Dear Carolyn • I’m about to have a baby and wondered if you had thoughts on some things my husband and I should discuss before the baby comes. We want to be on the same page about parenting stuff before the chaos kicks in. Right now we are both clueless about what to discuss, neither of us having any baby/parenting experience.
Dear Impending Parenthood • Oh my goodness, you’ve ordered a pot roast at a tapas bar. But, er, OK: Talk about the fact that you are both, simultaneously and almost unrelentingly, going to be too stressed or just plain tired for whatever it is you need to do at the moment. And, there will be no “There! Done!” moment to propel you forward, because the next chore will pop right up at you like Pez. And so, both of you will spend a lot of time wishing the other would just take up some of the slack, possibly even resenting each other for not seeing how badly you need help. If you’re doing this right, both of you will feel you’re giving all you’ve got — and recognizing that in the moment might be the single best thing you can do for your baby and for your marriage. Think of it as a sports cliche: You both need to give 110 percent. Not just that — you also need to notice and praise each other’s 110. Thanking each other is a way to bank marital goodwill that you will often need.
Re: Parenthood • I think the biggie for those early days is feeding. If you’re nursing, decide in advance what he’s going to do. Will you handle nights alone all the time? Will he change diapers and get the baby for you? If you’re going with formula from the start, are you alternating night wakings? The rest of it, you can cover as it comes up. Really, just know who is doing what at 1, 2, 3 and 4 a.m. You don’t want to be ironing that out on the spot!
Dear Anonymous • There will be some things better decided as they get to know their baby (and themselves as parents), but, yes, conversations do go better at 11 a.m. than they do at 1 a.m.
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