There are so many things that change once you have your first child, and it's some of the smaller pleasures (think showers and clean clothes!) in life that go unappreciated until they become absent or difficult to accomplish.
Here are a few things I suggest moms-in-waiting do now while time and selfishness are a luxury!
1. Sleep. Go to bed early. Actually, no—stay up as freaking late as you want and then sleep in, because I promise you, once your darling baby is here you'll feel like you're always awake! You'll learn to sleep in two- to three-hour increments and you'll constantly feel tired, even when your child sleeps through the night. You and your partner will quickly learn why sleep deprivation is a form of torture! Do you know most babies (once they have a schedule) wake between 6 and 7 a.m.? Every. Day. They don’t know what weekends are and therefore don’t participate in “sleeping in” on Saturday’s and Sunday’s—so stock up (and stay up late!) while you can.
2. Enjoy your showers. Take your time as you bathe. Light candles, listen to music and let the water run until it turns cold. Enjoy the peace and quiet, because after your newborn is welcomed into the world, she'll more than likely be sitting in a bouncy seat outside your shower door watching and waiting for you to finish. And worse, just as you step into the shower and feel the warm pellets of water hit your back, baby is suddenly red-faced and screaming, forcing you to quickly rinse, forget the shave and jump out to cater to her needs. Enjoy your showers now.
3. Read. If you enjoy reading, whether it's books or gossip magazines, read as much as you want, when you want, during your nine months of pregnancy. After baby is born, you'll be too tired and have too little time to read for pleasure. The little bit of reading your tired eyes will allow will probably be on message boards seeking advice from other mom’s or baby books explaining how to sleep train. Oh how I miss my chick-lit!
4. Have date nights with your partner. Schedule lots of them! Sure, you may have an easy going baby who'll quietly sleep propped up in the car seat during your meal; but more than likely this perfect behavior won’t last past 3 or 4 months old. At that age babies start to need routine and bedtimes and they'll definitely let you know when they want their sleep. So go to the movies and eat at some fancy restaurants now—before baby is hanging from your breast while you eat your filet mignon or you're rushing home to not have to pay the sitter for an additional hour.
5. Go on vacation. Even if you're pregnant, go on vacation. Vacation will never be the same, ever again. Prior to having two children my husband and I traveled outside the country every wedding anniversary. We made four years of anniversary travel before having our first born, and we vowed to still take these trips. Stupid first-time parents. Ha! I wasn’t leaving my baby with anyone to go overseas, and I wasn’t bringing my baby overseas. So travel as much as you can afford; shoot, if you can’t afford it, charge it to the credit card because you probably won’t do it again for a couple of years.
6. Enjoy your body! You may be one of the lucky ladies whose body will “bounce” right back post-pregnancy. Or you may be the mom who forever carries those last 10 pounds years later. Regardless, your body will never look as good as it did before you had a child. Be it stretch marks, cellulite, a cesarean scare or flabby skin—stop wasting time hating your body, because in later years you'll look at photos and admire the body you constantly criticized as not good enough.