9 Questions To Ask Before Having Children

Father touching pregnant belly(BlackDoctor.org) — Things used to be so easy. A couple got married, then got pregnant, then had the baby, then Mommy stayed home to raise the baby, while Daddy worked to support his family. Now?

Today, times are a bit different. Today, no matter how much you’re in love, or how much you really do want children, you and your partner need to have a REAL talk about the what’s, why’s and who’s of starting a family.

Here are 9 things you need to ask each other (and yourselves)…

Do you have enough money for a baby?

Babies are precious gifts, but they’re not inexpensive. Cribs! Diapers! Daycare! A tricked-out stroller with a built-in light show! And they need food, too. Can you make a realistic financial plan and leave something extra for the unexpected?

How will your careers/life change?

You need to be serious and tell the truth about this one. If someone stays home to care for the baby, will that really be okay with them? Also, how long will this arrangement last for? Are you really okay with quitting your job/putting your career goals on hold? Will you be satisfied with being primarily at home? Are there any career-from-home ideas that you can explore? For the person who is the sole provider, will it be okay that you may not have as much money for personal expenses, such as entertainment or shopping? Will you be willing to change jobs if it means making more money for the family? If both couples need to work, who will care for the child while their parents are at work? Who will pick the child up each day? What about when someone needs to work overtime? There needs to be a truthful conversation about whether or not both of you are okay (really okay) with the potential financial and career trade-offs.

Will you be able to agree on a name for the baby?

You each want to name the baby after a grandparent, a celebrity, a mentor, a much-admired historical figure, etc. Of course, most couples manage to figure something out, but it wouldn’t hurt to have some advance warning about what’s on both of your mental baby-name lists.

How should your child be educated?

What kind of school experience do you want for your child, how much are you willing to pay for it, and how will those expenses change your financial options? How much will you be able to save for college? If one of you insists on private school, does that mean that you’re willing to compromise on other details, like the size of your home?

Where does God fit it?

This is (obviously) crucial for partners with different religious backgrounds. But it can still be an issue even within the same faith. Will your family go to church? How big of a role do you want religion to play in your children’s lives? Will there be prayers before dinner?

How many babies do you both want?

What happens when you want one child, but your partner is thinking about a much larger family? The number of children you have will impact your family, and personal, life more than just about anything else, so it’s good to know ahead of time what number is the ideal for each of you.

What about discipline?

Ask 100 different people about the best way to discipline a child, and you’ll probably get 100 different answers. What types of punishments are acceptable to each of you? Time-outs? Spankings? You don’t have to figure out every scenario, but make sure you and your partner are in the same general punishment ballpark.

Who will change the baby’s diapers?

Who will do what? True, this is the kind of thing that tends to work itself out, but you should have a sense of this as early as possible. Will you both split everything or are there distinct Daddy Duties and Mommy Duties? Will you take turns waking up at 2 a.m. (and 3 a.m., and 4 a.m., and 5 a.m…)?

What’s your definition of “spoiling”?

You already know that it’s not a great idea to give a child every single last thing they want. But what will they get? How old will they be when they start getting an allowance? Do they have to do chores to earn that allowance? How much TV can they watch? How long can they be on the computer for (let’s not even talk about going out with friends, dating, etc.)?