7 things you and your spouse MUST agree on before having kids

Make sure you tackle these tough parenting decisions before the baby comes. You'll be glad you did.

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  • Approaching parenthood for the first time is both an exciting and scary time in life. You can't wait to welcome your own junior miss or mister into the world and raise them, but you're also scared you might make some bad parenting decisions along the way.

  • You can help calm some fears if you realize that parenthood starts long before labor. It's best to make these seven important parenting decisions together well before your little bundle of joy is born.

  • 1. How many and how far apart?

  • Many couples know to discuss the number of kids they want, but some forget an important appendage to that question - how far apart do you want each kid? He might say he loved being just one year apart from his brother and wants his own kids to have the same experience, but you know there's no way you want to get pregnant again so soon after giving birth.

  • 2. Baby names

  • Obviously you don't need to decide on a specific name before you get pregnant, but some couples don't anticipate the arguments that can happen over choosing a baby name. Is he against common names like Sarah or David? Do you already have a list of names you've been seriously considering since you were 15?

  • Getting these more general discussions out of the way first will save you a lot of stress when you're ready to finalize your choices.

  • 3. Circumcisions and piercings

  • To cut or not to cut? How do you both feel on choices that will cause your baby pain, like circumcisions for newborn boys or ear piercings for baby girls? These are definitely topics you and he should discuss (and resolve if there are any disagreements) before the baby is born.

  • 4. Religion

  • How will you raise your child when it comes to religion? You may be all about raising your kids as actively engaged in a certain faith, but your honey might want to take a more religiously relaxed approach. Before it's time to actually raise a child, couples should have already decided just how big or small a part of life religion will be for their little ones.

  • 5. Balancing parenting responsibilities

  • It's no secret that parenting is a huge job - you've got to provide financially for those kiddos to grow up healthy and happy, but you've also got to continually care for them at home. Some couples prefer to split both the providing part and the home-care part more or less equally, and others prefer to have each spouse take on the bulk of one role. Before kids come into the picture, discuss which balance will work best for both of you.

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  • 6. Public schooled, home schooled or private schooled?

  • There are ups and downs to each option, and it's up to you as future parents to decide which option's pros outweighs the cons. Despite the enormous amounts of time and effort it will take from you, do you want to give your kids an at-home education? Do you want to dish out the dough for a private, possibly better education for your little ones? Or do you think traditional public school route is best?

  • 7. Punishments

  • What form of discipline will the two of you use on your future kids? Some people are proponents for traditional punishments such as spankings, and others vowed to never discipline their own children with time outs. Being on the same page when it comes to discipline will help make the parenting part of your lives that much easier.

  • Everyone has different opinions on parenting decisions - and that's OK. As long as you and your spouse welcome your beautiful baby into the world having already discussed and agreed on important parenting choices, you'll do great.

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McKenna Park is a staff writer at FamilyShare. She's a happy wife, puppy mama, ice cream addict and film nerd.

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