The decision to have a child is sometimes a long, painstaking process. Other times, it’s a very quick decision that is made for you. Regardless, there are 9 things that you should discuss and agree upon before venturing into the world of Parenting. Hopefully, you’ll have more than 9 months to talk about them.
- Religion – Perhaps the way you practice a particular religion has done well for you so far. However, sometimes the birth of a child causes people to find religion in an entirely new way. Do you have strong feelings about the religion that your child will be raised with? Talk about it!
- Education – Do you want your children to go to Montessori School? Pre-School? Private School? Public School? Make sure that you talk about this so that you can start the financial planning for those costs right away.
- Extra-Curricular Activities – Did you grow up playing soccer or football? Do you expect that your child will do the same? Make sure your wife is up to speed on that plan. She may have other ideas.
- Babysitters – Some parents will only allow family members to watch their children while they are away. Others have trusted friends that babysit. Perhaps there is a neighborhood babysitter that the entire block uses. Do you and your wife have the same ideas about who qualifies as a babysitter?
- Discipline – Do you believe in spanking? Time-Outs? Going to bed without dinner, or not leaving the table until all of the food has been eaten? Make sure that you and your wife agree to the ‘Discipline Rules’ before there are any surprises.
- Doctors – Do you have a specific pediatrician that you have spent hours researching and getting reviews on? Does your wife want the child to go to her pediatrician from when she was a kid? Make sure this is decided early so that when the time comes, it’s not an added burden of an argument while caring for a sick baby.
- Holidays – So maybe you’ve spent the last few Big Holidays with her family, but with a baby coming, you may want to start spending certain holidays with your parents. Try to figure out a reasonable schedule, or perhaps joint celebrations, so that one side of the family doesn’t feel cheated out of baby-time.
- Nighttime Feeding Schedule – This one, no matter how prepared you think you are, is going to hit you like a freight train when the baby wakes up each night for food and comfort. I’ve heard of couples taking turns each time, and I’ve heard some couples take ‘shifts’. What is your plan?
- Date Nights – When kids are involved, they seem to take over everything, which isn’t necessarily the best thing for the health of your marriage. Try to come up with a ‘no matter what, the third Friday of each month is a Date Night’ plan. If emergencies happen, reschedule… don’t cancel. Agree to take at least an hour for ‘adult time’ that cannot be interrupted by baby. Rely on those babysitters you’ve already discussed and get out of the house!
This is going to be an important time as you become a parent. You’ll have plenty of things to discuss as the child grows up, and you’ll probably be forced to re-visit many of the decisions you’ve already made, but the important thing is to communicate what is important to you, and to listen to what is important to her so that you can begin your partnership of turning a noisy, helpless baby into a mature, fully functional adult.
What other things do you wish you had talked about ahead of time? Tell us in the comments!
About the Author: Abby Dryer's goal in life is to bridge the communication gap between men and women. She finds herself giving lots of marital advice to her guy friends whose wives don’t want to have to explain *everything* to their husbands. “Women are hard to understand. I’m a woman, and *I* don’t even get us sometimes! Goodhusbanding is a great guide to help men understand their women, and hopefully communicate with a little more confidence, because that’s what works… communication!”