Panic! In five short belly-expanding months my life will be forever turned upside down (and inside out). It’s a big change, according to my “been there, done that” friends. Beyond getting the nursery ready and finding a pediatrician, I want to be sure to sneak in all those selfish indulgences while I still can—before I have to worry about finding a sitter, sleep deprivation and my boobs exploding with breast milk. So, I drafted a list of the top nine things to do before my due date. Tick tock, tick tock…
Read a non-pregnancy book. My mind is amuck with pregnancy facts and stats and my body is bombarded by hormones. That’s why it’s more important than ever to set aside What to Expect When You’re Expecting in favor of a non-pregnancy novel, I’m told. “Read something that takes your mind off being pregnant and reminds you that you are a real person,” says my friend Amanda. But I’ll always have time for some leisure reading after the baby arrives, right? Wrong, says Kathy: “You’ll be too tired and your brain too mushy to read anything except newborn panic reading (i.e. why is he spitting up everything he just ate?).”
Catch a (grown-up) flick on the big screen. I’m a huge movie buff and fear that I’ll never have time for a double feature again. Not so, says Kathy, who saw tons of movies thanks to baby matinees, but she’s quick to point out that evening movies with adults are a whole different story. Jennifer agrees. “It will be a struggle of when a good time to leave the baby will be,” she says. My friend Sarah can’t remember the last movie she saw on the big screen. “The only movies we see are rented—and I promptly fall asleep during the opening credits,” she laughs.
Rock out at a concert. Why go to a concert? In the words of Amanda, “because it makes you feel young.” With motherhood comes a certain “grown-up” feeling that can make former pastimes like mosh pits seem passe, say my mom friends. Not that they’re recommending stage diving, but bringing a lighter along to a Bon Jovi concert can put a pregnant gal back in that high school frame of mind.
Take a nap/sleep in. “Sleep in now, because sleep will be your desire and passion for the next 3 to 12 months,” my friend Erin yawns. But what about when the baby naps; surely I can catch some shut-eye then? “Wishful thinking,” warns Kathy. Jennifer agrees, adding that when the baby goes down for a nap, this is the best time to catch up on the things you need to do.
Dine out. Don’t put off visiting all those hot-spot restaurants you’ve been dying to try, warn the mommy brigade. Once baby arrives, fancy and trendy restaurants will fall to the wayside in favor of kid-friendly eateries. Erin, who used to eat out with her hubby twice a month, says to enjoy the freedom while you can. “Now we eat out without baby at a nice restaurant once every six months,” says Erin, adding that breastfeeding and finding a sitter complicate once easy outings.
Have a girl’s night out. As my friend Audra explains, motherhood can mean isolation. “Things were so crazy at first that I didn’t have time to shower, let alone get together with the girls for a gab session, and I really missed that female camaraderie. Even catching up by phone can be a juggling act,” she says. And she’s not the only one. “I so miss spending time with just my gal pals,” says Cindy, who’s at home with a 2-month old. “Women are so concerned about booking babymoons with their husbands that they forget to schedule time with their female friends.”
Take a romantic trip for two. “It’s easy to imagine finding a baby sitter for an evening, but it will be a long time before you have another overnight date,” says Kathy. Some of my mom friends have managed to squeeze in some mini-getaways, but they warn me that it’s not nearly as easy as it used to be, logistically or emotionally. “You can’t help but miss and worry about the baby,” says Cindy, who suggests taking a guilt-free road trip or spending a relaxing weekend at a spa while you can.
Play hooky for a day. No responsibilities, no stress, no commitments (except maybe that pedicure appointment)—that’s the idea behind a day devoted just to you, something that my mom friends no longer have time for. When I asked them how they’d spend a day devoted just to them, everyone had a response, from going to the spa to taking a leisurely lunch—but by far the number one answer was doing nothing at all. Why? “Because it’s an indulgence you’ll never have again,” says Nancy.
Make whoopee. Most medical professions suggest waiting six weeks before jumping in the sack again, but even then I wonder if I’ll be ready. “We didn’t have sex for about two months,” says a friend who’d prefer to remain anonymous. “Sex just wasn’t a priority.” Given the choice between sleep and sex, most of my friends choose sleep, especially during the first few months. “It’s still tough even when Hadley is asleep,” warns Sarah. “You’re afraid of waking her up with any noise!”