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As a recovering Type A personality, I constantly face the internal predicament between wanting to be as highly optimized as possible and choosing to enjoy the present moment without over analyzing it. This is one of those times in which the former wins out! As a result, and hopefully for your benefit, the following list contains 15 things that I either did in preparation for the birth of my son, or in hindsight, wish that I had done in preparation for his arrival.
- Clean the house
As mentioned in a previous post, for the last few months of my wife’s pregnancy, I religiously cleaned our home for the purpose of not having to be concerned with cleaning a dirty bathtub or kitchen floor during the first several weeks of our son’s life. Granted, since my wife did not go into labor until she reached 40 weeks, it is possible that in my over zealousness I started the cleaning routine a few weeks too soon. However, as was also noted in the prior post, my “need to clean” resulted in several home improvements which I am very glad to have completed before she delivered!
- Clean your vehicle
It is important for me to say that I place no value on detailing my car. As far as I am concerned, vacuuming the car seats, floor, and trunk, every couple of months, with my own vacuum (I know it is pricey, but we absolutely love this one!) and extension cord, along with hosing off the vehicle’s undercarriage each spring, is perfectly satisfactory. My vehicle’s duty is simply to get me from point A to point B. However, for the sake of our newborn son, I cleaned both of our vehicles during my wife’s 38th week. I did not install any air fresheners! Not only was my wife very pleased with her very clean ride, but both she and I had no remaining concerns about our son breathing any interior pollutants on the way home from the hospital.
- Take an inventory of the pantry
Everybody needs to eat, especially sleep deprived mom and dad. In order to be prepared for our son’s arrival, around week 32, my wife and I started to intentionally take note of the food items that we particularly liked to have in the house. We also started keeping tabs on household items that are less often thought about.
Through this exercise of coming up with an essential list of items, during my wife’s 38th week, I was able to take a look at what we had in the kitchen and closets, then take a quick trip to the store and use my Amazon Prime account to over stock ourselves with the necessary items. Of course, we could not stock up too much on produce or other perishable items, but what a relief our first three months home to always have tooth paste, deodorant, toilet paper, paper towels, Clorox wipes, laundry detergent, Nature Valley bars, and oatmeal readily available.
- Purchase plenty of nutritious snacks
Trail mix anyone! During the first weeks home, mom and dad will sometimes forget to eat lunch. For me, having easily accessible, nutritious snacks was a life saver. Some of my favorites were, and still are, dried plums and these delicious snack bars!
- Get all of the ironing done
You know that pile of clean shirts that you keep adding to because you do not feel like spending two hours ironing? Well it is not going to magically get itself done once your child is born.
Do not even think about casually suggesting to your partner that “we should get the ironing done sometime.” At this stage in the pregnancy, her back is hurting because she is carrying around a lop sided watermelon, and her feet start swelling as soon as she even thinks about standing up.
Therefore, swallow a big dose of “I’m supposed to be a mature and responsible adult,” and just get it done.
- Host a ladies night for your partner and her friends
Yes, that’s right. Ask your partner to decide which Friday or Saturday night works well for her and two or three of her closest friends, then reschedule any plans that you had to a different day. When the evening arrives, be the host! Set the table, make dinner, ask each person what they want to drink (no alcohol for your partner!), and when its time, bring them an after dinner coffee with a nice treat. Of course, you need to eat dinner too, so make sure that you either eat in advance or inconspicuously away from the ladies. Lastly, clean up everything, do the dishes, and leave the kitchen spotless. If you run the dishwasher, make sure that you unload it too!
Not only will her friends think you are a rock star, but your partner will adore you!
- Go enjoy an evening with your friends
After all of this hard work, take a night for yourself. You have earned it!
- Make sure that you have a large stack of paper plates
Inevitably, you will most likely have plenty of people wanting to come and meet the baby. Hopefully, they are thoughtful enough to bring dinner with them!
Before having a baby, my wife and I did not even have paper plates in the house, but we were very thankful when a loving family member left a large stack with us after they had come to meet our son and brought a meal for mom and dad. Do yourself a favor and buy the heavy duty plates. No one will be excited to have to clean up the lasagna that spilled on the carpet because the plate could not support it.
- Setup monthly reminders for all of the recurring bills
So important! Before our son was born, I had already setup reminders on my phone for nearly every recurring task in my life. Not only does this free my mind to think about other things, but it also prevents me from having the aghast feeling of wondering if I remembered to pay the mortgage or electric bill.
- Setup monthly reminders to review credit card statements
Setting up a monthly reminder to review your credit card statements is not only a good life practice, but it is also incredibly helpful when you are in a comatose state of mind from living one three hour cycle to the next. Nobody wants to have fraudulent activity on any of their accounts. Lucky us, two of our credit card accounts were hacked in the first weeks of being home with our son. Of course, both my wife and I have transaction notifications set up on our phones which enabled us to report the fraud immediately. However, even though we both have these notifications setup, utilizing monthly reminders helps us to be vigilant to review our credit card statements.
Our monthly reminders are scheduled for the same day that we review our monthly cash flow, spending, and savings rate using Personal Capital!
- Go on a walk
Although this may become increasingly difficult for your partner as she nears the pains of labor, getting outside and breathing nature’s fresh air is never a bad thing. Even if she is not up for trekking Glacier National Park, a leisurely walk at a nearby state park or even a local mall will not only be good for your circulation, but it will also be a nice opportunity to spend some time together outdoors before you become increasingly limited to your home.
- Have the furnace and air conditioning unit inspected
Unfortunately, I did not think of this, and during our son’s eleventh week, our furnace leaked a large puddle of water, and simultaneously, our air conditioning stopped working. Thankfully, the issue stemmed from a clogged condensation drain line, and was easily fixed with some DIY. Although I was fairly certain that I fixed the problem, we still called a technician to do a complete inspection. Even though this was not a catastrophic event, it would have been nice to not receive a phone call from my wife stating that the carpet was soaked and that the air conditioning had stopped working.
- Purchase extra furnace air filters
When was the last time you even thought to do this? About a year ago, my wife asked if I had recently changed our furnace air filter. I responded with a bewildered face. Since that time, I have added a recurring reminder to my phone which includes the appropriate air filter size. Unfortunately, when the reminder went off a few weeks ago, I did not have any clean air filters in the house. After a quick trip to Lowe’s, the filter was changed. However, it would have been nice to find an extra filter waiting for me when I opened the closet door!
- Purchase extra water filters for the refrigerator
Same as the air furnace filter, my recurring reminder sounded off last week, and low and behold, I did not have any extra filters under the kitchen sink. Another quick trip to Lowe’s, two quick twists, a few minutes of flowing water, and I was all done. Again, it would have been nice to not have to take an unexpected trip to the store.
- Purchase two Digiorno frozen pizzas
Even though you followed my advice in numbers three and four, you will most likely find yourself needing to make something for dinner while also feeling too tired to run to the store. Since you are also trying to be more responsible with your hard earned money, you are hesitant to order delivery. Instead, gleefully preheat the oven, pull out one of these beautiful babies (no pun intended!), and a few minutes later those feelings of hunger and tiredness will be quickly drowned out by the delightful smell of sizzling pepperoni!
Many of these items are great to implement in your life even if you do not plan on starting a family. Your partner would most likely be pleased if you started cleaning the bathroom more often, vacuuming her car every once in a while, taking initiative to get the ironing done, and occasionally hosted a ladies night for her and her friends. Additionally, how much money could you potentially not throw away just by taking an inventory of the food you have already purchased and using it before it expires? Or, how much money could you save by simply setting up monthly reminders so that you never pay a late fee again? Certainly you can improve your health by eating nutritious snacks and taking frequent walks outside. The truth is that many of these “preparations” are really great ways to remove some stress and anxiety from your life even if you are not starting a family.