6 Things You (And Your Spouse) Should Do Before Having Children

6 Things You (And Your Spouse) Should Do Before Having ChildrenRight now, you’re enjoying your time with just you and your spouse. You feel free, in love, and like you have all the time in the world.

But when you’re just a few years away from having kids, that time can pass by quickly, and suddenly you have to give all your attention to the little rug rats (and I use that term in a good way).

In many cases, it’s simply not practical to do certain things anymore that you could once do with just you and your spouse. Make sure you do these six things before you start having kids.

Travel

Seriously. Go somewhere. Go anywhere.

Because before you know it, you’re going to have kids, and it will be more difficult to go on vacation until they’re older and can fend for themselves. I’m not saying you can’t travel with kids. In fact, you should! A family vacation with your youngsters will be a lot of fun.

But when you have kids along, you’ll be spending so much time tending to them that it’s too easy to forget about the scenery and activities around you.

backpacking
This is me and my husband on our second annual backpacking trip.

A couple of years ago, I took my nieces and nephews up a trail to a cave in Utah. I did not understand what I was getting myself into!

It took us three times as long to get to the cave as I expected, and I was constantly having to make sure they weren’t getting too close to the edge of the trail.

Our trip was super fun, but I didn’t get a whole lot of chance to enjoy the cave when I was constantly tending to a child. So take your trips now so that you can enjoy the scenery while you’re there!

Finish School

degree
Here I am congratulating my hubby on his bachelor’s degree. (I’m still finishing mine.)

I understand that “accidents” happen, but if you’re lucky enough that you’re able to plan for children, do yourself a favor and finish up school first. (That is, if you are in school or planning to go to school.) I say this for several reasons:

  1. It’s probably been a dream of yours since you were, oh, five years old. A scary statistic shows that 61 percent of women who have kids in community college won’t ever finish their schooling — although online schooling has made going back to school a reality for many moms and dads. Help yourself achieve that goal by not putting barriers in the way.
  2. College grads make more money. Over a lifetime, bachelor’s degree holders make about $1 million more than high school grads, says CNN. This means that you’ll have more money to support your family.

Pursue Your Passions

Alicia with Book
Here I am with my first published novel.

What do you really love to do? It’s probably something that’s going to cost you a lot of time and money to build up right now.

For me, that’s writing. I’m a freelance writer, and when inspiration strikes, I’m an author. I can’t imagine building up my freelancing career or even thinking about sitting down to type up a manuscript with children in the house.

My husband? He’s learning about and working on his primitive survival skills, and he’s put a lot of time and money into that passion.

Take your time right now to follow your dreams or build up your hobbies. The least you can do is take the time you have now to create something so that when you look back on it in a few years, you can look with pride and say, “I did that.”

Want to know the best part about this? If you pursue your passions now, it will likely become habit by the time you have kids.

According to Science Daily, researcher Wendy Wood says, “We find patterns of behavior that allow us to reach goals. We repeat what works, and when actions are repeated in a stable context, we form associations between cues and response.”

Bottom line: Follow your passions and do what works for you now, and you’ll likely continue those behaviors in the future.

Do Something Dangerous

Canyon
That’s me repelling down a canyon.

Okay, so I’m not much of a daredevil. I guess being strapped in a harness with a helmet on isn’t that awfully dangerous. But even though I don’t think I could get myself to jump out of a plane even now, I can’t imagine what types of things I wouldn’t do when I know there’s a little one waiting at home and expecting me to make it back safely.

How can you jump off a cliff when someone is depending on you to take care of them? Most people’s answer: You don’t.

Make the daredevil in you count right now. Need some inspiration? Check out this list of 50 terrifying experiences.

Do Something You’ve Always Wanted to Do

alicia and lindaEveryone tells me that when you have kids, every selfish cell within your body dies. So before you have kids, choose one thing you’ve always wanted to do and make it happen! If you don’t do it now, you’ll eventually push it so far down your bucket list that it may never happen. Consider this:

The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams. -Oprah Winfrey

I’m not saying that you can’t live your dreams after you have kids. In fact, having kids may be one of your dreams (it’s one of mine!). However, I am saying that if there’s something you really want to do right now, grab the bull by the horns and do it before you start using your little ones as an excuse to put it off.

Several years ago, I made it a goal to meet my favorite author of all time. Look, I even Tweeted about it!

tweet

Two summers ago, I made that a reality. I flew out West and met her, something I’ve been wanting to do since I was 12! She even sent me home with 8 signed books! I’m sure I could have done this at some point if I had children, but I still think that my responsibility toward little ones would have been a barrier in me flying out to see Linda.

So my advice to you: Check off as many things on your bucket list as you can right now.

Get to Know Your Partner

That’s us!
That’s us!

How can you get to know your partner when you’re also struggling to get to know yourself and your baby at the same time? Spend a few years to really get to know each other. Do things together.

Go traveling.

Talk about your deepest secrets.

Spend time every night doing something constructive together — even if it’s just for a mere hour at a time.

Consider this:

We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it. –John Lennon

Tell me: What’s on your “bucket” list of things to do before you have kids? Already have kids? What do you wish you would have done before you had them?

2 thoughts on “6 Things You (And Your Spouse) Should Do Before Having Children”

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    Hi Alicia,

    Great post! It’s so true that as a couple, you should invest in your relationship before you have children. Because, once your children come, you’re whole life revolves around them (even if you try not for that to happen. It just does).

    Before I had my twins, we traveled, finished school and pursued our passions. We were together for over 10 years before we had our twins so we really grew up with each other by our side.

    Great post!

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