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Pre-Baby Bucket List

Oct30

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smackdown_babybucketlist.jpg
Photo by nattu
Aloha Amalah!
I have a bit of an abstract question and I couldn’t think of anyone better on the whole wide Internet to answer it. My husband and I have been talking babies lately, and we have decided to wait one more year before we um, lower our defenses and cross our fingers for conception. My question to you is, what should a (somewhat) hip young couple such as ourselves do in this final year? We know that having a baby will turn our world upside down, and we want to take full advantage of our last foreseeable year of two incomes, adult beverages, privacy, not having a human life utterly dependent upon us, etc. What should be on our pre-baby bucket list?
Thank you for being the ruler of all that is advice-y and smack-y and down-y!
Not a Girl, Not Yet a Mama

I don’t know if you’ve gotten the brochure yet, but there’s now a huge segment of the travel industry dedicated to pushing “babymoons” on expectant couples. The idea being you get one last vacation in as a couple before the baby arrives. It’s a good idea, honestly — we did it, when I was pregnant with Noah — except for the small detail of GOING ON VACATION WHILE YOU ARE PREGNANT.
You can’t drink, you can’t eat a good half of stuff on the menu, either because of mercury/listeria/nausea concerns, you have to pee all the time and take naps and activities are restricted and — if you’re like me — your belly completely pops while you’re there and you end up outgrowing everything in your luggage by day five.
So! Guess what my first Bucket List item is. No really, go on.
Yeah, take a nice vacation. Get that dream destination checked off your list — the one that involves a plane ride that no toddler would ever put up with, to the no-kids-allowed resort or the backpacking expedition across Southeast Asia or the wine tour of Italy.
Once that’s done with, let’s move on to the smaller, at-home stuff:
Sleep in on the weekends. Take turns making each other breakfast in bed every Sunday. Subscribe to the Sunday newspaper just to enjoy the luxury of reading the whole damn thing. Eat brunch.
Stay up late. Watch The Daily Show and Colbert Report — live, instead of TiVo’d. Go to at least one ridiculously stupid nightclub with bad drinks and cheesy music and realize that you won’t miss it. See movies in the theater. Go to a concert, a play, a musical, the opera. Visit a vineyard for a wine tasting. Eat at each of the top 10 best restaurants in your city and promise each other that you’ll eat at them again, even after you have a kid.
Take up a hobby, as a couple. Bike riding, geocaching, cooking, museums, something that can span the before/after segments of your life and be something that you one day do as a threesome.

Declutter your house.
A baby will bring in all kinds of junk and crap and mess with your decision-making abilities. (My husband hasn’t thrown a single blessed thing out in five years. Watch for him on a 2032 episode of Hoarders.) Get everything you own organized and labeled and accounted for. Make a trip to your parents’ homes and go through any saved childhood toys together. Get sappy over the idea of your own baby playing with his Matchbox cars or your favorite doll.
Make doctors’ appointments and keep them. Physical, dentist, dermatologist. These get weirdly difficult to make happen and easy to ignore in between all the pediatrician visits. Lose any extra pounds and take extra folic acid. Take sick days when you are sick. Use personal days to play hooky and do something fun and crazy together, like a day trip to New York or renting a hotel room right in your town.
And then while in that hotel room, flush your Pills down the toilet and get ready for life to get EVEN BETTER.

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About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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29 Responses to “Pre-Baby Bucket List”

  1. Anonymous Oct 30 at 10:34 am Reply

    Not really a FUN suggestion but- live on that one income- save one. You will see if you can swing it, and babies tend to cost money. You will be glad if save (at least some) it. Also, totally sleep in on the weekends- use the real china and crystal for dinner- see shows in the theater- appreciate your body now ( it will change and no matter how much you like or dislike it now you will mourn its loss) Of course Amalah is right, it is all worth it and gets so much better.

  2. crabbyappleseed Oct 30 at 10:47 am Reply

    A-MEN on the babymoon business. I totally don’t get it. The vacation definitely comes before the pregnancy- I refused to even consider trying until my husband and I took one last trip to Europe. For people who are independently wealthy, I would’ve also liked one last trip to Vegas- get all the drinking, wasteful spending, and late nights out of your system in the city designed for all of that.

  3. Jae Oct 30 at 10:54 am Reply

    Maybe it’s PMS but the last sentence of this post made me all sorts of misty! Great list!

  4. Katie Oct 30 at 11:02 am Reply

    One of the best pieces of advice someone gave me is one Amy listed here: GO TO MOVIES. And it really was a great piece of advice. Once you have a kid, your movie opportunities get way limited and you suddenly become way picky about what you will and won’t waste a movie date to see. So enjoy the freedom of seeing anything and everything you want now!
    And I know this is pre-pregnancy, but I have to say that we accidentally discovered the best pregnancy vacation: a cruise. Not during the nauseous-y first trimester, but later. When you can eat. See lots of sights, go to spas and luxurious pools, but your bed stays within walking distance for daily naps! We’re actually doing this again with our 3-year-old now that I’m pregnant with our second.

  5. sarah Oct 30 at 11:03 am Reply

    ride roller coasters! my husband and i live in the greater orlando area, and before we started trying to conceive, we rode every roller coaster (and other thrill ride) in the area – we knew we would be unlikely to get to ride on anything with a height restriction for the next several years…

  6. Amy Oct 30 at 11:21 am Reply

    This isn’t very fun, but I just want to second Amalah’s recommendation on taking folic acid. It’s best to start taking it a couple of months before you conceive.

  7. Jenny Oct 30 at 11:34 am Reply

    Catch up on any hobbies that you have. I’m thinking scrapbooking or organizing your pictures, especially.

  8. Tiffany Oct 30 at 11:58 am Reply

    MOVIES. God, yes. Go to movies. Please. Our son turned one on 10/10, and the last time we saw a movie in the theatre from start to finish was the weekend before my due date. And you think, “Oh, we’ll go to movies…” but then when you do get someone to finally watch your kid, you don’t want to waste that time holed up in a theatre because if you’re like us, you’re exhausted and 9 times out of 10 you’ll probably fall asleep, even during something loud like Transformers.
    We don’t even bother renting movies anymore. He runs around the whole time, or someone’s always getting up to get him a drink, a snack, a toy, a blankie, a dry diaper, blahblahblah, and then if you’re lucky he’ll finally pass out, but then so will you (and by you I totally mean me, you may be different!). And once he’s asleep, we’re usually asleep or we use that as time to talk about our day, pay bills, watch dvr’d shows, etc.
    I miss movies, but at the same time, I don’t. Since he’s only 1, I’m still in that phase where I could seriously watch my kid all day and night – just stare at him and marvel at this little person. There is no movie in the world that would come even close to five minutes with my kid, so I consider it a decent trade off.

  9. Bitts Oct 30 at 12:23 pm Reply

    These are all awesome ideas, and definitely DINK-y things to do before you get pregnant …
    But I wanted to emphasize that having kids will not mean you can’t do the things you like to do any more. If you want to do it, you can make room in your life for it. The thing is, after Baby, a lot of the things you’ll think are wonderful will change. You won’t even miss all the stuff you don’t do any more, because the stuff you do with them is so awesome.
    Seriously, going to a winery for the weekend is fun, but having children is WAAAY better.

  10. Chris Oct 30 at 12:37 pm Reply

    Agree completely with all of what Amy said (money-permitting, of course) – EXCEPT: Do not flush your Pills down the toilet!!!!
    They will end up in the water supply with the billion other doses of Viagra and whatever other unused pharmaceuticals. The greener thing to do would be to either toss them or save them for post-baby use.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/03/10/health/main3920454.shtml
    Thanks!

  11. Mouse Oct 30 at 12:48 pm Reply

    We took a trip to Sonoma Valley about 2 months before we started trying. Lots of great food and wine and a very leisurely pace, not to mention gorgeous scenery.

  12. gizella Oct 30 at 12:54 pm Reply

    All of those are great, but here is mine. Have a lot of fun sex! You won’t want to for obvious reasons after the baby is born, maybe not even towards the end of your pregnancy (although we tried hard to induce labor. didn’t work). Sometimes, having sex when you have to, especially if you don’t conceive immediately, can make you less excited about having it. Have fun sex, have sex in fun places that maybe you won’t be able to when the kid is here. Have a naked day at home. You won’t regret it, and you’ll have saucy memories to relive when you can’t do these sort of adult things for a while.

  13. Bettina Oct 30 at 12:55 pm Reply

    Get happy! I agree that a fab vacation should be at the top of your list, but this is also a good time to really get centered in yourself, love yourself and your partner unconditionally, and be in a good place so that you can let go of any barriers and welcome in all that positive energy. (yes I realize this is sounding new age-y, but it works). I.e. if you are not a happy person now and have difficulty feeling gratitude and serenity it ain’t gettin’ any easier. There are no guarantees with starting a family and the more grounded and open and centered you are the better you will be equipped to handle the ups and downs. Last thing, spend some time with families with small kids so it doesn’t all hit you as a huge shock and you don’t have to say, “nobody told me that . . . ” :) Enjoy!

  14. Jess Oct 30 at 12:55 pm Reply

    I’m not a mom (but I am getting certified as a pilates instructor), but I would suggest: get in shape. It’ll make pregnancy and delivery easier and then you’ll be ready to bounce back to your pre pregnancy weight!

  15. Candace Oct 30 at 12:57 pm Reply

    I wish we would have lived on my husbands income for a few months before the baby was born. It’s been really hard trying to make it work on one income and we are really struggling now!! Do it early while you can and put that extra income into savings.. You’ll be happy you did it!
    Also, this is for while you are pergnant but… my plan was to pamper myself one last time before the baby was born by getting a pedicure, manicure, hair cut & highlighted and eyebrows waxed.. I wanted to have this baby feeling fresh and sexy! Well.. The baby showed up 4 weeks early (my first) and I ended up laying on the operating table with the hairiest legs I’ve EVER had in my life, an unkempt va-jayjay, a unibrow, greasy hair (my water broke & never got a shower beforehand). Kinda bummed about all of that!! My advice: DO IT MORE THAN 4 WEEKS BEFORE YOUR DUE DATE!! You never know what is gonna happen!

  16. Nia Oct 30 at 12:58 pm Reply

    Ditto to all of the above. I’d also add that you should get into a sustainable workout routine. Where it becomes so much a part of your life you can continue it when you have NO time for you (meaning you’ll have to work out at odd hours like 5:30am or when you are so incredibly tired at night).

  17. Meredith Oct 30 at 1:28 pm Reply

    Read a book from beginning to end one weekend. And can’t emphasize enough the “sleeping in” advice from Amalah.

  18. Kristina Oct 30 at 1:40 pm Reply

    We did the “last vacation before parenting” and I highly recommend it. I also second the “see movies” idea, I hadn’t realized how challenging it would be to get to movies after the baby came.
    One thing we did *not* do, that I really wish we had done, was hire a post-partum doula or nurse to help out in the early weeks. We had family helping for the first month, but they really weren’t able to help me learn how to take care of the baby and myself at the same time. I was 37 when my daughter was born, and hadn’t spent any appreciable time with a young child in 20 years. My husband and I were both totally overwhelmed. If you’re already really comfortable with children, it may not be as helpful, but for us it would have made a big difference, I think. Save that for the third trimester, though. :-)

  19. Sara Oct 30 at 2:43 pm Reply

    Strengthen your marriage. See a counselor if you have issues or take a Bible study on marriage. Do whatever you can to get closer. Kids are going to rock your world and keeping your marriage healthy is going to require more work. I have a wonderful husband but even so, it is hard to be cheerful and gracious about staying at home with a child or two all day every day. The closer you are the more you can confide in him about the highs and lows of parenthood instead of becoming distant and occasionally resentful. Without my husband, I would have had a much more difficult time conquering my PPD. I knew I could tell him anything and we’d work through it together.

  20. Lisa Oct 30 at 4:43 pm Reply

    I totally agree, and want to stress taking that last LONG vacation. Hubby’s family is from the UK, and I wish we had gone to visit one last time. Now, we have to have them come here, at least for a while… I also wish we had gotten to Europe one last time without a diaper bag :)

  21. Anonymous Oct 31 at 12:27 am Reply

    Here’s my addition to the list -
    * Get plenty of sleep! (You will learn the value of continuous sleep once your baby wakes you every hour or two for food/diaper change/etc!)
    * Spend quality time with each other, because, after the baby, your baby may interrupt you at any moment!
    * learn to make 20 minute (or less) meals! This might be all you get the 1st year!
    * go to Baby-and-Maternity consignment sales to learn how they work. This will save you plenty of money once your baby’s here.
    * Spend time with couples with babies (1 year or younger), and babysit and/or assist them for 4+ hours. Hopefully this will ease you (and your expectations) into parenthood.
    Lastly, enjoy your time! Life will be different but great after the baby!

  22. Maggie Oct 31 at 7:48 am Reply

    I second the “getting organized” thing – wish I had sorted all those boxes in the basement BEFORE my two kiddos arrived. Now it’s virtually impossible to find the time, yet I need the space down there! Also your photos… do it now! Buy some albums for the baby pics too.
    The thing I miss is the freedom to go shopping BY MY SELF. I haven’t bought myself anything other than t-shirts or pantyhose for almost 2 years because it’s so tough to keep two kids happy in the mall and a change room is just not gonna happen. Not that my stroller fits into my favourite stores anyway. So shop now! Browse! Try things on!

  23. Susan Oct 31 at 6:30 pm Reply

    I agree about babymoons – we went to Vegas when I was 7 months pregnant – what the…? All the walking, and the people, and the bleeeccchhh that just is Vegas… though I did get the MOST AMAZING prenatal massage at Caesar’s Palace – simply divine.
    My assvice – finish any projects around the house. I may get a remodeled bathroom about the time the teenagers start hogging it…
    Otherwise, I agree with Bitts – honestly, there’s not a whole lot that we don’t do now that we did before the baby came (though we never really were big on going out to movies or to dinner in the first place) and really, life is SO much more interesting now.

  24. Maria Oct 31 at 8:11 pm Reply

    YES! Pre-pregnancy vacations are AWESOME! Before we had Jakob we went everywhere… and seriously don’t let the issue of money hold you back too much now because later you REALLY won’t have it! If you do your research you CAN do Europe or other exotic places on the cheap (we rented an apartment in Paris for $60CND a night. A whole apartment! Those and B&Bs are the way to go, seriously).

  25. Catherine S Nov 01 at 8:09 am Reply

    All of these are really good. Just wanted to add that you should eat your meals uninterrupted and savor the fact that you don’t have to share anything off your plate. Or at the very least noone will start crying if you don’t, ha!!! AND cook and eat exactly what you want, enjoy having no need to make meals that younger kids will like too. Unless of course you like making a grown up dinner and a kid dinner, which I will.not.do.period.

  26. kakaty Nov 02 at 9:04 am Reply

    I think the biggest thing I would do is try to live for about 6 months on a single income (if one of you plan to stay home) or find out the rate of daycares in the area and put that amount aside for 6 months…and see how you survive. At the end of the experiment use some of the savings for that dream vacation.
    I also would take a few “sick days” to get your house in order…tackle all those little (or big!) projects that you keep putting off. Clean out the clutter and organize the shit out of everything.
    As for movies and shopping and such…I still do all those things, it’s just takes a bit more planning now.

  27. beth Nov 02 at 9:30 am Reply

    If you plan on knitting/crocheting/crafting anything for your baby, do it early on in your pregnancy (while your not napping, of course). I got zero projects done due to a raging case of carpal tunnel syndrome. I have about 3 half finished mobile animals still sitting in storage. My 10 month old still doesn’t have a mobile. sob.

  28. lindswing Nov 02 at 6:17 pm Reply

    Wow. I used to roll my eyes at the people who mentioned getting teary eyed at things like the last line. Then I had a baby. And it is! It’s better! And my eyes are all misty. Aw.

  29. Jayelle Nov 03 at 4:24 pm Reply

    Another reason to go to the movies – if you’re big and pregnant in the summer – they air condition the heck out of theatres.
    We saw every blockbuster last summer while I was 7-9 mo pregnant. It was blissfully cold.

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