February 6, 2014

10 Things to Do Before Kids: How Many Did We Actually Do?

Six months before I got pregnant, I made a list of 10 things I wanted to do before we had kids. I referred to these as ideas instead of goals since these things didn't necessarily have to be done before we had our first child.

I thought it would be fun to take a look back at what I actually did before Evan was born.

Figure out being a family of two
I feel like our marriage did get stronger in those months before I got pregnant. Sure, pregnancy and having a baby can strain any relationship, but we're still very much enjoying being married.

Go on a relaxing vacation
This one is kind of funny. I meant to write a post about this one specifically but never did. Basically, we found out we're no good at relaxing. About four months into my pregnancy, we tried to spend less than 48 hours in Nashville, IN, staying in a cabin with no agenda, and we were bored! I guess we need to find a balance between planning too many activities and not planning any.

Start buying organic food and stop buying as much processed food
I wanted to at least buy the "dirty dozen" organically. I had a setback with this one when I bought organic potatoes and one was rotten inside. Why should I pay extra for poor quality? I'm still working on buying and making healthier foods, especially now that Evan is eating a wide variety of food and we found out Nathan has high cholesterol. I'll admit I gave Evan non-organic strawberries though. It's a process.

Get a second dog
This barely happened! I got pregnant three weeks after we adopted Adyn. At that time I was thinking it could still take awhile. Had I known I would get pregnant right away, there's no way I would have gotten a second dog. I guess it was just meant to be. Adyn's like my soulmate and archnemesis all in one. It's been an interesting ride.

Get in the habit of regular exercise
Eh...this has been off and on. I wanted to keep jogging during my pregnancy, but the crazy hot spring we had two years ago along with not feeling so great during the first trimester kind of killed my progress. I'm counting this one because I did walk the third of a mile to work until I was seven months pregnant.

Move somewhere with a washer/dryer and fenced-in yard
We sure did! And then right before Evan turned one, we moved again and no longer have a fenced-in yard. We can put the dogs out on a chain at least, and it's a much nicer area to walk the dogs (when it's not a blizzard). Having a washer and dryer was the biggest requirement!

Read and Research
I tried to limit this one so I didn't get overwhelmed. The one book I'd recommend is Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn by Penny Simkin.

Have a better community
We're getting there! We finally found a church we like right around the time we got pregnant. Several of my good friends are currently living overseas, which has been rough, but I needed the push to meet new people, especially other moms.

Do some freelance design work
I didn't actually do any freelance work before Evan was born, but once I made the jump and quit my day job last May, I found clients very quickly. It all worked out!

Continue putting all my income towards student loans and savings
During 2012, I contributed $50 into our Health Savings Account each week, and the rest of my paycheck went towards paying off student loans. I'm glad we'd had nearly three years' experience of living on Nathan's income by the time I decided to quit my job. We won't get out of debt as quickly now, but we knew we would be fine without that money.

Is there anything else I wish I'd done? Is there anything I'd encourage childless women to do before they have kids? I honestly can't think of anything I couldn't do now that I have a son. I wish I could have crossed off the two remaining items on my list, but I think I needed to quit my job to have the extra time to devote to them.

Anything you wish you'd done before you had kids? If you don't have kids yet, what's on your list? 


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