The great Dr. James Dobson once said, “Parenting isn’t for cowards”. He could not have been more right! Parenting is one of the most difficult, yet most rewarding jobs I have ever had the privilege to undertake. Pregnancy is the easy part, it’s raising those little critters that is the difficult part. There is no doubt that it is far easier taking care of these little bundles inside the womb then outside. Outside we are fully responsible for the life of a human being. I distinctly remember looking at the nurse when she handed me the baby to go home from the hospital with my first born daughter and saying, ” Really!?! Your letting me go home with her?” It was scary realizing that I now had the fate of a little person in my hands. Talk about pressure!! I held on tight and didn’t want to let go! It didn’t take long for me to realize that this journey we called parenting isn’t for the weak of heart or mind. It was going to take stamina, courage, strength, and most of all PATIENCE!!! That last one I still am working on 9 years later.
I had it in my mind when I became a mother that I would be the next “June Cleaver”. I would be able to keep the house spotless, look my best 100% of the time, have dinner waiting for my husband when he came home, have the most well behaved children in the world and be able to keep working full time at my job. I wanted to be super mom and do everything. I wanted my husband to be able to come home, kick off his shoes sit down and relax and not have to do a thing….BOY WAS I WRONG!!! Parenting is a TEAM effort! I think I was a few weeks into motherhood, when my husband came home to find the breakfast dishes on the table from two days ago, dinner un-thawed in the fridge, a screaming baby, and a mommy who couldn’t tell you the last time she saw the shower. I was exhausted. He came in mentioned how it looked like a tornado had been through the house, and I should really try to clean up! I wanted to deck him! We both realized that this wasn’t working, that we had to do something or our relationship was going to crumble, and crumble it almost did. Just because you have a baby does not mean that romance has to die. Communication is the key.
It is no doubt that parenting is a full time job, designed for two parents. Unfortunately sometimes life throws us a curve ball and some parents are forced to go through these hurdles alone. I have so much respect for single parents who are out there doing this solo. It is so difficult to raise a child with two parents let alone one parent, while working full time, and being the sole influence on this little person’s life. If you are having to travel this road alone, keep up the good work, I commend you for your strength and encourage you to seek out help from trusting friends and family. Keep reading as this questionnaire is as much for you as it is for partnership parenting.
What my husband and I discovered, the hard way I might add, was that we both had different idea’s of how to parent. We both were raised in complete opposite homes, with different concepts and values. The only example we have had of parenting is that of our own parents, sometimes that is a good thing, and sometimes not. However, this is our time to raise our children our way…but we needed a stepping tool to get the communication ball rolling. That is when we came across the “New Parent Questionnaire” written by the amazing Kim Green,RN, ICCE.
Whether you are a single parent or blessed to be able to parent with your partner, then this questionnaire is doubly important. Find a time to sit down together, with a paper and pen in hand. There is no wrong answer to any of these questions. These are “food for thought” questions to get you thinking about your future and the future of your baby/children. This is strictly for your eyes only, and that of your partners. Parenting is tough, hard, gritty work. It’s okay to ask for help. Here is a great tool to get things started. Each of you are to answer the questions, to the best of your knowledge, as you would like to see parenting go in your home. Make sure each of you answers all the questions before showing your partner the answers. That is key…it’s important to not know what the other is answering until the end of the questionnaire. As soon as both of you have finished, swap answers. The rest is up to the two you. Best of Luck!
NEW PARENT QUESTIONNAIRE
by Kim Green,RN, ICCE
- Three qualities I want my child to possess are:
- I anticipate my favorite activity with my child will be:
- I trust myself alone with our baby…Yes or No
- I do/do not want to be like my parents…why or why not?
- I usually express love in which way (hugs, kisses, verbally…)
- My biggest fear of parenthood is:
- I do/do not believe in spanking a child.
- The most important person in the family is:
- I believe infants or toddlers should/should not be exposed to television on a regular basis:
- What needs to be done in your home to make your child feel safe?
- The job of discipline falls on: a) mom b) dad c) both
- The baby will be on our schedule or baby’s schedule?
- Changing diapers is: a) mom job b) dad job c)both job
- Major holidays will be spent with: a) my extended family b) your extended family c) by ourselves
- Arguments in our home are resolved by:
- It is ok/not ok to argue in front of a child.
- Will mom be returning to work? If so when?
- Who will be providing childcare?
- I need to have time out with my friends: a)weekly b) bi-weekly c)monthly
- In raising children I believe religion plays: a) no role b)minor role c)major role
- I believe girls and boys should be parented differently: Yes or No
- What part will your parents/in-laws play in the child’s life?
- How do you see your social life changing?
- How do you see your personal life changing?
- I would like to continue to date my partner: a) once a week b)once a month c)once every 6 months
- After the baby is born, sex will be: a)more important b)less important c)stay the same
- Vacations are important to me: Yes or No
- Vacations with my spouse only are important to me: Yes or No
- If I had one wish for my child, it would be…
- I know my partner is going to be a wonderful parent because…
Remember there are no wrong or right answers. These questions are designed to provoke conversation, to help you communicate to your partner along this crazy journey we call parenthood. Enjoy the ride!
Copyright© 2011 Danielle Gauss,IBCLC – JustBreastFeeding.com. All Rights Reserved.