The 5 Things I Must Do Before I Have A Baby

Recently, my life has become consumed by babies. Specifically, other people’s babies. I'm not complaining, because I actually really happen to like the little blubber balls.

But of all the things I love about them, I especially like the fact that all the babies in my life belong to other people. Aside from the one baby I babysit on a regular basis, I get to hold all these babies and smell them and coo at them — but the second the screaming starts, I’m not obligated to deal with it. Given where I’m at in my life, this is a perfect arrangement. Unfortunately, other people don't seem to have gotten the memo. Since our third wedding anniversary, people seem more curious than ever as to whether my husband and I are planning to grow our family any time soon.

Honestly, I’m not ready to live my life on someone else’s terms yet. After all, I just started practicing that self-love stuff everyone is talking about these days — and I have some catching up to do. I’m in no rush to get pregnant. I’m simply not ready.

I’ve heard people say: “You can try to prepare as much as you want, but no one is ever really prepared to become a parenthood.” I get that. Having a child is a life-changing experience for everyone, no matter how well-equipped you are. Even so, there are a still a handful of things I’d like to do before my husband and I even think about having a baby — and you’d be hard-pressed to convince me to have a child before I accomplish them.

1. Travel Overseas With My Husband

My husband and I were engaged for just two weeks before we got married. (Long story short, his mother happened to be in town that month, so we decided to just go for it.) Our wedding was intimate and beautiful and so was our two-day mini-moon. Three years later, however, we are both itching for a longer vacation, preferably out of the country.

Friends with babies tell me that the time to plan that trip is now, because once you have kids, it gets much harder (and more expensive) to travel abroad. I intend to follow their advice.

2. Get My F*cking Potty Mouth (Somewhat) Under Control

Mama didn’t raise no potty-mouth, and yet, here I am. I have no clue how it happened, but sometimes when I’m among friends, I curse like a sailor. When I think about having children, I think about my own childhood and the fact that I’ve only heard my parents swear three times between the two of them. While I found their Ned Flanders vibe to be a little dorky back then, I find it admirable today.

I’ve already accepted that if my husband and I have kids, it’s pretty unlikely they’ll only ever hear us curse three times between the two of us. Still, I’d like to do my part in decreasing the foul language that gets said in our home. Like my parents, I’m not really interested in raising a potty-mouth either. I'm working on it, and I'd like to get the impulse more under control before I procreate.

3. Continue Healing My Relationship With Food

For 30 years, my relationship with food has been fraught. Food has helped me cope with stress, anxiety, and sadness. It’s also been a source of stress, anxiety, and sadness. Fortunately, I have recently made it a point to better understand why I eat when I eat and how I can use food as a tool of love, rather than shame.

I’m learning a lot more about intuitive eating and have decided to never diet ever again. While I can’t guarantee my future children will have healthy relationships with food based on the example I give them, I do know how I eat, treat my body, and talk about my body will likely impact them, and that I don't want to have a kid before I feel like those factors are in a good place. If there’s anything I can do to help set them up for success, I want to do it. My relationship with food will always be a work in progress, but with the strides I've recently made, I'm confident I can be in a better place with food than I am even now before I have a baby.

4. Learn How To Drive In The Snow

Unless my husband and I plan to move somewhere sunny sometime soon, I really need to work on my snow driving. As of now, I’m terrified of driving in inclement weather and pretty much stay indoors between the months of January and March. My husband, who’s fearless in the snow, has offered to give me lessons in order to increase my confidence. Though I’ve never taken him up on this offer, I think I will this winter. I know I’ll never enjoy traveling in snow and ice, but it’s important that I learn and practice. I wouldn’t feel safe driving a child anywhere being such a nervous driver.

5. Accomplish My Next Career Milestone

I really want to earn my clinical license in social work before I have a child. Doing so will open up a wide array of career opportunities for me, not to mention increase my earning potential. My husband has expressed that he’s interested in being a stay-at-home dad, and I’d like to do everything within my power to make that dream become a reality.

Though it could take a few years after I earn my license to build a thriving private practice, I’m not dead-set on achieving total financial stability before having a baby. I do believe, however, that tackling this first step is a wise decision. So for the time being, I want to be singularly focused on my career, trusting that if and when we decide to have a child, our family will be better off.

Images: Big D2112, Giphy (5)