How To Know When You Are Ready To Have Kids


By Kate Hoffman

It happens to all of us at some point, whether we like it or not. You can have been married for years, newly in a relationship or even single, yet some well-meaning jackass always loves to throw out the dreaded question:

When are you going to have a baby?

This always bothered me as someone who thought about motherhood in some distant inevitability, but never in tangible terms until I turned 30. And got married. And the questions began. It’s such a loaded topic and incredibly invasive, yet it seems to always be asked by people you barely know to whom you would never ask deeply personal questions.

People don’t walk around with shirts declaring “I don’t want children,” “I have had two miscarriages” or “I can’t get pregnant,” yet all of those things are incredibly common. However, if you do decide you want to try to have kids, there are some ways to tell if you are ready to bring a bundle of joy into this world. And if not, feel free to tell your 76-year-old great aunt Judith that you’ll have a baby when she does.

1. You have a solid network of people around you.


It sounds so cliché, but it really does take a village to raise a child. Having a newborn is one of the most challenging, all-encompassing jobs and you never get vacation days. You don’t need a partner to have a baby, but having family and close friends nearby to help you navigate the early days is very beneficial to your mental and physical health. Trust me, after two weeks of broken, horrible sleep you will be tempted to leave your kiddo with the UPS man if it means you get a few minutes of shut-eye.

2. You are financially stable.


I certainly don’t mean independently wealthy, but your finances need to be able to accommodate your newest family member. Of course, people have children and do just fine on very little money, but a newborn adds an insane amount of stress to your life. It’s nice to be able to focus on the baby and not simultaneously be wondering how you are going to afford your next pack of diapers. If you are in a financially comfortable situation (whatever that means to you), and can either arrange for free child care, day care or a nanny, or stay home with your child, you will appreciate the lack of financial pressure.

3. You have traveled, if you want to do so.


One piece of advice a friend gave me that really stuck with me was to travel if you love to travel before you have children. Before I had my son, my husband and I went on tons of trips, from Costa Rica to Boston, and I loved every minute of it. After your baby comes, traveling gets a lot more complicated. Even if your family is wonderful and would love to take the kid for a few days while you and your partner sneak away to wine country, traveling is still infinitely more complicated. Also, with the Zika virus spreading into the US, you have to be careful where you go if you wish to have additional children. And we have all seen the poor, exhausted parents on a plane with the screaming toddler. Children certainly can go with you on your trips, but naps, schedules and bed times make for a very different experience.

4. You like staying in.


This isn’t a total necessity, but before I had a baby, my husband and I had definitely slowed down on going out on the weekends. We were happy to cook dinner and stay in on a Friday night so we could get up to go to the farmer’s market the next morning. A baby will cramp your style when it comes to partying, so I would recommend making sure staying home is something you like to do. Plus, experiencing the hell that is taking care of a baby with a hangover is enough to put anyone off that third margarita.

5. You love going to Target.


Seriously. I thought I spent a fair amount of time at Target before I had kids, but DEAR LORD I am pretty sure I went there every day after my son was born. It was a great way to get out of the house. It’s okay to wear pajamas, you can walk the aisles forever even if you literally need nothing. And, as an added bonus, most Target stores now have a Starbucks inside. For the sleep deprived new mom, Starbucks is a godsend.

6. Turns out, you’ll never really know if you are ready!

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After watching my friends and family have babies, I thought I understood what parenthood would be like. Turns out, I had no clue. Until you bring home that perfect little baby, you have no idea what you are doing. And that’s great! You and your partner (or network) will navigate the strange and wonderful time that is the newborn stage, and slowly gain your footing. And one day, you will realize you are just doing it all without second guessing yourself!

Becoming a parent has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me, and every day is different, challenging and glorious. If you choose to have kids, I wish you the absolute best. There is nothing like it in the world!

Kate is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. The views and opinions expressed in Contributing Writer articles reflect those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the site. 

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