Parenting Guru: 5 Things You Must Do Before You Have Kids

I've been a mom for three years. And even though it's only been three years, my life before children seems a blur, a happy but foreign time that I sort of remember, but not something I would want to go back to. That's because I love my life as a mom. I adore my kids and my husband, and love family life. But don't be fooled, there have been some major, major changes. So, if I had to give advice to anyone, giving them five things they must do before they have kids, here's what I'd say:

1. Don't think about how you will parent. It doesn't matter now. You'll have tons of time later to rationalize, analyze and explore every parenting philosophy. So before you're ready to have

children, don't think about how you will handle them or how they will change your life. They will

change your life. It'll all be fine. Don't worry about it now.

2. Live on your own. Get an apartment and decorate it how you want. Paint the walls pink if you want. If you get married and have kids, you'll never be able to decorate exactly how you want to; you'll always have to compromise with someone else's style. So enjoy that bit of freedom now.

3. Be a little frivolous with your clothing and accessories. Once you become a parent, you buy for your kids, but there's not much time left to buy clothes or accessories for yourself. Forget about the fact that it's just no longer practical to wear high heeled wedges or long necklaces to the playground, you won't have the time (or, often, the cash) to spend lazy Saturday afternoons at the mall.

4. Take a few spontaneous trips. Once you have kids, spontaneity means a trip to get ice cream, not a trip to Napa Valley.

5. Sleep in and go out late. Having kids is like having a perpetual alarm set for sunrise that doesn't turn off. And if you go to bed late, there's that little voice that says, "The kids are getting up at 6:00, even if you go to bed at 4…so go to bed at 11." And that means you miss out on some late night chats, but at least you're well rested. You'll have a new definition for what that means, too.

Sarahlynne loves writing for Shine as a Parenting Guru. She's also the co-creator of merelymothers.com, a website that discusses all things parenting from philosophies to fashion and everything in between.