There is undoubtedly lots to learn and plenty of decisions to be made while navigating the world of becoming a new parent — from what to expect during labor to lessons on how to change a diaper and hold a baby. But one decision that I made early on has been the best thing I've done so far...
Prepare Early! Simple as that. Once I hit the second trimester and was feeling pretty good, I decided to wipe as much as I could off my baby to-do list. I wanted to get as much done as possible before I started to feel tired and uncomfortable towards the end.
Since it's our first child, it's very important to us to cherish and enjoy all of our freedom before it all changes. I also really didn't want the stress and running around to get things done towards the end, when things would be physically harder. I just wanted to be prepared so I could go to the beach, or read, or hit a movie, or take a nap during my spare time. I worked really hard to pull this off and couldn't be happier about the decision, especially as I've hit different walls and physical barriers these last couple months and realized there was no way I could have done the things I was able to a few weeks prior.
Here are some of the things I accomplished early that have given me freedom and less stress in these last few more uncomfortable months.
Renovations: We had been renovating our home ourselves and put a deadline on when we should be finished. We worked like maniacs to do it and somehow pulled it off. As my pregnancy progressed I knew I'd be less helpful, and I also didn't want to get caught with a half done house and a newborn to care for.
The Nursery: Since I was already in renovation and decorating mode, it wasn't all that difficult to add one more room to the mix. Getting the nursery done was really fun, and also helped to make it all seem much more real for me.
Baby Shower: I know this isn't traditional, but I had my shower pretty early, at seven and a half months. I wanted to be able to be mobile and feel good so that I could really participate and be there with my friends with only minor physical annoyances. We also had the event at our house so that we had a scheduled pressure to finish our renovations. It was hard to make the deadline, but we did it.
Shopping: I used the rest of my time to make lists and fill in the gaps of anything we would still need to purchase, find, or borrow.
Food: In order to have an ample supply of food for the first few weeks after birth, I began buying an extra of our favorite things and making a little more at dinnertime to set aside and freeze. I figure making the extra effort now will go a long way later.
Classes: Since we are some serious newbie parents that really know nothing, we took some classes to get us through the basics. We got most of them done during the second trimester, which worked out with our schedules, but we did just finish one long one this past weekend (at 9 months), and sitting so long in an uncomfortable chair was just torture. I'm glad that we got the rest done or I think I may have been tempted to cancel them. Besides that, the classes also helped put our minds at ease that we now have some skills to start out with.
So my advice would that if it's at all possible, try to get a little done early on so you don't find yourself rushed, stressed, and exhausted with a pile of things to do at the end.
(Image: Alysha Findley)