After 2 kids and 14 years of marriage I have realized that there are many things that my husband and I should have talked about before we started having kids. Unfortunately we didn’t figure this out until we were locked on opposite sides of the issue.
Being a parent can be bliss, but there are moments that divide us. Upbringing, media, and childhood experiences play a huge role in how couples want to bring up their children – and sometimes those don’t align.
Here is a list of things that I wished we would have talked about before venturing into parenthood:
Circumcision – Normally dads who are or aren’t circumcised want their boys to be just like them. While there are arguments for both sides you should make sure that you are united before your new baby arrives as it is normally done within a couple of weeks of birth.
How Many? – Almost every friend I have has differed with their spouse on this point. And while you may think that your partner will change their mind after your first child has arrived, it’s not always the case.
Vaccinations – With the anti-vax movement rolling through most communities, it is important for parents to be educated on what is best for your child and agree on how their health plan will be carried out.
Stay at home – After the baby arrives many moms decide that they want to stay home and nurture them until it is time for them to enter Kindergarten. Sometimes you plan to go back but being a parent takes a hold a little stronger than you expected. If not going back to work is something you are thinking of, both parents have to be in agreeance that this is something that they both want because going from 2 incomes to one takes planning.
Discipline – To spank or not to spank. This is a heated subject and not one you want to find the answer to after your child destroys something precious. And they will break something important, bite a friend, or hit you. So it’s important for you to both research and discuss what your plan will be when your child needs to be disciplined.
Breastfeeding – If you choose to breastfeed, it is important for your partner to support you. If they don’t you will more than likely quit before you or the baby are ready. Nursing a newborn can be an overwhelming experience for many mothers, both physically and mentally. Having a supportive partner to lean on can make the challenge much less daunting, and can have a lasting positive impact on the success of breastfeeding. Partners can offer tangible assistance, from helping keep the baby settled when nursing to taking over diaper duty; just having someone to talk to and listen to worries is invaluable. They can also lend emotional support and encouragement, especially in those moments of exasperation that are sure to come up during long feedings or growth spurts.
Schooling – Public, Catholic, Private, or Immersion(French or Spanish) school – This ties into religion, but is almost always bound to how each parent was raised. Depending on your community and the schools available in your area, this decision could also affect where you chose to live.
Baptism or religion – If your partner’s religion differs from yours, this could be a subject that you have already tackled when you were married. It will also come up again when your child needs to be christened or baptized.
Birth Plan – Homebirth or hospital, natural or epidural? Where the baby will be born, who will assist (midwife or doctor), and who will be present at the birth is 3 very important subjects that every couple discusses before becoming pregnant. Especially because your husband will be the one ensuring that your birth plan is carried out when you are in the throws of labor.
At the end of the day, you want your child to be raised in the best possible way and one of the most important ways for this to happen is for you and your partner to be in harmony. This also helps when other people question your decisions – and they will. Being on the same page will also allow you to focus on the bigger picture.