People are becoming parents much later these days and there are many factors that contribute, especially career and financial concerns, but having spoken to many of my clients that are considering children, they are rarely on the fence—they either wants kids NOW, or they push along the idea several years into the future.
I adopted my daughter, but even with the immense amount of thought, paperwork, and preparation my husband I had to go through, I was still caught by surprise when the adoption agency called. The truth is that no matter how on purpose or accidental parenting happens upon us, nothing can prepare you for the challenges of becoming a mom and dad, but there are some fundamental questions we should all ask ourselves to discover if we’re ready and capable to provide an amazing life to our future child. We owe it to them!
Financially? Can you financially afford to reasonably provide for a child right now? I say ‘reasonably’ because although your child doesn’t require a gold-plated crib, he or she will need the basics to get by. Ask any current parent and they’ll tell you it only gets more expensive as they get older. If you can only afford to pay for generic baby food instead of the organic, unprocessed kind, I highly recommend waiting. You owe it to your child to provide the best basics, and nothing less.
Professionally? Can you professionally afford to provide for a child? How important is becoming a mom or dad compared to your (or your spouse’s) work aspirations? Because if you care a lot about your career and moving up fast in your field, a child will throw innumerable wrenches into those dreams. It doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but why not achieve your career aspirations first in a faster span of time, then be able to enjoy and afford raising your child with the new financial freedom your career affords you?
Personally? Can you personally afford to provide for a child? Many of my clients feel like a child will force them into a more responsible mindset, somehow thinking that being responsible for another life will eradicate their bad habits, relationships, and even addictions. WRONG! All of those habits remain—and add even more psychological stress to you, which, in turn, can transfer to your child by osmosis. You have an obligation to get your own life straight before you take care of another’s. Go to therapy. Get counseling. Discuss why you want to have a child. Make sure it’s for the right reasons. Is this baby for you, or are you for it?
Do you have a teammate? Remember, the saying ‘it takes a village’? It’s true! In addition to traditional marriages more and more children are born out of wedlock, or women are choosing to be single moms on purpose, opting for artificial insemination or adoption. Whatever the unique circumstances of your parenting plan, you need a support structure of family and/or friends to shoulder some of the burden of parenting. This will lighten the load for you and give your child an early sense of community and family that’s vital to the child’s growth.
Remember that parenting is not a novelty, nor is it something you can do halfway. Most importantly, you obligate yourself to being of service to another person for at least the next eighteen years, so know that you have the capability, desire, resources, and wellspring of love to offer this human being the best life imaginable!