The countdown is on! There’s just one more week of work to go and that’s it: I’m officially on maternity leave.

I finish work 10 days before my due date so with a bit of luck I’ll have a week or so to wind down, rest and prepare for becoming a third-time mum.

10 things all mums should do before giving birth

I’ve been thinking about how best to maximise the time, and to be honest I’m not sure I’m going to be able to cram in everything that needs to be done. I haven’t packed the hospital bag, the house is a tip and I’m not even entirely sure where all our newborn paraphernalia is.

Which got me thinking about maternity leave and how to make the most of it before the baby actually arrives.

10 things all mums should do before giving birth

1. Sleep. As much as possible. Because the tiredness will catch up with you.

2. Read a book. And I don’t just mean read it. Savour every moment – the turning of pages, the pausing to re-read a paragraph, the peace and quiet, the just being. On your own.

3. Go to a coffee shop, alone or with friends, and leisurely sip a nice hot drink. Hot drinks probably won’t feature in the first six months of new motherhood, at least not all in one go, freshly made or when you’d ideally like them. You probably won’t get to leisurely sip them either.

10 things all mums should do before giving birth

4. Get your hair done. You’ll be surprised at how much military-style planning is required to schedule a child-free hair appointment once you become a mum, especially if you’re breastfeeding and your other half works. There’s nothing remotely relaxing about taking a baby with you, so make the most of it while you can.

5. Go out for a meal. Just the two of you. Somewhere a bit swanky, where they don’t also have plastic cutlery and colouring sets. The chances are it’s going to be a long time before this happens again.

6. Go shopping. Alone. Shopping will take on a whole new meaning once you’re a member of the buggy brigade. There’ll be shops you can no longer go in, shops you no longer want to go in and when it comes to buying things it basically becomes far easier to simply stay at home and cower behind your computer with a mouse.

7. Catch up with your childless friends. Especially the ones with immaculate houses, designer furnishings and social lives that start after 6pm. It might be a while before you see them again.

8. Go to the cinema. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been to see a grown-up film since becoming a mum. Be prepared for Disney Pixar from here on in.

9. Have a pedicure. Apart from the fact you can’t actually reach your feet yourself anymore, I’ve found getting my toes delivery-room ready has been a nice little confidence booster at the end. Even if I did end up on all fours in a birthing pool with said toes completely obscured. And afterwards, when you’re padded up, leaking various substances from various places and feeling like c**p, you can at least look down and see your toes look pretty.

10. Sleep some more. I cannot stress this point enough. Stay in bed until noon – better still all day – put your duvet on the sofa, watch re-runs of Come Dine With Me and snooze. Just make the most of it!

10 things all mums should do before giving birth

Was there anything you did or wish you’d done before having a baby? I’d love to know!

Linking up with…

Mummy Times Two
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
My Petit Canard