"Both parents should feel good about the contract as a concept and also about the details of the contract itself," life coach Vanessa Petronelli told GMA

By Jen Juneau
July 03, 2019 01:31 PM
Parents caring for twins

Good news for parents who feel an uneven distribution of labor surrounding childcare (think laundry, diaper duty, etc.): “Baby prenups” are now a thing.

In a conversation with Good Morning America, celebrity spiritual and life coach Vanessa Petronelli addressed this phenomenon that has suddenly gained attention, boiling it down to something she sees as a good idea given the amount of work new parents are suddenly saddled with after the arrival of a baby.

“While there will be many unexpected, unpredictable elements, it’s definitely wise to do as much planning as possible in terms of household and parenting tasks,” she said, opining that “a new baby is probably the biggest life-changing transition a couple can go through.”

“It will impact every area of a couple’s life: finances, work life, morning routines, exercise, sleep schedule, sex life, extended family dynamics and more,” Petronelli told GMA.

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Expectant parents
Parents with crying baby

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GMA interviewed one Connecticut-based mom, Melissa Biggs, who entered into a “prenup” with her husband ahead of their second child’s birth — that is, a written agreement that came about because the couple “had different expectations of how things should be done.”

“He told me, ‘I’m not a mind reader,’ ” Biggs said to GMA of her husband. “We wrote out everything to set up clear expectations for each party.”

For her, those tasks included pumping breast milk while her husband washed the pump’s parts. She took care of dinner and cleaned the floors; meanwhile, his task list also comprised doing the dishes and laundry.

“Our communication is always getting better,” she added of how the “parenting prenup” has affected the pair.

New parents and baby

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Petronelli stresses the importance of “ongoing communication and understanding” regardless of the terms of the contract, using examples like arriving home late from work or having health issues, whether physical or mental.

GMA also spoke with founder and president of the Smart Dating Academy, Bela Gandhi, who pointed out that despite the idea’s pros in regards to clarity, “the agreement can lend itself to rigidness, causing unnecessary fights. There are always things that happen with the baby that you cannot predict, and there can be times where you will both have to switch roles.”

To help keep everyone as happy as possible, Petronelli advises parents looking to mimic the “baby prenup” practice to draw up an agreement together as opposed to one partner writing it out and the other approving it, as well as “[make] sure it’s a win-win-win — for each of the parents and for the baby.”

“Both parents should feel good about the contract as a concept and also about the details of the contract itself. If it feels like one parent is ‘losing’ or ‘missing out’ then keep discussing,” she told GMA.

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