"Too often we just think about labor and delivery," says Julie Shields, author of How to Avoid the Mommy Trap: A Roadmap for Sharing Parenting and Making it Work. "All we want is a healthy baby, and we don't really think about what our life is going to be like later. That is when we run into problems."
Shields has interviewed hundreds of parents in all stages of child rearing. Her research shows that those happiest as parents have planned for life beyond the labor and delivery room.
Just as expectant parents need to plan for birthing classes and maternity leave, they need to plan for life with a new baby. In her book Shields points out that "Prospective mothers who don't want to do it all themselves must divvy up household and baby responsibilities before the baby arrives. Otherwise, they will likely join the more than two thirds of new parents in conflict over their new roles."
Planning for Parenthood
- Negotiation: Becoming the parent or parenting team you want to be is rarely automatic. It typically takes planning, cooperation, and negotiation. According to Dr. Pamela Jordan, author of How to Strengthen Your Marriage As Your Family Grows, "Couples will likely find that their expectations, which emerge from their underlying values and beliefs, differ significantly. The couple then needs to sit down and negotiate how they want things to be in their family and their lives, and develop strategies to make it so."