Parenthood means a lifelong commitment to provide attention, nurturing and a warm loving home for your child. Here are some questions to help you assess your readiness:
• Are you both equally committed to becoming parents?
Parenting will impact all areas of your lives - from personal, professional and private life right down to relationship with each other. The foundation of the parenting team is a strong marriage.
• Have you explored the issues of childcare responsibilities?
Who is going to be the main caregiver of the baby? Need to hire extra help? Logistics? These are all details that need to be worked out before baby arrives. Planning, pacing and timing is important, but caring for baby is such a labour intensive labour, that no matter how well you plan, there will be times when they fail – it is part of being a new parent.
• Have you considered that becoming parents may change you and your relationship with your spouse?
Many couples may not see this coming but becoming parents adds a new equation to the marriage. Don’t wait too long to have your couple time because the parenting team is only as strong as the marriage.
• Have you thought about harmonising work and family?
For new moms going back to work, juggling work and the demands of baby is very challenging. Every baby is different and every parenting relationship is challenged differently. So make your decisions and be happy with them.
• Can you give up sleeping in on weekends or planning for babysitting every time you want to go out without your baby?
While many new parents sober up quickly that sleeping in has become a luxury, having to plan for help whenever you want to go out without baby can be frustrating. But hang on, children will become more independent and you’ll have more time to yourselves.
• Are you ready to discuss your differences openly and honestly?
As much as we think we know our spouses, parenting can reveal differences in beliefs and principles. While mom displays fairness and thinks long-term, daddy is more impulsive and playful, and their differences clearly show in how they deal with situations. Children need to see and experience how their parents manage their differences. Avoid showing emotional hostilities which can affect the child. To be a team, new parents need to develop skills to communicate and attend to each other’s feelings.
~ Wong Suen Kwong, Family Advisor from Centre for Fathering