Toddler

Home Renovation with a Toddler and Pregnant: How to Survive

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Are you one of those people who loves watching home renovation shows? Do you crave a good DIY project? Does updating your home make you happy?

I can answer YES to all of these questions! When I’m not working or chasing my toddler, you can find me watching pretty much any home renovation show on HGTV. Or you’ll find me on Pinterest searching for inspiration to update something in my home.

Unfortunately, doing a home renovation with a toddler and pregnant is not as fun as I thought it would be. Sure, there have been a couple of things I’ve enjoyed doing. But the truth is I. AM. TIRED.

Insurance

About six months ago, our two story home had a leak upstairs which damaged some parts downstairs. Insurance companies are not in any hurry to help you. Therefore, we were in a state of disarray for nearly six months before receiving compensation from the insurance. You can imagine our frustration!

Additionally, the amount we received was not nearly enough to be able to hire someone outside to help with the remodel and renovations needed. Thus, we are having to do it all on our own with a minimal budget.

When you begin a home renovation project, there is usually some planning involved and some time to save for said project. We hadn’t planned on such a project and we weren’t prepared for the costs.

The Damages

The worst of the damages were in the upstairs master bathroom and closet. There was an underlying leak in the shower that caused water to run outside of the enclosure and trickle down to the tile floor, making its way into the closet on the other side of the wall.

What drew our attention to it was a water spot on the downstairs ceiling right above the formal dinning room area. Once we noticed it, we knew this was going to be a problem. Except, we didn’t know how big of a problem.

Due to the insurance company being far from helpful, the water damage became worse and the demolition part of the renovation was more extensive than originally estimated.

After the demolition, another two months of radio silence from the insurance company. No estimates of when we could begin repairs, no return of any phone calls or emails we made (to various people within the company), and no money. We sat in a partially demolished home for months before finally receiving compensation.

The damages included the entire master bathroom and closet, about half of the ceiling downstairs, and the carpet directly below. The eye sores were apparent as soon as you walked into the front door of our house.

And the anxiety of not having your home put together is enough to send you into a spiral of emotions (which is easy to do these days considering all these pregnancy hormones).

The Challenges

I think we all crave some kind of challenge! It keeps us going and makes life interesting. However, some of the challenges that we don’t expect lead us to a state of frustration rather than inspiration to get the project completed.

Because of the low amount we received to pay for the damages, the budget is very tight. Thus, we are having to get creative on how to do repairs while keeping costs low.

This means that even though everyone in the house is working 40+ hours per week at their day jobs, everyone still needs to come home and pitch in to help with the repairs.

As for myself, I am a work-from-home mom raising a two year old all day long, plus being pregnant. The exhaustion level is pretty much through the roof. However, I’m still part of this project no matter how small my role may be.

For now, my role includes the painting, designing, choosing quality budget friendly material, researching, and budgeting/keeping track of expenses. Phew!

The challenges I face with that is making sure I’m ordering things in time for each phase of the project to get complete while finishing other duties of a stay-at-home mom. Additionally, I need to carve out time to complete client assignments and maintain my own business.

What about the toddler?

As we prepare for baby #2 to enter this world in a couple of months, there are also many milestones my son is hitting at the same time as my pregnancy milestones.

He wants to be more independent, but still can’t quite do some things. We are trying out the potty training thing, which I would say is successful, but time consuming. My son also craves the outdoors and goes stir crazy if he’s locked up in the house too long.

Then there are the aches and pains that come with being pregnant.

So what do I do? How do I survive?

Survival Guide to Home Renovation with a Toddler and Being Pregnant

I’ve had quite a bit of time to maneuver our stay-at-home routine to fit my son’s needs and my own. Having a plan is key to a home renovation and having a toddler around. Therefore, I’ve tried various things to keep us proactive, safe, and happy!

Activities for my Toddler

We’ve had to get creative some days while other days we just do the best we can. I don’t usually like to sit my son in front of a TV. However, there are days when I just can’t get around it. Here are some ideas for entertainment for a toddler when there is a home renovation happening.

Taking walks around the neighborhood

When the weather allows, taking a walk around the neighborhood has been a simple and effective activity to do with my son. He loves being outside and we both need the exercise.

Our walks could last from 30 minutes to an hour depending on how many cars pass by that my son stops to wave to. Also, he loves picking up rocks big or small so we often stop to check some out along the way.

Did you know going for a walk is a great language building opportunity for your baby and/or toddler? The outdoors is the biggest classroom and provides many learning opportunities.

Painting activities

This activity is one where he needs more supervision. Therefore, I don’t recommend it if you can’t join your toddler on the fun.

A simple paint brush and some paints can really go a long way for a toddler. They explore the different colors, which expands their language development. They are also learning how to be creative while strengthening their fine motor skills with each brush stroke.

You can use some budget friendly canvases or some regular paper for their painting pleasure. I like to display my son’s art in his play area. You can do that with the canvas or frame one of their painted papers.

Going to the library

Some libraries offer a live reading class specifically for infants to preschool age. It is an interactive singing, moving, and reading class that my son loves to attend.

Going to the library gives us a change of scenery and offers him the ability to choose books that interest him. We can sit in the children’s section reading books and coloring while interacting with other children his age. I practice showing him the ways of checking out a book and returning it.

A trip to the library usually lasts about an hour and is followed up with some lunch and nap time when we get back home. Hopefully he will continue to love visiting the library as he gets older!

Visiting a park

Another great education activity includes visiting a park. There are many exploration opportunities and again, my son loves to be outside. The playground allows him to explore his gross motor skills through climbing.

He also learns more about himself when he pushes himself to the limits, such as sliding down the bigger slide or going high in a swing.

Exploring an indoor play area

If the weather is too cold, we still attempt to get in some physical activity while getting away from the renovation. Therefore, we can’t pass up a trip to an indoor playground!

Some community centers or churches offer play spaces for children. They are typically designed for two year old children and up. However, if you are near and can help your child navigate the play structure, then children younger than two can most definitely have a good time.

More opportunities for gross motor skills development and social interaction are found here as well!

Coloring books with markers and colored pencils

If there are days where I am on deadline or have a phone conference, I typically like to stay home. In that case, my son needs more activities than on the days when we go out somewhere. This is where I really get creative!

Finding some dollar store coloring books, markers, and colored pencils provides hours of entertainment for my son. Throw in some stickers and that’s all she wrote!

He loves being creative with his drawing skills and putting a sticker on nearly every surface. These items can occupy him for about an hour while I tap into my creative juices for client work and get things done.

Playdate at a friend’s house

When your home is full of renovation projects that need to be completed and you feel uneasy about having guests, try asking for a playdate at a friend’s home. This change can make all the difference for a toddler!

Being able to play with someone else in a different environment with toys they don’t see everyday is a hidden hack to keeping a toddler entertained.

When the home renovation is complete, be sure to return the favor and host playdates at your home!

Get them involved in the home renovation

Keeping safety in mind, why not allow your toddler to be involved in the home renovation? And by being involved, consider their skill level. A toddler most likely won’t be able to help with much other than bringing you a small tool from one spot to another.

However, keeping them in the loop about what is going on can make them feel less anxious about the changes happening in their home. I’m sure you are anxious about the changes. Imagine how they must feel and they don’t know how to make sense of it.

My son has a toy tool set with screwdrivers and wrenches. He watches everyone using the tools and likes to pretend with his tools like he’s also helping. One of his favorite tools is a tape measure. He can’t get enough of going around and trying to take measurements of things.

Also, he loves to help clean things up! Look for ways for your toddler to help throw things in the trash during the renovation.

Care and Adjustments for Myself

As my pregnancy progresses, I have become slower and slower. In the beginning of my pregnancy, the nausea, morning sickness, and exhaustion were pretty bad for me. Therefore, I’ve not been much help in the manpower part of this home renovation. There have been many things I’ve needed to consider and step away from.

Energy Level

My level of energy is on the lower end most days. Getting things going for my toddler is where most of my time is spent and keeping him happy while entertained. When he goes down for a nap, that is usually when I try to knock out my portion of the home renovation tasks.

Trying not to completely deplete my energy, I’ve needed to adjust my mindset. Each part of the day works in sections for me; morning time is mommy/toddler time, afternoon is my productivity time, evening is family time, and after bedtime is more productivity time for me.

Of course, there are days when I am more tired than others. In those cases, I just play it by ear and see how I’m feeling before moving on to another activity or just going to bed.

Body Changes

It’s inevitable that your body will change as the pregnancy progresses. Each day, I feel bigger than the last. With these changes also comes more aches and pains. I’m moving slower and because of the pregnant waddle I have going on, my back is killing me.

As my hips and pelvic area adjust to make room for the baby’s exit, walking can be painful. It’s a tough reality sometimes. But it is worth it for this baby!

Ability

As a pregnant woman, there are things I shouldn’t be doing per medical professionals’ advice. Things like lifting over a certain amount of weight, sitting/standing too long, climbing ladders, etc.

With my abilities in mind, I have needed to make adjustments or just flat out step away from something that I can’t do. It’s difficult for me to let go of things that I can usually do. However, I know it’s best for me.

Fumes/Toxins

The demolition phase ran me out of our room and into a spare bedroom in our home. Because of the leak and water damage, some treatments and sprays needed to be applied to our bathroom to prevent mold.

Due to this, I was not allowed to be in our bedroom as the toxins could be harmful to me and my baby. Being that I have a compromised immune system because I am pregnant, I was out of the bedroom for about a week while the cleaning and sanitizing was underway in there.

It was challenging for me to not be in my own bed and not having direct access to things that I needed.

WFH Tasks

The workload doesn’t stop or get put onto someone else during a home renovation. I still have a responsibility to my clients to compete work I agreed to and I still have students that I am teaching at night. These work-from-home (WFH) tasks need my attention just as much now as they did before the home renovation.

I am such a planner that I have to pencil in time for everything in my day. That includes getting work done as well as spending time updating the home renovation checklist, expense report, and so on. I’ve made sure to adjust where needed when I can.

If needed, I work on the weekends to keep up with the work flow. This isn’t something I normally do. However, because of these circumstances, I have to rearrange my time to make it all work.

Safety Precautions

When I consider the day ahead with my toddler and my pregnant self, I have to also think about any safety precautions we must take. A home renovation changes things daily. Therefore, what worked yesterday might not work today.

If I need to conduct work in my office area, I have to ensure that my toddler does not have access to the renovation areas. Therefore, I close any doors that could give him access to potential dangers, like loose screws, heavy materials, large tools, etc.

When we are downstairs and I can work from my laptop, I have to ensure he doesn’t have access to the upstairs area. Also, any renovations that were happening downstairs with the ceiling and carpet need to be evaluated so that I know the space is safe for him to play in.

What will your next home renovation project be?

Have I scared you away from doing any DIY home renovation projectswith children around? I hope not!

While this process has been stressful, having a baby due soon helps keep us on our toes to make sure things get completed before my due date. With many DIY projects, they can sometimes get put to the side when life gets too busy. This way, we know we have a timeline and there is not much wiggle room for extending it.

Will you be completing a home renovation project soon? Will you have children that will be part of this project? How can you help them during this transition? Which of my suggestions would help your family?

Share your projects with me in the comments below!

Always,
Samantha <3

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Home Renovation with a Toddler & Pregnant: How to Survive

First time parent to an incredible little boy residing in Northern California. I hold my M.A. in Education with a Specialization in Culturally Responsive Education. My mission is to consistently provide helpful content for other parents to draw from. Parenthood is ever-changing! I look forward to sharing my experiences with you and hope that my posts are insightful.

Let me know your thoughts!