1. When it comes to parenting, don't be a pantser. In other words, don't fly by the seat of your pants (if you're curious about how the idiom came into use, go here). Basically what I'm saying is don't make things up as you go along. Don't be reactive, but be proactive as much as possible. Before you even attempt to get pregnant, learn as much as you can about what you can expect - not just during the pregnancy itself, but in the years that lie ahead. Ask your parents, your friends' parents, parents whom you admire in your church or other circle, exactly what their parenting journey has been, what they have learned about effective parenting, etc. Listen to programs like Focus on the Family, read books about parenting and the different ages and stages of childhood, the teenage years, etc. Because as you'll find out if you become a parent, children do not come with instruction manuals and you'll need all the preparation and guidance you can get.
2. Along with point one, as you learn about parenting, you'll need to formulate some idea of the kind of parent you want to be, the sort of children you want to raise, and how you will make that happen. As with most life plans, these may have to be loose - personalities and circumstances will come into play - but if you have no plan at all, you will be like a sailboat minus the sail, and heaven help you when the winds come up, as they surely will.
3. Ideally, you and your spouse will discuss your learning with one another and develop some parenting guidelines you can both live with. It's important to be on the same page as much as possible because if children discern any lack of agreement, they will play you against one another. Divide and conquer is as effective a strategy in the home as it is on the battlefield. Even if you and your husband do disagree on how to deal with certain situations that arise, keep a united front in your children's presence and discuss your opposing thoughts in private. Your children should view both parents as one voice and mind on key issues. If you've thought these through ahead of time, it should help.
4. Pray for your children before they are born and every day of your life thereafter. If you're too busy to pray, you're likely too busy to have children, and believe me, if you don't pray for them proactively, you'll find reason to pray for them reactively! Better the former than the latter. A solid prayer life, where God is the centre and you are not, will stand you in good stead whether you have children or not.
|Avoid the temptation to revolve your life around your children.|