When you decide to start a family, it can be so exciting that you forget that parenthood can be stressful too. Believe it or not, there are tougher decisions to be made than just what color to paint the nursery. Here are some decisions that you should make with your spouse before you have kids.
Do you plan to baptize or dedicate your baby? Will you go to church every weekend? This is a hugely personal decision and one that can create a huge rift in your marriage if you disagree.
I know this is a heartbreaking decision, but it’s absolutely necessary. If the worst should happen to the two of you, who gets custody of the kids? In talking to a family attorney lately who specializes in this kind of thing, I learned two important things. #1 – money talks. Whoever you choose to look after your kids should also be the beneficiary on your life insurance, 401k, and listed in your will as a recipient of any savings you have. An attorney can help you protect yourself and can certainly word this better than I have.
#2 – a will isn’t written in stone and can be overturned. You may think your will will absolutely be followed in the event of your passing. The truth is, it can be challenged and even if it isn’t, a judge can go against your wishes if they see fit. The best thing you can do is to make your wishes well known. Scream from the rooftops what you want. Put it in writing with many people. Put it on Facebook even. Make sure everyone knows who gets custody of your children if the worst were to happen. If you do this, it is far more likely that your wishes will be followed.
Fighting In Front of Your Kids
To fight in front of your kids changes who they will become.
It’s truly that simple. If you love your children, keep your emotions in check in front of them. This is life, however, so tempers will flair at times, even with the children are around. Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page regarding how to handle these moments. I believe it’s important that your kids see you disagree and make up so they know that disagreements are a part of life and that mommy and daddy still love each other even though they get on each other’s nerves sometimes.
However, disrespect has no place in front of your kids (or anywhere for that matter) so if you and your spouse are currently working through some disrespect issues, just make sure you’re keeping it out of the view of the kids.
Even though there have been studies that corporal punishment does no good in raising kids, a lot of people are still “old school” and believe in spanking. If you are against spanking, make sure your spouse is too. Otherwise, this is something to hash out now, not when your kid has done something wrong and your spouse is set on handling the situation with physical force.
To vaccinate or not to vaccinate. If you’re a parent, you know that everyone falls into one of two camps. I’m not bringing this up to start any arguments. I’m simply suggesting you make the decision to do your research before you have kids and make sure your spouse does the same. This is one of those arguments with no compromise. If one parent is pro-vaxx and the other is anti-vaxx, it will be very difficult to find common ground. Make a point to figure this out long before the baby arrives!
This probably doesn’t pertain to your family, but I’m listing it here because this was a big one in our house. I’m a vegetarian and my husband was too when we got married. Now, he eats meat, but my kids and I are still vegetarian.
Our compromise was that he doesn’t bring meat into the house and he can eat whatever he wants when we go out to eat, but only as long as our kids don’t show an interest in trying whatever he has. I don’t judge how other people eat, but vegetarianism is an ethical thing for me, and my husband is happy to raise little vegetarians with me.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan and are married to a meat-eater, make sure you approach this subject ASAP. That baby will be eating foods before you know it. Figure out what works for you!
Before we had kids, actually before we even got married, I told my soon-to-be husband that I didn’t want to do the holiday rounds like so many other people do. Get up on Christmas morning, open presents, hurry up and load up the car, go to various relatives’ houses, get home late – exhausted and just in time for bed.
This works for most families that I know, but it’s never been what I wanted for my kids. Decide how you’ll handle the holidays. Will you have people over to your house? Will you go to one relative’s house on some holidays and your in-laws on others?
Our choice is very different, but it works wonderfully for us. Figure out what will make both you and your spouse happy. Trust me, decide this now before the little ones come! Also, what works for you now as a couple will not necessarily work when kids come. Kids really do change everything.
Did you struggle with any of these topics when you first had kids? What subjects do you think parents should figure out before the baby comes? Let me know in the comments!