You may know this about me already, but organization and "to-do" lists are my jam. So when I was preparing for the final weeks we had kid free, I put together a final checklist of things I needed to get done based off the tips received from my Facebook friends. If you don't care to be organized or just want to enjoy your kid free life however you want, this list is not for you! I'm writing this for those wanting to know how to organize and get ready. Also, most of this can work for anyone becoming a new parent, but some tips are specifically for the soon-to-be foster parents!
1. Prepare Frozen Meals
I actually really enjoying cooking and usually cook 5+ meals a week (plus leftovers for lunches). However, I knew sleepy Korinna will not be motivated to cook and we aren't going to want to eat out every day. Therefore, with the help of a friend who came for moral support, I assembled, cooked and froze 15+ meals that will feed us for a few weeks! Plus, it only took us four hours one Saturday. I used grocery pickup (Click here for $10 off your next order) to assemble my order- this kept me from spending a lot of time in the grocery store. Just make sure you have room in your freezer for all the meals you cook!
Extra Tip: I also picked up extra meat (ground beef, pork loin, chicken breasts) and froze those as well. That way, those days I want to eat something different, I have meat on hand ready to cook in the crockpot or oven! My easy, go-to meal is taco salad or nachos. We always have salsa, cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips stocked, so keeping ground beef in the freezer is super helpful!
2. Clean your house
For the most part, my husband and I are tidy and clean people. I don't have mind doing the laundry or vacuuming. However, dusting ceiling fans and cleaning the baseboards is the last thing I want to do. Luckily, my super amazing husband agreed to let me hire a house cleaner for 4 hours to come deep clean. I made a list of the areas in our home I wanted someone else to clean and then made the date to get it cleaned. It felt amazing having our house cleaned and ready for children!
Extra Tip: If you have a tight budget, you don't have to have them clean every area of your home. Make your priority "to-clean" list and leave the chores you don't mind doing off that list. No one says they have to clean it all!
3. Spend time with friends
My husband and I cherish our friendships and know we will prioritize this even after we have children, however, we know it'll be different with children. We've spent the last couple months enjoying these relationships. It's been an encouragement as they've rallied around us with prayer, excitement and advice. The laughter and memories have been much needed as we prepare for our new adventure!
4. Read Books
I specifically say this to the foster parents! My heart has been encouraged by some of the books I picked up about foster care. We can't ever be prepared 100% for this journey ahead, but we can have go-to resources that will help. One book that has been an incredible read is Reframing Foster Care: Filtering Your Foster Parenting Journey Through the Lens of the Gospel by Jason Johnson. You can find it here. (I will definitely be doing a blog post just about this book.) I'm positive this book is great for foster parents, anyone who is close to someone doing foster care or someone considering doing foster care themselves. It's a must read! Additionally, decide now is the time to start reading your Bible every day. If it's a habit before you have kids, it'll be easier to stay in your daily routine after they arrive! Nothing is more important in your preparation than your relationship with the Lord.
5. Make a "When we get the call" list
For the mamas awaiting the arrival of their sweet baby, you have many guarantees about your child when they enter this world. Some of you choose to not know the gender, which adds a little element of surprise, but even then you can still guarantee you will be delivering a newborn baby. As funny as it seems, you won't be giving birth to a one year old. That means you can have newborn clothing (probably gender specific), diapers, wipes, and other necessities ready to go for your baby. However, for foster parents who are uncertain of the gender and age of the child they'll be receiving, we can't quite prepare in the same way. For those of us who thrive off planning, we need a little organization to the chaos, because when we get the phone call of the age/gender of the child who needs a home, we will have just a couple hours to get all the essentials. You better believe my excitement level will be through the roof and I'll most likely forget to pick up the right size diapers or formula or socks for that sweet child! Therefore, I created a "when we get the call" list with what I should pick up if we get placed with a baby boy or if we get placed with a 2 year old girl. So when my mind goes crazy with excitement (which I know it will), I can refer to my list to help me out!
6. Stock up
This one is simple- stock up on anything that you don't want to run out of in those first few weeks as new parents. My list included cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, and coffee! Make this list work for you and your needs.
7. Spend intentional time with your spouse
I'm gonna be honest and say that we didn't do a great job at this! By the time I started this list, our weekends had plans and we didn't have extra time to get away for one last adventure. But, since we don't have kids yet, we were able to spend weeknights playing games, talking, eating, and simply being together. My husband and I tend to be busy, so I had to keep reminding myself that slowing down our schedule was a good thing! I'm glad I have such an amazing husband to spend these last couple weeks with though- I know he is going to be the best father!
Hopefully this checklist has been helpful! Pick and choose which ones are beneficial to you and your family. Then let me know if you found anything else to be helpful as you prepared your home for children!