Excitement will fill your life once you hear that first cry of your newborn. As you consider all of the beautiful and fun memories you will create together and the life that you will share, you look forward with anticipation. You may also feel a deep concern and hope that your child will learn from all of your mistakes. You wonder what struggles your baby will have to endure.

Having recently welcomed a new addition into our family, I have rediscovered some important principles that help prepare a family to take on the exciting challenges of a newborn. First, it is critical to get prepared for the emotional ride that you are about to go on. Next, you should consider ways to connect with your spouse. Finally, it will be important for you to brush up on basic parenting skills and get your home ready to welcome your little one.

1. Ready your emotions

To be in charge of a human life is a big deal and a sacred responsibility. You will experience a symphony of positive and negative emotions when the baby comes. You and your spouse may have specific expectations about parenting. You may feel unprepared, nervous or scared. Have an open discussion with your spouse about your feelings and expectations. The more you discuss your thoughts and feelings about being a parent the more prepared you will feel emotionally. As you confide in your sweetheart and discuss your emotions, the more you will be on the same page when the big day arrives.

2. Remember your marriage

Make plans now to remember your marriage. There is a delicate balance with a newborn in the home. Mommy needs time with the baby. Daddy needs time with mommy and if there are other children, they need time to get to know their new sibling and still need alone time with both parents. Emotions are tender, and any established family routine will disappear. For the guys, remember you will have to bridal your passions after the baby comes. You are going to have to take a break from sex until your wife is ready. Remember that intimacy will eventually return. Now is the time to learn how to give a good massage. Plan to be in the service of your wife. Look for opportunities to show your love for each other.

3. Brush up on parenting skills

Though the baby will be very tiny, the needs of the baby will be enormous. Prepare now for late nights and early mornings, interrupted sleep and doctor visits. Keeping baby happy will help ease some of the burdens. When the baby is crying uncontrollably, you will need some tools that will help bring the volume level down in your home. My wife and I use techniques taught by Dr. Harvey Karp, author of "The Happiest Baby on the Block." He teaches four basic principles: shushing, jiggling, swaddling and sucking which are considered the off switch for a crying baby. There are a myriad of ideas out there that can be useful. Try visiting a local library or YouTube for instructions on feeding, bathing and changing diapers.

4. Prepare your home

From choking and poison prevention to toy safety, there are numerous website that provide resources that will help you prepare your home for the arrival of a baby. Your older children may be well trained already so take a step back and consider baby proofing your home so that you can keep your child safe from any harm or accident.

If you are expecting, congratulations. Remember that all the preparation you do now to ready your emotions, remember your marriage, develop parenting skills and to baby proof your home will make the ride into parenthood a little smoother.

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