1. Go up and down stairs and escalators
Once you are pushing a pram around you suddenly have to find the extremely well-hidden lifts everywhere you go and you will become an accomplished dropped-curb-scanner. It seriously feels like a treat to me to be able to run down a flight of stairs in a department store to quickly buy a pair of knitting needles and then run back up. Done in five minutes. Same trip with a pram takes twenty minutes with all the travel around the shop to the lifts and ramps – I’m not even going to try it with a baby and a toddler. I’ll just use chop sticks.
2. Eat a meal in peace
Babies are jealous creatures. If they see you enjoying a well earned hot meal or cup of tea, they suddenly discover that they are extremely hungry themselves and they won’t stop screaming until you abandon your food in favour of feeding them.
3. Have baths
A little tricky while pregnant as you have to be careful not to make it too hot, but run yourself a pleasantly warm bath, add lots of bubbles, take a book and a glass of wine with you and spend a lovely uninterrupted half an hour soaking. With a newborn baby you’re lucky if you find the time to brush your teeth.
4. Enjoy intelligent conversation
Plan plenty of evenings with friends – especially friends without children – and encourage the conversation away from your impending arrival/life change and towards politics, big ideas, books you’ve read, films you’ve seen, preparations for the apocalypse, life ambitions, what you were scared of when you were younger etc. You get the idea. Post-baby your brain will have turned into cotton wool, mainly due to lack of sleep, and as the baby turns into a Toddler you will struggle to finish a sentence. Most of my conversations with friends go a bit like this: “So I saw this thing on the inter NO PUT THAT DOWN what was I saying? I was in the supermarket yester I SAID PUT THAT DOWN THAT IS DANGEROUS So I was watching this film and GIVE IT BACK. NO, GIVE IT BACK. WE ARE DOING NICE SHARING. Right, time to go home. Lovely chatting to you, must do it again some WHERE ARE YOUR SHOES? NO THOSE ARE NOT YOURS THEY HAVE HEELS!”
5. Go and buy clothes and take your time trying them on
Not easy trying on clothes with little people around. Also, I personally need to already be feeling good about my appearance to like the clothes I try on, which is again something that is unlikely to happen when you can’t remember the last time you washed your hair and the outfit you are wearing probably has sick on it somewhere.
6. Go to the cinema
Once your baby falls into a routine and sleeps in the evenings you can nip out to the pub briefly or perhaps even go out for a meal, but we found going to the cinema is much harder to arrange. Films take so long and it is hard to make sure you get there in time after putting the baby to bed, and then to get back in time before the last feed.
7. Go into [fill in big exciting city that requires public transport to get to]
Similar to the cinema story – if it takes a while to get there and back, going on these kinds of outings is quite a way down the line when you have a new baby. Do it while you still can. As for going for day trips with the baby, just thinking about going on trains and buses with a pram makes me cry and shake.
8. Be spontaneous
Whatever it is you are doing at the moment, stop doing it right now and go do something else. Go out for dinner with your partner on the spur of the moment. Book a last minute weekend away to somewhere that is not here.
Mmmmmm lie ins…
10. Spend as much quality time with your partner as possible
Of course, you will be spending plenty of time together in the middle of the night, but you will probably be arguing about who is more tired and why the baby is awake again and whose fault that might be. Your family is about to change. You were two – you will be three. Enjoy two for these last few months – and then resolve to enjoy three. It is exhausting but wonderful.
Also, watch out for my follow-up post next week entitled Top Ten Unexpected Benefits of Having a Baby to cheer yourself up again.