Although the words "prepare" and "parenthood" should probably never be used in the same sentence — because, honestly, nothing can ever truly prepare you for the beautiful roller coaster that is becoming a mom — it doesn't hurt to try. And realistically speaking, there are some important conversations to have to prepare you for parenthood, whether you're parenting with someone else or by yourself.
Apart from all the amazing changes, having a baby also comes with it's fair share of stressful ones. Thinking through things like budgeting for daycare, splitting up chores, and discipline strategies before the bundle of joy arrives can save you a whole lot of headache in the long run.
Obviously, I'm not telling you to try and plan everything out in advance, because coming from a mom of a toddler, I know the odds of that happening are about as likely as convincing my 2-year-old to potty train herself. Not gonna happen. But foresight can be your friend, if you let it. And though they aren't as fun as brainstorming your baby's name or nursery themes, these next nine questions are important to think through whether you're just thinking about trying for a baby, you're pregnant, or you're well into the parenthood roller-coaster already.
1. Who's Going To Work?
Will you and your partner both work full time jobs? Will one of you stay home full time while the other works? While there's no "one size fits all" approach to balancing work and family, it's important to talk through your options before baby comes.
2. What's Your Parenting Style?
Of course, it's impossible to know exactly what kind of parent you'll be until you actually have some practice, but thinking through different methods beforehand can't hurt. Do you lean more towards attachment parenting or free range parenting? Will you co-sleep with your baby or sleep train them? Thinking through different scenarios ahead of time will help you remain level headed when the time comes.
3. How Will You Divide The Responsibilities?
Parenting, like marriage, can't be seen as 50/50. Each parent is going to have to give 100 percent of themselves, or it won't work. Will one of you handle dishes while the other gets baby ready for bed? Try to come up with a game plan so that when the time comes one of you doesn't end up taking on more than you can handle.
4. What About Discipline?
Though discipline won't really be an issue right away, just wait until the "terrible twos" kick in. Having a strategy can help you remain calm when said 2-year-old is pushing buttons you didn't even know you had.
5. How Will You Keep Your Relationship A Priority?
Parenting is exhausting and it's far too easy to place your child at the top while letting your partner slide lower on your priority list. However, maintaining a happy relationship is one of the best things you can do for both your child and your partner.
6. How Will You Afford It?
It's easy to get overwhelmed at the thought of so many new expenses. Diapers, clothes, day care, and all the other "needs" can easily make parenting more stressful than it needs to be. Setting aside a little bit of money before hand and being sure to budget accordingly can save you a lot of headache in the long run.
7. What Values Are Important To You?
Be the kind of person you want your child to be. Think through what values are important to you, and simple ways you can model them as your kiddo grows up.
8. How Will You Stay "You"?
Becoming a mom, while arguably the most important job out there, can take a lot out of you. It's important to take time for yourself and your hobbies that you had before having kids. You can still be a mom without giving up your "old self".
9. Can You Ever Truly Be Prepared?
The answer, of course, is a resounding "no." But while there's no way to fully prepare yourself, letting yourself plan ahead will certainly help you tackle parenthood with confidence.