10 Questions to Ask Before Having Kids

Thinking of getting pregnant? Better make sure you two are on the same page first. Here’s what to discuss before TTC.
  1. Public school or private school?

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    What kind of school experience do you want for your kid, how much are you willing to pay for it and how will those (staggering) expenses change your financial options? How much will you sock away for college? If one of you insists on private school, does that mean that you, say, buy a smaller home?
  2. If it’s a girl, your partner wants to name her Rainbow. Can you get past this?

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    Kidding. Not every detail needs to be hashed out and talked to death. Baby names are something that every couple somehow manages to work out; don’t sweat it. Unless the name is actually Rainbow.
  3. How will you fund Project Baby?

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    Babies come with a magical power: They make your every nickel disappear. Cribs! Diapers! Postnatal care! A tricked-out Bugaboo stroller with a built-in Blu-ray player! These little creatures have the gall to ask for food too. Make a realistic financial plan and leave some leeway for the unexpected.
  4. How many kids will you have?

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    Maybe you dream of just one little angel and your partner wants a 15-baby platoon that doubles as a reality TV show. This one variable -- number of kids -- will have more impact on the dynamic of your family than almost anything else.
  5. How will your careers change?

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    How long (if at all) does Mom stay at home? How about Dad? Are you okay (really okay) with the financial and career trade-offs?
  6. Who’s on diaper duty?

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    How will you carve up the parental duties? True, this is the kind of thing that tends to work itself out, but you should have a sense of who does what. Will you both split everything or are there distinct Dad Duties and Mom Duties? Do you take turns waking up at 2 a.m.? (And 3 a.m. And 4 a.m. And 5 a.m....)
  7. What about God?

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    This is (obviously) crucial for partners with different religious backgrounds (do you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or a hybrid?). But it can still be an issue even within the same faith. Will your family go to church, synagogue or another place of worship? How big a role do you want religion to play in your children’s lives? Prayers before dinner?
  8. How will you handle Grandma and Grandpa?

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    Let’s say that Grandma and Grandpa want to stay in your home for eight weeks to “help.” Is that good news or bad news? How much will they influence your own style of parenting? How much is Grandma allowed to spoil them? Discipline them? Speaking of which...

  9. How will you discipline the kids?

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    If you ask 100 different people about the best theory on childhood discipline, you’ll probably get 100 different answers. What types of punishments are acceptable when it comes to kids-to-be? Time-outs? Spanking? You don’t have to nail down every scenario, but make sure you and your partner are in the same stratosphere.

  10. What counts as spoiling?

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    Will you be tight or loose with Kid Money? Do they get everything they want? How old will they be when they start getting an allowance? Do they have to do chores to earn that allowance? How much TV can they watch, and how much Internet surfing is too much?