This is a guest post I wrote two weeks ago for Cheila, of Pink for Days:
“I bet she’s going to say “save up”, “party hard” and “travel a lot”,’ I can hear you thinking. But I’m not going to say these things because they’re obvious. We all know that you can’t go to the cinema with a baby and that, when you can finally take your child to the big screen, it’ll be a Disney cartoon and not the latest thriller that you’ll be watching.
But I’m going to give you some advice so that you might be able to watch the latest thriller at the cinema, save up, party, and travel, even after you’ve become a mama.
- Accrue goodwill credits with family, friends and colleagues: babysit nieces and nephews, dog-sit for your parents, help the neighbor shift that piano, cover that horrid night-shift for a colleague, etc. Make sure that they owe you BIG. Then, when you have children (and, I tell you, you will need help!), you can casually remind them of their debt before mentioning with nonchalance that Valentine city-break for two that you and hubby would so love to do, if only you had a babysitter…
- At work, you never make negative comments about people who are taking parental leave or use sunglasses to hide their droopy eyelids after a breastfeeding night. Express deep sympathy towards working-parents and petition for the creation of a work nursery (which will likely only be ready when you have your own children).
- Visit new places and familiarize yourself with as many public loos locations as you can. Once you’re a mama, you’ll be glad to remember the shortest route to the motorway services’ toilet, while you’re running with a child who can’t run while crossing her legs.
- Learn to drive, preferably large vehicles (people carriers, vans, horseboxes, caravans). You should become so comfortable behind the wheel that you can successfully execute a U-turn before a school, at drop-off time (“Mum, I’ve forgotten my lunchbox!”), or follow the navigator’s instructions with kids screaming from the back seats, or bring the vehicle to a full stop within the time a child can hold their vomit.
- Learn to cook at least three meal options/variants for every meal, so that you can satisfy the requirements of all the picky eaters in your family (who are never picky in favour of the same foodstuff).
- Learn to make appropriate noises to suggest that you are listening to a small person talking to you, even across the bathroom door (even if you are…ahem… busy).
- Get your house together, but not too much. You don’t want unfinished DIY projects involving unfenced holes in the ceiling/floor, exposed live electrical wires, splintering floorboards, with babies crawling around your home. But…don’t make this home your dream home, fully decorated and furnished, because your kids will want to decorate it for you. They’ll regale you numerous pieces of crayon art which has to be exhibited and, when they’re especially quiet, they might be working on a Leonardo-style egg fresco straight on your walls.
I hope you enjoyed it. You can read Cheila’s comments at Pink for Days.