What were your life goals to accomplish before having a kid?

Guest post by Kate
Goal setting workbook by FindingBalanceCo

My partner and I have decided that we’d like to start trying late next summer, and that got me thinking about the things I’d like to accomplish beforehand. When I brought it up with my friend, she encouraged me to travel more, saying “you’ll seeeeee.” But I have to admit I’m not so troubled about that.

I wonder if the offbeat community might offer a unique perspective as to the goals they’d like to have accomplished beforehand. After Googling, what I can find always discusses weight/nutrition, almost exclusively. While I’m sure those goals are helpful to many women, I appreciated how you handled it with Offbeat Bride, and I’m also sure there are other worthwhile goals worthy of discussion.

How did the idea of introducing a child (or children) to your life change what you wanted to accomplish personally? Or did it at all?

Comments on What were your life goals to accomplish before having a kid?

  1. Go snowboarding! I hate missing a season even though we only go a few times. Take a class. Or activity your interested in like bellydance or photography. Don’t stay in when there is an oppertunity to do something new and fun. Make a little extra effort to do stuff. Brew beer.

  2. I don’t have kids yet so I can’t make a list based on things I wish I had done but I certainly made a list of goals.I’m actually going to share a blog post of mine titled “My Bump List–Or Things I Want to Accomplish Before Kids”

    “You know how older people have a “Bucket List” of things they want to accomplish before they die? Well I have a “Bump List” of things I want to accomplish before children enter the equation. My biological clock has been ticking particularly loud lately and I need something to keep me on course.

    1. Finish my degree and get a position that I could consider my career (particuarly because I’d want to go back to after a maternity leave).

    2. I want to be a more confident person. I’m getting there but I don’t want to raise a child without being a secure role model. Most of all I don’t want to put my problems and insecurities onto their shoulders.

    3. I want to enjoy my crazy 20’s for a little while longer. I was never a rebelious teen or experimental in college so I kind of want to be more experimental and honestly…I like sleeping in on the weekends.

    4. I want to get in at least 1 really fantastic vacation in before children. I never got to travel much growing up because my dad was a workaholic and my mother had this insane fear of leaving our state. There are so many places I want to go and while I realize that’s possible with children, I want to be able to enjoy it with just my husband. I want to explore.

    5. I want to lose at least 40 lbs. I want to feel better about my body. I’m not at a healthy weight right now and I want to be healthy before becoming another person’s residence and nutrition source for 9 months.

    6. I want to get rid of credit card debt and have several things around the house repaired. We need to replace the windows and outside doors and finally get our house in order.

    7.This is the most important one. I want my husband to be on the same page about children. I don’t want him to feel pressured into it. I don’t want him to knock me up just to make me happy. I want him to get just as excited as me when we get that positive pee stick. I want him to hear that heartbeat and be happy…not petrified. I want him to be there with me.

    So there’s my bump list. I go to this every time I see research stating that “you’ll be sterile before 30,” I get that loud ticking in my ear that screams “have baby now!,” when my friends and parents beg for a baby or I see yet another person from high school or college showing off their newborn. It helps and it keeps me focused on what I need to do so when the time does come I’ll be ready.”

    • My husband got me pregnant because it is what I wanted. Not that he didn’t want a child, but I think he would have been happy to wait as long as I was okay with (and perhaps forever if I changed my mind about wanting them after all). However, once I got pregnant he has been all smiles and affection. People ask if he’s excited. Well, no. He doesn’t really DO excited. But he is, as I put it, “more pleasant.” He’s just generally happier and kinder and more pleasant to be around. I guess … he’s got that pregnancy glow 🙂

      So while you shouldn’t get pregnant if your husband seems unsure about wanting a child, I also don’t know if you need to wait until he shares your level of desperate need, either. Because the joy comes. Now to wait a couple months and see if it lasts through those first few weeks of sleepless nights 😛

  3. My big goal was to finish art school before we had kids; capricious fate decided to have our daughter be born right as I was starting our last year, and I must admit I am glad it wasn’t earlier, because it did get a lot harder to split myself between the intensity of baby (even as co-mom, so I didn’t have to manage breastfeeding) and the intensity of that all-year creation project. Certainly I watched other parent-classmates manage it that year, but think that I, personally, would have had a lot harder time managing it once she became a toddler. I’m getting the headspace back for that kind of artwork again now, but that’s because they are in school now part of the time.

  4. This topic has totally been on my mind lately! Before my baby was born, I was of the mindset “we’ll just take the baby along!” Then my beautiful baby girl was born with four heart defects. Everything got a lot more complicated. She is on oxygen right now, so it is difficult to even leave the house.

    I have been thinking a lot about how my personal goals and my goals for my daughter are meshing. I have been a life long Girl Scout and have always wanted to be a troop leader. Now as I think about my daughter’s condition, I want her to grow up strong and confident. I don’t ever want her to feel like she can’t do something because of her heart. I feel like the Girl Scouts can be a wonderfully positive force in her life (as well as mine) and I can’t wait to get started.

    On the other hand, it has been hard accepting that some goals will simply have to wait. My daughter will not be able to go on an airplane until she has had her corrective surgery (1-3 years). I’ve been trying to put a positive spin on this by starting a”travel fund” savings account! We will also not be able to move or change jobs (we LOVE our cardiologist and our hospital) until then, either. More saving, positive thoughts, and small goals!

  5. It really helps to have experience getting yourself from point A to point B before trying to throw baby into the mix. Whether it’s traveling, learning a skill, changing your body, or whatever – it’s easiest to do these things WITH the baby if you’ve at least broken the ice BEFORE the baby.

    I’ve traveled with my son, taken him to protests, learned to sew (uh, blankets at least) and can generally do anything with him. None of it is impossible, but I’ve found it’s easiest to keep an eye on his comfort levels and have a good time if I have past experience as a frame of reference for what I’m doing.

    Also, should you ever spend the better part of a day lazing around in your undies and reading really good books, take a moment and really enjoy it on behalf of the mamas who can’t. Think of it as pouring one out for your homies. 😉

  6. Getting my drivers license-tick.
    Buying a house-tick.
    Going on a trip to America(i’m from Oz)-tick.
    Time to make a baby 🙂

  7. Three things:

    I want to finish my bachelor degree, and honours.
    I want to renovate our house.
    I want to go to mermaid camp.

  8. I found that the ‘big stuff’ falls into place. It’s the little things: running out to movies or dinner with no pre-planning or spending an evening with child-free friends that takes the hit. My partner and I did a moderate amount of RPG gaming together. It became really difficult to justify when we found ourselves calculating the babysitting cost per round (it cost us $15 to cross that river and $10 to find that plot point). Our little one is almost 3 and we’re just getting to the point where we can work on projects like gardening and painting without constant distraction, so the 1 year time line may be a bit wishful.

  9. It’s baby time amongst my friends and since my partner and I are looking at starting a family in about 2 years I’ve noticed a few things. Friends who like to travel, still travel, and internationally, very regularly. (Like at least once a year) People who were homebodies to start with just stayed home more often. I think a person’s attitude about traveling and other things before the baby will indicate how much traveling they will do after. If someone doesn’t like the hustle and bustle and planning then that falls by the wayside when you’re preoccupied but if you get off on it then you’ll have motivation, even if it’s less often and more restricted.

    We’re in the process of buying a house now so the only thing I want to do before baby is take an awesome 2 week Honeymoon to Australia/New Zealand and get a dog. I want to go to veterinary school but I’ve decided to wait till the kid(s) hit preschool. I’m still working through undergrad, the nice thing is it’s more flexible than a job would be. I plan on taking off a semester as I need it. Luckily my partner makes enough for us to live comfortably and we aren’t dependent on me working. Since I’m in my 30’s now, I don’t want to wait until all my schooling is done.

    Also, I wanted to point out that life doesn’t end when you have kids even if you can’t do as much while they are growing up. I like having things to look forward to when they grow up and we are older and wealthier since we will be two solid incomes by that point.

    • Oh I ran out of time but I wanted to add a couple of things. I also have a friend who was in residency when she had her child, another friend who is in grad school with a toddler (this is also the friend that travels abroad often). They aren’t rich, but they are well off and most importantly they have some flexibility with time. Neither family is hampered by two partners needing to be at work 40+ hours, there is a stay at home dad and one works from home.

      A part of the joy in having goals is that exactly, having something to dream about for the future. For me the planning and the anticipation is as important (or sometimes more so) than the actual realization of that goal. At the place where I volunteer I know a bunch of retirees that go off and travel and do all sorts of fun things, I’m a little envious sometimes!

  10. I kind of wish I spent more time with with my fiance before getting pregnant. We decided soon after we started dating that we wanted to make a baby, so we just thought, “why wait?”

  11. I agree that it’s the small stuff that takes longer with a baby/kid than the big stuff. Going to the store that is 5 mins away takes 20 mins due getting the diaper bag ready, kids getting shoes/ jackets on, putting the baby in the car seat, getting the baby out again, setting up the stoller or putting the baby in a wrap… wow, whatever happened to just getting out of the car and walking into the store. However much time you need to do something, double or triple it until you get the hang of how long things will take.

    So, now we spend alot of our date days running errands to stores that we like that aren’t as kid friendly, like the million in one little shops in the strip in Pittsburgh, or the quaint little artsy shops. Just more fun with the two of us.

  12. Mentor and volunteer more! Especially with the Girl Scouts or junior hunters/archers. It’s tough to carve out time for yourself when you have little kids, let alone time for … someone else’s kids. But I’m going to try.

  13. Travel. Travel travel travel travel travel travel travel! Hubster and I just started trying as well, and we’d been hoping to at least cross off the trip to Egypt, but the finances just aren’t going to allow any big overseas vacations for a long while. I have the longest list of places I want to see and I’m not really scared of the prospect of taking munchkins with me (in fact, I rather hope it turns them into little Indiana Joneses!).

  14. It is funny how few folks I meet in the outside world who are into the idea of the “in school with child thing.” But here, at this moment, it seems pretty normal to be a grad-school-type and also a motherly type. I am both.

    Lately, I have been arguing back and forth with myself over when I should have a baby. I am 27. I have been married for 1 year. I have a 35 year old husband who wants a child. BUT I also have a 4.0 GPA. The “older people” in my life say I must wait till I finish my Masters. My Dad says “You will never go back…” What does that mean anyway? I was only planning to take 1 semester off. My husband’s family says “I am too young.”

    The biggest challenge in my life this year has become trying to understand what I am because it is really me, and what I am because someone or something told me that I have to be it. My friends and Momma tell me to go for it. They see that I want to be a mother so much. I want to hold a baby in my arms and dice up chicken tenders for a toddler. They tell me “I can’t wait for you to have a baby. You are going to be a great Mom.”

    I must have money. I must have a bigger home. I must have a good career. I must. I must. I must. I am so tired of the musts. Is it fair for me to have a child before I am ready based on the ideals of a materialist society, when all I have ever really longed for is to be a mother?

    If only I knew the answer.

  15. I really wanted to go to grad school, but I always knew that didn’t want to wait that long to have kids. I always assumed I’d have a baby and go to grad school. And I certainly could, but there were factors that I didn’t think about.
    My husband currently doesn’t have a job that offers insurance, meaning I carry insurance for myself and my son. Because of this, I can’t simply change jobs or go off to school. At 4 months, he needs to go to the doctor quite frequently, so being without insurance really isn’t an option.
    I also only work part time, so my mom is able to watch him. If I moved for school (staying where I’m at isn’t an option), I’d have to pay for child care, which would put a serious strain on our budget.
    It’s not that goals can’t be accomplished, it’s that there are a lot more little pieces that have to fall into place for things to wrok.

  16. When we first starting trying to conceive I had waves of goals — gotta do the book tour before I have a baby! gotta save up $5000 before I have a baby! As the months of not getting pregnant stretched into years, I kept setting new goals. Infertility made me a goal-setting monster, so much that when I finally got pregnant after five years of trying, I realized that I’d never stop setting goals. No longer was it “I want to do these things before I have a baby because then everything stops,” it became “How can I do these things with a baby?”

  17. The only thing that I did pre-baby that I would never do post-baby is sky diving. I know it’s safe, but when there’s a kid who depends on me being alive I’d rather refrain from jumping out of an airplane.

    I always thought that half-way through grad school was the best time to have a baby because of the flexible hours. Taking a break after grad school just makes it harder to interview for jobs. All that was great in theory. Then I got pregnant and everything wasn’t as easy as I thought. Turns out, there is no part time option, maternity leave is extremely short (who decided that dropping off a six-week-old at daycare was a good idea?) and the stipend barely covers daycare, if that. Many say it’s doable, but being pregnant in grad school was/is hard enough, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to manage with an infant. Encouragement and advice is much appreciated!

  18. Just sleep and be lazy. I think that other goals depend on your age. We started our family early, earlier than expected due to a change in circumstances health-wise, and reason that we will be able to travel when our kids are grown. (Also, I don’t think travel with kids is impossible.)

    But yeah, you will never understand until you have kids, but SLEEP IN. Spend time just twisted up in bed with your partner sleeping in, the way you were when you first fell in love.

    Also, if you can, have enough money saved so that you don’t have to work for a few months. I work from home and almost a year after having my son, we are still catching up. For our next baby I would love to have a net in place so that I can enjoy that babyhood without the stress of money troubles.

  19. I guess this could fall into the “fitness” category, but when I was emotionally recovering from a miscarriage last summer (my first pregnancy) I decided to set a goal that had nothing to do with pregnancy: to run another half marathon! I hadn’t been running intensely in a few years, and it felt great to get back into high mileage weeks, esp since this time my husband was running with me. Of course, I ended up finding out that I was pregnant the week before the half marathon and decided not to run it (I ran an awesome 10K instead), but the training for the half marathon helped me keep running for most of the first two trimesters this pregnancy (including a relay ultramarathon in week 17 that involved running about 20 kilometers over 24 hours, so I got gutsier after that first week of knowing I was pregnant). I’m now in week 27, and while running now gives me too much pubic bone pain, I just swam over a kilometer this morning and feel fit and healthy!! (So take that, you’ll seeeeeees…)

    The other thing my husband and I did was get our scuba certification (up to two stars). It’s definitely something that would be trickier to do (especially with my husband) with a baby, since you can’t exactly cart a baby along under water, but now that I already am certified I can see it being something that I do from time to time throughout my life, and it was incredible to see that underwater world.

    I’d suggest that you set some big, fun goals that have nothing to do with pregnancy and enjoy this time– not because pregnancy is so awful or because your life will end, but because pregnancy and starting a family is exciting and waiting to start trying can be hard!

  20. From a career standpoint, a part of me wanted to be a SAHM back when I was in high school. After getting my BFA, my career goal was to become so successful as a freelance artist that I could stay home and raise my children. Of course the economy hasn’t really helped me reach that goal, but I am getting there.

    The only things I wished my husband and I had done more of before we had a baby was travel. We had done a lot of traveling, but all of it was domestic. Post baby, we still travel quite a bit with our son (hubby works for an airline!) But 90% of our trips are to visit family. Even though we both know it would be possible to bring him along to an awesome trip to Italy or Greece or Hong Kong or Thailand, neither of us really wants to. We’d much rather visit those places when he’s older (and can understand the awesomeness he’d be seeing) or with him staying with the grandparents. Although, my FIL wants us all to take a Mediterranean cruise this Fall… so we may get a chance to try Europe with the kid.

    I also wish I had volunteered more before having a baby. I used to be heavily involved with my local Girl Scout council and I miss the work I was able to do. I hope to get involved again if and when I ever have a daughter. Heck, I’ll probably still get involved somehow if I have only boys. 🙂

  21. Before I had my son, I wish I would have:

    1- At least finished my BS…mostly because it would have been SO MUCH EASIER back then, now I’m reeeally not motivated to go back!
    2- Done a little more travelling, including taking that honeymoon with my hubs.
    3- Had a few more wild nights with my friends, because something tells me that once my son is old enough for me to make this possible, THEY’LL all be settling down and having babies! (I’m the first, and I think I’ve piqued their interest!)

    Of course I can still do this stuff with that careful planning everyone has mentioned, but it would have been easier!

    And none of those things have been better than the first time I saw his face, or the million kisses on his chubby cheeks/legs/belly or the first time he looked at me and screamed “MAMA!!!” 🙂

  22. I always wanted to be a nomad, travel around in an rv or backpack around the world. Just going were ever I pleased whenever I wanted. I dreamt of seeing everything. But life decided otherwise. I have shifted my desires to accomidate my reality. Taking a Buddhist approach to it. My life is wonderful and Im so happy for the direction it has taken. Im glad I didn’t plan on this because its been a wonderful suprise. Probably later on when my babies are grown my husband and I will fullfill my nomadic dream. Itll all happen in time.

  23. For us travel is definitely high on the list. So far we haven’t done much, but next year we’re having our honeymoon in New Zealand, which I’ve been to before but my fiance hasn’t, and we also have a holiday package in Thailand to use next year or the year after.

    Matt’s been to Europe before but I haven’t, so that’s also on the list. It’s not that we intend to stop travelling when we have kids, quite the opposite, but I want to experience travel both ways.

    Also, I want to renovate our little house, just to know that I can do that. So those are my two big things!

  24. I cannot even explain my extreme annoyance at the “you’ll seeee” comments. It continues to be my goal to never let these words leave my mouth in any venue.

    One day when discussing a good happy hour deal at a local restaurant, a co-worker suggested to me that it must be nice to not have children because you can’t go to restaurants. Honestly!

    We are actively trying and dealing with what I refer to as “pre-fertility” issues (I hate that it’s considered infertility), so we’ve had some extra time. My husband is pursuing his dream of culinary school, and we are trying to steal away for some romantic weekends. Not because these will be non-existent after children, but because I imagine with no famiy near, they will not be as convenient.

  25. I like your attitude. I have a 3.5 month old baby and things are very different, but (perhaps) since I am 35 years old, I feel like I have really been lucky and don’t feel like there is anything I wish I had done before I got preggo . . . except . . . (and I hesitate to write this, though I see it in a very different vein from weight/nutrition) strengthening my core. I have had some serious back pain since the wee one arrived, and as he only gets heavier, it only gets worse. I know that if I had a regular fitness routine now, I would be able to strengthen it to get on top of the pain, but finding/making that time is hard. So, even if is just 15 minutes a few times a week, I would say to do a few planks. 🙂

Read more comments

Comments are closed.