Starting a family is a really big deal. It’s not like orderer’s regret at a restaurant where someone can return that dish that didn’t quite meet their expectations. No one can take a time out from parenting like they can in a sports game, and they can’t hit control alt delete and reboot their life either.
Once kids are in the picture, this is the new normal, whether mom or dad like it or not, so it’s best for couples to make sure that they're completely ready (or as ready as anyone can ever be) to begin that crazy thing called parenthood.
Whether this decision involves a partner or venturing out as a single mother, this is a choice that should not be taken lightly. There are so many things that need to be considered before beginning to try, filling out those adoption papers, or picking out that killer stroller that all the yummy mummies are raving about.
While many people will argue that there never truly is a “good time” to have kids, there are just as many who will agree that there are some definite signs couples shouldn't ignore that suggest couples holding off on their plans to create an army of munchkins that will carry on the family name.
Before couples go out and purchase those ovulation kits, or that cashmere baby blanket, take a gander at this list of 15 signs that maybe couples should pump the breaks on the baby making factory and wait a little longer before welcoming little junior into their home and to take over their life!
Babies are super cute, they’re designed that way so parents don’t abandon them in the throes of colic. If thoughts of how great parenthood will be are based on celebrity Instagram accounts, and coordinated outfits, odds are it’s not time to dive into parenthood just yet.
In most cases the more adorable or expensive the baby attire, the more difficult it is to get on, or the exponentially greater chances precious little Sophia is to have diaper blow out all over it, or projectile vomit on it.
In her article for Elite Daily, Kelly Wright says of fussy kid’s items, “Before my brother came to visit, I was totally in it for the tiny Converse. It took about two hours of having a 3- and a 5-year-old in my home to realize that no shoe, no matter how cute, is enough justification for creating a baby human.”
If you’re mostly infatuated about parenthood for the accessories, just hit the mall, buy yourself a new scarf and forget about playing house a little while longer.
Do you think other people’s kids are the worst? Is the thought of a little, whining and crying person enough to make you want to run away? What makes you think that this fight or flight attitude towards kids is going to suddenly melt away just because the sniffing kid covered in boogers shares your DNA?
While some of these “love your own kid” feels are genetically programmed, you might still not be ready to take the big leap. Even if you believe that now is the time to start a family, but you find yourself getting annoyed at the prospect of hanging out with your nieces, nephews, or friends’ kids, or you’re the person glaring at that kid who’s acting like a kid in line at the grocery store, take a minute to think about what this feeling could mean.
This could be a hint towards where you’re really at in terms of how you want to spend your time – kidless and fancy free.
Pregnancy is really hard on the body, talk to any woman who’s just had a child, or is eight months pregnant in the middle of July. Making sure that your body is in tiptop form prior to embarking on one of the hardest things it will ever do just makes sense.
You wouldn’t go on a cross-country road trip without having a mechanic check out your car first, so schedule an appointment with your general practitioner to make sure that your body is physically ready, and that you are mentally prepared for all that is involved in pregnancy and parenthood.
Blood work can ensure that all of your vaccinations have worked to ensure a healthier route into pregnancy, and your doc may even have some tips to help you conceive faster. However, if you aren’t well, take some time for some self-care and recovery before adding even more stress to your body.
Whoever was the first person to have the bright idea of starting a family to fix a faltering relationship should have kept that little gem to themselves, seriously. Kids are awesome sauce, don’t get me wrong, but they tend to eat away at a relationship on the verge of collapse.
A study from San Diego State University determined that on average, romantic relationship satisfaction dips by around 50 percent in new parents when compared to the happiness of childless couples. This is likely because of new responsibilities, expenses, chores, less sleep, and a lot less free time for months, and in some cases years.
Another big crack a relationship takes is one that can cause friction when the pair aren’t on the same page when it comes to the timing of a family and their biological clocks. To make having a baby and maintaining a successful relationship work both members of team parenthood need to want the sacrifices associated with having kids.
If one person feels like they’re over a barrel when it comes to parenthood, it will be bad for the relationship and any future children.
For those feeling a need to “rock and roll all night and party every day” parenthood might be better on the back burner. Once a kid enters the picture, catching that late night show on a Thursday is going to become increasingly difficult.
While many partners work out schedules to give each other breaks from family life (and they really should), you may still find yourself wanting to tuck into bed instead. Here’s a little parenting advice: having a hangover sucks, having a hangover and being awakened at 5AM by a screaming, teething infant, is around a billion times worse.
When baby gets a little older and is sleeping through the night (usually sometime between six months and two years, depending on how lucky you get), the night that they randomly wake up screaming will be the night you decide to drink your weight in scotch.
Relationship psychologist Dr. Karen Sherman says most parents of newborns should be prepared to ditch around 75 percent of their existing social life after having kids.
I’m not saying that you need to be Daddy Warbucks to start a family, but I’m also saying it wouldn’t hurt. Kids are expensive in ways that I couldn’t comprehend before parenthood. In my first five years of parenthood my husband and I spent over one hundred thousand dollars in day care alone.
That doesn’t include food, diapers, car seats, clothes, babysitters (for when they’re too sick to go to daycare, but you have to go into work to pay for their daycare). We had to make some sacrifices to our budget in the name of being parents, which can mean anything from eating out less, to selling that expensive car, to clipping coupons, to skipping vacations for a few years.
Make sure that you can afford children and all the expenses that go along with parenthood without causing you a serious debt load, or anxiety and anger about what you’ll no longer be able to afford.
I was the first person in my immediate social circle to have children. I also had twins. Although it was fun to be the trailblazer, it was also really lonely. Whenever my friends had plans it involved us getting a sitter.
Sometimes we didn’t get invited out because people knew we didn’t have a lot of extra cash, other times it caused a gap because we were no longer in the same place in terms of stages of our lives, which can also be hard to manage.
At the end of the day it was fine, and some of our friendships ended up even stronger, but there were some definite casualties. Just the same when you’re facing the prospect of going to a mom group surrounded by nothing but strangers, or don’t have anyone who gets what’s going on in your life as a parent, you also won’t have a sounding board or anyone to vent to, or to share fun milestones with who really “gets it.”
Some people plan their next vacation the day after they’ve returned from Bora Bora. If travel is a big priority on your bucket list and a big passion, or if you haven’t done very much globetrotting but want to, consider planning a couple of big trips before bringing baby in your carry on.
As someone who planned a babymoon as a last hurrah before giving birth to her first children, but couldn’t go because I discovered I was too high risk to travel, I was slightly bummed out, but not shattered. This was because in the year or two before trying to have kids my husband and I had visited Costa Rica, seen a Broadway play in New York City and enjoyed a relaxing all-inclusive holiday in paradise with a few friends.
I’d done a lot of travelling and was okay to press pause on major trips for the foreseeable future. We’ve been lucky enough to take our children on some of our journeys, but travel is expensive, and some kids take to it better than others.
The debate on “babies having babies” can be a heated one. There are so many young parents who rock at it, but it can be a tougher journey, particularly when many of your peers are still in school. Sometimes you might feel like you live in a completely different world.
A research study from Ohio State University revealed that parents who are 23 years old or younger when their first child is born are much more likely to suffer from depression that is directly linked to career or financial struggles. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t many successful and happy parents who had children when they were young, it’s just the odds are stacked up a little higher against you.
The same study showed that those who waited until they were closer to 30 years old before bringing their first baby home were notably happier, with healthier psychological scores compared to the younger new parents.
Starting a new job, or awaiting that big promotion is stressful enough for most people without adding a baby into the mix. For people still on new job probation, it might be better to wait a little while to start trying to ensure your job is secure.
Others like to have a little more time on the job under their belts to ensure they’ve built up enough vacation time, medical coverage, and lieu time to cover medical appointments associated with pregnancy, or taking some much needed family time off once baby arrives.
While policies on minimum required leave and pay vary from country to country, a lot of people generally try to log in at least a year at a new position to prove themselves, gain benefits, and get a feel for things before getting pregnant.
Just like a baby isn’t going to mend a shoddy romantic relationship, a baby also isn’t going to replace anything or anyone who is absent from your life. Anyone who has experienced a major life change: this can be anything from a new marriage, a separation, the death of a close friend or family member, or anything else life altering, may want to take some time to absorb these new changes before starting a family.
For those who need to grieve, take that time for yourself, and indulge in some self-care, those who are in a brand new marriage, take some time to cement that bond and enjoy some time for just the two of you before mixing things up. Change can be exciting, but it can also be stressful and hard.
Sometimes it’s best to deal with the hand you’re dealt for a while instead of grabbing a mitt full of new cards.
Many people deal with unfair pressure from relatives, friends, or even assumed societal expectations about what they should be doing with their lives. This pressure can also manifest itself as direct or subtle hints from others that you should be starting a family, NOW!!!
The most important person in the decision of when (or if ever) to have children is you. The people who will be nurturing, paying for, and logging all of the hours caring for this tiny human for the next 18 plus years are the only ones who have a real vote in the what, where, when’s and how’s of family planning and how it will work in your life.
Don’t allow other people's opinions to influence such a major life choice. This is really no one’s business but your own. Unfortunately sometimes other “well-meaning” people don’t seem to understand this. Learn to tune them out.
Some people can’t cope without sleep and don’t want to sacrifice that for anything. A poll by the National Sleep Foundation revealed that 76 percent of parents have recurring sleep issues, that’s a lot of time spent tossing and turning. Others enjoy laying on the couch for hours on end after a hard day of work, getting up for nothing but that takeout delivery you ordered, and that’s totally cool.
If life as it is right now seems to be just right, maybe now is the time to enjoy that. Some people want to be able to enjoy their pristine condo with all white furniture a little while longer before surrendering it to a sticky jam covered toddler, others want to spend tens of hours each week training for a marathon, or sleeping in to the crack of noon every single weekend.
Taking some extra enjoy “your” time before making a grand sacrifice for kids is a very good use of your time.
Pets aren’t just like family, they are what makes a house a home for so many people. A dog or cat who greets you at the door every night, cuddles up in bed, and is by your side constantly is pretty amazing. However, those with very protective pets, particularly ones that have behaved badly in the presence of other children and babies may pose a threat to a newborn baby who is stealing all of the attention.
Most pets will adapt to life after baby just fine, but others don’t and will snap at or try to hurt a baby, which can’t happen. Make sure you’re prepared to help your pet adjust to the new normal with extra walks care of a favourite dog walker, or concentrated cuddles to prevent jealousy.
No one wants to hear this, but sometimes a pet has to go when baby arrives, even if it’s just for a short while. Figure out if this is something you’re prepared to do, or if you have a close friend who could spend some extra time with Mr. Bigglesworth if necessary so you know he’s in good hands.
Parenthood opens up a whole new level of judgement from well-meaning strangers, co-workers, friends and relatives well beyond life before kids. From the moment that baby belly pops people will somehow feel that it’s their duty to comment on what you put in your mouth (coffee) or your child’s (soothers, bottles, animal crackers, you name it).
This isn’t their business, but you know what they say about opinions and butt holes, everyone has one! When you're a parent you need to do what’s right for you and your family and learn to shut out the haters. This isn’t easy, but for your own sanity, this is necessary.
If you can’t block out everyone else’s perception of how you should parent, things are going to be so much harder on you than they need to be. Take some time to gain confidence in yourself and your choices before parenting.
Sources: Bustle, Elite Daily, Men's Health