You may have been married for several years or are still a newlywed. If you are beginning to consider a family, how do you prepare your marriage for parenting? The idea of going from two to three or more can be daunting; but, with a few considerations and discussions with your spouse, you can make your marriage ready for parenthood. Start Discussions Now Start having frank talks about raising a family. Not just on nursery themes; but, on important issues on which couples may be divided. Talk about discipline methods, cloth diapers vs. disposable, day care vs. staying at home, and other important topics. Don't forget to discuss the responsibilities a baby brings, such as midnight feedings and sleep schedules. You may not agree with some of your spouseâ€™s parenting tactics. Both of you will have opinions on whether to make or buy baby food. You might consider day care, while your partner will not hear anything of the sort. Expect and accept some disagreement. No marriage can survive with both parties not sharing their feelings with each other. Don't wait until the baby is here and you're having arguments daily about these or other issues. Begin now so you can see each other's expectations and have a harmonious relationship after baby arrives. Make Sure You're in This Together Parenting is a two-person job in a marriage. Don't let one of you get stuck with all of the work. This only leads to resentment and anger -- something any family needs to avoid. Be sure you're sharing household responsibilities now and discuss future family responsibilities. Recognize that after a baby is born, sexual activity might change, you both might be more irritable, and other problems may arise. It's all normal; but, discuss it now so it's not a surprise nine months later. Consider the Career and Financial Impact Both you and your spouse need to look at how having a baby might impact your careers. Will either of you stay home and work or leave your job completely? Will you put your child into day care? What about parental and maternity leave? Take a look at your budget and see what you can trim and what you might want to start putting away for the baby. Babies are expensive and can cost up to $10,000 the first year. Money is one of the biggest issues for a relationship, with children a close second. Look at these future impacts now and consider how to best prepare. Enjoy Your Marriage The second you're expecting, everything changes. Be sure to celebrate your marriage with and without children. Now you're in charge of this little person when before it was just the two of you. Nurture and cherish this new stage in your life. You're never going to be this â€œpre-childâ€ couple again once you start planning for a baby. When starting a family, you don't just need to prepare your house for the baby, but your marriage as well. Having an open discussion about as many issues as possible will give you a better start towards parenting together and lessen the chance of arguments down the road. See how other couples adjusted after a baby. Browse parenting boards or ask friends how they prepared their marriages for babies. You don't have to be alone in this new chapter in life, nor should you be.
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