I'm the editor of Smart, a magazine for women in southcentral Pennsylvania. I said "I do" to my wonderful husband in 2002. We have two adorable children who have taught me much about life and love. With the birth of my second child, I bid farewell to my dreams of having a clean house, folded laundry and family dinners on weeknights.

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The Ultimate Motivator

The arrival of a new baby is quite a motivator.

There is, of course, the excitement of having a child that gets you moving.

For me, though, it’s having a strict deadline that forces me to keep my eye on the prize.

My husband and I experienced this intense motivation before our daughter was born four years ago, and we’re in the middle of another mad dash, working toward the Feb. 24 due date of our second child.

With each baby, the focus has been on our home.

Before Mara was born, our house was just a place to live.

We hadn’t hung curtains and didn’t have pictures on the walls. Our living room contained furniture from Mark’s bachelor pad and our bedroom held a random assortment of antiques from my great-grandmother.

It reflected our priorities at the time: staying out late and sleeping in even later. We weren’t interested in making a “home.”

But, we eventually tired of all the running around and decided to start trying to have a baby in late 2004. I was pregnant in a month.

During the next nine months, I bought curtains; we put in carpet and my husband painted every room in the house.

By the time Mara was born, we had created a cozy home for our new family.

Not surprisingly though, most of our projects stalled. Having a newborn and working full-time jobs took up most of our time and energy.

So, aside from removing everything in the house that had a sharp corner and adding hundreds of toys, our house hadn’t changed much.

We were in a rut.

But when the digital screen on the Clearblue Easy test flashed “Pregnant” in June, we were forced to move forward again and make some much-needed changes.

Right away, I knew we needed a bigger house. Our two-bedroom cottage barely holds the three of us. Four people would be pushing it.

Now that my morning/afternoon/evening sickness has finally passed, I’m packing and getting my home ready to sell. Although people say we’re crazy for trying to sell our house while expecting a new baby (and we probably are), it feels good to go through six years worth of stuff, get rid of what we don’t need and prepare for our new baby.

As we’ve been going through closets and drawers, we’re reminded that we’re not “new” parents anymore. We know what to get rid of and what to keep.

The plastic training potty Mara never used is headed to the trash. But our stroller will get a tune up and be ready to transport our new baby.

We still have a lot to do, and my due date is coming fast.

But, I’m not worried.

I work best when I’m up against a tight deadline.

Kara Eberle is editor of Smart. For free subscriptions to the magazine, visit www.smartmamapa.com/subscribe.

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