Ask anyone, and the answer will be the same. Parenting AND Marriage… take work, and likely lots of it. Alongside life’s greatest joys, come challenge, stress, guilt, tears, worry, fear, compromise, doubt, and learning. I don’t say this to discourage the weary, or swallow the bliss, but simply to embrace reality and help others prepare as much as they can as a couple before their family expands.
No matter your age, your degree, your confidence or parenting prowess, talking pre-baby about how it will rock your world (and bank account), is so healthy and truly a must! Where to start though?
Here is an activity I can recommend as a great way to break the ice. Make it a “romantic” date night .. or plow through it practically with laptop and lists in hand.
WHO: BOTH parents. Speak individually, but share as a couple.
WHAT: Brainstorm a list of things you liked and disliked about how you were raised and parented.
WHEN: Pre-baby is a great time to start, but it’s never too late.
WHY: By simply rattling off memories, you may end up honing in on actual practical parenting “yays” and “nays” you and your partner can run with (i.e. you loved family walks after dinner or game night, or hated hearing fights about money).
Sometimes too theoretical to agree on the kind of parents you wish to be, or the type of kids you hope to raise. That can also is the easy part.. Who doesn’t want well-behaved, curious, kind, independent and big-hearted children and a healthy marriage encapsulating two individually fulfilled, happy and content spouses?
Like with any goals, the hard work is in the details and all the baby steps and decisions along the way. Hopefully, this activity sets the groundwork, encourages healthy and productive conversation and helps makes “the work” that comes with parenting and marriage fun and rewarding all the same!