5 Things I wish I’d done before having Kids
I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be a Mum – I just always knew.
Like many little kids, I played with dolls and cooed over every baby I saw, begging my parents to have another baby purleeeeeease – to no avail. Very selfish of them.
The cooing continued as I grew up and I still go weak at the knees every time I see a baby so when my husband and I decided that we’d try for one of our own, I was beyond excited.
MY very own little baby to cuddle and to dress up and to play with and to take everywhere and you know, stuff like that. I naively thought I would get pregnant instantly. Like the day after we made the decision or, at the very most, that month. No, it took a bit longer than that. Not a lot longer but a good few months but as you can imagine, when the 2 pink lines appeared, we were over the moon.
Now as I said earlier, I’ve always known I wanted to get pregnant. Always. Do you think that made me get my act together before I got pregnant? No, of course it didn’t!
I’ve been thinking recently, as my pregnancy with baby #2 flies by, about the things I wish I’d done before having Kids. Bearing in mind I’m in my mid 30s, I had a lot of time to accomplish these first but I didn’t.
This is not a bucket list of the things I wish I’d done before I was tied down with kids but the things that would have helped me during my pregnancy and as a new parent. You know, practical things.
So I’m laying them out for you, in case you have time before you get pregnant, so you can think about what you might want or need to do first. Unlike me, I hope you can motivate yourself to do them!
1. Get Fit
Yes yes yes, I know this is on most people’s To Do lists, pregnant or not. I just really under-estimated the impact pregnancy would have on my super-unfit body. I’m not in the worst shape but pregnancy has really highlighted to me how unfit I am – I can’t always blame the expanding bump for being out of breath!
I really wish I’d gotten fitter, just a little bit fit would have done. And I wish I’d done squats or cycled or something to strengthen my knees/legs because as the bump grows it’s a little harder to lug it around.
I promised myself after the first pregnancy that I would do this before the next one. I failed.
2. Made Childcare Arrangements
We lived in Sydney, Australia when our first baby was born and it wasn’t until I was a good few months pregnant that I starting thinking about what we would do for childcare arrangements. Little did I know about childcare waiting lists! I just assumed that there would be room but NO – in some areas of Sydney your child might sit on a waiting list for 2 years before there’s a space for them. 2 years!! So basically, I should have been putting my potential baby on a childcare wait before we’d even gotten married, let alone gotten pregnant.
In the UK, where we live now, this doesn’t seem to be as much of an issue but I’d definitely recommend that if you’re considering trying for a baby, do some research in your area so you’re as prepared as possible because having to travel 30 minutes away from your workplace every day to put your child in daycare is no fun.
3. Started a Maternity Leave Savings Account
Or I suppose, any savings account. We didn’t start saving for my maternity leave until I was pregnant – why would I before? Well I wish I had as I might have been able to afford more time off on maternity leave. Again, it didn’t cross my mind before as we were enjoying just being a couple – going out, going on holidays etc. The last thing we would have thought of doing was save up for a potential baby when we didn’t know the potential of our relationship at that point.
In hindsight I should have been saving anyway – for a rainy day or an emergency fund, if not a baby. It might have made all the difference.
4. Found out more about Newborn Babies
Ok, I’m undecided on this one. Despite my obsession with bambinos, I literally knew nothing about them. I had never had a younger sibling, never baby sat, never really been around babies. I had heard of their potential to not sleep at night. I didn’t bargain for them not sleeping in the day time either! I didn’t realise they some (mine) might cry a LOT. I didn’t know even how to change a nappy.
Perhaps I should have paid more attention to my friends who already had kids. I might have been a better friend to them if I had too!
That said though, perhaps it was better to be blissfully unaware of how challenging newborns can be or Mr M might have changed his mind about us having one!
I’d had baby #1 when I first started writing this blog but I wish I’d had the inclination to start it sooner – perhaps during my first pregnancy. Although I write weekly pregnancy updates now, I would have loved to keep a record of the thoughts and feelings I had during my first pregnancy – just for my own memories.
This blog is a wonderfully therapeutic outlet for me now as a mother and being pregnant again and like a lot of new mums, I did sometimes feel like I’d lost myself a bit when I became a mum for the first time. I think starting the blog earlier would have helped me retain a sense of myself.
Apart from that, I’ve also had the opportunity to meet so many other parents and expectant parents and that network would have been lovely to have first time around too!
What about you – what do you wish you’d done before you got pregnant or became a parent? What advice would you have for others considering starting a family?