What do you want to do before you have kids?
Is there some dream vacation to the Eiffel tower? Did you always want to learn how to swim or run a marathon? Do you have a MasterCard that you’d like to pay off?
Now’s your chance. We are planning a year in advance. So here are some questions to ask yourself to help get you started.
Do you have a dream?
Travel dreams seem to be the most common. Will you resent your children for never allowing you to backpack across Europe? Just because you are having a kid does not mean that you can’t live out your dreams or that you wont develop new dreams. Believe it or not, you can even travel with kids! But this might be the push that you need to have one more special adventure before your priorities shift.
I’ve been married for eight years to an amazing man. We romped around Europe for a semester, lived in California for four years, have gone bungee-jumping and ski-diving, and zip-lined through the Amazon rain-forest, all while earning three degrees. I am currently living my dream and building my dream practice. I still have dreams for progress and travel, but I don’t have anything that is time pressed in this category. I am in more of a steady-work phase for this type of dreaming, but I still wanted to bring it up for you because you might be in a different stage.
What does life with baby look like?
When we lived in California, my husband and I adopted a reactive mystery-mutt. He was a lot of work, but is now a beautiful, smart, very friendly office dog. He is great with kids, but not so great with introductions to other dogs. I have always pictured myself as a hardcore stroller-walking mama. When I have a baby, I would like to be able to walk a stroller in town with baby and dog in tow without worrying about my dog lunging or pulling toward another dog. To make this goal happen, I am going to hire a dog-trainer to help me further Enoch’s training and force me to be more consistent with him. (The result will likely be the topic for a later post.)
What habits do you want to establish?
Are there any regular activities that you need to implement in order to become the person that you want to be as a parent?
I have two goals in this category.
1 – Have the kitchen clean before I go to bed at night. I know this is a really basic goal, but consistency is my issue here. I am a neat-freak deep down inside, but I have gotten into the terrible habit of leaving the dishes out on the counter until they reach critical mass. This is cause for stress for both me and my husband. Forcing myself to take those extra 10-20 minutes directly after the meal to clean the kitchen should help it become habitual and establish a routine that is easy to maintain.
2 – Establish a regular exercise routine. This should probably be a goal for everyone. If you aren’t able to make time to work out before you have kids, you are going to really struggle (or lose this concept all together) once you have children. Go through your weekly schedule. Where can you prioritize or re-organize your time to encourage regular physical activity? Having children – going through pregnancy, giving birth, and chasing around little munchkins – is like an athletic event. You need to train your body to be ready for it so that it will be easier, less likely to injure you, and more fun.
When I talked to my husband about this one, he said his goal for this year is to train himself to function with only seven hours of sleep a night. Even all throughout college, he never compromised on his sleep time or quality for the sake of an over-night cram session. This should be an interesting endeavour.
Here are some ideas to help the wheels start turning:
- Eat more vegetables.
- Run three times a week.
- Learn how to ski.
- Hike the high-rim trail.
- Pay off your student loan.
- Get a tattoo.
- Plant a garden in the backyard.
- Cook supper at home 5 nights a week.
- Fix the broken radiator.
- Model for an art class.
- Run a marathon.
Be realistic. You can have more than one goal, but don’t over-do it. Write down your goals, talk about them with your partner, and then make a plan on how you are going to make them happen. Remember, our emphasis is more on long-term lifestyles rather than quick-fix solutions.
I’d love to hear what is on your baby bucket list. Send a comment or email and perhaps we will be able to do an update post.