So you’re in the home stretch. You’ve printed out the checklists, oohed and aahed over all your shower gifts, and fought about names. Now you’re sort of just...waiting. The last few weeks of pregnancy are a tightrope--on one side, you don’t feel like doing much at all. On the other side, you have to do all the things because you could go into labor at any second and what if the baby’s room is the wrong shade of gray?
Whether you’re trying to do a million things or just stocking up on sleep, here’s 5 things I found essential to cross off my list before going into labor.
1. Get a pedicure, massage and maybe even bikini wax. While I'm not a huge fan of the whole “get a blowout and bring your makeup” idea (sorry, but a blowout doesn't last me ten minutes on a day where I'm not pushing a baby out of my hoo-hah), I do think you should feel good about yourself when everyone’s snapping pics of you and the new babe. And feeling good means something different for every mama. I remember being in the delivery room staring at my gnarly toenails like “Really? On the day where my toes are framing about a million faces, this is how they look?” My mom tribe also recommended getting a prenatal massage, a haircut (especially a low-maintenance one) or even trimming things up (ahem) down there. We bet you could use some pampering at this point in your pregnancy, plus a pre-hospital spa day might help keep your head in the game, you know, like a well-groomed quarterback.
2. Deep clean your kitchen. It'll be a while before you have the luxury of spending more than an hour on anything once the little one gets here, so take advantage of the relative calm (and that nesting urge!) and empty out the fridge and the cupboards. I'm a bit of a germaphobe on a good day, but I was ten times worse when I thought that every surface in my house was going to spread some incurable illness to my newborn. Once your fridge is clean and empty, you can restock it with pre-prepared, freezer-friendly meals. I made about six weeks worth of pasta sauces, mac & cheese, and stews and it saved my whole life.
3. Go on a date night. Even if this isn't your first child, chances are you've gotten used to it just being the two (or three, or six) of you. A new baby will definitely demand all of your attention for a little while. Get dressed up, take advantage of the (relatively lower) cost of childcare, and go try that new restaurant you've been curious about. Or check out a concert, or go bowling—or anything that wouldn't be as much fun with a stroller.
4. Pack your bags. Labor can strike at any time! Ok, kidding. Well, kind of. While most first time moms actually go past their due date, and even a sizable number of second and third time mamas, I felt like a ticking time bomb as soon as I hit 37 weeks. Having my labor bag packed in advance made me feel much more prepared. It didn't help that I left it at home the day they decided to induce me, but at least my husband didn't have to run around looking for anything.
5. Run your errands. Trust me when I say that you will not have time to run around doing all the things you normally do once that baby gets here, and that's if you even feel like leaving the house. Here's the big one: return all the things that you didn't want or got duplicates of at your shower, because once you come out of that new baby fog you're likely to be past the return window. Then put as much of your life on autopilot as you can. I scheduled deliveries of groceries, diapers, paper towels, trash bags and all the other household goods that I knew we’d be likely to run out of.
Finally, enjoy the countdown! It's almost time to meet that baby. And if you don't get around to everything, don't worry. It will still turn out perfect.
Photography by Amy Frances for Well Rounded.