What Is Parenthood Planning?

What Is Parenthood Planning?

What is Parenthood Planning?

Parenthood planning is all the reflection and thinking, learning and researching, planning, discussing, agreeing, deciding, and action-taking you need to do, before you take the leap into parenthood.

Why would you need to plan parenthood?

Because becoming a parent is the biggest decision most of us make in our lifetimes. It's certainly the most irreversible decision. Planning helps us make better decisions.

Secondly, because parenthood is hard on parents, and planning makes it easier and more enjoyable.

And finally because planning helps us take control, and feel more positive about parenthood before we get there.

Let's start from the beginning. What - exactly - is involved in parenthood planning?

What is involved in parenthood planning?

First, figure out 'Your Why' - why are you doing this?

  • Why do you want to be a parent? (your purpose & values)
  • What are your principles and goals for parenthood?

The other topics relate more to 'Your How' - how you will do it. First, there's the practicalities of getting there:

  • What's your plan for how to have kids (becoming a parent)?
  • What's your plan for when to have kids (your timing plan)?

Next, there's the 'Big 4' foundations that will support your plan:

  • How will your relationship handle parenthood?
  • What's your support plan for parenthood?
  • Will you move or improve your home & location to have kids?
  • How will you protect your mental health as a parent?

Then, there are the 'Big 4' planning topics you'll need to make decisions about:

  • What's your career plan for parenthood?
  • What's your childcare plan for your future kids?
  • What's your financial plan for parenthood?
  • How will you divide responsibilities (your division of labour plan)?

Finally, there's how you'll keep it together, and have fun along the way:

  • How will you protect your future family (your family resilience plan)?
  • What's your plan for your leisure time as a parent, and family time spent together?

Baby with building blocks

Photo credit: Ryan Fields on Unsplash 

Why are these topics the important ones to focus on before you become a parent?

You might be asking, what's the difference between these topics and the 'usual' things we learn about when we become parents (antenatal classes, birth plans and newborn care)?

The 'usual' things we learn are things we can learn 'just in time', just before we need to know them.

Parenthood planning helps you put in place the fundamentals (the 'building blocks' of parenthood) in your life - the kind of preparation which may take time, but which has the most benefit.

Addressing these topics helps you to:

  • make better decisions about whether to be a parent as well as when and how;
  • make big changes in your life that may require months or years, but which set you up for success; and
  • align with your partner, and "start as you mean to go on", increasing your chances of success as a parenting couple.

The principles of parenthood planning

There are 10 principles which define the way I do parenthood planning.

  1. Planning is for everyone. Parenthood planning is something everyone should do, if they're thinking of parenthood. Men and women. (This isn't just a female thing!)

  2. Only plan what you need to plan. Don't plan for planning's sake (unless you really want to!).

  3. It's about direction, not perfection. It's not supposed to happen exactly as you plan it, but setting off in the right direction is still valuable.

  4. Planning needs a framework. Use a structure for your plan, otherwise you'll get overwhelmed.

  5. Planning requires some learning. Get some facts straight first, and do some research.

  6. Planning requires reflection. Understand yourself and what you want.

  7. Planning requires conversation. Don't forget your stakeholders. Get your partner, friends and family on board with your plan. Seek feedback and agreement.

  8. Planning requires decisions. There are always trade-offs to be made, and some choices have to be made.

  9. Planning is social. It's best done with others who are also planning. You can support and inspire each other.

  10. Planning is personal. Your plan won't be like anyone else's.

The Parenthood Planning Journal

Want to get started with parenthood planning?

It's easy to get started. Just get your hands on The Parenthood Planning Journal (only £9), which is the place to record a summary of all your answers to all the questions.

Or, if you're sure you want to get involved, join The Parenthood Planning Club which contains all the resources to help you fill out your Journal in more detail, and help you when you get stuck, or if you want more food for thought.

You can do as little or as much parenthood planning as you want to.

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