7 Things You Should Do for Yourself Before Starting a Family
Whether you make a calculated decision to have children or let nature decide, you're never really ready for the reality of parenthood until that stork lands on your doorstep. A dramatic shift takes place when you become a mom or dad for the first time, and it's a veritable pendulum of emotions from inexplicable joy at this miracle you've created to unexplained sorrow for your former life. But we're not in the habit of indulging in regret at MyDomaine HQ; we believe in living life to the fullest and enjoying all the simple merriments it can bring before you jump on that baby bandwagon.
Besides, it's okay to be selfish in your 20s. Just ask mom Mila Kunis. "I reprioritized my life, in all honesty," she told Entertainment Tonight. "I traveled through all my 20s, and I was very selfish—in a good way, not in a way I regret. And I think having a kid made me realize how incredibly selfless I want to be." You won't grieve your former life if you do, see, and experience everything it has to offer because you'll know deep down that you made the most of it, every last single selfish minute of it. Mila agrees. "It does change the way you think and, look at life. I would never trade it for the world," she said. "But I know that when we decided to have a kid, we were ready to no longer be selfish." So without further ado, we present you with seven of our top things you need to add to that pre-baby bucket list.
It's hard to imagine the simple act of reading a book could be considered a luxury, but when you have kids, you'll realize how little time you have to indulge in literature. As soon as you pick up the bound cover of your favorite scribe, your child will suddenly want a drink or need to tell you something. So before the demands of parenthood begin, revel in the uninterrupted time available to you, and get nose deep in the pages of an enriching tale, an intriguing autobiography, or a heartbreaking love story. Then don't stop until it's done. Go on—lose yourself.
Once you reach baby town, there's no time for sightseeing or casual meandering around tourist attractions; it's go time. Babies are professional time wasters, you're so busy all day yet left scratching your head at the end of it wondering what you accomplished. So before your relaxing morning and nighttime routines are replaced with the ritual of sleep, feed, diaper change, clean, and repeat, sign up for a class. Enrich your soul with a yoga series, improve your cooking skills with a culinary course, or lower your stress levels with an art class. You'll be so glad you did.
Before your daytime viewing is relegated to Thomas the Tank Engine and Dora the Explorer, make sure you get some extended screentime while the sun's still out. There's nothing more liberating than spending an entire day couch-bound by choice to binge-watch your favorite television series or original saga. So it's time to get into the comfort zone with a major Twin Peaks sesh—and use these simple hacks to optimize your streaming. (You're welcome.)
After a tumultuous workweek, there's nothing quite like the exhilarating freedom of hitting the open road à la Thelma & Louise for a liberating weekend of adventure. Picnic basket in hand, take to the tarmac and let the wheel guide you with the help of Google Maps. Of course, kids don't restrict you from weekend galavanting, but the keyword here is spontaneity, something you will have in restricted supply once a baby arrives. So grab your best friend and go somewhere on a whim.
Dining out after the early-bird slot of 6 p.m. is definitely a pleasure enjoyed by those sans children. We can't think of anything we love more than dressing up in our fanciest fashions to dine at an exquisite five-star restaurant with friends: enriching conversation over bottles of Champagne followed by first-class desserts and maybe even dancing. The night is yours, after all, and there is no babysitter back home racking up time on an hourly meter.
Children are like sponges; they soak up their surroundings subconsciously. Even when you think they're distracted or too busy eating to be listening, their ears are always tuned into your conversation. Curbing your cuss words is challenging at first, but even uncensored movies and music need to be turned right down or right off. Otherwise, we can guarantee you'll be witness to an embarrassing situation when your adorable child repeats one of them in front of a friend or colleague. (It's cute until they start making it a habit.) So play that new Kendrick Lamar record real loud and sing it real proud now, before you have to hit the mute button or switch to commercial radio where it's blipped out.
Long-haul flights are hard enough as an adult, let alone with a mini-me in tow. They have nowhere to run, and you have nowhere to hide. Traveling with kids is stressful and takes a lot of patience and distractions (just ask Gwyneth Paltrow). So make the most of it now and fly by air as much as possible before you're walking up and down the aisles with a tired toddler in tow.
What's on your pre-baby bucket list?
This post was originally published on June 20, 2016. Updated by Sacha Strebe.