Help us have a few adventures together before we're parents!
January 16, 2008 4:10 PM   Subscribe

My husband and I are due to have our first child in May. We're thrilled, but starting to realize how much our lives will change once the kid arrives. We'd like to do a few things in these next few months that we won't be able to do once we have the baby. Any ideas?

We aren't looking to go on a big babymoon trip, really. We'd more like suggestions about things we could do on a weekend that will be inconvenient or impossible once the baby comes. These things have to be pregnancy-friendly (so no going out drinking until bar time). Are there things you did that were memorable before the birth of your child? Are there things you wish you could have done more?

posted by christinetheslp to Grab Bag (34 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
In all seriousness, take great joy in doing nothing.
posted by milarepa at 4:12 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Find a luxurious bed and breakfast with a romantic atmosphere. Pick a few weekends to go away and just concentrate on each other.
posted by Ostara at 4:23 PM on January 16, 2008

posted by Leon at 4:25 PM on January 16, 2008 [5 favorites]

try eating, sleeping, traveling, going out to dinner, going out to movies, hanging out with your friends, having a hobby, having extra money, going to a bar, having sex...and the list goes on.

alternatively you can appreciate the pleasant smelling, organized house you currently live in. Enjoy it before it becomes infested with a screaming, needy, smelly, expensive pet!

seriously dude, game over.
posted by I_am_jesus at 4:27 PM on January 16, 2008 [2 favorites]

posted by Hey, Cupcake! at 4:29 PM on January 16, 2008

I'm due in March, and everyone keeps telling me to go out to dinner at nice restaurants. I am also enjoying running errands by myself. I know in a few months it will take me MUCH longer to get out of the house, and get things done. So I am enjoying the small pleasures of making to-do lists and knocking them out every day.
posted by pinky at 4:30 PM on January 16, 2008

The hub and I are big movie fans so our plan was to go to the movies once a week or so. The plan was temporarily on hold when I ended up on extended bedrest. As soon as I was free to get up, there was nothing playing worth seeing. Now everything we want to see is going to be release right around my due date (next month!) or immediately after. Stinks.

One thing we've managed to do is try new restaurants. It's easy for the two of us to run out and grab a bite.

Finally, we've just been enjoying our hanging out time, especially in the mornings. We have a tradition called "bed island" where the objective is to spend as much of the day as possible in bed (getting up only to go make waffles or go to the bathroom). We just hang out, watching tv, reading, playing on the laptop. We're relishing this time now because it's going to disappear. I know we can one day recreate it but it'll be a while until we regain the freedom we have now.

Oh, and I wasn't really into the idea of a big babymoon, but last month we took a couple of days at a supernice hotel in a different part of town. We lounged around, together and independently, enjoying the last of our totally selfish time. I would totally recommend it.
posted by wallaby at 4:35 PM on January 16, 2008

Go out -- anywhere -- by yourself. Although doing this, or any of these things, won't be quite as lovely as AFTER baby is born.
See movies.
Go out to dinner.
Get your hair done. Hell, go for a spa day!

Good luck and enjoy the ride!
posted by missuswayne at 4:45 PM on January 16, 2008

Just enjoy the fact that, for the time being, you can make your own schedules and you're in charge of your time.

I'm sure by now you've heard the tired cliches that your life is over and you'll never sleep again. Well, you will be sleep deprived for a while but you will get sleep here and there, but it'll be up to the baby when that happens. And no, your life isn't over, but what you can do with your time really depends on the child. For now, just savor the moments when you can sit down and read a book, watch TV, or just do nothing un-interrupted.

I think that's what I missed the most. Your time is no longer your own.

Good luck, it's a blast.
posted by bondcliff at 4:46 PM on January 16, 2008

I disagree with everyone that says sleep. The problem is you'll get used to sleeping alot which seems to be much harder when the baby comes versus someone who is adjusted to a small amount of sleep deprivation.
posted by Octoparrot at 4:50 PM on January 16, 2008

Well, apologies for being sappy, but don't do anything. What's coming will be challenging but immensely more gratifying than your previous life.

A few people have mentioned that you should sleep. Okay, sleep, but it's not as though you will look back any less longingly at sleeping though the night. But the sleep interruption lasts a couple of years. Nothing.

Your childless self should, in my opinion, instead be looking forward excitedly to "what cool things are this kid going to bring into our lives?" (I told you I was going to be sappy, but I'm not apologising for it). My daughter was born a month premature, and when we took her home her mother and I were, alternately, up all night feeding her milliliter by milliliter and recording it on a log sheet. Do I look back on this as some sort of nightmare? Please!

My nine-year-old daughter today said, " blah blah blah, but Dad, you see my point."

I told her "What sort of freak kid says, 'you see my point'?", then roughhoused with her and gave her a hug to indicate in most emphatic terms that I was astounded and proud of her.

So, I say, don't worry about what you're going to be missing. Look forward to the amazing things to come.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 4:54 PM on January 16, 2008 [8 favorites]

Turtles &c. - 9-year-olds FTW.

posted by ZakDaddy at 4:58 PM on January 16, 2008

Have dinner parties. Their impossible with a baby around.
posted by oddman at 5:18 PM on January 16, 2008

My wife and I went to a VERY expensive dinner. The kind that lasts 3-4 hours, costs an obscene amount of money and is perfect in every detail. I don't suspect we'll do this again for several years. We're very glad we did it.
posted by probablysteve at 5:43 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Something a few hours away??
I have a NEEDY 3-4 month old who wants to eat EVERY hour and HATES the car.
I can't even get to the grocery store.
I know it will be better but I know there will not be long serere rides with NPR and doing crossword clues with my passenger.
posted by beccaj at 5:46 PM on January 16, 2008

Sex in the living room. Or anywhere, really.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:48 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Damn near anything!

A veteran of these "foreign" wars (3 grown kids, including twins), your life will change to the core. Lots of good advice above. Fasten your seat belt for the most magnificent journey you will ever take. Climbing Everest is nothing compared to creating a life that makes the world a better place.

In looking back however, there is one thing I would change. If you have childless friends who mean a lot, bond with them. They will not comprehend what in the hell happened to you once baby arrives. Have those dinner parties. Bond with them. Tell them to expect you will soon be alien beings. Spontaneity will disappear. When you used to call or see them every couple days, it may soon be a couple of weeks.

Effective parenting and nurturing takes lots and lots of time. Regimentation. Attention to detail. Priorities. Something has to give and many times it is those friends who mean so much.
posted by private_idaho at 5:58 PM on January 16, 2008 [2 favorites]

Go to a movie. You won't be able to justify a babysitter for this, unless you are rolling in dough, very often after you child is born. A movie turns into a $50 to $100 expense once you through in the babysitter, especially the expense of one you would be comfortable leaving a baby with.
posted by caddis at 6:03 PM on January 16, 2008

Read, read, read - really challenging and interesting books that require concentration. Sleep deprivation and frequent interruptions will make this difficult for a few years.
posted by fish tick at 6:05 PM on January 16, 2008

Go to the bathroom by yourself. Have a shower. And anything above.

But, seriously, your life is about to change. Just embrace it. It will never be the same and you'll never really understand that till it changes. You can never go back. It's wondrous journey forward.
posted by acoutu at 6:08 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

"through" geeez, that was pathetic. I sometimes I think I have some sort of dyslexia when my brain turns "throw" into "though."
posted by caddis at 6:27 PM on January 16, 2008

Definitely, a LOT OF SEX, sounds like a joke, but when the baby comes, the libido will slightly (just an euphemism) drop.
posted by zouhair at 6:30 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Organize your whole house. All the rooms. All your closets. Your office. Weed out your possessions. Go through all the boxes stashed in the basement/attic/under the bed. Put important papers in an important-paper file folder. Clean it all. Then make up some kind of weekly cleaning routine, whatever suits you, and write it down, just some guidelines to follow so you can stay on top of keeping everything in order with minimal effort. If there were one thing I could go back and make sure to do before having had kids - it would be this.

In fact, I *was* going to do it while I was pregnant with my first, but I didn't. Three kids and five years later, I regret this. And, I mean, cleaning and organizing is stressful under the best circumstances: but before you have kids, your time is pretty much your own. You can concentrate and focus on projects in a way that's so, so much harder when the short ones come first. (I find it near-impossible to get big projects done in scattered half-hour chunks that pop up randomly. Honestly the first thing I think of when I get a half hour to myself is something way more mundane like getting a relaxing bath or running to the store unencumbered or reading a book!)

The routine is for your sake after the baby arrives and there's going to be times you are too tired, or you're sick, or the baby is going through a transition phase; it means nothing will ever get too overwhelming if it's let go for a few days.

Spend some time socializing now: day trips, dinner parties, long walks, shopping; you won't get much time for that after you have the baby, and you'll miss the adult time and adult conversation. And do it together because you won't really get time alone with each other after, someone stays home with the baby while the other gets down time! Something I don't get to do anymore: pack up and jump in the car/hop on a plane on short notice and spend the weekend with friends that live a few hours away. I miss that.

(This comment took me over an hour and a half to write and edit. There was snacktime, and bedtime, and the baby is teething so she's cranky and wouldn't allow me to put her down.)
posted by Melinika at 6:35 PM on January 16, 2008 [3 favorites]

This isn't the sort of thing you're after but if you've got any noisy/smelly maintenance tasks to do to where you live - do it now. You're going to want as little noise as possible around the house for some time after the big day.

Depending on how big your house/apartment is see if you can get rid of some stuff / pack it away. This is probably more relevant at 6+ months but it's amazing how much room the small people take up.

As to your main enquiry ... sex; eating out and bicycle rides I think.

As to the -ve vibes in previous comments about having kids - for us at least it's a great thing - and a great laugh !
posted by southof40 at 6:56 PM on January 16, 2008

Melinika is spot on. Spring clean every inch of your house. Seriously, get on your hands and knees and scrub each section inch by inch. Remove anything you don't need and purge all clutter.

Think of the things you are going to be doing many times each day and plan/organize appropriately. For example people setup a diaper changing station with diapers, wipes and butt cream. They don't realize that newborns can go through 12 diapers a day. That means that the diaper changing station is out of diapers usually around midnight and you have to trudge to the basement to get one. Instead plan a nearby closet for your bigger organized stash of everything.

Get 2 slip covers for your couch. That way when one is in the wash since its either covered with poop/pee/food/juice/vomit/blood you can have the second one on the couch.

Sleep in every weekend and giggle with glee.
posted by rdurbin at 7:11 PM on January 16, 2008

I sit here, with my 12 day old daughter snuggled to my chest. If I could bottle the sounds that she makes, I think that I could make a million dollars. The dust is still settling but it is going great. Being a dad is fantastic.

What did we do? We organized our home. Hired an organizer to assist us too. Lots of containers. Truly a big help. We went out to dinner and spent time making dinner together. We relaxed together. Took walks in the park and around the neighborhood. I picked her up after work and we would talk about our day. We saw friends. In sum: enjoy each other.

Good luck and congratulations!
posted by zerobyproxy at 7:13 PM on January 16, 2008

First, congratulations!

Two things to do: Go out to movies and go to dinner at nice restaurants.

You won't be doing either for a while once Lil' Christinetheslp arrives.

Once the baby does arrive, be sure to schedule some away time for yourself. For my wife, an hour away to get her nails done or shop or get a massage made all the difference in her spirits during the first few months.
posted by Argyle at 9:31 PM on January 16, 2008

Nthing organization and de-cluttering and generally getting rid of stuff. My 2nd baby is due next week, and this last month has been worthless in terms of getting anything done, since I spend a lot of time on the sofa (baby is pressing heavily on my pelvic/sciatic nerves and I can barely walk). Don't assume your final month will be one of getting anything done! Try to get some simple cleaning routines in place so that you can do them automatically when the baby gets here.

Babymoon idea is great -- we took one to a fantastically indulgent hotel and loved every minute of it. It rained heavily so the hotel itself was our playground.

I love being a mom. Everyone who says you'll never have sex again or never sleep again? If you want it, you'll find a way to get it. It won't just descend from above, you'll have to work to make the time, and it won't be as frequent, but it will be more satisfying. Kids are so much fun, it will blow your mind. I only wish I'd started sooner.

What I miss now: movies, hosting dinners for friends, traveling. Don't waste your time sleeping -- get out there and have fun outside your house. Soon you'll be spending a lot of time at home, so decorate and organize as much as you can.
posted by mdiskin at 3:02 AM on January 17, 2008

I found that the "go out to dinner" didn't dry up until No. 1 child was ~ 1 year old. Hauling around a car seat with a sleeping baby isn't such a big deal. A screaming monster is something else altogether and you may have to excuse yourself (one or the other, or both, in shifts), but it's just something you have to accommodate. Once they are mobile, it's another story.

Children are angels whose wings get shorter as their legs get longer - French proverb

I find what I miss the most is the peace and quiet of a lie-in on a weekend morning with a newspaper and a frothy coffee. Now we've got one child on either side of us around 7AM and I seldom get to read the Sunday paper.
posted by sagwalla at 6:50 AM on January 17, 2008

Once junior shows up, if you want to go out to dinner pick a noisy restaurant, like a bar with good food. Even if junior makes noise he or she is not likely to disturb the other patrons. Sunday afternoon is a good time to go as well as most places are pretty vacant then. What you are going to have to give up is not the concept of going out to eat but you will probably be giving up going out to nice restaurants, ones which are too quiet or the meal takes too long to bring a baby or small child, that is if you don't have a babysitter.
posted by caddis at 7:24 AM on January 17, 2008

Do some planning of your career! Seriously, for you and the baby, a little bit of preparation and researching your options can pay off big. Talking through these issues with your husband is also very important, you may find you have different expectations about how to share the different types of work. Think about whether you want to spend big on treats now if that would prevent you taking advantage of a possibility of unpaid leave later.

Firstly research what deal you can get from your employer over maternity leave -- most people don't know, and if the first time you contact HR is to say you are going off, they are unlikely to come straight back at you with a list of your choices. The list may be longer than you thought, and you need to know any cut-off dates that might apply.

Similarly check any state entitlement -- go to official sources, don't rely on friends as the regulations change.

Look at the range of possibilities -- you may now think you will be straight back to work, but that may not be possible, if you or the baby need more time then it will help in a stressful time to already have knowledge about wiggle room.

If you are planning to take a career break to spend longer at home, then put more effort in to ensure some sort of continuity. If you hope to return to the same job, talk to your boss about keeping in touch. Can you set up a regular visit or lunch date? Are their departmental events you could attend? Getting to know new staff before you return helps a great deal, it reduces your stress and if they always knew you were part of the setup they will accept you better. Is there a departmental/company newsletter?

If you think you may not return to the same company, then join the local branch of a relevant professional association. Preferably, volunteer to take on some of the work. Attend meetings, attend committee meetings if you can get on to one. When it is time to return, you will have contacts to feed you ideas and possibly to act as references. Use the association to see if there are any special "women returners" schemes or grants.

If you think you might like a career change or upgrade, look at how you could do it. Time at home with a baby or two can be combined with study -- find what is available.

Don't put all this off until later -- after the baby has arrived you will be too busy for a little while, and you can then get too sucked into the world of babies and toddlers to work on this form of insurance for the future of yourself and your family. And you may have already missed some of the nuances of the maternity leave deals.
posted by Idcoytco at 7:38 AM on January 17, 2008

The one thing we miss most is going out to the movies. Yeah we can rent or download but the going out and enjoying on a big screen is the hardest part.

BUT - if you have family close that can sit for you than really after the first couple of weeks you will have the ability to go out again (we're not nearly as blessed but we get visits almost monthly so we still do get to go out).

Best wishes!
posted by doorsfan at 8:30 AM on January 17, 2008

the last of our totally selfish time

These are the seven words to take to heart. Do whatever your selfish heart desires and relish it, like squirrels putting away nuts for the long winter. Being a parent has certainly been a bundle of joy and pleasure, but selfish desires are the first things that get stripped away and can be hard to let go. Indulge while you can.
posted by blueshammer at 9:09 AM on January 17, 2008

nthing a good night's sleep. seriously, you will miss it for quite a while
posted by phredgreen at 11:40 AM on January 17, 2008

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