What are some of the ways you go about getting your relationship ready for a baby? Therapy? Vacations? Family meetings?
Here are some of the best things we did, when I was pregnant, to get our relationship prepared…
1. Talk about boundaries
Talk about your ideas on how frequent is “too frequent” with over-eager family visitors when the new baby arrives? I found that announcing my pregnancy made my calendar suddenly fill up, because everyone was so excited to see me and us.
Get into more of the details about what happens when people will visit a bit too. Things like… Are you okay with your mom staying for a month? Are you comfortable with your mom, but not his mom, seeing you breastfeeding?
2. Take some time just for you guys
Designate a weekend here and there for a sort of date weekend. And you don’t even need to travel or spend money to do it. Just go with no chores, no outside obligations, no baby nesting. Or go to the movies. Go for a walk or just sit at a pretty park bench if you’re not up for walking.
3. See if you can get your hands on your old baby pictures
You don’t need a ton, but it’ll be fun for both of you to look at each other’s baby pictures. Maybe some new stories about your childhoods will surface that you can learn from and then talk about what you’d do as parents in those instances.
4. If you both enjoy cooking
And if you have the energy, make some freezer meals! These were also useful when I was too exhausted from being pregnant to have the energy to make food.
5. If you’ve ever thought about doing couples counseling, do it now!
When those sleep-deprived days come it helps to feel like you’re a team and have each other’s backs even when your’s snapping at each other in the moment. And then you’ll have the skills to understand what’s happening, and apologize later.
What were your tips to getting your relationship ready for a baby?
Comments on 5 things to do to get your relationship ready for a baby
Make sure to keep in Mind that having kids is a joined effort even if pregnancy and labour really isn’t. That also means giving space for him to stock up on babygear and cute little whatever items. Acknowledge his opinions and let him have a say. Taking over preparations is a sure way to end up with all the fun but also all the chores. And that tends to set tone for a lot of future parenting, even when the maternity/paternity leave is over. And of course: share the leave if possible.
And as the guest room post suggested: think of every little thing that you love that would be more bothersome with a baby involved, and enjoy being able to stock up on these.
One thing I would REALLY recommend is figuring out a “parenting philosophy” that you both agree with. Being on the same page on how to handle sleep, discipline, etc. has made things easier. We both discussed things before our son came and read a bunch of parenting books and found the ideas that we both resonated with. And it made it better to have something to refer back to as well. I’ve seen a lot of the parents that went with “we’ll just trust our gut” or “do what our parents did” be absolutely overwhelmed. For our house (what resonates with you may be much different!) the “philosophy” we agreed on consists of: sleep training with Weissbluth, Montessori ideas on idependence , positive discipline, and Satter for feeding issues. It really cut down on the “why aren’t you doing ____ it this way?!!?” and helped us have consistency of care for our son.
I’d love to know more about how to determine a “parenting philosophy” – short of reading so many books (there’s too many on parenting – how would you even choose?). My partner and I have talked about adopting older kids. I’m sure mentally we each have parenting philosophies in our minds, but how would we put that into words? Do we come up with vision-statement-like-things for topics such as rules, discipline, school, chores, play, independence; or do we ask lots of questions about theoretical situations? Would love to know what others have done.
“Becoming The Parent You Want To Be” is the only parenting book I ever recommend, and I give it to all the new parents in my circle. The authors will help you sort out how you can identify your values and make decisions about parenting – once your baby is here. Babies are not all the same, and I am wary of any “philosophy” that sounds like the one true path.
If you are co-parenting, and you and your partner communicate well, you’re ahead of the game. If not – and especially if you can’t handle conflict well – I heartily endorse the OPs suggestion of couples counseling before baby makes three.
all of the above.. and:
1. start looking for a babysitter right away. a friend, a neighbour, a nice student, nevermind. but without any strings attached!!
in the beginning, i just wanted someone to look after the babies (there were two) to take a shower in peace (extra points for showering with daddy…), or a nap, nothing big. our sitter came once a week for two hours, and for the first year i was always at the flat, rejoicing in not being responsible. the best thing ever was both partners being able to do something together, uninterrupted. our sitter loves the kids, and they always had this special bond- someone you know since birth.
2. find something nice and new to do with your partner while at home, that can sustain multiple interruptions. i recommend the board game “pandemic” 🙂
3. see if you can limit “little annoyances” as much as possible beforehand. for us this means:
*keeping the paperwork on hand to apply for help if someone gets sick (in germany you get a family helper if the main caregiver gets sick, and the other partner has to work), or any other paperwork you might need.
*have a food stash to always, always find something good to eat right.now.
*have the car and everything else taken care of as much as possible beforehand.
*order a regular food delivery to easy up on grocery shopping.
*set money aside to buy any help you´ll find you need – may it be usefull appliances, a stroller that actually fits into your car or a housecleaner now and then.
*and be very clear about expectations that are important to you, i.e. “you can forget about anniversaries and valentines day, but i do need a thoughtful christmas and birthday present. how about you?”
4. maybe read something together? the one author my partner and i both love is jesper juul, he is from denmark and his paenting ideas are revolutionary and very freeing…
good luck and enjoy the ride!