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15 things to do before having kids (i.e., the stuff I’m glad I did/wish I’d done)

Courtesy of Erin Zammett Ruddy

I recently wrote this piece for The Nest and it just went live on their site. As you guys know, I’m not the kind of mom who likes to whine about how hard it is to have kids/how much life changes/how much I wish I could sleep past 7:30 just one weekend/etc. But I also realize that it’s OK to admit, on occasion, that some things were easier before becoming a parent. This does not make you a complainer, it makes you normal. And reminiscing about your life before kids can actually be fun. When I was writing the story I asked some friends for their thoughts on what to get checked off your list pre-baby and, it turns out, we all had plenty to say on the subject (surprise, surprise). Some highlights:

#5 Appreciate the bathroom—alone.

This one bears repeating. Seriously. Revel in the aloneness.

#10 Have boozy lunches with friends.

You’ll probably try this once you have kids, and it will seem great...until you get home and realize you still have to parent and bedtime isn’t for another five hours. D’oh!

#12 Have morning sex.

And doors-open sex. And not-in-the-bedroom sex. And loud sex. Sure, you’ll still have sex post-kids. But most of these particular sex flavors will go off the menu when the little ones arrive, so partake while you can.

#15 Wear as much silk, cashmere, dry-clean-only clothing as you possibly can, while you still can.

Kids can get their gunk on you without even making contact. It’s one of their many superpowers.

A few others that didn’t make The Nest piece but are just as vital to kid prep if you ask me:

  • Try watching shows like Dora the Explorer, Yo Gabba Gabba and The Fresh Beat Band. Now try not to gouge your eyes out. You will eventually need this skill every day of your life.  
  • Consider getting a dog. Not so you can practice caring for a live being (puppies and babies? Very different), but so you won’t have to spend half your day picking up the crumbs kids leave behind. Seriously, you will clean your kitchen floor more than you can possibly imagine. More.
  • Come to terms with the fact that you two will talk about poop. A lot. I don’t care if this is a cliché, it’s 100 percent true so get ready. You may even text each other about it.
  • Procrastinate at work. Once I had a kid—and a train I really had to catch—there was no more recapping Real Housewives with coworkers or taking long, lingering lunches or rearranging my desk because I just didn’t feel like focusing. The upside to this: You’ll be more productive than ever before. The downside: You’ll be really out of the office-gossip loop.

So, what are some things you’re glad you did before having kids? (Or what you wish you’d done—whoops!) Share your list—then tell your childless friends to get on it!

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