Things I’m Glad I Did Before Having Children

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Eleven years ago today my husband and I went on our first date to a Texas Rangers baseball game, initiated by yours truly (get it girl!). It wasn’t until months later that we discovered each of us had tucked our ticket stub into our wallet for safe keeping. Those stubs are now framed, living on our wall reminding us of how our little family got started and how fun...errr different our lives used to be.

While I definitely didn’t do myself any favors preparing for a child in the conventional way, there were things I did do before having children that I’ve come to appreciate even more now I have two of my own. Some are simple, some might seem extravagant, but they are all milestones and memories I don’t regret…including one I wish I had done sooner.

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BOUGHT A HOME - Besides having kids, nothing makes you feel more grown up than writing the largest check you’ve ever seen for a down payment on a house. Add in the paperwork required for loans and telling everyone you’re “in escrow” (where my Gilmore Girls fans at?) and you've garnered a space at Golden Corral at 4pm for dinner.

STARTED A BUSINESS - In 2011 I started my stationery business not knowing if it would be a success or total failure. Thankfully it grew more than I ever anticipated but I don’t think I would have had the guts or time to dedicate to such an endeavor with children in the picture. My business was my first baby and truth be told, it caused me to burn the midnight oil much more often than my 2 month old son has ever required.

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TRAVELED – I must have known traveling with kids would be difficult one day, so my husband and I really made this a priority early in our marriage. I like to remember the two week European tour we took to three different countries where I packed everything in a carry on suitcase. Now when I travel, I pay extra because my bag weighs over 50 pounds for a weekend trip. Parenthood.

MOVED CROSS COUNTRY – When we found out we would be moving for my husband’s job when I was 7 months pregnant, we considered me staying in Texas while Steve commuted from Iowa (and we thought Plano was a bad commute, Dallasites). The more we talked about it, we decided a lightning speed move for both of us would be best. Looking back, especially when I was in the thick of that “fourth trimester”, I couldn’t have been more relieved to not have the added stress of moving with a newborn.

SAVED MONEY – I wish I could say I spearheaded this one, but my husband gets to take the credit here. We make a great team – he is the big picture guy while I manage more of the day to day spending. Early on we set up our 401Ks, Roth IRAs and SEP IRAs and consistently paid (and continue to pay) ourselves first. Pair this with my ability to make a penny scream, and we make quite the duo.

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THREW EPIC PARTIES – Between bubble soccer, beer tasting parties and our most famous St. Patrick’s Day celebration (we took down a fence so the band we hired could be enjoyed throughout our neighborhood), we threw some pretty amazing celebrations. We still like gathering people in our home, but it just takes a little more effort now and those 2am bedtimes aren’t quite as appealing.

WENT TO A FERTILITY SPECIALIST – Clearly, I have this one to thank for having children in the first place, but I do wish I had visited a specialist sooner, possibly avoiding years of tears and heartache. Even though this wasn’t the path I had planned or would have chosen, I think going through all of the surgeries, shots and probing made me more aware of the gift and miracle a child is. The sweet just isn’t quite as sweet without the sour.

HeartCheers, Mama! -