Choosing to become a parent is one of the biggest, most defining moments of a person’s life. It’s something a person should absolutely be ready for before taking the plunge. There are things to talk about with your partner when you think about becoming parents.
If you’re planning to have a baby, you’ll want to think long and hard about how big of a lifestyle change this new addition is going to be. A great starting point is by sitting down with your partner and hashing out some big topics. You’ll want to be certain that you and your significant other are on the same page about how this child is going to impact your lives as individuals and as a couple. There are countless topics to consider, spanning from finances, to chores, work/life balance, housing, sleep, and childcare services.
Here are a few conversation starters to discuss with your partner as you consider becoming parents:
1. Is now the right time?
Timing is everything and it’s a big factor to consider while family planning. While most parents will argue you’ll never fully be “ready”, it’s still wise to assess where you and your significant other are in your lives.
Do you have steady jobs/income? Do you rent or own your home? How does your budget look, and how will it need to change to accommodate the expenses that come with a baby? Are your schedules conducive to raising a child? Do either of you need to accomplish any specific goals in your careers before welcoming a baby? Are you still in school, planning to start, or thinking about going back? Really assess where you are in your lives and see how having a baby could change or impact the place you’re in.
2. How will you divide (or share) chores and duties?
A child is as much a blessing as it is a responsibility. Babies come with necessary and inevitable chores and duties.
Who will be responsible for changing diapers, bath time, and feeding? Will you attend all doctor’s appointments together or will one of you take on that charge? When the baby wakes up and cries at night, will both of you get up or will you take turns to help the other catch up on sleep?
Setting realistic expectations regarding who is responsible for what will help to prevent disappointment and burnout.
3. Who will care for your child day-to-day?
Childcare is a big topic of conversation, and one you may want to tackle from the get-go. Will one of you sacrifice your careers to stay home with the baby? Will you send your baby to daycare? Hire a nanny? Juggle working from home while taking care of the baby?
While there’s no right or wrong form of childcare, you and your partner will need to unpack how you feel about the idea of a professional stranger caring for your child, the cost of childcare services, the idea of staying home from work, and so on to find the best situation for your family.
4. How will you raise your child?
People have all different types of expectations and philosophies on how to raise a child.
Will yours be raised with a specific religion or particular values? How will you discipline your child? Will you celebrate certain holidays and not others? Will you teach your child a second language? Do you want your child to be homeschooled or attend public school? What do you remember working in each of your childhoods that you’d like to repeat for your own baby? What about your childhoods didn’t work and how can you learn from those mistakes to be a better parent to your own baby? What manners or forms of etiquette are most important for you to impart on your child?
Consider how you’d each like to ideally raise your child to unpack where you agree, where you disagree, and how you can work together to find what’s best for your baby.
5. What will you do if you’re unable to conceive on your own?
Ultimately, the question here is how determined are you to be parents? If for some reason one (or both) of you are infertile, what will you do next? Would you consider adoption? Surrogacy? In vitro fertilization?
Infertility is a very stressful process and can be quite heartbreaking for couples. Discuss what your “Plan B” might be and how you feel about other methods of becoming a parent if it comes to that.
6. What will your relationship look like once you bring a child into the mix?
Think about the things that make your relationship a success now and what current challenges you and your partner face. When you get a solid sense of what currently works and what doesn’t, you’ll be able to identify areas you can improve and how a baby might change the status quo.
Will you designate a specific day per week or month to have date night? How will you make time for each other to ensure neither of you feel neglected, lonely, or unsupported? What changes can you make to your lifestyle to prioritize your relationship/marriage?
Consider the most common forms of change that occur when a baby enters the picture and see how each of you feel about having to make potential sacrifices and/or adjustments to make it work.
Get on the same page as a couple.
Before you start officially trying for a baby, give these conversation starters some thought. You and your partner will be better off once you brainstorm answers to some (or all) of these questions.
It’s important to be on the same page, learn where each of your boundaries are, see what sacrifices you’re willing to make, and identify what things aren’t negotiable. Once you have a solid understanding of what you want and how you feel as individuals, and as a couple overall, you’ll be better prepared for what’s to come.
Best of luck on this exciting next chapter of life!