It’s that time of year when we make plans for the one ahead. What goals do I want to achieve this year? Where would I like to travel? How can I shift five kilos yet still drink wine and eat cake?
For many couples a new year is the trigger to consider starting a family. But rather than blunder into it on a whim, it’s important to discuss all aspects of parenting before you do it, according to psychotherapist Dr Karen Phillip.
Ideally the conversation should happen when a couple gets engaged, says Karen, who has written a new book, OMG We’re Getting Married, so couples are better prepared.
“It’s important each of you understand each other’s expectations. Believing you know what the other person wants and what they’re thinking is often incorrect so having a discussion is vital.”
She believes too many couples leave these important discussions until after they’ve had a baby, resulting in conflict that might’ve been averted.
So what should you ask each other BEFORE the pitter patter of tiny feet?
1. Do I want a child? How many? How far apart?
2. Does it matter what gender the child/ren are?
3. What first name can we agree on and what surname will the child take?
4. In what religion, if any, will our child be raised?
5. How will we manage finances in the early years? Will one parent stay at home? Have we factored in the cost of childcare?
6. How will we each balance childcare and work?
7. What rituals and traditions would we like to create? An annual camping trip? Easter with family?
8. How long will the child be breastfed?
9. Will the child be sharing our bed? If so, for how long?
10. What parenting style do we each have and how will we manage behavioural issues?
11. Will both parents equally raise the child? For instance, who will get up for night feeds, who will change nappies and who will be called home from work if the child is unwell?
12. What role will the grandparents play?
13. Do we believe in the child attending childcare? What would be our preferred option?
14. How will our lives change socially? How will we continue to see our friends both individually and as a couple?
15. Finally, how will we ensure our relationship remains connected? A monthly date night? The occasional weekend away?