Subscribe to receive exclusive news, workouts, giveaways and more!

Ask the Pixies: Advice for Moms-to-Be

Sisters Kelly and Katie McMenamin, founders of PixiesDidIt!, a personal organization business, are professional organizers, personality type experts and firm believers that, as their tag line puts it, life should be easy. Basing their philosophy on four personality types—Classic, Fun, Organic and Smart (take the Pixies personality quiz here to find out yours)—they dole out tips, tricks and advice dealing with home organization, relationships, cleaning, food, travel—and, just for us, pregnancy and new motherhood. This week they tackle over-eager mother-in-laws and how to trick a home office into thinking it’s a nursery.

Q: My mother-in-law won’t stop dispensing parenting advice—and my baby isn’t even born yet! I appreciate her interest, but come on. How can I politely dodge her?

A: Wow, if someone knew a way to politely dodge a mother-in-law’s unsolicited advice that person would be a billionaire. It’s almost impossible to politely dodge unsolicited advice because the people doling it out usually take offense if you don’t heed it—or immediately acknowledge its brilliance. Personality types most likely to dish it out are Classics and Funs. Organics don’t because they hate the disharmony it creates. Smarts usually don’t waste time offering advice they know will be ignored.

So you’ve most likely got a Classic or a Fun on your hands. They’re practical, detail- oriented folks; some are more sensitive than others. Try to intimate that she’s stepping over the line the next time she starts in: “You know, I think for us the excitement of becoming parents is the adventure of figuring things out on our own and then knowing we have great sources like you to ask for help when the time comes.” If this fails, settle on a pat reply to her suggestions and she’ll eventually realize that you always answer the same way. Our favorite? “I’ll be sure to keep that in mind.” It makes it seem as thought you might take her up on a suggestion, but it can also mean, “Dude, never in a million years.” Or, “I totally wasn’t listening to a word you just said.”

Bon courage!

Katie & Kelly, The Hopefully-Soon-to-Be-Billionaire Pixies

Q: I’m a pregnant Classic Freedom and live in a New York City apartment with my husband. Our home office will be doing double duty as a nursery when our baby arrives. How can we organize the space for both uses?

A: Many personality types would be fine just moving the office furniture to the side and adding in nursery decor—the easiest route. Not you. If your office tends to be a little cluttered and industrial looking you will be happier if you get furniture that not only hides the mess, but melds with the nursery’s style. Trust us: You do not want to straighten your desk on a daily basis when you have a newborn, but as a Classic Freedom you will feel compelled to do so.

On to implementing our advice: Get rid of the black swivel office chair (or its equivalent) and get something more attractive: a Louis Ghost chair (modern, traditional, invisible). Make sure the color of the file cabinet matches the new surroundings. Home Decorators Collection has file cabinets that don’t even look like file cabinets and a few are big enough to act as a changing table. For a desk, try to find a secretary of some sort that you can close up without needing to straighten up. This Crate & Barrel Spotlight desk features a drawer that pulls out as a work surface and closes to hide clutter. Technically, you could plop a changing cushion on top and have it do double duty. (Pun possibly intended.)

If it seems wasteful to replace existing office furniture, sell your stuff on Craigslist and use the proceeds for the new goods. It’ll pay dividends when you’re rocking a baby back to sleep at 3 A.M. and your computer isn’t sitting out reminding you of all the things you haven’t crossed off your to-do list yet.

Katie & Kelly, The Pixies

P.S. Remember that a combined office/nursery only lasts two to three years. When the little one starts to escape the crib, man, oh man, nothing will be safe in there.

Add your comments