Baby’s arrival is coming soon….
Moms and dads transition to their roles as parents in different ways. Responsibilities, lifestyle adjustments, and financial difficulties can ALL add to the challenges that new parents face.
There are many important topics to discuss before baby’s arrival, so take the time and make these conversations happen now. I find the topics listed below to be super helpful for partners to start their parenting discussions.
Be there for each other (teamwork)
Babies do NOT come with instruction manuals, so working together to find solutions to problems that arise is important. Yes, if mom is breastfeeding, dad can help burping, changing diapers and calming. Dad can also do one of the night feedings with expressed breast milk so mom can get some extra shuteye. Life is always better when you have someone else to depend on. Do not be afraid to ask each other for help and be willing to “be ok” if the other partner does something a tad differently than you!
Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success-Unknown.
Create a general plan for who will handle what responsibilities.
Talk about this NOW and often as hurt feelings arise very easily over this. Do both parents work? Is one staying home? If one parent is home, are they responsible for doing all the housework, cooking and taking care of the baby? Who does the grocery shopping and running errands? If both parents are working, who picks up and drops off at daycare or the sitters? Who gets alone time for self-care first and how often? Again, refer to TEAMWORK, talk and work together to make it work. It is NOT always easy, but soon you will figure out what works best for your family.
Assumptions are the termites of relationships-Henry Winkler.
This is always a touchy topic – having kids can be expensive. The average cost to raise a child is $233k and families can expect to spend between $12,350 and nearly $14,000 a year, on average, to raise a child. It might be a good time to set a budget or at least talk about what finances will be like. Make a list of things that you can back on. Are you going to need childcare? In home with a nanny or daycare? What happens if one partner cuts back to part time?
Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship-Benjamin Franklin
Discuss jobs and career
Does your current job offer maternity and/or paternity leave? How long does each partner get and what portion of your income is paid? What will finances look like if one parent does not go back to work? Is that even an option? It is hard for a parent to say, “Yes, I am going back to work after my leave” before the baby is even here. Things change. Careful and creative planning comes into play if one parent decides not to go back to because they love being home with the baby. Can you come up with a compromise?
Everyone here has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future-Steve Jobs.
Discuss how this will impact your family
It took two of you to make the baby, so that means you will have a minimum of two sets of grandparents who are equally excited about the new grandchild. Everyone has advice to give, some helpful and some not. Talk to your family BEFORE the baby is here, set some ground rules and make sure they respect your parenting style(s) even if they do not agree. Ask yourselves, how do you split time between families? Whose house do you spend holidays at? Remember to stand up for your partner if a family member is being hurtful! This is YOUR baby not theirs.
Family is like music, some high notes, some low notes, but always a beautiful song-Unknown
Discuss your parenting philosophies
This is when you go back and think about your individual upbringings. What did you like? Dislike? Is there something fun that you remember about a friend’s family that you wished your family did? What have you seen watching other families? Children? Are you opposed to certain philosophies? Co-sleeping? Attachment parenting? Cry it out? Do you have the same faith? Do you celebrate certain holidays? Traditions?
The Golden Rule of Parenting; do unto your children as you wish your parents had done unto you-Louise Hart
Discuss the impact on your sex life
It is advised to abstain from sex for six weeks or until your doctor or midwife has cleared you. Hormones and libido change after childbirth, sleep deprivation always puts a damper on things and mom may be “touched out” from holding, nursing, soothing or being slept on all day. If the birth was traumatic, mom may be hesitant. Talk about ways to connect without being intimate (snuggle on the couch, hold hands, watch movies, shower together and make time to talk and check in every day). Be patient! Do not forget about birth control, there are plenty of options to try.
The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain-Dolly Parton
Plan strategies for self-care
Discuss what you like to do individually and together and then make time for it to happen. When one partner is taking their time, let them have it undisturbed if possible. It is easy to lose your sense of self once the baby arrives and you will feel better when you take the time to care for yourself. It could be: taking a bath, exercising, getting your hair, nails or feet done, hitting golf balls, shooting baskets, crocheting, doing crossword puzzles, draw, paint, journal, take photos, going for a walk around the block, reading a book, playing a video game, unplugging from social media or just going into another room for a few minutes to clear your head. A short break allows for your mind and body to rejuvenate.
The relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have-Jane Travis
BEFORE your baby arrives, schedule a time to talk with me. I will help start the conversations about these important topics and help you set realistic expectations. Baby’s arrival brings about so many changes, get a jump start on these topics today and keep your relationship on the same page.
Disclaimer-I am not taking on the role of a counselor or therapist, I am just suggesting topics to talk about before the baby arrives.