So, I am currently without child — but my husband and I have had a lot of discussions about how we'll be raising our rugrat of the future. These conversations typically take place during long, non-scenic car rides and after seeing a child throw a fit at the grocery store, with an angry mom filling the store with a howl of "JAYDEN? GET BACK HERE NOW!" I don’t know just how hard it will be to be a mom, but I think at the very least these discussions are a sign that when the time comes, my husband and I will parent well together.
Let's face it — talking about having children can be a scary subject. Having a kid changes absolutely everything, and combining past experiences from my husband and I (as in, how we were raised) might lead to a few sticky situations. Something his parents were cool with, my parents might not have been, thus our opinions will likely differ when we have children of our own.
If you're looking for similar assurance about future plans with your own significant other, here are a few telltale signs that both of you will be pretty much in sync when the baby is born.
1. Kids don't freak either of you out.
It's totally normal to grimace at the Facebook friend who shares detailed, inappropriate photos of Little Johnny's potty training, but for a kid? That's big news. Screaming, crying, running around in circles, and causing somewhat gross problems in the diaper region are all second nature to a baby.
If both you and your significant other can grin and bear it, you're definitely on the same page with kids. If your partner runs out of the room to vomit, it might be a little harder to co-parent. Both of you should acknowledge the fact that you've got to take turns with some of the messier aspects of babyhood, and if your partner seems all in, it's a good sign.
2. You have no problem making time for each other.
Kids zap up a lot of time, and a lot of couples can't handle the pressure. If you and your partner are already bad about setting time aside for each other, you might resent the fact that adding a child has made it even more difficult to connect with each other. And if you're currently at home on maternity leave, or homebound as a stay at home parent, you'll need that time outdoors and the individual attention every once in awhile.
If you vow to go out to eat once a month, and hire a babysitter or bring a relative over, you'll both be able to reset your batteries and be superb parents.
3. You've successfully navigated through a huge fight before.
Every couple has at least one huge fight. Maybe you bottled your emotions for too long and exploded, or maybe he forgot to refrigerate half of the groceries he bought the other day. No matter what it is, it's been vile — and you've had the "will we make it past this?" feeling lingering in the pit of your stomach.
But then, you made it. You both learned how to communicate best with each other, and realized that your life is better with your partner in it — even if your apartment smells like rotten beef for a few days.
Why is this important, you may ask? Because raising kids together can be insanely stressful, and if you make a vow to never fight in front of the kid, nighttime tension can be high. You've learned how to pick your battles and express yourself based on the past. You're a pro, and both of you have matured greatly based on these past quarrels.
4. Part of your savings include family planning.
Even if you've never had "the talk," the fact that part of your savings is going towards a future family instead of a kickass vacation to Hawaii is quite telling. This is a subtle move that says "I'm ready to go forth," and also proves that you both are taking a responsible step forward.
5. You both realize that kids can make mistakes.
Listen, I don't want to compare my dog to a child. I know how offensive that is for parents who have birthed a human. But, I will say this — my dog is a little rowdy and sometimes nervous around large crowds of people. This lead to me apologizing for his "behavior" during the entirety of the first family Christmas party where he was present.
His behavior was typical dog behavior, but I was afraid that any type of unruliness would reflect poorly on me. The truth is, everyone at that event had either owned a dog before, or had been around dogs enough to know how normal the situation was.
With kids, it's even worse. And if one of you chooses immediate and strict discipline, while the other chooses to ignore the issue, you'll have some problems with parenting. Everyone makes mistakes, but you will hopefully have a gameplan so that your child will learn from them, and not fear them.
6. Neither of you get bummed out about cancelled plans.
When you have a kid, you need to expect your schedule to be a little loose, in case there's an emergency. For example, how many of you missed a party or event based on chicken pox back in elementary school? Wasn't that the worst? Your friends got to eat cake, and you had to avoid scratching yourself unless you wanted "lifetime scars."
But I digress. If you invite friends over and their babysitter cancels last minute, it doesn't bother you. Yeah, you're disappointed, but you get it. It wasn't a planned diss. If you and your partner don't have a "how dare they disappear after having a child!" attitude about any of your baby-on-board acquaintances, it's safe to say that when the time comes for you, you'll be completely flexible as far as social interactions go.
7. Both of you are generally happy with your life choices.
You've been to every party, you've stayed up way past your bedtime, and yes, your 20s were amazing, for sure. Having a kid doesn't necessarily kill your social life, but it sure ends the reckless "I'm going to live forever" mentality that many of us have. You, for the first time, will be fully responsible for someone other than yourself. Again, it's huge. If one of you is ready and the other isn't, it can really change the household dynamic for the worst.
If both you and your significant other are ready to close the doors on late night karaoke and mind-numbing hangovers, you're on the same level. You're excited about vacationing as a family, instead of with your best girlfriends from college. And without a doubt, you're both ready to experiment with the role of being parents.
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