1st Trimester

Advice from second time moms: How to prepare the marriage for kids

Hi second or third (or more) time Moms,

I want to know if you have any advice to give on the most important things to talk about/ work out before a baby comes. What sorts of things did you kick yourself for not dealing with before hand? I'm wondering about stuff like; how the chores get shared, appropriate ways to deal with frustration, how he can make your life easier and vice versa....

I'm not 100% sure what the questions are because all I ever hear is "Having a kid changes everything" but I have no idea how exactly it will change it. I feel like I have this precious time left when it's just the two of us and we can work on stuff without being interrupted by a screaming child with a poopy diaper.

There it is mamas, lay some wisdom on me :)
mrsH1112michelehoney13
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Re: Advice from second time moms: How to prepare the marriage for kids

  • Nicb13 said:

    Hmmm, good question but a tough one to answer. DH and I didn't talk about any of this stuff before DS was born because we didn't know what to expect. Although looking back, the only thing I kick myself for is treating DH like crap because my hormones were out of control and I was sleep deprived. There was no way I saw any of that coming or could prepare for what sleep deprivation did to me.

    I did most of the work with DS when he was first born so it was on DH to do a lot of the household chores because I was too tired or busy. He just understood that so there were no problems there.

    Resentment builds quickly when 2 people are exhausted, frustrated and overworked with a new baby so try to always be open with each other. You really just have to wait until you are in the thick of it and then work together to get through it. It's all about survival so stick together!

    Also, try to remember this.  It's hard to be kind when you're hormonal, but it's really important to try. I wouldn't like it if DH was a jerk for months on end, and I don't think my husband appreciates it either!

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  • I'm grateful for the advice ladies. OP, great thread.

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  • Nicb13Nicb13
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    My best piece of advice is to try and not control/undermine/interfere with your husbands relationship with LO.  Let him find his own way.  In doing so, he'll have a confidence in his ability to care for LO, and it will help make their relationship stronger.

    DS was formula fed from the beginning, and this turned out to be a blessing because it allowed DH and I to do equal feedings.  DS's relationship with his dad is just as strong as his relationship with me, and it's a wonderful thing to see. If I died tomorrow, DH and DS would be able to muddle through, as they already have their own routine and ways of doing things.  

    At times I would struggle with not correcting DH if he weren't doing something "my way", but I learned to try and let it go.  I can be a control freak, but I learned to recognize that, and it doesn't matter if DH brushes DS's teeth AFTER he reads him a story instead of before.... in the long run, all that matters is they get both done and have a nice time together before bed. 

    This is wonderful advice too. Totally forgot about this.

     

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  • edited March 6
    Basically, any issues that you have now, work on them before the baby comes. Even if they don't seem like a big deal, it's better that you address them now rather than waiting until you've had no sleep all night and suddenly you just freak out because you think he should do more chores around the house. 

    Discuss what's important to you surrounding the actual birth and the months that follow, get on the same page, and make sure that DH will back you up. I was 100% committed to breastfeeding, and DH knew that. When we had some issues in the beginning (DS was tongue-tied,) DH's mom and sister kept telling me to "just give him formula." After they had brought it up a few times, DH told them in no uncertain terms that we wouldn't be giving formula and that they needed to leave me alone about it. It was so nice not having to justify my decisions to other people on top of everything else that was going on. (Also, for the record, it's totally possible for your husband to bond and have an excellent relationship with your child even if he can't share equal feeding duties because you don't formula feed.)

    And ditto what PPs said about hormones and sleep deprivation being taken out on your husband. I'm not sure either of us was quite prepared for how cranky I would be when I wasn't getting any sleep. This time around, I'm going to make a conscious effort not to ever discuss anything that I'm even slightly upset with him for unless I've gotten a few consecutive hours of sleep. I almost always ended up saying things that I regretted.
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  • This is a great thread. Keep the suggestions coming!
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  • MrsMuqMrsMuq
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
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    • Get life insurance.
    • Make sure you have a will drawn up that includes LO, for both you and your SO.
    • If you are going to go back to work, figure out what your DC budget will be, tour daycares, in-homes, interview nannies and babysitters, look into nanny share (or an au paire).
    • If you don't live near family, who would look after LO in an emergency? Find a babysitter.
    • Take a Lamaze class. Get informed on natural birth, pain management, c-sections, and the tests you will have done throughout your pregnancy.
    • Don't neglect your relationships - that includes your SO, family and friends. Even though you're a mom, you still get girls' nights out and date nights.
    • Prepare any pets, especially cats and dogs, for the baby.
    • Chores - eh, lower your standards on what will get done, especially the first few months.
    • "Please," "thank you," and "can you..." go a long way.
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  • This is stellar!

    Thanks ladies. I am writing notes and will definitely bring it up with DH... in increments (don't want to overwhelm the poor guy).

    I especially like the "nothing counts between midnight and 5 in the morning" rule. That sounds like a great way to ease the pressure of those long unbearable nights.

    Also, someone in this thread brought up "preparing dogs and cats." I have a cat, how do i prepare him for the baby? We haven't had much luck training him in general.


    AggieBeth06savannah_girl
  • There is a book called "Babyproofing Your Marriage" by John Gottman. He is one of the lead marriage/family researchers that's based things on real evidence. I recommend that book.

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  • ss265ss265
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    I would make a list of chores that need to get done around the house and discuss who is responsible for what after the baby is born, especially in the first few weeks. It is all about expectations and communication. If you have a DH who is used to a spotless house, he needs to understand that he may not have a spotless house when the baby is born because you will simply not have time to clean.

    Also things like - who is waking up with the baby? DH and I discuss that every night when we are getting ready for bed so that when the baby wakes up in the middle of the night, we are not arguing over whose turn it is.

    Lol, when DS was first born, my husband and I mainly argued over breastmilk. Not so much on whether to breastfeed but more around storage or handling the milk. If he left breast milk out on the counter to rot, all hell broke loose. :) But mainly when I would rush home to feed the baby only to find that DH had gone somewhere with him so I had to pump - things like that.

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    Wolkie
  • Figure out who you want at the hospital while you are in labor (if at all) and how visits will go once LO is here.  Then, communicate it to everyone as early as possible.  You'd be surprised how many people expect to be in the delivery room (moms and MILs), and who wants to meet the baby right after he/she is born.  Don't feel bad about not letting someone in the room during delivery if you are not comfortable.  If you want a few hours after the birth for the 3 of you, then do that. 

    Also decide how home visits will work.  People will seriously come out of the woodwork and want to drop by all the time.  If someone volunteers to "help out" find out what they mean by that.  "Helping out" shouldn't equal holding the baby all day long while you do the laundry or cook.  Your job is to take care of the baby.  If anyone wants to help, they can do chores for you. 

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    krazyinsaneMrsK1009Wolkie
  • Figure out who you want at the hospital while you are in labor (if at all) and how visits will go once LO is here.  Then, communicate it to everyone as early as possible.  You'd be surprised how many people expect to be in the delivery room (moms and MILs), and who wants to meet the baby right after he/she is born.  Don't feel bad about not letting someone in the room during delivery if you are not comfortable.  If you want a few hours after the birth for the 3 of you, then do that. 

    Also decide how home visits will work.  People will seriously come out of the woodwork and want to drop by all the time.  If someone volunteers to "help out" find out what they mean by that.  "Helping out" shouldn't equal holding the baby all day long while you do the laundry or cook.  Your job is to take care of the baby.  If anyone wants to help, they can do chores for you. 

    This is great advice... and something I'm going to keep in mind when visiting my friends with LOs.

    I'm definitely going to talk to DH about family visits. My family is very far away, so their visits are more easily planned. His aren't local, but are close enough to think they can drive down for the weekend for a visit whenever they want. I see it happening with my SILs, and I want to make sure we're on the same page, rather than lashing out when my MIL wants to visit for weeks and drive me insane. :)

  • Nicb13Nicb13
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    Ask him for exactly what you need/want him to do. It should be obvious that the dishes need done when you've been nursing a baby for 24 straight hours, but it's not obvious to most men. Get over the "he should just know" idea, because he doesn't just know, and it only makes you more angry. Just ask.
    Dude, this! I cannot stress enough how important this is.

     

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  • Nicb13Nicb13
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    This is stellar!

    Thanks ladies. I am writing notes and will definitely bring it up with DH... in increments (don't want to overwhelm the poor guy).

    I especially like the "nothing counts between midnight and 5 in the morning" rule. That sounds like a great way to ease the pressure of those long unbearable nights.

    Also, someone in this thread brought up "preparing dogs and cats." I have a cat, how do i prepare him for the baby? We haven't had much luck training him in general.



    Cats are so independent already so I have NO idea how to prep them for a baby. I have 2 cats and 2 dogs and we didn't do anything before DS came home to prepare them. We just watched the animals very, very closely for a while. Most of the time the cats stay far away from DS.

     

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  • Nicb13 said:
    This is stellar!

    Thanks ladies. I am writing notes and will definitely bring it up with DH... in increments (don't want to overwhelm the poor guy).

    I especially like the "nothing counts between midnight and 5 in the morning" rule. That sounds like a great way to ease the pressure of those long unbearable nights.

    Also, someone in this thread brought up "preparing dogs and cats." I have a cat, how do i prepare him for the baby? We haven't had much luck training him in general.



    Cats are so independent already so I have NO idea how to prep them for a baby. I have 2 cats and 2 dogs and we didn't do anything before DS came home to prepare them. We just watched the animals very, very closely for a while. Most of the time the cats stay far away from DS.
    This!  My cats didn't care about my son either.  

    Cats should be fine.  If you set the crib/room up early, you can get them used to not going in there, but they probably won't want anything to do with baby anyway.    

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    October 2014- Expecting a Little Pumpkin King!
    Me: Endometriosis, PCOS, Insulin Resistance, Estrogen Dominance, Irregular Cycles
    DH:  100% Abnormal Sperm Morphology
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    BFP #3  "Luna"- 07/17/13, EDD 03/31/14- MC 07/29/13 @ 5 w0d 
    BFP #4  "Star " 10/25/13, EDD 07/06/14- MC 11/28/13 
    Jan 2014- First "reasonable length" cycle in 2 years!
    Moving on to Assisted Reproduction -8 hrs away!
    BFP #5 "Jack" 02/07/14, EDD 10/18/14 - Please be our Halloween Rainbow <3
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  • This thread is awesome! I wish it existed when before my DD was born. 
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  • Nicb13Nicb13
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    This thread is awesome! I wish it existed when before my DD was born. 

    Me too

     

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  • adl3399adl3399
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    Laugh. The whole "first time parents/bringing home a newborn" is actually pretty funny. H and I laughed a lot. Sleep deprevation helped that of course. But the ability to find the humor in the crazy situations you find yourself in at 3am (like a poop-splosion) will make all the difference in the world.
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  • Justabean3Justabean3
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    edited March 8
    My biggest advice is expect nothing from your spouse because they have no clue. Expect to do it all on your own. This way all help is greatly appreciated and a thank you will follow.

    Expecting will cause you big fights even though we think they should help. I would also just sit down before hand and talk about "real" expectations.

    Our deal was my husband just did all errands and I did baby stuff. It worked for us.
    RG1979
  • Have sex before baby comes.  It gets really hard after you have a little person waking you up at all hours of the night and morning.

    Everything else will fall into place as you go.  You'll need to re-evaluate frequently as your baby grows and lives change.  And adding another baby into the mix changes things again.
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  • Get on the same page about as many child-related subjects as possible.

    -Spending habits.  Are expensive/lavish gifts for a child ok/not okay?
    -Where does baby sleep?  In your room?  In your bed?  In his/her crib from day 1?
    -Breastfeeding/FFing will DH support you when/if it gets tough?  Or will he encourage you to give up and give her a bottle?
    -Vaccinations.  Pro or Con
    -Going to the doctor.  Do you need to rush to the doc/urgent care every time baby has a 100 degree fever?  Or are you ok with relaxing and giving baby Tylenol?
    -Discipline.  Spanking vs.Time-outs  What behavior constitutes a punishment?
    -Chores, when do they start?
    -Diapering- Cloth or disposable?
    -Circumcision - Pro or Con
    -Religion- Will baby go to church?  How often?  Will there be a baptism/christening/other religious rite?  At what age should this be done?
    -Visitors- how much time will you take to be just the two of you?  When will you have visitors?  How do you feel about overnight guests?  Will there be family you want to stay for an extended period when baby comes?
    -How do you feel about books vs. classes vs On-the-job-training when it comes to having a baby?
    -How soon will you be okay with a babysitter?  (Date night is important!)
    -How do you feel about drinking in front of the baby?
    -How do you feel about having a party at your house with a baby?  At what age would this okay?
    -How do you feel about smoking/smokers around/holding baby?
    -CIO - Pro or Con
    -Family size and baby spacing.  How many how far apart?

    All I can think of off the top of my head.  :)  Great thread!
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  • I guess my only advice is make sure you both are on the same page about breastfeeding. I was really adamant that I wanted to do it, did a ton of research beforehand and such and was informed. DH was not, didn't understand it very much and didn't like that he couldn't feed DD when she was upset. 

    Also, with that, if your partner is offering help and telling you to get some rest, then get some rest! DH would constantly tell me to get some sleep because I was driving myself nuts trying to breastfeed and making sure DD was not hungry and ok. I was so weepy and emotional, but the more sleep I got the better I felt. I can't complain about DH much, he was/is pretty great as a Dad and his instincts kicked in right away. He didn't need much coaching and we helped balance each other. 
    Wolkie
  • What a great thread! Thanks for all the advice!

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  • I would just like to ditto what pps said about giving dad's space to do their things. Your DH will have his own way of doing things, his own relationship with your child and the less you interfere the better. He is not a mom and mothering isn't his job; this is especially true as your lo gets older.

    If you feel like he does something really unreasonable or ineffective, find a time to address it that's not in the moment.

    I see a lot of couples in my community really struggle in their relationships because they don't respect each other's parenting styles. Moms and dads are just different, and those differences only grow as your child gets older.

    My DH isn't a big talker, so now that we are expecting #2 I ask him things like, "how do you see your role changing when the new baby comes?" Then he can tell me what ideas he has in his head and it's a good way to open him up without putting him on the defense.

    You can't really plan these things out in too much detail, IMO. Maybe your baby will be a great sleeper and be easy, maybe you get a tough customer who doesn't sleep at all. You can plan tall sorts of things, but the more you are prepared to go with the flow and support each other, the better off you'll be.
    Elkanah Brave, born 02/06/2012 7:26am
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