6 Fun Things Every First-Time Parent Should Do Before Baby Arrives
To no one’s great surprise, so many things change once you have your first child. But it’s some of the smaller, often unappreciated pleasures in life (think long showers and clean clothes) that suddenly look a lot different once baby’s in the picture. During pregnancy, there are plenty of important to-dos—but don’t forget to indulge in the fun stuff along the way! Here are a few things I suggest parents-in-waiting do now while time is a luxury you can afford.
Go to bed early. Actually, no—stay up as late as you want and then sleep in, because once 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. Do you know most babies (once they have a schedule) wake between 6 and 7 am? Every. Day. They don’t know what weekends are and therefore don’t participate in “sleeping in” on Saturdays and Sundays—so catch some ZZZs while you can.
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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, they’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 their needs.
If you enjoy reading, whether it’s books or gossip magazines, read as much as you want, when you want, during your pregnancy. After baby is born, you’ll likely 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 parents, or baby books explaining how to sleep train. Oh how I miss my chick-lit!
Schedule lots of them! Sure, you may have an easygoing baby who’ll quietly sleep during your meal out—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 set bedtimes, and they’ll definitely let you know when they want their sleep. So go eat at some of your favorite restaurants now, before you’re rushing home to avoid paying the sitter for an additional hour.
Even if a “babymoon” doesn’t sound like your thing, take a trip somewhere. Vacation just won’t be the same after baby arrives. Is it impossible to travel with kids? Absolutely not—and there are tons of tips to help make those trips go smoothly. But is it way harder to jet off to remote, exotic locations and adventure-packed getaways? You better believe it. Check a destination off your travel wish list while you can. If you’d rather not fly, pick someplace within driving distance and find a cute house to rent as your home base for a few days.
Yes, having a baby is a life-altering event. But in all seriousness, as hard as it can be, it’s also a beautiful experience that’s totally worth the changes to your day-to-day. You and your family will find a cadence that works for you, and you’ll figure out a way to enjoy the luxuries that are most meaningful to you. I promise.
Danielle hopes readers can find the humor in parenting and commiserate with her journey through motherhood. Find her on Facebook or on Twitter @waiting4tuesday.
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