A baby is the beginning of an amazing new chapter.

But for those women on the cusp of pregnancy and new motherhood, we’re sharing some pre-pregnancy bucket list items from our Motherly mamas. Get to it while you still can! ?

1. Travel.

Roaming the ruins in Rome is totally possible after baby—it just gets harder. If having a baby is on your horizon, treat a trip you’d love to take as one last hurrah before things get more complicated. Think: Girlfriends getaway. Visiting a state you’ve never seen. A blowout trip to Europe (though if you go when you’re pregnant, skipping the wine and cheese can be a challenge).


2. Love on your body. ?

One day you might miss the way your body looks now. And you will also learn to love your new normal. But take it from the mamas who have been there: The sooner you learn to love the body you have, when you have it, the easier this whole thing gets.

We love how Ina May Gaskin put it:

“Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body.”

3. Make a leap at work.

Believe it or not, leaning in at work before baby arrives—asking for new responsibilities, applying for a more senior role, getting a raise—can give you more flexibility and ownership down the line, when you’ll need it the most.

The more essential your organization sees you, the more your supervisors will likely do to keep you happy. (Hello, flex time)!

So dig in and reap the rewards to come.

4. Eat all the unpasteurized cheese.

All the (non-vegan) pregnant ladies really miss it. ?

5. Sleep in late.

Pregnancy brings all sorts of sleep challenges (morning sickness, leg cramps, a constantly full bladder), and new motherhood—well, you’ve heard the rumors. Sleep now. For the rest of us.

6. Take a date night!

Winging date night (again)? Awesome! You don’t have to pay a babysitter in order to escape your house for a few hours. Enjoy all the date nights you can before baby is in tow.

7. Do crunches.

Pregnancy nixes traditional abs work for a while, and the postpartum body often needs some help in recovering abdominal strength. The stronger your core is before a baby is inside, the better. So rock those sit-ups and side planks.

8. Do just 1 load of laundry.

And be done. ? The job of cleaning once kids arrive reaches a whole new level. Enjoy the comparatively light load.

Just know that secretly you’ll one day love the tiny little socks you get to wash.

9. Get an OB checkup.

It’s one of the smartest things you can do for a healthy pregnancy. Bring *all* your medical and sexual history to the appointment, as well as all your questions about how to best prepare. Read more on what to ask during the pre-conception checkup.

10. Get so excited.

Your life is about to change in the most wonderful ways.

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Motherhood is a practice in learning, growing and loving more than you ever thought possible. Even as a "veteran" mama of four young sons and one newly adopted teenager, Jalyssa Richardson enthusiastically adapts to whatever any given day has in store—a skill she says she's refined through the years.

Here's what just one day in her life looks like:

Jalyssa says she learned to embrace agility throughout her motherhood journey. Here's more from this incredible mama of five boys.

What is the most challenging part of your day as a mom of five?

Time management! I want to meet each of the boys' individual needs—plus show up for myself—but I often feel like someone gets overlooked.

What's the best part of being a mom of five?

The little moments of love. The hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the smiles... they all serve as little reminders that I am blessed and I'm doing okay.

Are there misconceptions about raising boys?

There are so many misconceptions about raising boys. I think the biggest one is that boys don't have many emotions and they're just so active all the time. My boys display many emotions and they also love to be sweet and cuddly a lot of the time.

What do you think would surprise people the most about being a mom of five?

How much I enjoy it. I never knew I wanted to be a mom until I was pregnant with my first. My desire only grew and the numbers did! I am surprised with every single baby as my capacity to love and nurture grows. It's incredible.

How do you create balance and make time for yourself?

Balance for me looks like intentional planning and scheduling because I never want my boys to feel like they aren't my first priority, but it is extremely difficult. What I try to do is not fit it all into one day. I have work days because motherhood is my first priority. I fit in segments of self-care after the kids' bedtime so I don't grow weary.

What's the biggest lesson you have learned from motherhood?

I have learned that sacrifice is actually beautiful. I was terrified of the selflessness motherhood would require, but I've grown so much through the sacrifice. There is nothing better than living for something bigger than myself.

When did you first feel like a mom? How has your motherhood evolved?

I first felt like a mom when I was pregnant with my first son and I intentionally chose to change my eating habits so my body could be strong and healthy for him. I didn't have to think twice—I just did what I thought would be best for him. That decision being so effortless made me realize I was made for motherhood.

My perspective has changed with each baby as I've realized motherhood doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. With my first son, I was a by-the-book mama and it was so stressful. With each baby, I have felt more freedom and it has made motherhood so much more beautiful. I have evolved into the mother that they need, I am perfect for these boys.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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