Having a baby is hard work. As cute and cuddly, as beautiful and loving it is to have a child, it’s also scary, exhausting (read literally very exhausting) and hard. It is important that you and your significant other are on the same page when it comes to parenting styles and that you as a woman are ready to shift into the motherhood mode. These are exciting, magical, wonderful times and we are thrilled for you. Becoming a mother is an adventure like no other. There are ridiculously awesome highs and a few crazy shocking lows. It’s SOME journey. We’re sure you’ve heard, right?

Here are 11 things every girl needs to do before turning into a mom:

1. Indulge

Well, obviously! What used to be a five-minute run to the store will now take forty-five minutes to account for bundling, dawdling, snack-packing, car-seat-fiddling, and other extra steps. Moreover, suddenly all your purchases will revolve around what your child needs or actually what you want for him/her. So, splurge on yourself!

2. Travel

Don’t miss out on travelling before stepping into motherhood. Well, it’s not like you can’t travel once you’re a mom, but you probably won’t be able to do all those adventurous things carrying a 2 year baby around. Go on unbelievable adventures and live a life of unbridled exploration! But don’t just travel, travel safe. You want to be safe while you go on adventures after all. So, one thing you should make sure you have sorted before travelling abroad is an overseas medical insurance.

3. Accept Your Body

Because doing it post-baby is even harder. Most of us are not really comfortable in our own skin, and thinking of all the weight we might gain during your pregnancy can be daunting. So, hit the gym or go for a walk every day to get in your best shape. However, don’t stress out on the stretch marks and cellulite. Even Beyoncé has them! Celebrities have them. Accept your body and its flaws. Don’t try to change its natural shape.

4. Sleep

It’s the most overused cliché in the world, right? Parents don’t get to sleep much, especially mothers. But, the cliché becomes very much a painful reality, and the shrill wake-up call coming over the baby monitor before the sun rises will hurt your soul. So, sleep in now, and when you wake, enjoy some lazy time lying around in bed.

5. Have conversations

Sitting down with your friends and taking turns pouring out your most recent trials and tribulations is one of those things we take for granted pre-kids. Catching-up with childfree friends becomes exhausting as they helplessly watch you flounder and catching up with fellow Mum-friends who have their own little distraction in the high chair next to them? You should practically just forget about it. So, do it all now.

6. Read

Are you an avid bookworm? Chances are, this is a hobby that you might let slide once the responsibilities of motherhood have you in their grips. Time becomes precious, and eyes become tired, and your ability to devour a compelling book in a single afternoon is most likely going to suffer. So, read ‘all the books’ now.

7. Romance

A child changes a lot of things in your relationship with your mate. While I don’t intend to say that there won’t be any time to romance your man after kids, it’s just a fact that you’ll have less time for that because priorities change. Cuddling and romancing is no more a priority because there’s a greater responsibility in your life. So steal those kisses and go on dates as much as you can before you hit motherhood.

8. Eat everything you love

You’ll have to avoid eating way too many things that you might actually love. Everything from raw meat to alcohol to caffeine will be a big ‘No.’ Also, cravings are quite normal during pregnancy, thanks to the hormonal surge. But you cannot indulge in everything as you must have a balanced diet. So, eat everything you want now!

9. Act of kindness

It’s a great way to get into an altruistic, parental mood. Giving your time to a cause you care about is super rewarding. We all want to do something for the society and we keep waiting, but before you take up another responsibility, it’s a good way to move towards motherhood.

10. Plan & Host parties

Party as much as you want. Your Parenthood is filled with surprises. Why not start early and host one of the most fun surprises of all: a surprise party? Enjoy the spontaneity and anxiety it brings along.

11. Establish your Career

When you have a baby, life will be a lot easier if you’re the boss or at least the boss of someone. So, log those hours at the office now and move on up the ladder. Or if you plan to switch, or change your career path, now is the time.

It’s not like you’re being prisoned or chained. But, this is for sure that you may not be the center of your universe because you relinquish the same to your children. It’s advisable to check off everything in your list before you’re a mom and not blame motherhood later.

“Having kids—the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings—is the biggest job anyone can embark on.” – Maria Shriver