Are we ever truly ready to have kids? Like really, really ready? Mentally, that is. Are we mentally prepared for the noise, the chaos the lack of time, the constant worrying about money and how we’ll get the first kid through college, let alone the rest? When do we know we’re ready to become a parent? Is there a moment when life just hits you? Like a flashof lightening that sparks the realisation in you. Do we wake up one morning and think ‘I’m ready for this’ or is that our biological clock kicking us in the rear end? Is it something we think we’re ready for, only to then worry whether we actually are ready when it’s too late and baby is cooking nicely in the oven?
Who knows. At the end of the day, babies happen to magically appear once those nine months are up and no matter how many times you talked to bump, checked your finances, and stared at that cot with the p.o. k and yellow flower motifs, there will still be a day, as baby is cooing or spitting up on your shoulder when you think, “Shit, I’m not ready.”
There is no one size fits all answer to whether you’re ready or not. It’s not a question you can really ask someone else. We’re all different. Our circumstances are different and even they change on us, and dramatically so at times. There are too many factors to consider when it comes to being ready – being ready in yourself, having a suitable home to raise children in and being in the financial position to support your family are things we tend to think about as our ovaries start to sing.
But are YOU Ready?
Take away the financial and logistical situation and ask yourself, ‘Am I ready to become a parent?’ – are you truly ready to put yourself second to another person for the rest of your life? Ready to have the energy and life somewhat sucked out of you as every need is answered. It’s a big ask, and not everyone reaches that point in their life at the same stage, if ever. Not everyone harbours the ambition of becoming a parent, and that’s okay.
For those of us who have taken the plunge and already have little crawlers zipping around us, we know how important it is not to make the decision to have a kid too lightly. Trying for a baby should never happen for the sake of a relationship or to give meaning to your life. A baby should only be thought of when there is a solid foundation on which to raise and support that child all the way from infancy through to adulthood. It’s a lifelong commitment being a parent.
If you can honestly say to yourself that you are ready to make that sacrifice and that you can satisfy all of your child’s emotional needs, you are in the right place to begin thinking about starting a family. Having children is not about you, it’s about the child and how good of a life you can give them.
The Financial Stuff
Of course, having a baby doesn’t come free. In fact, the average cost of raising a child from birth through to the age of 21 is almost £250,000 according to UK stats. There are not many families that can say that they have that amount of money saved away in the bank, but still we choose to have kids, multiple kids in fact. The money is subjective since we don’t see it. How much have we wasted away on frivolous purchases like cars and tv’s anyway? The cost of a child is spread out until we wave them off to their starter home. But the cost is there nonetheless and something we have to be mindful of.
From a financial point of view, particularly as a couple with two incomes and no children, otherwise known as a DINK – Double Income No Kids – it is easy to become used to having a good amount of disposable income. I miss being able to buy whatever I want or eat out when I want. The kids new socks and breakfast cereal come first now. Depending on any other responsibilities and practices that you may follow, such as paying zakat as a Muslim (you can see here for more information), or the weekly dues to church, you may have very little actual outgoings coming out of your bank account. It all adds up. And coffee. That morning coffee mocha certainly mounts up – in money and calories!
While it is smart to save up before having kids, there will never be a set amount that you should have as life just happens. The longer you wait thinking you need to save or waiting until you and your finances arw ready, leaves you wit less time to start a family.
There is Never a Perfect Time
It is important to know that there is never a perfect time to have children. There are certainly good and bad times, but never a ‘perfect’ time. Life happens and there will always be something that gets in the way, but only if you allow it.
When the time comes and you make the decision to begin trying, just let it happen as it could take one attempt or it could take hundreds. Your situation may change by the time you conceive and this could put unnecessary stress on both of you, which will only hamper your attempts.
Just like with most things in life, you should go with what your gut instinct tells you.