Therese’s Baby on Board: Mom the builder

Reporter: Therese O'Shea
Published: Updated:

I made two new best friends recently: Allen and Phillip.

I’ve known them for a while, but we really bonded this past weekend.

These two helped my husband and I accomplish a few tasks that seemed insurmountable as of Saturday morning.

My husband is a self-proclaimed “call-the-guy” kind of guy. With our busy schedules, we’re usually strapped for time and see great value in investing in help to take care of household tasks every so often. It’s all about discerning the value of free time, which these days, is precious, compared to the cost of hiring someone to get the job done efficiently and correctly (the first time).

Nonetheless, this weekend, we put on our hard hats and thinking caps, buckled down, and figured we’d find a way to get the job done ourselves. While time, as I mentioned, is certainly precious right now, our funds are definitely just as limited, as we pinch every penny to save for the biggest investment of our lives: our little boy on the way, now just three months away.

Bearing that in mind, we got to work Saturday afternoon building baby boy’s crib, dresser/changing table, and bookshelf. This is where our two new best friends became handy. Who knew that building three large pieces of furniture only required two main tools? I’m talking, of course, about the Allen wrench and Phillips-head screwdriver. They’ve been helpful in the past, but they really stepped up to the plate this weekend.
I made some more new friends, both named Cam: Cam bolt and Cam lock. They work together to hold everything sturdily in place.

If all this tool talk is beyond boring, I’m right there with you. Staring at a set of directions with hardly any words and mostly vague drawings of each step was enough for me to tune out from the get-go. I do well with words. I’ve somehow made a career out of speaking and writing them, so handing me a set of instructions that include as few words as possible doesn’t do me much good.

Looking at what felt like a million pieces of broken-down drawers, tracks and rails, I said to Brian, “Why did we think we could get this done in one weekend?” We agreed it would likely take the next several Saturdays and Sundays to accomplish, sighed, but accepted our fate. Still, determined to get the job done, we buckled down, sat on the floor of the nursery and got to work.

The next three hours were spent alternating tasks between holding pieces in place, getting bolts and screws where they belong, and developing aching lower backs. Much to our surprise, well before we had expected, we had a fully functional dresser– WITH a changing table top bolted to it– completely constructed, and with only one or two spare screws (hopefully that was what the manufacturer intended). Even better, we made it through the experience with minimal yelling, maybe three sarcastic comments, and zero threats of divorce. Score!

It wasn’t all rainbows and glitter – there were a good few times along the way where we realized we had used the wrong panel, screw or bolt, and had to go back three steps just to replace, re-screw, and re-bolt. I also ended up with a pretty gnarly gash in my ring finger (and that was just from opening the first cardboard box). But we made it through, and came out the other side (somewhat) smarter and (hopefully) stronger because of it.

We rewarded ourselves with dinner and a movie that night, and woke up Sunday morning ready to tackle the next major furniture task: The crib.

Surprisingly enough, the crib was BY FAR an easier build. We got it done within a good hour and a half. Most of that time was wasted on the front-end of the project, which I spent staring at the first step of instructions, trying to get a grip on what was what.

Long story short, managing to work together on our first major “construction” project as husband and wife (and mom and dad to-be) taught us some valuable lessons in communication, team work, and getting a job done under pressure (albeit self-imposed pressure). We got the furniture in place, vacuumed, and started to move some of the baby belongings we’ve begun collecting into the room. It was then that Brian and I finally took a moment to step back, take a deep breath, and appreciate the hard work we put in over the past two days. If you’ve ever successfully completed a task with your spouse (with minimal arguing), you know the blue ribbon, pat-yourself-on-the-back feeling I’m talking about. What at first looked like a mountain of a task that would take the next few weekends to finish took us the two days we had originally hoped it would. And it felt good. Not just to get the job done, but to know we did it together, and we did it for our little boy.

If you were kind enough to read my earlier post about “nesting,” getting baby’s furniture built helped me to finally feel a sense of accomplishment that I’d been longing for. Now, it’s onto filling the drawers, shelves and walls with everything he needs to hopefully make him feel right at home upon coming home from the hospital in just three short months.

Every turn of the Allen wrench brought us one step closer to being ready for our little guy. One day, I hope he knows about all the blood, sweat and tears (seriously) that went into the preparation. It may not be until he’s building baby furniture for my future grandchildren– but isn’t that the case with kids, parents and appreciation?

I’m heading up to visit my family in New Jersey this weekend, and I’ll be sure to thank my mom for all of the work she put into building my baby furniture that still sits in my parents’ guest room today. Unless, of course, my parents were “call the guy” kind of people too. In which case, I’ll tell her to thank that guy. Profusely.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.