What style of parent will you be?
There’s so much to prepare for when you’re expecting a baby, from classes on giving birth and researching how to look after a new-born, to preparing the house and choosing a name. There’s so much to think about, that quite often the type of parents you’re going to be doesn’t even come into consideration until the baby is home.
But bringing the baby home is stressful enough without adding a reason to argue with your partner. Believe me, discovering that he is dead set against co-sleeping while you are happily tucking your little one into the bed beside you is not the way you want to start your parenting journey.
Start off by thinking about how you personally want to parent your child. Are you in favour of attachment parenting? Do you want your baby to sleep in a crib from day one? Will you be breastfeeding? Ask your partner to do the same before you discuss it with each other, that way you’ll both have opinions, and you can see where you agree or disagree. Having a conversation about how you want to parent before the baby is born, can help you to face parenthood as a cohesive and united team. Chat about the kind of parents you want to be and about how you want to raise your child. Talk about sleeping arrangements, schedules, feeding, all those issues that will come up once your baby is home.
Research the different styles of parenting and discuss the pros and cons of each with your partner, don’t just rely on sisters, mothers or friends who are already parents. Every parent and every child is different, so what works for them may not necessarily work for you.
Listen to your partner and discuss why they want to do things in a certain way. Be ready to compromise, as parents you are equals and both of your opinions are valid. Your parenting styles will depend on your personalities of course, but you will also need to take your schedules into account. If you are set on keeping your child in a strict routine, then your partner needs to know that he can’t come home and keep the baby up late. But on the other hand, you need to realise that your routine needs to consider the fact that if he’s been at work all day, he’ll want some quality cuddles before bedtime. Working out a schedule that suits you both will ensure that the two of you and your baby will benefit in the long term.
Flexibility is key when it comes to parenting, so even if you decide that you want to parent in a specific way, your baby might decide otherwise. Just because you’ve chosen to do something one way, doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Be ready to change and evolve your styles as your baby grows and your life settles down.
As your little one grows and changes, so will your parenting. So, keep the discussion open. Figuring out what works for you as a family is key. Remember that when it comes to setting rules or boundaries you need to both be on the same page, there’s no point in you saying one thing and your partner saying another. If there are to be consequences, then you both need to stick to them.
However you choose to raise your child, one thing you always need to show is a united front. Arguing in front of your little one will undermine both of you as parents, if your partner does something you disagree with remember to support in public and discuss in private.
Having a baby is a magical, wonderful experience, but it can also be frightening and stressful. Knowing how you want to raise your child and the type of parent you want to be in advance will help you overcome some of the stresses and allow you to get on with the serious business of enjoying your baby.