Things to know and do before you have kids!

Recently there have been many weddings and all these new couples are waiting to have kiddos. While you are waiting, here's some things I would like to share with you as I have learned from my past so your time as a couple pre-children could be intentional and well spent with many memories made and no regrets later!

1. Enjoy the quiet time. While eating dinner, look each other in the eyes, don't be distracted by music, television, or your phone and enjoy the two of you being able to even eat together at the same time! In the mornings, evenings, while you drive, shower, and even getting a peaceful nights sleep savor every moment of it that you have. 

2. Do spontaneous things. I remember one time while living in Dallas, my husband  asked me to go get some ice cream one evening.  I didn't want to disturb our routine so we didn't go. I was pregnant and felt like I needed to get my sleep. Little did I know though that I would remember that day forever and now wish we could go and get ice cream anytime we want. It's alright to occasionally enjoy doing something late at night or bright and early in the morning. Go out enjoy the sunrise, sunset, star gazing, a thrilling hike or camping. Make memories and enjoy just the two of you!

3. Have a set "date" day. Take one day a week that will be your date day (be it at home or you go out somewhere) but make it a priority and stick to it each week. That way when you have children it will be a habit and you MUST be very intentional about it.

4. Exercise healthy habits. Eating, exercising, budgeting, sleeping, and self discipline. In the back of their mind everyone knows these things are important but something happens when you have a baby coming, you all of a sudden rush to put these things in place. -Health tip for when you're pregnant. Sometimes your body seems to crave a lot of different foods but some may not be that healthy for you. We hear these  old wives tales that say you need to eat everything you crave and continually eat because it's 'for the baby.' Your body only needs an extra 340-450 calories per day throughout your pregnancy, which isn't a lot of calories! If you already have these healthy habits in place, your pregnancy will be all the better for it.

5. Know who you are and know each other. Most people that get married feel like everything will just fall into place after the wedding day, but unfortunately there is a lot of work involved. Know your strengths, weaknesses, fears, beliefs, what makes you happy, sad, angry, get to the root of things that are frustrating and dysfunctional. Work through things together openly with your spouse. It's always better to figure these things out before you have little ones and if you need outside help, get it! No problem is too little if it concerns you. Fix it for yourself, each other, and your future family. I found Focus on the Family broadcast on the radio in Dallas our first year of marriage and haven't stopped listening since, its a great place to start for anyone, together as a couple or individually. (It's a lot easier with smart phones now as they have their Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast app you can download)

6. Get educated. Read about pregnancy, baby stages and what you should know and expect. Also find friends who have children, watch, ask questions and learn as well as get some practice in by baby-sitting! It doesn't just help you have more realistic expectations about children but baby-sitting will also help someones marriage!

7. Believe that children are a blessing, not a burden! The culture and everywhere we look people seem to be saying the opposite. They tell us to wait until our lives and desires are fulfilled and we've done everything we want. The truth is, you'll never really be ready for kids. They change your life in such a drastic way, a little similar to marriage. You'll have to find a new 'normal' in life but it's a decision I would never take back. My children are such a joy to me each and every day. I love their laughs, when they learn to make jokes, the first time they learn to run and you chase them. These moments are priceless and having kids was one of the best decisions we have ever made.

Psalm 127:3 Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord.