Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Couple Must Set Boundaries Before Baby Arrives

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am almost 30 years old, and I am having a baby. My partner and I are in a good relationship. Even though we didn’t plan to get pregnant, we are figuring it out together. I’m not going to lie, though: It’s a lot to think about and manage.

We are still early in our careers trying to get things going, and we both lost our jobs in the shutdown. He recently started a new job, and I should be back to work soon, although I will have to take off to take care of the baby for a while. Everybody is in my ear telling me what I should and should not do in terms of getting ready for the baby. I want to make decisions with my man. He wants that, too, but there always seems to be somebody else telling us their opinion. How can I keep the bond strong with my man? We aren’t married, but we are committed to each other. I don’t want other people to get in the way of us growing closer as we bring a child into the world. -- Baby Makes Family

DEAR BABY MAKES FAMILY: Now is a perfect time for you to establish boundaries around your growing family. You and your boyfriend need to form the strongest bond possible so that you value and honor what’s happening in your life. By putting each other and your child first, you can figure out how to prioritize everything else.

Establish a weekly family meeting where you talk about what your plans are short-term and long-term. What do you need to take care of the baby? How will you manage your time when the baby comes? Talk about everything from values to child care. Pivoting from being a couple in love to a couple having a baby is a huge shift. Work together on defining what that means. If you are on the same page, it will make it easier to stay there when you talk to other people.

Read more in: Love & Dating | Family & Parenting

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I are close to another couple. We are almost like the Honeymooners. We spend a lot of time together, but we also compete with each other a little bit. Both couples have big anniversaries coming up. We had been planning individual blow-out parties. Now that we can’t get together with lots of people, the steam has fizzled from our healthy competition. We have continued to see each other, and we have kind of quarantined together. I was thinking maybe we should celebrate our anniversaries together, just the four of us. I know that’s not the same as lavish parties, but I’m trying to be realistic. What do you think? -- Dashed Hopes

DEAR DASHED HOPES: The idea of a shared party is nice, but it doesn’t have to be just the four of you. Since these are big anniversary years, think big. So many people are hosting Zoom parties -- or parties using other video technology -- you can, too! You can plan an event with your friends from far and wide. Recommend what they prepare to eat and drink. Schedule a champagne toast at a particular time, speeches -- the works. By joining forces, the prep can be fun, and your friends everywhere will appreciate the effort.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Marriage & Divorce