November 10, 2008

What To Expect Before You're Expecting

This weekend it occurred to me that I'm often somewhat frustrated. Frustrated by being a dad, or, more specifically, frustrated by that whole having no time thing. Don't get me wrong - I absolutely love my kids more than anyone could possibly imagine and more than I ever thought possible. But there are days when I look back, fondly, at the surplus of time I had on my hands before they entered and radically changed my world. Again, I love them and wouldn't want it any other way. But it has made me realize that there are certain things every couple should do before they get themselves knocked up. I've been developing a mental list this weekend and here it is, spilled out on the screen for all to see.

Eat out. Go to restaurants as much as you possibly can. Cooking at home is for sissies. And make sure you're eating at places without cartoon character mascots. There's a reason The Palm doesn't have a little animated palm tree popping corks on Cristal and opening jars of Beluga caviar. Food with cartoon characters sucks. Learn it, live it.

See a lot of movies. One a week - barring any financial woes attributed to the rising cost of movie viewing - should be your goal. You should be on the three at a time Netflix plan. You should be visiting your mailbox often. Any less than this and you're not really trying. One day when you realize that you last saw a movie three years prior, don't come crying to me.

Invite friends over and have adult conversations. Talking with kids is awesome but they employ a logic that makes you feel as though the space-time continuum is collapsing in on itself. So, have some friends over. Talk about politics. Talk about your jobs. Talk about all the movies you've seen or non-cartoon places you've eaten. Pretty soon you'll be spending a great deal of time talking about poop and debating the color of the sky with a pint-sized logician.

Read books. If you want to make up for the total number of books you will not be reading once you become a parent, you should try reading, on average, one book a day. Once you become a parent, you'll realize that making it through the latest 300 page piece of crap by Patricia Cornwell that happens to be written in a font large enough to be seen from space requires about three weeks. And that's frustrating.

Keep your house immaculate. Once the kid arrives, your house will look as though Toys R Us threw up on it followed by a minor but thorough cataclysmic disaster. Orderly will be a word best describing not the state of your house but an individual at the mental hospital you're bound to find yourself in if you worry about the cleanliness of your house. (I in no way mean to imply that my own house is a mess. It's not. Beth and her vacuuming partner Mia do an awesome job. But you'll find, being a parent, that it's more of a challenge.)

Take naps. There are few things that beat the pleasure of taking a nap in the middle of the day for no apparent reason in the comfort of your own bed. Be forewarned: as a parent, these things do not happen or, if they do, they are brief, interrupted after a scant five minutes by some minor catastrophe. In addition, napping or even sleeping the night in your own bed may not be something you can count on. Find a mattress you love and use it often. While you can.

Go to the bathroom by yourself. Just trust me on this one.

Have a lot of sex. There is absolutely no reason any non-parent should not be having sex three times a day, minimum. Once you have a child - or children - sex will be relegated to the wee hours or that small, ten minute window during which the child - or children - feigns sleep and lulls you into a false sense of security. To prolong this wonderful time of sex-having, use appropriate birth control.

Now, I realize I might sound bitter. I'm not. I love my life. The day after Mia was born - after a long night in the hospital - I came home to feed our cats and take a shower. Almost as soon as I got home, I sat down in a chair and cried my eyes out. It had been an emotional 24 hours. I'm sure that was part of it. But another part was the sudden realization that, now, everything was different, everything had changed. I mourned the loss of that life for five minutes and moved on. It would be tough to be a parent and still long for that, still mourn for that time but I don't think that happens. Because there's no one you'd rather be than mom or dad. Of course, I wouldn't mind another hour added to the day that I could call my own.

What practical advice would those of you with kids give those without? And for those of you without, what do you think will be the toughest aspect of parenting?

Posted by Chris at November 10, 2008 6:44 AM

Travel. Once you have kids much of your time off (in these days of combined vacation, personal, and sick time) will be spent home with sick kids or on school field trips. And when you do have time to travel, if you're like us, you'll be traveling in a car because plane tickets are too expensive. Oh, and don't spend valuable travel time on DisneyWorld before you have kids because you WILL take them there. Trust me on this.

And shower a lot. When you have little kids, showers are not necessarily an everyday occurrence. And when you have preteens and teenagers, you'll have the time to shower but there won't be any hot water left.

Posted by: Carolyn at November 10, 2008 8:15 AM

I'm with you on all of the above...Except, I've NEVER stopped reading. Granted, I haven't always read as much as I wanted to, but that's been a constant. And one I wasn't giving up (ditto on a good workout, though I know several people who can no longer find time for exercise post-kids -- but I wasn't sacrificing my endorphins for anything).

What I would recommend - LEARNING TIME MANAGEMENT. LEARN TO MULTITASK. Enjoy the simplicity of brushing your teeth and not needing to wipe someone's butt or blow someone's nose at the same time.

Posted by: Sarah at November 10, 2008 8:16 AM

Well, all of those things are JUST about right on point...actually, they all made me smile...really, they did!

The one thing I would much as you can...and as FAR as you can. For all of you who *think* that there is lots of time in life to travel, you're wrong. Shit happens...people get sick, lose jobs, have kids, etc....

Travelling when you have your children, sick parents, newly reduced income, not only difficult...but it can be near impossible.

So...if you are ABLE to travel....GO...see some of the world...NOW...borrow (responsibly, of course) if you have to....because trying to arrange the logistics of childcare for your "leisurely trip to Iceland" (even when you have willing grandparents)...ranks right up there with having your wisdom teeth removed!

true story...

All that being said though....parenthood will also give you highs you cannot possibly imagine and will also take you to places...real and imaginary that beat ANYTHING you could possibly see in a travel guide!

Also a true story!

Posted by: wn at November 10, 2008 8:19 AM

I agree about travel. It is very difficult to travel after children - plus your travel is different. It tends to center more around keeping the children entertained. But there is hope - my children are 17 and 13 - we can now shower alone, read books, eat out in real restaurants and go to the bathroom alone. We can have close to adult conversation with our children. But travel still centers around keeping them occupied (trust me a bored and grumpy teenager is worse that a bored toddler). And sex can still be difficult since they know more about it and it is very embarrassing to get caught. But they do have lives and sometimes are both gone for the evening at the same time. But as they get older you do get many parts of your old life back, a little different but better than before.

Posted by: beth at November 10, 2008 8:34 AM

The biggest piece of practical parenting advice I would give is to not wish away the baby days. I remember saying, "I can't WAIT until he walks!" or "I can't wait 'till he TALKS!" Those days are fleeting. You'll hardly remember them as time moves on. Cherish every little wonder with your little one... and don't... wish... it... away. Tomorrow will get here all too soon.

Posted by: NotAMeanGirl at November 10, 2008 8:58 AM

How timely. Our 14 month old son spent the night away last night, and we were both saying that we couldn't believe how busy we thought we were before becoming parents. And tired?! We didn't even know the MEANING of tired! But I think a huge part of dealing with it (for me) it to take the glass half full approach. Instead of saying, "I only have an hour to ride my horse!" I am now grateful for whatever time I get. My husband stayed home with our son for the first year, so I know it is much harder on the one who works a job -- you never get any downtime. I have to admit that I haven't read a complete book yet. If I'm that relaxed, I'm asleep.

Posted by: foxy at November 10, 2008 9:05 AM

You know you parent-bloggers terrify me with talk of not being able to go to the bathroom alone, right? I think I'm willing to make a lot of necessary sacrifices for a child, but I just don't see myself peeing with another human in the room, even if I helped make said human. Seriously, I am very curious as to what happens if you do not take the child in there with you. Crying? Because I can handle crying.

Posted by: Fraulein N at November 10, 2008 9:13 AM

Advice duly noted, thank you. :)

Posted by: Hannah at November 10, 2008 9:20 AM

I am here to tell you that there is light at the end of the tunnel. 20 years from now, but it's there. Hubby and I live alone now, read what we like, with a relatively clean house, and sex is happening, well almost anytime we want, except once your retired and married as long as we are, not as often as it did when we were first together. And the potty thing....this too shall pass.

Posted by: Maribeth at November 10, 2008 9:30 AM

Great advice, thanks! You can never have enough excuses to eat out at a restaurant or watch a movie.

I think sleeping in and enjoying lazy weekend mornings might be a good thing to add to the list? Just taking a wild guess here...

Posted by: Catharina at November 10, 2008 9:31 AM

Travel and sleep. Two things that changed the most after having a child. I can't complain now as our son is 13 and our sleep is rarely deprived these days.

Miss being able to plan a trip for two. Love and adore my son, but I still miss certain things that I took for granted before I became a Mom.

One of the things that I miss the most is being able to run off with no planning. I miss being able to go out with my husband for pizza or burgers late at night.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at November 10, 2008 9:32 AM

Those are all the ones I could think of, actually. The eating out/movie one is my biggest loss. We did a lot of it but I still miss it. On Friday, we went to Outback and although he was well-behaved, the entire meal is spent making sure he'll stay well-behaved. There's no longer any good conversation while you enjoy your meal. I guess in general people without kids should just be appreciative of what is theirs, though I fear we all never know what we had until it is gone.

Posted by: Claire at November 10, 2008 9:39 AM

My boys are 6 and 8 so my wife and I are starting to enjoy the occasional night alone when the guys head to a friend's house or visit the Grand parents.

Funny thing is after we fool around, travel to a fine dining spot, see a movie etcetera, we end up sitting around and talking about them.

I guess that means that all of the pre-kid activities that we used to enjoy kind of pale in comparison to what life is now like with two wild Manimals running rampant through our lives.

Posted by: shane groah at November 10, 2008 10:11 AM

Enjoy making extravagant purchases. Expensive it. Designer shoes, again buy them without abandon. Once the children come you agonize between what you want and what you should spend....and what the kiddo could use or will one day need. Oh and go to college beforeee you have kids. Annnd take long baths and spend days in spa's. These memories might sustain you through sleepless nights one day. Oh and get a maid......spend all your free pre kid days enjoying all that you can afford.

Or do what I did....have a child at age 22 before you have anything to give up at all. The kid is 16...I'm will exist again soon.

P.s. Buy a great camera and learn how to use it before you have kids. They are horrific at staying practice at sporting events while you eat a hot dog you don't have to share with any child yet.

Posted by: Kristy at November 10, 2008 10:19 AM

Enjoy making extravagant purchases. Expensive it. Designer shoes, again buy them without abandon. Once the children come you agonize between what you want and what you should spend....and what the kiddo could use or will one day need. Oh and go to college beforeee you have kids. Annnd take long baths and spend days in spa's. These memories might sustain you through sleepless nights one day. Oh and get a maid......spend all your free pre kid days enjoying all that you can afford.

Or do what I did....have a child at age 22 before you have anything to give up at all. The kid is 16...I'm will exist again soon.

P.s. Buy a great camera and learn how to use it before you have kids. They are horrific at staying practice at sporting events while you eat a hot dog you don't have to share with any child yet.

Posted by: Kristy at November 10, 2008 10:20 AM

Enjoy making extravagant purchases. Expensive it. Designer shoes, again buy them without abandon. Once the children come you agonize between what you want and what you should spend....and what the kiddo could use or will one day need. Oh and go to college beforeee you have kids. Annnd take long baths and spend days in spa's. These memories might sustain you through sleepless nights one day. Oh and get a maid......spend all your free pre kid days enjoying all that you can afford.

Or do what I did....have a child at age 22 before you have anything to give up at all. The kid is 16...I'm will exist again soon.

P.s. Buy a great camera and learn how to use it before you have kids. They are horrific at staying practice at sporting events while you eat a hot dog you don't have to share with any child yet.

Posted by: Kristy at November 10, 2008 10:21 AM

Okay, what I've learned is that having children is a bad idea. You can't pay me enough for that gig!!

Posted by: NGS at November 10, 2008 10:39 AM

I tend to wonder if I'll even get married at this point. My grandmother warned me that waiting too long would set me in my ways and finding the right woman would get more and more difficult due to my gradually complicating the definition of 'right'. So, lacking a woman, child-bearing becomes problematic. Still, were I to conk a woman on the head and drag her back to the cave, I then wonder if I'm a little past the prime time to have both kids and the patience necessary. A lot of wondering, probably too much, but there you have it.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at November 10, 2008 10:40 AM

my practical advice from one parent to another is:
find a great babysitter who you love and your kids love and use them! make plans & go out with your friends and cultivate a life that doesn't revolve around your kids ... soon enough they are not going to want anything to do with you (hello teenage years, i'm looking at you) and then what are you going to do, particularly if you've let friendships languish? just a different perspective, perhaps ....
i guess it follows the best advice anyone gave me before we had kids: "incorporate your kids into your life, don't drop everything & have it be all about the kids".

Posted by: afc at November 10, 2008 10:40 AM

Oh, I am so with you on the bathroom thing. If there are any soon to be parents out there who think that's silly, just LISTEN TO THE CACTUS!!! He knows what he's talking about. I haven't peed on my own in almost 5 years. *sigh*

Posted by: Kim at November 10, 2008 10:41 AM

Ok, if you insist, we are going to go out to a really nice dinner and movie this weekend!
Thanks for the reminder to enjoy the time we are in while we are in it.
So, what happens if you try to pee alone?

Posted by: diane at November 10, 2008 10:51 AM

OK, so we've got a little less than 8 weeks until my due date. Are we too late? Can we squeeze some of this in before D-day? Holy crap, life as we know it is OVER.

Am so forwarding this to my husband. :)

Posted by: Jen at November 10, 2008 11:04 AM

Travel. Road trips, plane trips, cruises, whatever.

Also, if you're so inclined... I ran a marathon and completed my masters degree right before we had our first, and it was the smartest two things I could have done. No way would I go back to school after kids. The marathon thing just takes time that I don't have now.

I would also schedule a mid-week activity. Mine would be hockey, but you could do a book club or a sex club or whatever. Fill your spaces with substance.

Posted by: Brad at November 10, 2008 11:06 AM

for me it's all about the bathroom. my gosh, i can't remember the last time i peed in my house without an audience... *sigh*

Posted by: ali at November 10, 2008 11:16 AM

And, as a stay at home mom, you need about 300 t-shirts. Because you'll go through about 5 per day when your wee little ones decide to spit up all over you (and of course, not ON the burpie diaper).

Okay, numbers may be off a little because I have twins, but still. LOTS of shirts.

Posted by: Sandi at November 10, 2008 11:24 AM

Travel. My first and last bit of advice to potential parents who tell me they're thinking of having a kid is to go somewhere. Not just a weekend at the beach but a huge fandango. French cooking school. Carnival in Rio. Christmas in London. Whatever, wherever but GO!

Get stinking drunk. While I was pregnant, I abstained completely. During year one of breastfeeding, I indulged a very little. By year two of my son's life, I figured out that I may never be stinking drunk again because what if something happened to him while I was? I need to be The Parent at all times and boy does THAT suck.

Echo you about reading. I miss books like I miss friends, expecially friends without kids.

Posted by: rebecca at November 10, 2008 11:31 AM

Ahhh, the good old days. You just don't realize how good you have it prekids until they pop out and it is all gone daddy gone.

The wonderful days of lounging on the couch reading for 5 hours GONE! Sleeping in, GONE!

I would add travel to the list. Packing one overnight, carry on bag is a thing of the past. Now we deal with diapers, cribs, sleep issues, food, you name it. No longer fun.

Posted by: lesley at November 10, 2008 11:42 AM

I just spent the weekend with a two year old - single parenting while her mom and dad went out of town. And sleeping when they sleep is the only key to my sanity.

And if I was able to have sex three times a day while I am single, I would. Yes. I. Would.

Posted by: k8 at November 10, 2008 12:05 PM

I'm with the PP...Travel. Get drunk often. Sleep.
I'd also like to add...take pictures of your adventures, look at yourself in the mirror often, and don't long for what you don't have...enjoy what you DO have. (side: this advice may go for us parents too)

Posted by: CJ at November 10, 2008 12:09 PM

All of my childless friends get the exact same advice from me.....Swallow.

And I'm with K8. Pictures. Take loads of pictures BEFORE you have kids.

Posted by: Mr Lady at November 10, 2008 12:18 PM

Oh as a childless person and husbandless/manless at the moment how I wish I were having sex 3 times a day...DAMMIT

Posted by: Deirdre at November 10, 2008 12:33 PM

Besides the things you mentioned, what I miss the most (besides my sanity) is showering alone and driving my cute little red car. Cause it's not fun to shower with two children trying to climb your legs, and the car seats and kid junk don't fit so well in the car, so the hubs gets to drive it and I get the minivan. So sad.

Posted by: Steph at November 10, 2008 12:40 PM

I would say only this: I know you think your life is going to be just like it was, plus cute little toddler. It won't. The rest you have to figure out for yourself b/c I know you secretly don't believe me.

And then I'd direct them here, because I agree with all of it.


Posted by: sunshine at November 10, 2008 1:05 PM

You know, I think I did this wrong...I started a bit too young. I'd never give it back, but I do wish I'd done a few things: Travel more, sleep in more, buy more expensive toys for myself and mostly I wish I'd enjoyed my clean car with the clean seats. I miss that. :)

Posted by: Issa at November 10, 2008 1:07 PM

I just realized that what gets in the way of everything you mentioned but the bathroom is WORK.

I never thought work would be my child. Oh, well...

Posted by: alektra at November 10, 2008 1:18 PM

I am going with DRINK WINE, because there is nothing worse then waking up at some ungodly hour with a shrieking toddler and a bit of a hangover from the lousy two glasses of wine the night before....

Posted by: Sleepynita at November 10, 2008 1:22 PM

Oh, and have SEX! At a time that doesn't coincide with nap time or "the kid is vegetating in front of Nemo' time. You would be amazed how much you miss noon sex or 6pm sex. Sex at 2:30pm on days off only? It gets a little old.

Posted by: Sleepynita at November 10, 2008 1:28 PM

I agree with all of that stuff, and I will add, the younger you are when you have your children, the easier the change is. I think, anyhow.

And I have ALWAYS went to the bathroom alone. That is what a door and a lock is for.

And also - don't wish it away when you have it. My babies are already 10 and 6 - and I can't get over how fast the time has gone . . .

Posted by: Mindy at November 10, 2008 1:51 PM

Oh, I have so much to say on this subject! My kids are 18, 15, and 3! Talk about starting over, don't get me wrong I look at the last one as a gift from up above. But freedom was dangling right in front of my face there for a second, and wham bam, GONE again. All I have to say is after having a child you go from selfish to selfless real fast. :)

Posted by: kami at November 10, 2008 1:58 PM

I would have to say looking back, the best "real" advise that I can give someone who doesn't have kids is to be patient with those that do. Don't huff and puff in line when we are trying to get our kids, groceries, sippy cups, check book, binky, blankies and coats all into the cart and out the door. Or if our kid is crying somewhere in public, we don't like it any more than you do. Don't look at us like we are horrible parents, there are some out there, but not most who allow or welcome this behavior!
I wish I would have remembered that, I used to be so outwardly annoyed with people who had kids buzzing around and causing a ruckus. Now I just sigh and stay home as much as possible! LOL!
I also agree with the travel, sleep and enjoy showering and peeing by yourself. :)

Posted by: Kristin at November 10, 2008 3:16 PM

I have the opposite problem right now. I miss my two girls. They are grown up and pretty much gone. My youngest just started college and although she still needs me all the time, it is over the phone or through a text message. I long for the days when they were little. Children change everything and then the stinkers grow up and leave you. I don't really think my life was so great or exciting before them. I just know that I miss them.

Posted by: Peggy at November 10, 2008 3:45 PM

If you're even slightly inclined - have those kids. Why wait for the most rewarding part of your life.

I've eaten at The Palm years ago. Are the waiters still as rude as in past years? The food was great!

Posted by: cassie-b at November 10, 2008 3:47 PM

Oh my word you are SOOOO right. I would also add Silence. Appreciate the sound of driving with nothing going on. No crying. No Backyardigans on DVD - which means no Tyrone saying "watch me now" or Tasha saying "oh for goodness sakes". Just Quiet.

Roll around on your carpet. Just get down on the ground and roll because the moment you have a baby every available surface area is covered with brightly covered, fluffy and musical items. You will kick the musical items as you're holding a sleeping baby enroute to the crib. You'll NEVER kick things on accident that don't play music. It's like toast - if you need to know which is the right side just drop it - the right side of toast always lands down.

Eat food while it's hot. Like steam still coming off the plate hot.

Posted by: Cass at November 10, 2008 4:50 PM

I have a 10 month old and she's a dreamboat, but I really miss the ability to play music LOUDLY (some tunes are best enjoyed with the volume up).

Posted by: Erin at November 10, 2008 5:06 PM

Well said Chris. You covered off all my major points as well. As mentioned by others travel, travel, travel, get out of your house while you can! Get in the car and drive - with whatever music YOU want on and look out the front window. I spend all my time turned around half backwards on any long car trip - picking up SOMETHING that has dropped on the floor in the back.

But most importantly...sleep and have sex. If you can combine these two in the one day: perfection. I remember those days where you would be in bed all day sleeping, reading the papers & books then having sex. I am not bitter, I love my kid and my life but BOY do I miss those days.

Posted by: Beth at November 10, 2008 5:14 PM

22 weeks (give or take) until I take that leap from selfish to selfless. We got in lots of wine and travel before I got knocked up, and continue to indulge is as much sleep and as many restaurants as possible.

The reading part - I especially appreciate that tip!

Posted by: Vaguely Urban at November 10, 2008 5:40 PM

Be spontaneous.
Just about everything needs planned in advance with children and even a trip to get milk turns in to a 20 minute ordeal just to get out the door. That's the one thing I miss the most...just grabbing the keys and going.

Posted by: fauve at November 10, 2008 7:17 PM

Enjoy it...the craziness...the no time...the chaos of love and kids...because your house becomes WAY TO quiet when they are grown and moved out...that comes faster than you can every know!

Posted by: gypsy at November 10, 2008 8:32 PM

Giving up sex and sleep- in either order.
And I am scared about how we'll keep a relationship with one another active and healthy if/when we become parents.

Posted by: Karen at November 10, 2008 8:43 PM

I am SO WITH YOU on going to the bathroom alone. My five year old still wants to accompany me to the bathroom. I DREAM about the day I will be able to pee without a miniature audience!

My advice to not-yet parents: Don't worry too much about it. It's amazing what you can do when you no longer have a choice.

Posted by: Shannon at November 10, 2008 8:48 PM

Play a sport...or two. Though I continued to play soccer after I had kids, I treasure the YEARS I did it (before marriage and after) that I did so without having to find a sitter.

Posted by: apathy lounge at November 10, 2008 9:10 PM

All I can say is "amen!"

Posted by: coolchick at November 10, 2008 9:19 PM

I absolutely agree with all the commenters who mentioned "travel." My two cents is to use all your sick days when you're actually sick. Enjoy laying on the couch or in bed, soaking up daytime TV fare. Once you have kids, you have to save all your sick days for when THEY are sick. Parents go to work when they're sick!

Posted by: Robyn at November 10, 2008 9:21 PM

Amen, brother! I would also add, "Be extra sweet to your own parents" to the list. Remember future-parents, they are free babysitters!

Posted by: gojennings at November 10, 2008 10:44 PM

seeing as i dont have kids [dot dot dot]

but actually. once upon a time i had a niece [i still do she just lives far far away]
anyways long story. but for a while there. one could say i was her primary caregiver. and, the things i would say to your question about what i would add on to your thoughts.
and that seeing as im not a mum but was sorta foster mum for a while. everything is just extreme. extreme exhaustion. extreme emotions. just basically. wizard of oz black and white switches to technicolor. and i may not be her mum. and she may be far far away living her life away from me. i have still not gotten over losing her and getting my 'life' back. even if she was only mine for a little while.

Posted by: cri at November 10, 2008 11:27 PM

We're trying (and not succeeding) to have kids, so part of me longs for all those things you listed.

But one of the best things about not having had kids IS that list. I look at my friends and relatives with kids - I see the lack of sleep, the mountains of laundry, the seemingly endless arguments over the most insane things, and worst - the lack of time for your relationship.

I guess, it always comes back to the fact that there's good and bad in everything we do in life.

Posted by: Mandy Lou at November 11, 2008 12:36 AM

I'm too old to have babies. The toughest part about being a non-parent is not having a family.

Posted by: Maria at November 11, 2008 6:28 AM

AMEN! I wrote a similar post on Friday. It's amazing what you never appreciated before the kidlets appeared! Not you as in you Chris, but the collective you. You know what I mean. :)

Posted by: Pocklock at November 11, 2008 9:34 AM

Awesome list! The only one I would add is... sleep on your stomach (for a woman). Sleep on your stomach all the time and every day say to yourself "My back does not hurt. Thank you."

Posted by: That Girl at November 11, 2008 12:40 PM

Great list, Chris. Got to my heart! But, I would say to potential parents that this is a wonderful opportunity (pre-kid time, that is) to really discover what you love and what you want to share with your kids. Your passions in music, books, food, hobbies . . . The added benefit being, of course, that you don't have to be a slave to kid paraphenalia. Or as much. :-) We never have kiddie music in the car. I cook all my favorite things, and she eats it. And I still make sure I read at least one book a month, if only to model the importance of reading to my girl. I will admit I'm lucky that I've got a kiddo who will play independently while I sit nearby reading.

Granted - my family room is currently knee-deep in brightly colored plastic . . .

Posted by: kate at November 11, 2008 1:37 PM

I read a lot about all the time people had before they had kids. My concern is that I have NO time now, what will I do if I ever have kids ?

Posted by: Heather at November 13, 2008 12:21 AM

The best advice that I would give someone thinking of having a baby, is live, make tons of mistakes and just do everything you want to do before you have kids. Having kids changes everything, not necessarily in a bad way, it's just a lot of change. And there are some things I feel I lost the right to do, like act irresponsibly or do stupid things, because once you have kids I believe you have to think about them first and foremost, and your job is to give your children the best possible in every way. I also agree that those thinking of havings kids should sleep a lot, and like you said, have a lot of sex. Those two will be a distant memory until your kids turn 4 or 5. Thankfully hubby & I are over the baby stage, that was a tough one.

Posted by: La Petite Belle at December 8, 2008 9:24 PM