6 things a mum-to-be REALLY needs to do

Yes, that's very lovely, but could you hurry up? I'd like an unhurried dump...

Yes, that’s very lovely, but could you hurry up? I’d like an unhurried dump… [Nine Months, 20th Century Fox]

Nursery decorated – check! Maternity bras – check! Every conceivable baby-related thing going (most of which you won’t need) – check! So now, Mum-to-be, it’s time to turn our attentions to you. And I’m not referring to panty pads and rubber rings. This is the stuff that really matters – a sort of pre-baby bucket list if you like, of six things you will later be hugely glad you took the time to revel in every last drop of. You’re probably already bracing yourself for the obvious niceties you’ll miss like sleep and a leisurely piss – so this is the stuff that could otherwise engulf you, when your world suddenly feels uncontrollable. And before you shit your pants Mum-to-be, let me say this – there’s no doubt about it, love is about to overwhelm you like never before and while this shit might not matter in the great scheme of things, it can matter (because, you know, you’re human), when the shit, sometimes literally, hits the fan. But that’s enough shit-talk. Take a deep breath, read – and thank me later…

Eat the entire confectionary contents of a corner shop
When you’re pregnant, it is perfectly acceptable to dive head first into a vat of ice cream having already consumed 27 Mars Bars. So now, with your due date looming, this is your chance to cram in as much gorging as possible without any judgement or self-loathing. True, you will have a little grace period after the baby’s born when energy levels are low and you can justifiably trough to your heart’s content in the name of looking after your own and the baby’s, interests. But once that baby’s sleeping longer, I have to tell you, filling your shopping trolley with chocolate like a contestant on Supermarket Sweep isn’t so endearing to the average bystander. You are no longer a lovely, glowing ‘woman with child’ – you’re just a greedy fucker or possibly, slightly deranged bulimic. So hit that confectionary stand at McColl’s now – and hit it hard!

Go to the cinema, loads
I’d like you to take a moment and recollect the shittest film you ever saw in the cinema. Was it so bad you were shifting uncomfortably in your seat, desperate to leave? Or did you actually walk out telling yourself you had better things to do with your time? Post-baby, that film, no matter how dreadful, will be filled with nostalgic memories of a life when you could just pop to the pictures on a whim should the mood take you. A bit like sex, trips to the cinema when you become a mum are hard to find the time and energy for, let alone coordinate. So do yourself a favour and head to the nearest Odeon and watch anything and everything – even the crap with Adam Sandler in. And as for the sex, if you’re feeling fruity, maybe put out a little, although perhaps not in the cinema as apparently, they frown on that sort of thing…

Get a completely useless, expensive beauty treatment
If you would never dream of leaving the house without a full face of make-up, several layers of fake tan and hair so groomed it could win Best in Show at Crufts, you’re in for a rude awakening. How do I break this to you? OK, brace yourself… You and your current beauty routine are about to part company and you will often look, well, shit. To be franker still, if, as a new mum, you have time to brush your teeth and run a wet wipe under your pits, you’re doing good (I did warn you to brace yourself). But in all honesty, your feelings about your appearance will seriously change in those early, sleep-deprived days as priorities and perspectives shift. There will be time again to take pride in your appearance of course, but until that point, baths in ass’s milk and fish spa pedicures are not really happening. So, while you can still lumber up the high street, now is the time to book yourself a pregnant-friendly treatment – something that makes you feel really special and spoilt. Then, post-baby, when a sleep-deprived primate appears to be looking back at you in the mirror, remind yourself of how gorgeous you once felt – and will again when you have time for more than a spit wash.

Treat yourself to a beautiful, very small, impractical bag
There is nothing quite as laborious as attempting to leave the house with a baby. Nappies, cream, wipes, bibs, muslins, spare outfits, toys, books and a load of other just-in-case bits – are all stuffed into a changing bag the size of a Nissan Micra. You then hobble like a knackered mule with your massive bag from coffee mornings to baby groups, and while it all gets easier and actually very lovely (which you will hear a billion times and it’s all completely true), you might still mourn the days of being able to sling a cash card and lipstick into a cute little handbag and skip out the door, light as feather. So log onto Asos, filter to the designer brands and get something stupidly pretty and expensive you can barely fit a tampon in. Then take it with you everywhere – before you have to stick it in a drawer with your ‘good underwear’, which is also unlikely to see the light of day for a very long time after that baby’s born.

Take a day trip ALONE
Your first solo jaunt, even if it’s just to the nearby corner shop, will be a momentous one. You’ll feel like you’ve forgotten something and as you pat your pockets and root around your handbag, you’ll suddenly realise that it’s your baby whose absence you’re feeling. It’s strange – but also very lovely. You’re not pushing a buggy, lugging a car seat or trying to breastfeed in a cramped coffee shop while attempting to hold a conversation. However, as a much-needed new mum, chances are this first trip out will be a short-lived one. So while you can, head to the nearest train station, buy a ticket to somewhere new and lovely, and relish just sitting there, watching the world whizz by the window. Once you have reached your destination, have a delicious three-course lunch, alone. Savour the solitude. Enjoy having both hands free to eat your food and drink a scalding hot beverage, if you so choose. After which, head to the restaurant’s loos, plonk yourself down on a lavatory with your favourite magazine nestled on your lap and if you can manage it, have a beautiful, unhurried dump. Believe me, you will never regret this lost afternoon…

Read several frivolous books that aren’t monotonous mum manuals
Once the baby’s here, expect to spend a lot of time frantically flipping through a number of paperbacks looking for answers to questions that, as it soon transpires, don’t really matter. You and your other half, as you search for explanations for gunky eyes and non-sleeping babies, will frequently ask: “What does the book say?” And then as more of the dross is recommended/ lent to you, the books appear to breed and a large tower of them sprouts on your bedside table, each with several earmarked pages, but by and large, mostly unread. Before life is filled with such practical literature, get to Waterstones and buy a few trivial, tacky titles. Maybe even a dirty one? Go on, treat yourself. Devour those baby-free words. And after the baby arrives, when you’re pouring over those dry old mum manuals at 2am – and it’s likely you will given it’s a rite of passage for most new mothers – I want you to return to this post and re-read this bit: No matter what those bossy, boring, banal books bang on about, you are doing a fucking brilliant job. You’re such a good mum in fact; you’re up at 2am, blearily scouring indexes because you love your child so much. Oh, and don’t worry, all those tomes of baby doom will not be wasted – they’ll be very handy for correcting wonky tables, wedging open sash windows or sitting as coasters under cold cups of undrunk tea…

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