5 Signs You're Ready to be a Parent
Life's biggest challenge!
I am a believer that no one can really, truly ever be 100 percent ready to be a parent. Parenting is one of those things that no matter how prepared you are, it's still going to be the most life changing event of your entire life. It's a rather quick and dramatic change too.
One minute it's just the two of you, then one of you has a big bump, and wham! Baby. Instant parent. The biggest shock to the system is you are no longer responsible for just you anymore.
You have this whole new and shiny little person to love, care for and protect; this can be a massive shock to the system. The following five signs are here to help guide you as to when you may be ready for that shock.
1. Your Life Has Stability
Children need stability. If you're constantly wondering how you're going to pay the rent this month or where your next meal is coming from, it's probably not a great idea to start a family.
Babies are expensive. Like, really expensive. They need a new wardrobe every few months, cots, prams, bottles, nappies — it all adds up. It's difficult to use your head on this one, as you maybe emotionally ready for a baby but just don't have the means to support one.
In this case, bide your time, save your pennies and plan for when you can have one. Until then, if your family or friends have little ones you can always spend extra time with them.
It's also a good idea to make sure your housing situation is stable before committing to a family too. If you and your partner are currently living separately or with other people, it maybe a good idea to get a place of your own before trying to conceive.
This is because you will need space for your growing family and to make sure you aren't going to have to move house anytime soon, as newborns and pregnancy are difficult enough without the added stress of moving.
2. You Aren't a Stranger to Responsibility
A large part of modern life is having to do things we don't necessarily want to do. This all boils down to responsibility. Responsibility can come in many forms, such as looking after plants or pets, living in your own home and having a career.
We all experience days where for some reason we'd rather not go to work today or we'd rather not take the dog for a walk, but being a responsible adult means acknowledging that while you don't really want to do something, the consequences of not doing that thing is worse.
For example, if you keep taking days off work because you'd rather not go, you probably won't have enough money for the essentials and eventually, you're likely to get fired. The consequences can be dire when you're responsible for a living creature, whether this is a dog or a baby, as they rely on you to meet their basic needs for food and water.
Quite simply, it's important to accept that regardless of how you feel or what you want on any particular day, your responsibilities to those who rely on you come first. Children don't suddenly disappear or become someone else's problem just because you have the flu. It really is a case of once a parent, always a parent.
3. You Can Take Care of Yourself
Being able to take care of yourself and take responsibility for your own needs is a big part of becoming an adult. This is no easy task, as learning how to go about daily tasks and learning how to cope new responsibilities can be daunting.
This is a big indicator as to whether you're ready to be a parent. If you're unable to look after yourself independently, how can you teach another human being to be able to do the same?
If you're constantly relying on others to provide for you financially or support you in meeting your daily needs; you're not ready for the responsibility of a little human. Let's face it, if you can't take of yourself yet you're likely still a child in some way, too.
4. You're in a Strong, Healthy Relationship
If you and your partner do not have a solid foundation, you definitely shouldn't be thinking about babies. It's simply unfair to bring children into an on again, off again relationship.
It's confusing enough for the adults involved without adding children into the situation. You should also consider both your own and your partner's beliefs and wishes in regards to raising children, as it's important that these are compatible.
There are some things which may be negotiable — such as how to discipline children and what schools they should go to — but others are less so. If you and your partner do not agree on some of the more important choices in child rearing, such as what religion the child will be raised as or whether they'll be vegetarian, it may be time to have that talk.
It's not uncommon for couples to consider having children in order to improve their own relationship. This simply does not work. Babies, especially newborns, will test any relationship to its limit and those that are already struggling are unlikely to survive.
Another aspect you must consider is that the relationship you have with your partner is the one your children will learn from. They will learn what love is, what's acceptable in a relationship and what is not and everything else all from watching you.
A good rule of thumb is to take a look at your own relationship from an outsider's point of view and imagine a loved one in the same relationship. If you would be happy for them, great, but if not, it may be time to reconsider having children anytime soon.
5. You Actually Want to Have a Baby
This one seems obvious, I know. You wouldn't believe how many people have children that don't really want children, either by accident or through being pressured into it by others.
Society sees growing up and having children as "the norm," and while this does suit many people, that doesn't mean everyone has to follow suit. If you and your partner simply do not want children, or do not want children yet — that is okay. Regardless of your age or how many people suggest differently.
On the other hand, maybe you or your partner is desperate for a baby. Being broody is a sure sign that physically you are ready to conceive, but this doesn't take into account any of the other factors.
Hold off trying having children until you and your partner are both sure you are ready, this will give your new little family the best start in life.