From the first pregnancy test to the first day of preschool, building your family can be an all-consuming experience. It may seem like all you’ve thought about lately are maternity wards, breastfeeding, and diaper changes. But now that you’re done expanding your family, how do you move on from the baby-making stage? These simple tips are designed to help you gently and smartly transition to life after babies:
Babies require a lot of baggage, from cribs and swaddles to toys and bottles. Now that you won’t have an infant in your house, it’s time to lighten your family’s load. Consider donating gently used items to those in need. Research women’s shelters in your area for organizations that can put your old baby gear to good use. Alternately, you may want to bring higher-ticket items to a consignment store to make some cash off your children’s old belongings.
Plan for the future
You thought newborns were expensive? Just wait until those babies grow up and head off to college. Be smart and start socking away money for your children’s educations now. Talk to a financial planner about opening a 529 plan, which allows parents a tax-advantaged route to saving money for future college tuitions.
Invest in you
After years of sharing your body with your babies, it’s time to turn the focus back on you. Take time for self care and for pursuing your passions. As your little ones grow and gain more independence, it’s important to nurture your interests outside of your family. Channel your energy into activities that bring you joy and allow you to feel like more than just “mom.” By doing so, you’ll expand your own horizons and save your kids from fending off the dreaded helicopter parent.
Reignite that spark
Between the sleep deprivation of the newborn days and the non-stop frustration of the terrible twos, parenting can be rough sailing when it comes to nurturing a romantic relationship. In all the hard work of raising kids, many couples may take their love for granted, never considering that they may grow apart over the years. Look up from your parenting duties to focus on one another, dedicating yourselves to communicating about more than just your children – and discovering ways to deepen your relationship as you move forward in your lives. Reconnect now and work to strengthen the love you share.
Transitioning to life after babies can be an emotional rollercoaster: You’re elated to have your body back, but you’ll miss those newborn snuggles. Allow yourself to experience any emotion that arises while you adjust to this new chapter in your life. Go easy and focus on all the wonderful things that await you and your family in the years ahead.