Raising children is one of the toughest and most fulfilling jobs in the world — and the one for which you might feel the least prepared. Becoming a new parent can be an overwhelming experience and caring for an infant can be challenging. Though you can never be fully prepared for how life will change when your baby arrives, there are a few ways to get ready for your life as a family of three.
Discuss a Game Plan
When we become parents or if we’re planning to become parents, we develop our own concept of what the “right thing” is when it comes to parenting. Finding the right parenting style for your family may take time and may change from your original plan, but the important thing to remember is to make sure your parenting style works for both of you.
It’s also important to determine how you will balance your daily routine with your new responsibilities. If both parents are going to be returning to work, discuss how you will divide and conquer. It can be hard to let go of old routines and how life functioned before you had a child and discussing how you will adapt to your new routine will help minimize stress and potential arguments.
Of course, you can plan for every situation you can think of before the baby arrives, but that doesn’t mean your plans are going to work out the way you wish. Stay flexible and embrace the changes as they come.
Most importantly, make communication a priority. Ensuring that you and your partner have the same idea of what life will be like when the baby arrives and being open and honest about your thoughts and feelings will help minimize stress and make the transition smoother.
Once your baby has arrived, you may feel overwhelmed as you and your partner learn to adjust to your new lives as parents over the next few months. Though your main focus will be on your newest addition to your family, it’s important to make sure you are also taking care of yourselves as well.
Some parents feel like accepting help from others means they cannot fully handle their new responsibilities. Just like the old saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child”. Don’t feel like you have failed as a parent if you have family and friends offering to help and you take them up on the offer. Those first few months can be a hard transition and having a few extra hands help you and your partner.
Nurture Your Relationship
Life will get hectic when your baby makes their grand arrival, and many families realize that their relationship with each other took a backseat. We understand that some days by the time you put the baby to bed, there’s barely enough energy left to talk about your day, let alone keep the chemistry alive between the two of you. That’s why it is so important for you and your spouse to spend time together, enjoying each other’s company outside of your other responsibilities as employee, homeowner or “mom” and “dad”. Every few weeks, plan date nights, even if they are simple activities like going for a walk just the two of you. Use the time to reconnect as a couple.
What other advice would you give to parents-to-be?