I use to clean my home so here’s an update!
I use four “products” to clean my home and a few supplies. The products are baking soda, lemon essential oil, castile soap and water. That’s it. The world and advertisements will tell you you need a different product for every surface of your home. One for the windows, one for the bathroom, one for mirrors, one for countertops and on and on until your home is filled with chemical ridden toxins that pollute your body and the earth.
Advertisers want you to think you need their product. They want you to think homemade cleaners won’t kill germs or scrub away grime, but they do. Ask your grandparents what they used when they were young to clean their home. I bet it was some version of castile soap, baking soda, water and a scrub brush.
You don’t need tons of products, you don’t need the latest round of essential oils- Low tox cleaning doesn’t need to be stressful or expensive. Like all good things in life, it’s simple.
My cleaning spray is made of cold water and 20 drops of lemon essential oil. The essential oil disinfects and leaves a gorgeous simple scent. Cleaners are full of chemicals to make your home smell “clean” but clean doesn’t actually have a scent. Clean smells like nothing. Some people choose to add white vinegar or castile soap to their spray. Hop on Pinterest and search for “natural cleaning recipes”- find what you like best!
For other surfaces that need a bit more scrubbing- there’s baking soda. Cheap and powerful! I use it on the toilet, the bathtub and pots and pans with stuck on bits. You can also use it in the washing machine and a billion other places!
I use castile soap for everything else. It can be used in the washing machine, in your hair, on your teeth, on your baby and more! Click here for the 18 uses of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap. We love the lavender and unscented soaps best. Here you will find the recipes and dilutions for this miracle soap.
Have a few dedicated cleaning cloths. One for the germy places (like the toilet), one for surfaces, and one that can be used in the kitchen near food. And have a good toilet brush and scrub brush for tough messes.
That’s it. No fancy purchases, just simple safe products that have been used for hundreds of years.
Bonus: Recently we invested in a few items that have boosted our cleaning routine. A steam mop, an essential oil diffuser, and a Berkey water filter.These are not essentials but we really enjoy them and they’ve made cleaning a joy instead of a chore.
“Your baby doesn’t magically transform into a different life form at the moment of birth – he is the same person he was just a minute before. So, the first three months of life are like a fourth trimester, and should be treated as gentle entry into this world – with respect and loving care.” Elizabeth Pantley
There were so many things I didn’t know before pregnancy, before becoming a mama. One of the biggest things I didn’t know (that I think we don’t hear enough about) is the fourth trimester. Little humans don’t arrive used to this world, I’m not even used to this world. But little ones are particularly ill equipped to deal with the drastic change from the womb to the world.
They go from a warm, dark, aquatic environment to a light, cold airy one. In the womb baby has every need met- in the world they feel hunger pains, stillness and less contact (so mom can eat and pee.) For the first three months of life baby is experiencing a fourth trimester, and so will you. A time of adjustment and change.
When baby arrives it can be tempting to wish they were doing everything perfectly. People ask you about their eating and sleeping habits and want the baby to be doing everything right away, but they are brand new to this world. And you are brand new to parenting your little one.
Give yourself grace. Give your partner grace.
I am certainly not an expert- I only know what has worked for us and what hasn’t but I do think the following tips have helped us in this mysterious, challenging, wonderful fourth trimester.
“Going through things you never thought you’d go through will only take you places you never thought you’d get to.” Morgan Harper Nichols
Before giving birth I said I would never share my little one on social media. I was worried about oversharing, about privacy for our little one. I’ve since realized that this blog has become my diary. My record of my life so far. A dear friend and reader recently shared how much my posts have meant to her. How sharing my story has inspired her and reawakened her need to slow down and simplify.
I love sharing my life here. I love the way readers respond and the feedback and joy and change that comes from sharing.
And so I will continue to share our life and our little one here. For as long as I feel comfortable. As he grows I may share less, I will only share my experience and my opinions. I will not tell his story for him, but I will share mine.
“The butterflies he used to give me have turned in to little feet.”
Early on I would read quotes or articles about the third trimester of pregnancy. I would read about how hard it was, how everything hurts and you’re so ready for baby to come out and I just couldn’t imagine it. In the first and second trimesters of my pregnancy I loved being pregnant. I loved the clothes, the kicks, the insane feeling that I was never truly alone because little one was always with me. Two hearts in one body. I loved the nesting, the tiny clothes- I loved every bit of it.
But then week 37 happened. Did you know you can get pregnancy carpal tunnel? Me either, but my hands have been numb for five weeks so I’m living proof! I also can’t see anything below my belly which at first was the funniest most disorienting experience- where did the lower half of my body go!?
I knew I would have to pee a lot but every 20 minutes feels unfair. Breathing is hard, everything is hard, everything is swollen. Every food looks yummy and when I eat it I sound like I’m snorting it because my nose is so stuffed I have to work extra hard to breathe and eat at the same time.
I use all of my energy to breathe and to blink, that feels like enough to accomplish in one day.
The good parts of the third trimester? Baby is measured again so you have another ultrasound, you see little one’s lips and face and think back to when he was just a little soy bean- now he’s a baby! Pregnancy apps will tell you he’s the size of a watermelon or a pumpkin but he’s the size of a real life baby! You grew another human being. It’s just the most humbling, beautiful experience ever. And I’m sure it will continue to be after he arrives.
Another great part of the third trimester? You send your partner texts that are hilarious to look back on. Emotions are up and down moment to moment and our text conversations have captured this perfectly (and yes I’m texting my husband from our bed upstairs when he’s only just downstairs because getting out of bed takes rolling and grunting and a crane.)
And the very best part of the third trimester? Baby is almost here. He is fully grown and developed and ready to be in the world. I think the third trimester is so hard so that you’re really, truly ready to not be pregnant and you’ll do anything to make that happen. That anything is pushing a 7-10 lb baby out of your vagina.
My body knows how to have this baby just as it knew how to grow this baby.
Hopefully next time you hear from me our little one will be here.