When you’re an expectant mom, there’s no shortage of things you need to do to prepare for the arrival of your baby. Pregnancy websites and books will give you plenty of lists of things that you really should be doing (like visiting your OB regularly) interspersed with things that, if we’re being honest, no one ever needs to do, ever (like putting headphones on your belly so your baby can listen to classical music), and a healthy dose of things that are apparently just intended to stress you out (like “figure out if you’re financially stable enough to have a child.” Well, um, if I realize I’m not, it’s a little late now, isn’t it??) If you stop in at certain baby stores to register, they’ll give you a list of things you must get for your baby that, if you purchased them all, would require you to buy an extra house to store all of your baby’s “necessities” in.
With all of those lists, it’s hard to know which things are actually important and which things aren’t. So as a mom who’s currently expecting her second child, I decided to help you by… making another list. Here are some things that you should definitely do at least one more time before your baby arrives…
1. Sit in complete silence. Hear that? Of course you don’t. It’s silent. No crying, no noise machines, no baby swing that plays the same annoying melody over and over, no battery-powered toys, no sing-along CDs, no Elmo, no “shrieking phase.” Ah, silence – I never appreciated it until it became so very, very hard to come by.
2. Take the longest shower in the history of mankind. Use that hair mask that you bought last year but only used once because it has to be left in for 45 minutes. Give your legs the most thorough shave they’ve ever had. Loofah. Run out of hot water. Continue showering in cold water, just because you can. Once your newborn arrives, a ten minute shower will be as exciting (and infrequent) as a trip to Hawaii is today.
3. Read a book. I’m not talking about What to Expect While You’re Expecting or The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy. I mean a book with characters and a plot. The kind that requires you to be semi-awake and coherent if you want to actually understand what’s going on. Now that my son is two, I read novels again, but I know that’s going to change once the new baby comes. Up until my son was about a year old, I was usually just too tired to read for long periods of time. And if I was reading, it was The No-Cry Sleep Solution, or Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, or Sweet Moses, Why Won’t My Baby Just Sleep?? (Ok, I made that last one up.) So seriously. Go pick up a book right now. While I was pregnant with my first, I stayed up until 5am reading books two and three of The Hunger Games trilogy. I still think back on that night with fondness. And while we’re on the subject of losing sleep…
4. Nap. I don’t feel like this requires an explanation.
5. Take all of your prized possessions that you’d be devastated to see broken or lost or thrown up on, and place them carefully in a large box. Then drive that box to a storage unit. In another state. And don’t get it back out until your youngest child moves out of the house. I’m not saying that all of your nice things will be ruined – I’m saying that some of them will be. And you won’t know which ones until after it happens. (And don’t think that things that are up high are safe. I think I was a pre-teen when I took my mom’s favorite clock off the wall to change it for Daylight Savings Time and accidentally dropped it on the floor. I’m sorry, Mom!!)
6. Have a lengthy phone conversation about absolutely nothing. Phone conversations become harder after you have a baby. The ironic thing is that you’ll have more things you want to say (“He’s just so adorable! And he smiled a REAL smile! And I’m pretty sure he’s a genius, because he distinctly said ‘ah-goo,’ and the baby books said he shouldn’t be doing that for at least two more months!!”) but much less time in which to say them. I’m not sure when it becomes easier to have a phone conversation after you have kids but I can tell you that it’s not when they’re two years old. So call up an old friend and discuss the weather, your favorite television show, that crazy thing that some celebrity did this week, the weird way the bank teller pronounced your name yesterday, and whether your favorite springtime flower is the daffodil or the tulip. There – that ought to tide you over for a while.
7. Go somewhere. Right now. Seriously. Just grab your keys and your wallet, and go somewhere. Anywhere. The mall, a restaurant, the post office, a friend’s house – where you go doesn’t really matter. The point is that you should take one last chance to savor your ability to just walk out the door at the spur of the moment with no preparation whatsoever. Right now, you can just go. No diaper bag to pack and baby to feed one last time before you head out, no struggling to get a crying infant into a car seat, no trying to plan a trip around naptime and mealtime and cranky time. No showing the babysitter/grandma/nanny where everything is and making sure there’s enough milk and having at least ten clean outfits sitting out for the inevitable diaper blowouts that will occur while you’re gone. You can just…. go. So go. Stop reading this sentence and go somewhere. You can thank me later.