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8 Things You Need to Do Before You Have Your First Baby

Photograph by Twenty20

I look back on my child-free years and I want to smack myself for every time I said I was tired. Tired? I didn't know what tired was before I had two kids under 2! I can't believe I put off doing some fun thing or another because of reasons that were ridiculous. Now there are things that I would like to do that were so much easier (and cheaper) to do before I had kids. So, let me save you from having to say "I wish I'd ..."! Here is my list of everything you should do before you have your first baby.

1. Take a real vacation with your partner.

Plan that dream trip and go to a hotel that’s not the least bit kid-friendly. Whether it’s a B&B with antiques in every room or a couples-only resort in the Caribbean, immerse yourself in a trip that is pure child-free bliss. Hear how quiet it is? That's the sound of not having children! Order room service! Stay in bed until noon! Stay up all night and watch the sunrise! You can do it all because you don't have a baby yet.

2. Splurge on the handbag you’ve been coveting.

Once you have a baby, your diaper bag is your primary carryall. And while you might be tempted to buy the expensive diaper bag, chances are you’ll be practical and buy the cheaper (but well-reviewed!) one so you can actually, you know, afford diapers. So, go ahead and buy that gorgeous purse you’ve been coveting. You’ll get to use it until the baby comes along and then you’ll tuck it away for a couple of years. Then, one day, you’ll rediscover it and be so glad your child-free self bought something so utterly frivolous.

3. Take the art class, the music class, the dance class.

Stop saying you'll do it next year. Stop talking yourself out of it by saying you don’t have the time or the skill. So what? Once the baby comes, you'll be too tired to contemplate leaving the house for awhile and the idea of learning anything while you’re in a baby fog will only make you laugh (or sob). Take the class. Learn something! One day, you'll be teaching your little one this wonderful new skill you picked up before he came along.

4. Nap!

For the love of all that is good in the world, take that decadent nap for those of us who have been tired for the last two years and can only dream of such a luxury! Just lie down and go to sleep—and don’t you dare feel guilty about it. Trust me, I'd do it if I could.

Stop saying you'll do it next year. Stop talking yourself out of it by saying you don’t have the time or the skill.

5. Have another glass of wine if you want.

Yeah, you have to go to work tomorrow, but you know what you don’t have to do? You don’t have to get up at 2 a.m. to nurse a baby. Have that glass of wine and drink a toast to your future self, the pregnant or new mom, who who won’t be able to enjoy it for awhile.

6. When your friend calls at 9 p.m. to see if you’re up for drinks or a late movie, go!

If you’re a night owl, once you have a baby you’ll miss those late night things you do now. You won't want to go dancing when you’ve been up since 5 a.m. with an infant or your boobs are leaking. Even if your favorite late-night activities are watching movie marathons on your couch, enjoy as many nights as you can before you have a baby. It’ll likely be awhile before you can watch a 30-minute sitcom uninterrupted, much less back-to-back movies.

7. Take a sick day from work (even if you're not sick).

Enjoy the luxury of having only yourself to take care of now because. once you have a baby. you’ll want to save your sick days for when the baby gets sick. So. take a day to yourself, just because—and do whatever you want. That idea may seem silly now, but I promise that once you have a baby the idea of doing whatever you want for an entire day will seem like some sort of fantastical dream.

8. Don’t worry about it if you don’t get to do everything before you have a baby.

Don't stress if you don't selfishly enjoy every moment of your time before you have a baby. Just like your child-free stage, the pregnant and new mom stage doesn't last forever either. Yes, you’ll always be a mom, but babies get older and start sleeping through the night, toddlers become more independent and turn into little kids and little kids suddenly become big kids with lives and interests of their own. Every stage is temporary. One day, when you feel like yourself again, you’ll be doing (most of) the things you miss from your child-free years—and you will appreciate them from an entirely different perspective.

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