October 4, 2011

10 Things to Do Before Kids

"So when are you having kids?"

I was really amazed when people started asking that only a few months into my marriage. With women 10 years older than I am becoming first time moms and with my parents having me (their first) more than 7 years into their marriage, I was just not expecting to be asked that question so soon. What's the big hurry? While we would certainly consider a child a blessing at any time in our marriage, I see no reason why we need to have a baby right now. I'm happy just enjoying our marriage for a while.

A recent post on Weddingbee from the "After I do" series featured several married ladies' answers to the question, "What is something you wish you did before you had your baby, or something you plan to do before you have a baby? What is something you did before baby that you’re so thankful you did?"

I thought it was a good question to consider. Is there anything I could do now that I won't be able to do once kids come along? Is there anything I need to do before I become pregnant to improve my pregnancy experience or my child's life? Honestly, I can't think of anything I need to do, but there are a few things I probably should do or would like to do. This is a list of ideas, not necessarily goals or suggestions.

Figure out being a family of two
After a year of marriage, we're still working on how to function as a family unit and how to communicate with each other. I don't expect us to ever completely master that, but I'd like to feel at least a little less clueless before we add anyone else to the mix.

Go on a relaxing vacation
I'm not talking anything exotic here (we honeymooned in Cincinnati, after all). We just have a tendency to want to do this, this, this, and this when we go on trips. I want to go somewhere and not have an agenda for once. I'm thinking a nice cabin with a jacuzzi tub.

Start buying organic food and stop buying as much processed food
I can't see us ever buying organic food exclusively, but I'd like to at least buy the dirty dozen organically (an idea I got from the baby bucket list of Erika from Newlyweds on a Budget ). I want to start making my own granola bars, and maybe even crackers.

Get a second dog
This one probably sounds crazy if you aren't a dog person (which I used to not be). But Nathan really wants a second dog, and lately I've been thinking having a dog that will actually run with me would be awesome. Nathan met with a trainer last week about Nenya's anxiety and confidence issues, and she actually suggested getting a second dog once Nenya has become a little more socialized. If we're going to have two dogs when we have kids, it's best that we have both of them trained well before we have kids.

Get in the habit of regular exercise
I want to be able to exercise while pregnant, which means I'd better start exercising before becoming pregnant. This needs to happen sooner than later.

Move somewhere with a washer/dryer and fenced-in yard
This one is not optional. I am not going to haul a bunch of clothes and a baby out to the car to do laundry, especially since we'll have a lot of extra laundry. I also don't want to have to go outside with the baby and the dogs, especially if we get a second dog!

Read and Research
I want to read up on the facts on things like pregnancy and childbirth. What foods should I avoid? Home birth or hospital birth? I like to plan ahead. So far on my reading list are What to Expect Before You're Expecting and Get Ready to Get Pregnant.

Have a better community
We don't have much of a community here right now. Both sets of parents are an hour away, which is nice, but we can't really use them as a last minute baby sitter. We don't have many friends here either. Becoming first time parents when we're this isolated is a little scary.

Do some freelance design work
Although I will most likely continue to work full-time after our first child is born, I'd like to at least explore the possibility of working from home. I could use the extra work to build up my portfolio no matter what direction my career takes.

Continue putting all my income towards student loans and savings
Unless it takes us a long time to get pregnant, it's unlikely that we'll have all the grad school loans paid off before we have a baby, but I want to pay as much as possible.

How about you? Is there anything you'd like to do before you have kids, or that you wish you had done before kids?

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  1. The timing of this post makes me chuckle. I'd been thinking recently about ways to use my pre-baby time wisely, and just two weeks ago found out I am pregnant with our first child! We've been married for 3-1/2 years, and I am grateful that we've had the time to work on our marriage and finances. I'm also grateful I had the time to do some intensive work in counseling. I do wish I'd worked more aggressively on my writing and blogging goals, but there will always be time to do that. I think your list is great. Developing good habits both pre-marriage and pre-baby is always wise. I'd say also just enjoy the free time, because I'm treasuring each and every leisurely moment now! Oh, and as an animal-lover, your idea of getting a second dog now sounds like a great one to me.

  2. @Lisa Congratulations! I was thinking how funny it would be if I end up finding out I'm pregnant soon after writing this. I'd better get started on that list! :)

  3. This is a tough question, because I think I could have easily continued on with my prebaby life if I made a list of what I wanted to do before we had kids. However, I would say this :: I'm glad we traveled as much as we did before we had our first. We made the most of the two+ years we were married {and 6 years+ we were together} that I'm really grateful for.

  4. Our son was a surprise, and we'd only been married 9 months when we found out we were expecting. Now, looking back, I really don't think there's anything I would have done differently. I had a huge list of to-do's before we had a baby, but now, he's so much fun that I would rather do this, than anything on my list :)

    But I will say, that I think its so important to have a good foundation set at home before baby.

  5. Wish I would have seen this before having kids lol. Well my first son was a surprise. I was pregnant 2 months after getting married so I didn't get time to figure all this stuff out but if I would have had the time I totally would have headed these great tips =)

  6. @Sarah @ Loved Like the Church Good points. I know my prebaby life won't continue on too much longer since my husband is really anxious to become a dad. I think the only thing on his list was getting married. :) We've done a lot of traveling too and have two or three more trips planned in the next few months.

  7. @britt@knewlywifed That's great to hear! The only thing on this list I really want to do is move, which I know for sure we'll be doing when our lease is up in 3 months. I'm with you on setting a foundation, although I'm not so sure how to know when you've accomplished that. I suppose it can always get stronger.

  8. @Leslie I wouldn't call these tips, just my thoughts, but I'm glad you think it's a good list. :)

  9. Wow, what a interesting post. I'm inspired by your courage to write something like this. We've been married 5 1/2 years and still have no babies or pets. We are constantly getting pressure from family and even a few friends that we should have babies. We are in no hurry. We got married younger and I just finished grad school in May. This year, I'm focusing on being content where I am.

    I love your goal about getting rid of as much debt as you can. Good job, Amanda!

  10. Thanks, Malisa! I'm glad no one is pressuring us yet. It's sad that others think they need to push their timelines on you.

  11. The funniest comment I got after we were married was, "Any chance of babies this year?" I was so tempted to respond, "It's not like a weather forecast!"

  12. @LisaHa! Happily married with a chance of babies?

  13. Hard to say; probably just get out there and be young and have fun (if that's your style). Because we you have children, everything changes. And you don't have to have the perfect life to make it work, but you do have to make it work.

    I also had a baby bucket list, and recently found out I was pregnant. But that's not going to stop me from continuing to do the things on my list before the baby comes!

  14. @Dakota Transplant Congratuaions! At least you get that 9 month warning!

  15. I love your list! Especially figuring out how to be a family of two and having a better community. Both are so incredibly vital. Looking back, my list would have looked much like yours.


Let me know your thoughts on this. I love reading all my comments!