Even if you've spent time with parents of young children, it's difficult to imagine how your days will flow. You may notice your friend's slightly grayish look after a tough week when the entire family has had a cold, or you might wonder if she really needs a jam-packed diaper bag to go around the block—but the logistics are not yet yours to master.
What changes drastically with the arrival of a child is your relationship with time. Where your days used to be yours to plan, now another person—small and dependent—determines much of your schedule. You can try to maintain your old habits, but most of the time you will be happier following your child's sleeping and eating schedule.
Here are ways to enjoy your free time while you are pregnant. After becoming a parent, you can still make room for anything that is truly important to you, but be prepared for your priorities to shift.
Sleep, Glorious Sleep
When I was pregnant and heard new mothers say that, given a free hour, they would rather sleep than do anything else, I scoffed a little. What about, reading a dishy magazine, or calling a friend? Yet now, on days when sleep deprivation has reached a critical peak, I want nothing more than a quiet hour in a cool room with clean sheets. And while an hour-long nap used to be my goal, now a 10-minute snooze feels like victory.
So sleep in while you can! Feel guilty about nothing. On weekends, make all your appointments in the afternoon, and don't set your alarm for anything. If you find it hard to sleep at night because your baby kicks or you wonder about what kind of mother you will be (a great one!), take multiple naps. It is a myth that sleeping a lot before the baby comes will help you weather the impending sleep deprivation—it's like encouraging someone to gorge on a steak dinner to prepare for two months on "Survivor." But you will remember with fondness these dreamy, pregnant days throughout babyhood and toddlerhood.