Things To Do Before Having A Baby

One of the things I wasn't expecting about marriage is how soon afterwards you start thinking about having kids. I'm sure it's not this way for everyone, of course---plenty of people have kids without being married, plenty of people get married and don't want kids---but for me, at least, it's been something of an eye-opener. And when I say it's been something of an eye-opener, I want you to imagine someone dropping a bucketful of ice down the back of my shirt just as I'm starting to fall asleep. That kind of eye opener.

Two weeks ago, Sean and I went up to Tahoe together, which is about a three and a half hour drive from San Francisco. Now, a three and a half hour drive, I've discovered, gives you ample opportunity to talk to one another, and while we've been talking to one another for fourteen years, we've never really properly brought up the subject of Babies, The Having Of. Oh, we've both agreed that we want babies, of course---I mean, that seemed like an important thing to get squared away before we pledged to spend the rest of our lives together ("Oh, whoopsadaisy, did I forget to tell you I'm allergic to children, darling? Sorry!")---but the actual timing of these mythical, potential, hypothetical babies had never really come up.

And damn, Internet, life goes fast! I was aghast to discover, for example, that it's been an entire year---almost to the day, in fact!---since I posted the world's most hideous and traumatizing swimsuit and then sighed with increasing relief as comment after comment came in saying "Oh my god, I totally had that swimsuit too!" (Thank you for that, by the way. I felt so much better knowing a whole army of us used to go out in public wearing those swimsuits. We should all totally meet up one day and wear them at the same time. BlogHer 2010 anyone? Up for a little 80s-swimsuit-wearing in New York City? I'm sure they'd let us lounge by that chichi roofside pool at Soho House.)

Anyway, Sean and I were both fairly startled, on our drive to Tahoe, to discover that babies are currently registering a lot closer on our Want That register than they ever had before, and also a trifle nearer on our Could Probably Handle That register as well. Not that I'm saying that you should start expecting any sort of Big Announcement in the near future or anything---oh no, not at all---but just....well, it was kind of exciting to be one step closer to thinking about the possibility of it all, I guess. Would it have his hair? (Hope so.) Would it have my eyelashes? (Hope not.) Where would it sleep? What we we call it? What we would do with it if we wanted to book a last-minute trip to Bhutan?

Oh, yeah. Right. That. I mean, you can't just leave a baby a few large mixing bowls of food and water and have the neighbor check in on him once or twice to make sure he hasn't peed on your bed or coughed up a hairball, I'm assuming.  

I'm thinking---and I'm wondering if you can tell me if this is true---that before you have a baby, there are some things that you need to do first. The most important ones for us, we decided, are to be living somewhere other than the apartment we're living in now---I love it but it's small, noisy, and entirely possible that the baby would be scarred for life after waking up from a nap to discover this---and for both of us to be happy and settled in our jobs and careers. On a slightly lower rung, I'd like to have started actually writing this book I keep thinking I want to write---as opposed to just making elaborate plot outlines for it in notebooks I buy specifically for the purpose---and we'd probably want to have got just a little bit more of this wanderlust out of our systems too. (As a handy bonus, this last one strengthens my We Should Totally Go To India! presentation I've been working on for months, as well.  It's in Powerpoint. I have a laser pointer. I'm going to wear a business suit when I deliver it to Sean. Also, I'm thinking graphs and pie charts.)

But, you know, life goes fast. You make plans to get things done and then you don't get things done, or you get waylaid somehow with other things, and who knows when you're ever really ready for what you think you're ready for, you know? And besides, I have this sneaking feeling that you probably never even feel like you actually are.

Answer me this, though: if you had about a year, give or take, before you thought you might just be ready for a baby---or at least ready to get the, uh, show on the road, as it were---what would you do with it? What would you accomplish? What would you make sure you did and what would you tell yourself not to take advantage of while you were doing it? If someone handed you that time and said now listen, you're never going to get back this specific period in your life ever again, how would you spend it? What would you do?

1
jordanferney
Mar 18, 2010

As soon as I get pregnant I get an insatiable desire to ride lots of roller coasters and I can't. Go on lots of roller coasters.

2
Jenny
Mar 18, 2010

I'm a little late to the party, but I had that bathing suit! ZOMG, I had that exact same bathing suit!

3
Marguerite
Mar 18, 2010

Travel and spend lots of money! Sure you can travel with children (we took a trip from Europe to Vancouver last year with our three children and it was great) but it's a lot more expensive and a lot less spur of the moment. And the money, oh man! I didn't realize that cheap airfare tickets, kickass expensive boots and the likes were nothing, really nothing in the grand scheme of things when I was childless and I'd fret and spend money on stupid little things that I don't care about today. Now I could kick myself for not having bought those boots and never having taken that 199$ trip to Vegas.
So get yourselves to India stat!

4
Connie
Mar 18, 2010

Holly, especially as you'll be the one baking the baby and in no particular order the following:
1) Go on a tropical vacation and do nothing that requires advanced planning, i.e., no itinerary just do what you feel like doing that day. Oh and wear a bikini even if you think you shouldn't wear a bikini. You may pop back to your normal girlish figure but odds are that your tummy will never be the same. Trust me, you'll look back on pictures some day and be glad you did it.
2) Start a regular exercise program. It doesn't have to be something intense but being in good shape makes delivery easier. Promise yourself that you'll continue even after the baby because you'll need the stamina, the time alone and the feeling of doing something good for yourself.
3) If there is some splurge purchase that you've longed to do, if it doesn't break the bank, go for it because for the next 20+ years your child will suck up all your money.
4) Savor every night of good sleep.

5
Connie
Mar 18, 2010

PS Definitely go to India!

6
anna
Mar 18, 2010

I had my (unplanned) daughter when I was 24, so I often think about what I would have liked to have done first. I did lots in my brief period of freedom, but I would have liked to have done more! I would advocate buying some expensive handbags, lots of lie-ins, time with your partner, thorough reading of the weekend papers, cinema trips, hangovers, ad-hoc & spontaneous travelling... I guess, when I look back, the thing I most long for is more self indulgent living - babies are pretty much the antithesis of self indulgence.

But we did take a 6 week trip to South Africa & Swaziland last year, & are planning a 3 month trip to India & Nepal this autumn, so it's not all doom & gloom.

7
Nicki
Mar 18, 2010

Worrying about being ready for kids was never a consideration the first tie around. We simply set to work and had them. (Two...of course.) And now that I'm heading down the aisle a second time, we contemplate kids. Such a tough call. SO many things to consider. So little time to consider it all. It's a real nail biter.

8
edj
Mar 18, 2010

Ummm....NOT to freak you out or anything, but in my life, as soon as I reached the "ok, it's possible to have a baby, maybe I'll try to get pregnant next year or so?" stage, I got pregnant! On a backpacking trip in Banff/Jasper. So look out!

But kids are portable, especially when small. My youngest (twins) just turned 13 and have so far been in 3 african countries and 7 European ones plus Mexico and Hawaii. Don't think that kids mean your wandering days are over. It changes things a bit, I admit, but it's VERY possible!

Travel, sleep in and write that book...you have 9 months to move. Oh and definitely go to India, and while you are there stop in at the Maldives!!!

10
Windy
Mar 18, 2010

Yes, travel, climb a mountain, etc. But what I really miss is my old freedom to spend the weekend any way I wanted. Yes, one of us can stay home with the baby, while the other wanders around the city shopping or seeing movies, but I miss doing those things together. Or at the very least, I miss doing those things without feeling guilty that my husband is home minding the baby. So, relish the ordinary! I miss the movies and going out to dinner. Sigh.

11
Caroline
Mar 18, 2010

Go an your trip.

Having kids might not happen as immediately (or easily) as you want them to happen. Go ahead and start trying now while in India.

12
mjb
Mar 18, 2010

We're at this stage now because we decided that with my age (29) we'd rather not delay too much longer so we can fit in multiple kids, and so as soon as we were down to one mortgage instead of two we started trying. But of course now the thoughts of a six month vacation and how we'll ever travel again are big things. We both have fine jobs, but there are definitely things we'll have to work out along the way.

13
madge
Mar 18, 2010

BRUNCH! Go to at least one, lazy, mimosa-laden brunch every weekend until you have a baby. Brunch is the thing I miss most about being child-free.

Well, that and adults-only travel.

14
Home Sweet Sarah
Mar 18, 2010

Ah, Babies. I feel like everyone's got Babies on the mind these days.

My husband and I are...well, getting the show on the road, as you put it, and we definitely went through the Is the timing right? and What do we want to do first? questions.

For us it came down to having a bigger place/owning a home.

The only other thing that we wanted to do was travel, but when we got to thinking about it, it was like hmm, spend thousands of dollars on a trip to Asia or Europe and then save the money all over again AND THEN get the show on the road? It just didn't seem to add up. (Plus, from everything I've heard, kids are a pretty awesome trip in their own right.)

Also, I had that bathing suit, as well. Mine was a gift from my mom's friend and I remember her making a huge deal over the fact that it was Adrienne Vittadini.

15
alison
Mar 18, 2010

I can't think of anything specific, b/c even if you go to every movie that comes out between now and baby time, and even if you travel to every country that's been on your to-do list, you will still miss those carefree days once the little one comes along. So my suggestion is to adopt the mindset that you are FULLY appreciating every thing you are doing right now. Like meeting your husband for drinks after work. Spontaneously deciding to go out to dinner on a Thursday night. Or even a Friday night. Just enjoy these moments, and appreciate them for what they are worth, and realize that they will all end when you pop out that first bambino. But what you get in return is so lovely in such a different way...so appreciate that, too, when the time comes.

16
A'Dell
Mar 18, 2010

Once we decided we wanted kids, I wanted them right that second. So this idea of waiting it out to put wheels in motion isn't AT ALL what we did.

That said, you should definitely move and definitely go to India.

I think the shocking eye-opener for me is that I don't even miss my life pre-baby. Everything is fun and interesting and BETTER to do with Claire. We took her to Maui when she was 6 months old, college football games when she was 11 months old and tons of bars, restaurants, lakes, concerts and parties in between.

I don't think babies are the end of an era - it's just a shift in how you plan your days.

17
Locusts and Wild Honey
Mar 18, 2010

BABIESSSSSSSSSSS

I'm just reading the answers too and taking notes. Just wanted to say, Go babies!

18
whoorl
Mar 18, 2010

Well, I'm here to say that traveling with a baby is not bad, so don't be worried about that. We took Wito on his first trip out of the country when he was 12 weeks old and the boy has now flown over 60 times. (In fact, the earlier you start, the better!)

HOWEVER, with that being said, take a super relaxing vacation in which you don't do anything but eat, drink, read, sun and sleep. Oh! And lots of naps. I miss random napping.

19
Natalie
Mar 18, 2010

Brunch. With friends. On a whim! My gosh, I miss those days. And while one baby is pretty portable, two generally makes that traveling screech to a halt, at least in my experience. Go to India!

20
MissM
Mar 18, 2010

Travel, travel, travel, and work out. Those are the two things that I find to be the hardest with children in tow. They are not impossible by any stretch, just more complicated and tend to get put on the back burner.

There is never a perfect time to have a baby, and you will make it work when it happens. It is really fun though. Your whole life will change. Mostly in good ways :)

21

Yes. Everything you said yes. We got married in Jan '09 and although I didn't have any kind of baby fever before, I sure have since.

We're going to start trying next year, and until then I'm doing everything. I'm jumping at every opportunity, every chance to travel, try a new beer, jump out of a plane, I've done some nutty things in the past year- and I plan on doing more.

22
kage
Mar 18, 2010

I had that bathing suit, and it had plastic clips on the sides so you could detach the top and bottom when you took it off. Weird.

AAAANYWAYS....about the pre-baby year. I think traveling is the biggest thing for us, because babysitters generally like to go home at the end of the night and babies don't store well in the overhead compartment. You see the problem!

23
Lauren
Mar 18, 2010

For me, having babies was THE thing that I wanted to do before anything else. I had my first baby four months ago, and I've never been happier. He is so awesome!

Sure, there are other things that I WANT to do... build a house, travel more, write a screenplay... but I want to do those things WITH my kids (and I want a lot more kids).

24
loonytick
Mar 18, 2010

SLEEP.

Sleep in.

Travel.

SLEEP.

Oh, and it would be a good idea to go ahead and start taking folic acid supplements so you've got plenty in your system whenever the time comes.

25
Kate
Mar 18, 2010

My husband and I began having these talks a couple of years ago while he was in law school. At the time I made a mental list a mile long of things I'd like to do/see/acquire before having a baby. As the baby-lust has picked up (and boy, has it ever - for both of us!) the list has shortened. I feel like it's great to give yourself a time line; originally I thought we'd be ready after everything on the list was done. At the end of the day though, I know that we can handle anything and why not take future-baby along for the ride?

26
Jenn
Mar 18, 2010

I am not the best one to be answering this question since I've been married for almost nine years and the older I get, the less I want kids! BUT I would think that sleeping would be pretty high on the list. Hell, I would take a vacation week and do nothing BUT sleep because you may not be able to sleep again until the kid is 30.

I think I'd do the wanderlust thing like you've mentioned. That way I knew when I got pregnant and dealt with the crying and the not sleeping and the tiny person totally dependent on me that I wouldn't be thinking, "Must run away to India and never return."

I say make a mini Mighy List, and work as hard as humanly possible to knock off all the 'no kids allowed' items on it before you start trying.

28
Annegirrl
Mar 18, 2010

Sleep. That is really the only thing I miss. We do everything else with the kiddo still. If we want to see a movie? Kiddo goes to a sitter. If we want to take a trip without kiddo? That's what grandparents are for.

Actually, babies and kids change your life and you really don't miss the old one because the new one is just so much better. So, so much better than you thought it would be.

29
SF Reader
Mar 18, 2010

I second everything Annegirrl said. You can do everything you were doing before, except both sleep late at the same time. And you don't even resent that because the other stuff is so ridiculously good.

And, honestly, things like having a small apartment, unsettled careers... all those things that you think would matter... they don't. In fact, they're just as easy to change with another family member as when you were just two.

30
Julie Fronmueller
Mar 18, 2010

Read lots of books that don't have pictures. Hang out at coffee shops. See R rated movies. Long, leisurely brunches with girlfriends. Happy hour with your husband or friends. Stay up late. Sleep in. Go shopping in stores that have beautiful, breakable things. Be spontaneous. Leave the house with just a tiny purse. Art museums (although mine did very well at the Louvre this past summer at ages 6 and 9). Drink too much champagne in the afternoon. Have long, uninterrupted conversations with your husband And take that trip to India. Now. And go anywhere else that strikes your fancy.

31
Kelly
Mar 18, 2010

To me...having a baby changed everything & nothing at the same time. But it's not like we were jetting off to India or anything, either!
Definitely do the big trip if you want to, but don't start the "we're waiting to have children until blah-blah happens..." because there will ALWAYS be more blah-blah! That's just life, and a life like yours & Sean's will be even better with a baby in the mix. I promise. :)

32
Amy
Mar 18, 2010

Here's my list:

Get out of debt (if you have any). You'll want lots of flexibility when you have a baby, so get the cars, credit cards, etc. paid off now.

Get into good shape. Pregnancy and childbirth are athletic events.

Enjoy the child-free life you have now. Travel, drink lots of wine, skydive, ride roller coasters, eat sushi.

Don't worry too much about your house/apartment. You'll have 9 months in nesting mode to take care of that.

Now I need to get back to work on all of the above...

33
amber, theAmberShow
Mar 18, 2010

Thank you for asking this question! I've been wondering, too. I feel like I've got only half an orange of Life Before Babies left and I need to squeeze the heck out of it. But how?! I'm getting ideas.

34
chirky
Mar 18, 2010

Having a(n adorable) six-month-old baby, I think I am qualified to help answer this question. These are things we would do-over:

1. Get out of any debt, any debt whatsoever, whether it's student loans or cars or credit cards.

2. If you're remodeling your house (ummmm, me!), FINISH IT FIRST. It's kind of annoying to have to drag rugs and foam pads everywhere I am just to prevent baby from rolling around on CONCRETE.

3. Sleep. Sleep in, go to bed early. Go on lots of dates. Lots and lots and lots of dates. I used to be an 8-hour (plus) per night kind of girl. Now I'm more like six hours. The first three months were hardest: working on 2 hours of sleep per day (!!!) for days on end. I remember the first time I slept four hours in a row, I felt like a new woman. It was glorious. SLEEP.

As for travel, Roger and I have continued to travel. Babies are extremely portable. We used to think that we wouldn't want to take our children with us on "big" trips, and now we're exactly the opposite. We couldn't imagine being away from Rayah for long, and we're so excited to share this world with her, even at a young age.

35
Jennie
Mar 18, 2010

Sleep in a hammock, nap on the couch, sleep in a nice plush hotel bed, doze on a blanket in the park, stay in bed on a rainy day and watch movies, sleep under an umbrella on the beach. Seriously.
I just had a baby six months ago.

Definitely go for your "babymoon" too- ugh, hate that name.

36
Kate in Ohio
Mar 18, 2010

I would go on that trip to India and anywhere else exotic that you want to go. Take time for you as a person and you and Sean as a couple. Once you have a child that time gets sucked into the child until the end of all time. Ditto your money. Children are moeny vaccuumms. Once you think you have a cushion of money there will be a crisis, event of a lifetime that they will need and it will be your pleasure to give it to them. I can't imagine my life without my children. I would do anything for them, and do it gladly, but sometimes I miss my pre-child bank account and body.

37
Maria
Mar 18, 2010

Can I just say that I love your blog and I'm selfishly hoping that even when the babies do come along, NBB will never become a MUMMY BLOG. Totally go to India!

38
Camels & Chocolate
Mar 18, 2010

This is great. And also deep. I need to sit on it for awhile, man.

39
simon
Mar 18, 2010

Have so much sex between now and then that you're both sick of it. Have so much sex that you get so tired of having sex that you both say, "Man, I don't want to have very much sex at all over the next few years. No thanks. Nope, don't want to. No more sex for me for a while, thank you very much."

That's what you should do. Not that we've had that issue, but I've heard that some people do...

40
Ashley
Mar 18, 2010

I would travel. We have two boys (5 and 3), my oldest has always traveled easily but my youngest is an absolute nightmare. A day trip with him is near impossible. So what I'm saying, you never know what kind of kid you will get in regards to travel ease. Most everything else you can hire a sitter for :)

41
Kayla
Mar 18, 2010

Before getting pregnant with our first my husband and I took a surf trip to Costa Rica with his brother. It was the type of trip where we just wandered around with our rental car and a map for a week and I lazed around on beaches while they surfed wherever and whenever they could. We stayed at some of the humblest places you could imagine (that were still clean) and ate at every hole in the wall roadside stand we could find. It was perfect.

42
Jessica K.
Mar 18, 2010

I would definitely say travel, but I would also say save as much money as you can. I was so shocked when I had my son that I wanted to stay home with him (My work said I could have a certain schedule and then changed their minds when I returned from leave.) Keep as many of your pennies as you possibly can so that you don't have to make the sacrifice of time with your child.
I think the greatest gift you can give your children is the world, so travel with your child. As both of you seem to have the wanderlust and love of this gorgeous world, so will your child. You will see the world in new and beautiful ways.

43
Maya
Mar 18, 2010

I would like to say that I SERIOUSLY *KNEW* THIS POST WAS COMING. And I'm quite happy you brought it up, since I am currently blog-less. Or blog-free. I think the Thing is to do whatever you, personally and as a couple, need/want to do (within reason) so that you can say 'we'll always have...India' as you look over wee fuzzy headed little Sean/Holly Jr.

ps. would LOVE to see this happen. you're my favorite couple on the internet, bar none!

PPS. On my list was "travel to Southeast Asia'. Now I'm adding things to the list in hopes of buying myself some mental time.

44
Sarah
Mar 18, 2010

Sleep. Sleep a lot. Then sleep some more.

That said, I wouldn't trade my "before" life for anything. Hearing a gleeful "Mama!" when he sees me from across the playground immediately erases all the awful nights.

45
The Girl Who
Mar 18, 2010

Everyone wants you to travel travel travel. You've been traveling your entire life. I say, save the money you'd spend traveling. Seriously. SAVE MONEY. BUY A HOUSE. SAVE MORE MONEY.

Also, try to decide well before baby what your plan will be as far as working/daycare and who will shoulder what specific responsibilities.

46
jen
Mar 18, 2010

We've been married for 7 years and just had this same conversation in December. So...we're not exactly "trying" but we're no longer preventing it and it certainly puts things in perspective! My list is very short - save money. We don't have any debt right now and we both have pretty good jobs. I have heard babies are terribly expensive, so while we are still enjoying ourselves with trips and what not...I've curbed my spontaneous spending and I'm developing quite the nest egg. Oh, and i'm sleeping a TON. I've heard I'll miss it.
Love this post!

47
Meghan
Mar 18, 2010

This could not have come at a better time for me. I scheduled my first appointment to meet a midwife today. Now I am totally freaked out that we are not ready and there are too many things to do on our lists etc. Reading all of this made me feel better (except about the sleep- that I still feel bad about).

48
April
Mar 18, 2010

Kids can travel. It's especially easy when they are little and if you are able to breastfeed, but even if you are not able to, like me, travel is still totally doable with kids. All three of mine were born in Central Asia and we travel all the time. We have changed how we travel a bit, we tend to pick a spot and stay for a while, doing daily adventures from a main hub, as opposed to constantly packing up and moving on. For instance, last year we went to the south of France for 5 weeks. Next year it will be Italy (and Austria and Sweden to visit family.) My point is, you can still do it, and writing, my friend, is the perfect job for a mama on the go!

49
April
Mar 18, 2010

Oh and by alternating the years we go on bigger trips (as well as shamelessly couch surfing wherever possible) we are able to save up for each trip. We work a little harder, give up a little more and do what makes us all really happy, namely exploring the world.

50
Leah
Mar 18, 2010

Travel, travel, travel. You can travel with kids, obviously, but it's a pain in the rear and, more importantly, unless you bring a babysitter along with you, you have to plan your trips about stupid things like naptime, and that's no fun.

51
lindsay
Mar 18, 2010

I second the post that says you may not have babies as immediately as you plan. That's been the shocker for me. BUT, that being said, watching my friends with kids the thing they miss the most is being able to check out. Once you have kids, especially if you're a mom, you're always on call. So whatever you do to check out, do it, relish it, remember it, value it. and then I'd do the travel thing -- because even if kids are portable, that is one more plane/train/museum/ski lift/whatever ticket you'll have to pay for and again - you can't check out. so go.to.india.now.

52
Karin
Mar 18, 2010

Connie nailed it: Traveling, exercising, splurging, sleeping.

And then start adding some folic acid pills into your regular diet, just in case. Have fun!

53
Jen
Mar 18, 2010

Travel. Most anything else you can do relatively easily with kids (especially if you have family to babysit for free!) but travel is a whole new thing. We took a trip to Italy before we started trying to make a baby, and it was the best decision EVER.

And maybe take a nap or two ;)

54
ling
Mar 18, 2010

Um, basically what everyone else has already said. At one point we thought that having better careers and a much bigger home were important, and then realized that those things probably wouldn't happen before the clock ran out if we wanted more than one child. There's never the perfect time, but we decided the "fertile" time was probably best. Now that I'm 3 months pregnant, I'm enjoying sleep and being lazy when I want to be, and am glad we made our trip to Australia last year before we started trying (it had been on my list for at least 15 years). So if you can afford India, GO.

55
Melissa
Mar 18, 2010

Travel, travel, travel! But I do have to say that we have gone to Europe once and are going again in May since having the bambinos! Both times were/will be bambino free. So, it is still possible if you have a good support network to take care of said bambinos while you are gone. I miss eating out! We still do, but it isn't the twice a week that it used to be. More like once a month. So, eat out as much as possible without having to worry about getting up early the next morning!

56
Tanya
Mar 18, 2010

Children aren't the icing on the cake; they are the salt. Salt controls the rate of expansion (our pride) strengthens the dough (our character) and enhances flavor.

Where you travel, where you live, what your name tag says...those are the memories the family will savor for a lifetime...and cake is always best when shared.

57
James
Mar 19, 2010

If you both want kids, then don't think too hard. Wondering what you should do before you have kids will eventually be replaced with astonishment at how incomplete your life was before you had kids.

And forget about trying to be "ready" for children. It's a transformative experience that has zero to do with being ready.

And if you're having more than one, remember that the first kid is like parenting with training wheels. It's the next one that will really rock your world!

58
birdgal
Mar 19, 2010

I'm probably echoing what others have said here, but some of the best advice I can give is, you'll never be 'READY' to have kids. None of us are/were. If we all waited until we were totally and completely capital R 'ready', we'd never have kids! :)

59
Emma
Mar 19, 2010

My partner and I had this realisation about 2 years ago and we both have always had huge wanderlust so this was the main concern for us!

We both sat down with a piece of paper each and on one side wrote the places we would HAVE to see before kids and then on the other the places we wanted to go to but could wait OR were kid friendly.
We then looked at both lists and made a master list (luckily most places were the same or easy to compromise on).

The last two years have been full of amazingly expensive holidays to China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Argentina, Brazil, Cuba as well as lots of smaller trips to Europe (based in UK). We have loved every minute of it!!
The wanderlust has definately been cooled and we now have a new list of places to look forward to going to with the kids when they arrive!

60
Kader
Mar 19, 2010

Move to a bigger place! Because moving while pregnant or parenting a small child--yuck.
Also, I would definitely go to India! And, then go again when your child is older. One cannot go to India too many times. Really.

61
marymuses
Mar 19, 2010

Travel as much as possible, and sleep in at every opportunity. Also, nap when you feel like it. Stay out late knowing that there will be no small person deciding that 5:45am is a perfectly reasonable time to get up.

Clearly, I'm big on sleep.

My husband and I don't have kids yet, but we are waiting for our adoption referral from Ethiopia, and I am well aware of how much our lives will change once she comes home, particularly in the sleep department. Last time I checked, most babies won't let you sleep just one more hour if you ask them reasonably.

62
tara
Mar 19, 2010

before my husband and i had kids, we traveled as much as possible. we were together a long time before we got married, and travel, food and family have always been big for us. however, we were determined to fold our little guys into our lives and continue to do what we love, WITH them.

since having a baby (#2 is on the way), my biggest learning is that life does not need to slow down after kids. our first bebe is 2.5, and we've been to europe 3 times with him, along with about 20 trips all over the country, including hawaii (our families are all spread out). we go out to eat at least once a week, all 3 of us. so, ENJOY your pre-baby time, because with kids things require just a little more planning. but also know that life does not stop with kids!!!

63
tara
Mar 19, 2010

before my husband and i had kids, we traveled as much as possible. we were together a long time before we got married, and travel, food and family have always been big for us. however, we were determined to fold our little guys into our lives and continue to do what we love, WITH them.

since having a baby (#2 is on the way), my biggest learning is that life does not need to slow down after kids. our first bebe is 2.5, and we've been to europe 3 times with him, along with about 20 trips all over the country, including hawaii (our families are all spread out). we go out to eat at least once a week, all 3 of us. so, ENJOY your pre-baby time, because with kids things require just a little more planning. but also know that life does not stop with kids!!!

64
Allison
Mar 19, 2010

My advice is to have the baby sooner rather than later. As far as I can tell from reading your blog, you have had an amazing and fascinating life. I have no doubt that you will continue to have an amazing and fascinating life with baby.

The reason for my advice is that I have found, having had my babies when I was 29, 33, and 35, respectively, that the older you get, the harder pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood are. My third son ... hoo boy. It was tough.

Anyway, all of this doesn't mean you can't go to India. Just go now!

65
Patty V
Mar 19, 2010

You have already done all the traveling that I would have liked to do before having kids.

So I have to agree with every word that Allison just wrote. I had my my first child at age 27, my fourth at 34, and that last one was definitely the hardest. So do it sooner rather than later! Since it's something you both want you will have no regrets.

Also, exercise every day you are pregnant!

Oh, and start a college fund the very day your baby is born. With 3 kids in college now, I sure regret not doing that.

66
Rachel
Mar 19, 2010

For us, I knew we were ready to have a baby when I didn't care about all the stuff I thought I wanted to do before having one. At some point, you want the baby more than theoretical trip you might take to Japan or whatever. That is when ou are ready. It turns out that your life is not less complete because you didn't complete your list of things to do before having kids. It's totally complete, just different from what you expected.

67
elz
Mar 19, 2010

The only advice I have is to get updated swimsuit pictures taken before baby. I would suggest something other than the monokini!

68
heidikins
Mar 20, 2010

You know, in an odd, not-entirely-connected-to-the-topic-of-this-post kind of way, I have come to a decision in the 3 minutes it took to read this through: I am moving. To another country. Probably China. Sometime in the next 12 months.

Wanderlust anyone?

At any rate, thank you for posting this, it's going to be bookmarked as one of those Change Your Life types of things from the vast caches of the Internets.

xox

69
Maggie Mason
Mar 21, 2010

Your life doesn't go away when you have a baby. If you choose to, you can just be you with a baby beside you, instead of being "Mommy Holly."

I wrote my book in my last trimester. It was nice to have a project to look forward to instead of freaking out when I had random bouts of insomnia.

We traveled _a lot_ with Hank (we took our first roadtrip when he was 5 weeks old), but the type of travel we did changed. We couldn't really get tipsy spontaneously (which made me feel old at first), and as he gets older we think more about whether there will be a pool or a beach at our destination.

If you're going to book pre-baby travel, go to places where you need shots and have to worry about the drinking water. Post baby travel, go to countries that love babies. Italy and Argentina are both better with babies because the cultures are really joyful about family and little ones.

Babies are really nice. You'll be terrific parents, and you have lots of time to get used to the changes. Hooray!

70
Bonni Simmons
Mar 21, 2010

I would have finished school BEFORE the baby :) Second bachelor's, by the way, I'm not 18. It is SO much harder to deal with work, school and a baby.

This may sound simplistic, but make sure that you are ready to have every moment of your life revolve around someone else. It is the greatest thing ever, but I was not prepared for the complete lack of selfishness that accompanies mommyhood.

I waited until I was 30 and I still don't think it was long enough. I love my daughter to pieces but it was a big adjustment. And heaven forbid - we are talking about another one as she prepares for her first birthday!

Good luck! :)

71
Patty
Mar 21, 2010

I would make sure I was financially stable enough to quit work after I had a baby. That may not be the choice made, but it's good to be able to make that choise.

I was sure I wanted to go back to work after I had my first baby. But when the time came, I wanted nothing more that to be able to stay home with him. We couldn't swing that financially, so I suffered through being a working mom.

72
Amye
Mar 22, 2010

Spend money on frivolous things... lots of them... for no reason, hence the frivolous part.

73
Courtney
Mar 22, 2010

Don't even think about it, just let it happen. You both know you'll love it to pieces, you both have amazing supportive families, and the minute you find out, that moment you find out together, is the best moment you will have... planning anything is exhausting. Trying to time a life changing event to fall perfectly into place adds so much stress. just be surprised. We don't have much in our lives that fully Surprise us, let this be it.

74
Jenn Foster
Mar 22, 2010

Um, I think that it's really really important to be honest with yourself, and figure out what you want to do first before you have a baby. It is MUCH more difficult financially to switch careers or build a career with a child. And MUCH more expensive to travel with a baby. And YES, many people miss their childless lives. Many. But obviously you want to have a child - just read a lot and follow your own inner voice about what to do. But I do think telling people that you don't lose much is pretty much a gigantic lie. It's much better to be forthright about it.

75
leigh
Mar 23, 2010

I have a two year old and this list is freaking me out. Just enjoy your life. It's good for you now and it will be good after. Even if you do everything you thought you wanted to do you'll still miss something, but that's life. You'll make it work.

76
pete
Mar 24, 2010

travel. spend. sleep. be spontaneous in all three.

and really focus on each other, because after a baby, you each fall to 2nd place, no matter what anyone says.

77
Kate
Mar 24, 2010

I spent a lot of time thinking about this, but then it turned out my partner and I went from "you know, it would be fun to start thinking about trying for a baby in year or two" to "I really want a baby right now" in a couple of months. So I agree with the person above who said at some point (and maybe sooner than you would think), your "before list" might not seem as crucial. Our baby is due in 4 months now, hopefully just after my big pre-baby goal - finish my dissertation!

78
Erin
Mar 24, 2010

Sleep. A lot. Go out to brunch with alcohol involved. Take one more great trip, if you can afford it. Save money for a cleaning person -- seriously. That's all. The main thing I miss is sleep and brunch without kids, and having a clean house. Kids are fantastic!

79
Emma
Mar 26, 2010

I went to India in my last year before having our daughter. I went with my girlfriend, leaving my supportive husband at home and had the time of my life. I am 18 months into parenthood and oh god I miss things like slow brunches, browsing leisurely in bookstores and having my haircut. But it is awesome and I wouldn't change a damn thing. Also, when you have your baby, don't be in a hurry to want him or her to get to the next stage, to grow up and be less dependent, it goes really fast anyway. Finally, please, do not hesitate to go to India. Just go. It is awesome.

80
NicoleT
Mar 30, 2010

I concur with the advice to sleep and travel. Yes you can do these with kids, but it is cheaper and easier without.

Now that our three and a half-week old baby is here, I am wishing that I had purged a lot more stuff before he got here. I also wish that I had spent more time with babies before I had my own. Mind you, I am an experienced baby handler, but NOTHING prepares you for an inconsolable newborn who is wiggly and poopy and a boy that can AIM.

I would also advise that you talk about how you will explain how the baby got here to the baby. Because before you know it, they are asking questions and one or both of you are fumbling to explain it in an age appropriate manner.

81
erotik shop
Mar 31, 2010

Spend money on frivolous things... lots of them... for no reason, hence the frivolous part

82
kvv
Mar 31, 2010

I'm reading the comments with half an eye, because, well, I'm 4 months pregnant. We've been married 3.5 years, started talking about it and boom! It happened. So I'm trying not to read and be too regretful on what we did or didn't do yet. I'm going to make the best of it, and our kid will be a traveler!

That said, being 4 months pregnant in Egypt wasn't that fun. The exhaust from all the traffic was just killer.

83
Ashley
Mar 31, 2010

TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL! :)

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Kevin
Sep 17, 2010

Gosh... you guys obsessed with India much? Lots more places in the world to travel than that.

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