41 Things to Do Before You Have a Baby

woman on man's shoulders on beach
Photo: Getty
Whether you’re TTC right now or just thinking about adding a baby to your nest, there are a few key experiences (and, yes, tasks) that you should check off your life list before taking the parenthood plunge.
  1. Purchase your dream car.

    Photo by Shutterstock
    You might have to trade it in when the baby arrives: if it’s the dream car we’re thinking of, there won’t be room for a baby seat (or a “Baby on Board” sign for that matter). But, go on, have some fun in your cool car now and worry about the minivan later.
  2. Buy a home.

    Photo by Shutterstock

    Renting a place is fine…when you’re just out of college. Put down roots now or risk house-hunting while navigating a stroller the size of a small SUV.

  3. Take at least one dream vacation.

    Photo by Shutterstock

    Have you always wanted to go on an African safari, cruise around the Greek Islands or tour Europe? Dust off your passport and just do it!

  4. Take a cross-country trip.

    Photo by Getty
    Put that new dream car to use and take that far-flung road trip. Or just pick a random spot on the map and put the pedal to the metal. This is pre-baby freedom at its best!
  5. Go to Disneyland and act like kids.

    Photo by Shutterstock

    Go on every 46-inches-and-over ride a dozen times. Eat all the junk food you can -- you don’t have to set a good example yet.

  6. Establish your career.

    Photo by Shutterstock
    Think about it: when you have a baby, life will be a lot easier if you’re the boss--or at least the boss of someone. Log those hours at the office now and move on up the ladder.
  7. Decide whether you want to be a SAHM.

    Photo by Thinkstock
    Think you might want to stay home with your baby? Explore whether you can make your lifestyle work on one salary. If you decide that being a SAHM is right for you, build up your savings. Kids are the ultimate money pit.
  8. Have crazy, carefree sex.

    Photo by Getty
    Don’t miss your opportunity to try out a new sex move without the buzz kill of a crying baby moments before The Big O.
  9. Address any problems in your relationship.

    Photo by Getty

    Is someone overspending? Staying out all night with friends? Drinking milk straight from the carton? Now is the time to work out every point of contention in your marriage before the extra stress of parenthood.

  10. Discuss how you want to raise your child.

    Photo by Veer
    Will your parenting approach be strict or more relaxed? Do you prefer public school or private?  Should your kid be raised Catholic (like you) or Methodist (like him)? Get on the same page about parenting while there’s still plenty of time to negotiate.
  11. Be spontaneous.

    Photo by Getty
    Go out of town on a moment’s notice. Meet up for drinks with friends on a Tuesday just because it’s…Tuesday. Once you have a kid, planning (not spontaneity) will be the new name of the game.
  12. Enjoy an all-nighter.

    Stay out until 4 a.m.--and love every minute. You can sleep it off the next day. When you're a parent “all-nighter” translates to insomniac baby.

  13. Invite a friend’s child (or your niece) to spend the night.

    Photo by Thinkstock

    Consider it a preview for what’s to come. The good news if things go badly? You can give this kid back in the morning.

  14. Enjoy Saturday afternoon movie marathons--at the movie theater.

    Photo by Thinkstock
    Movie marathons now: reclinable seats, buttery popcorn, surround sound. "Movie" marathons later: back-to-back episodes of Sesame Street.
  15. Start and finish any major home renovation projects.

    Photo by Thinkstock
    Is your kitchen so small that only one person can fit in it at a time? Embrace your DIY side and fix up your pad.
  16. Get rid of the clutter.

    Photo by Mark Lund
    Your shoes, bags and random knick-knacks aren’t going to magically organize themselves. So get all that clutter under control before your little mess maker moves in.
  17. Enjoy weekly nights out with your friends.

    Photo by Steve Giralt

    Go to concerts, check out art exhibits, do tequila shots. You’ll still see your friends after you have a baby--just not five nights a week.

  18. Relocate to your dream city.

    Photo by iStock

    Savannah or San Francisco, Memphis or Minneapolis, the Big Apple or the Big Easy? Take that leap and establish yourself in a new place.

  19. Make a list of the books you want to read…and then read them.

    Photo by Veer
    Haven’t had time to get through Hemingway? Or to read all 1,440 pages of Tolstoy’s War and Peace? Get lost in some great books and savor hours of uninterrupted reading time.
  20. Have at least one big adventure.

    Photo by Getty

    Go caving in Costa Rica or shark-diving in Australia—whatever risky thing you’ve always wanted to do. Because taking chances with your life once you have a kid depending on you? Not cool.

  21. Spend an entire day with each set of your grandparents.

    Photo by Thinkstock

    Your grandparents are filled with priceless wisdom that they’ve gleaned from years of good and bad times. So take the time to really get to know them while you still can.

  22. Enjoy a splurge.

    Photo by Veer

    Go out to that expensive restaurant, stay in a five-star hotel or buy those designer jeans you’ve been eyeing--before you're spending every penny on diapers.

  23. Become a yogi, master kick-boxing or run a half-marathon.

    Photo by Veer

    Meeting your fitness goals will fill you with a sense of accomplishment and whip your butt into shape. Being fit before baby will help you bounce back more quickly after baby. It’s a win-win situation!

  24. Spend time alone on a boat (or just take a cruise together).

    Photo by Shutterstock

    There’s something about being on a boat, in the middle of a lake, with nothing else around, that’s incredibly romantic. Maybe it’s that you’re in this together and there’s no escaping…sounds like the perfect metaphor for parenthood, right? So go on, rock the boat a little.

  25. Perform a random act of kindness.

    Photo by Getty

    It's a great way to get into an altruistic, parental mood. Pay for someone’s toll on the highway, buy a stranger’s dinner or surprise your hardworking co-worker with her favorite morning cup of Joe.

  26. Plan and host a surprise party.

    Photo by David Land
    Parenthood is filled with surprises. Why not start early and host one of the most fun surprises of all: a surprise party?
  27. Save a 12-month emergency fund.

    Photo by Shutterstock
    You’ll be thankful to have some extra cash in the bank -- parenthood is filled with surprise expenses.
  28. Kiss under a waterfall.

    Photo by Getty

    Because locking lips under a tropical waterfall in Belize (or even your friend's pool) is super sexy.

  29. Go camping.

    Get back to nature by sleeping in a tent and building your own campfire. Newborns and remote wilderness areas? Not a good fit.
  30. Take a cooking class together.

    Photo by Thinkstock
    It’s romantic, and by at least mastering the basics you’ll save money and get healthier (less takeout)!
  31. Go to at least one major sporting event.

    Photo by Veer
    Imagine: the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Olympics. Now picture it with a baby. Yeah, you get the idea: get to a serious sporting event before you have to strap on that baby carrier.
  32. Wear your most expensive clothing as often as possible.

    Photo by Getty

    You can't have a baby without lots of stains, so show off your best dry clean-only silk and cashmere now—before your mantra becomes machine-wash only.

  33. Take a career risk.

    Photo by Shutterstock
    Launch your own business, switch careers or go back to school. Tackling this task while trying to steer a baby or toddler in the right direction (literally and figuratively) isn’t something even Sisyphus would want to take on.
  34. Develop a hobby.

    Photo by Thinkstock

    You have more free time now than you ever will, so learn how to surf, snowboard, paint, dance, play guitar or collect stamps. Be active or be nerdy!

  35. Turn your extra bedroom into something fun….before it becomes a nursery.

    Photo by Mark Lund
    Think of it as your ultimate playroom: turn that spare room into a yoga studio or convert it into an arts-and-crafts room to bring out your inner Picasso.
  36. Do something outrageously nice for your parents.

    Photo by Veer

    Consider your good deed, whether it’s taking your parents on an Alaskan cruise or having their kitchen remodeled, a down payment for all the babysitting and advice that you’ll be seeking from them in the (very) near future.

  37. Make a list of all the restaurants and bars you’ve been meaning to check out--and go.

    Photo by Shutterstock

    Bars and high-end restaurants aren't kid-friendly (and babysitters aren’t cheap), so create a culinary and boozy wish list and get ready to feast.

  38. Savor every minute of alone time.

    Photo by Thinkstock

    We can’t stress this one enough. Enjoy being absolutely alone everywhere you can--especially in the bathroom (trust us).

  39. Enjoy leisurely, boozy Sunday brunches.

    Photo by Thinkstock
    Brunches are not about breakfast or lunch. They’re not about the food or the drink. They’re about the freedom to linger in a restaurant for hours and relax while grazing on egg-y dishes and sipping mimosas.
  40. Fly first class.

    Photo by Shutterstock
    The champagne, the pampering, the food that actually tastes good. It’s how flying should be (but isn’t if you’re used to coach). Travel like a VIP and splurge on first class tickets for your next long-haul flight.
  41. Be the last ones to leave the party—or the restaurant.

    Photo by Thinkstock

    There’s absolutely no reason to leave yet, so don't. Shut down the place (and then do it again next Saturday).