They say you’re never truly “ready” to have a baby. But there are several scenarios you can anticipate and get prepared for in case you want to be a parent. Before plunging into this adventure, you should ask yourself the following questions:
Is my relationship healthy?
It’s a common belief that relationships are strengthened when a baby crawls into the picture. Except now you have more things to fight about. Unless you master the communication skills you’ll need for the future, having a baby might not be such a great idea. Before considering it, talk thoroughly to your spouse about the decision. Decide who will have what role and how you will both pitch in to welcome and raise this baby. Parenthood is all about team effort, dialogue and compromise.
Am I financially ready?
Soon you’ll have at least one more mouth to feed. If you can barely manage to maintain your own household with both of your salaries (yours and/or your partner’s) we strongly suggested you put the baby on hold until you can figure out a way for your sake, and for the baby’s sake. The best way to know if you’re financially ready is to work out a list of basic items that would go into a baby bag. This is simple in comparison to future expenses (kindergarten tuition, elementary school, university -yikes!). Add up this expense to the ones you already have. Scary huh?
How am I having the baby?
Are you the planning, organized kind of parent who wants to be able to keep a short leash on this decision or will you play it by ear? Considering that most couples usually disagree on how to approach this issue, our suggestion is to talk it through, now. “Having the baby” involves choices such as having a natural child birth or choosing to get medical care in a hospital instead. These are all decisions you need to learn to make with your spouse from now on.
How will I deal with motherhood and work?
This is a big one! Does your job allow a maternity leave? Would your partner rather have you as a stay-at-home mother? Will you work at all once you’ve had the baby? A good conversation about this could be a deal breaker. Analyze your situation and allow yourself to change your mind eventually. You may not want to work right now, but keep connecting with work acquaintances in case you decide you want to go back in the future.
Will I have the time to do more chores?
There will be many, many chores once the baby arrives. If you’re already struggling with married life and you can’t seem to get used to it completely, you should probably wait a little longer to get pregnant. Keep in mind, if you’re already working, and your job is the kind that you’d really regret quitting (be it for income reasons or because you’re passionate about it) the joy of a new baby will be quickly shadowed by a lot of extra stress you’ll have to deal with from day one. Think about it, you’ll need to master the energy it requires to be a working mom, and a wife!
Do I need to move?
A new baby demands extra space, not just for the crib but for clothes, toys, strollers, and more. Does your house currently have enough space for a new member in the family? Are you able to move if you realize it’s impossible to raise the baby in your current house?
Who will set the rules in the family?
If you haven’t had this conversation with your spouse so far, you should, ASAP. A key element to healthy parenting is to agree with your significant other on key issues, such as religion, norms, politeness, manners -the basics. Look for common ground today, get your kids respect, tomorrow.
Will my baby be bilingual?
If you and your spouse are from different cultures, you have to ask yourselves how you’re dealing with this reality. Whatever the choice you make, it has to be one you both agree on.
Am I ready to give up “me” time?
Not to throw a wet towel on you, but you need to know that a new baby means you won’t be able to get that perfect eyeliner done every morning because you’ll be too nervous making sure Jr. doesn’t crawl out of his crib. If you can learn to live with that for a while, you’re more ready for motherhood than you think!