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Let’s face it, having a child is never a “smart” idea, lol. You are saying, sure sign me up for not only being responsible for myself, but also partially so for this other human life and being.
When using your head, you’re likely to not ever find a good or right time to have children. However if you insist on plunging into the great unknown abyss of parenthood, then answering the next twenty questions honestly may give you a better look at the reality of what you would be looking at.
Here are twenty things you should consider before having children.
1) Have you experienced all of the life that you want to or that you are okay without experiencing for the next 18 years?
Most people ask themselves this question and the only thing that really pops out in their minds that they will no longer be able to do much of is travel or have many nights out on the town. However there are tons of things that once you have children, you will no longer be able to do much of…or at least easily. Whether it’s just going to the mall to shop or getting gas at a gas station, you will be navigating handicapped for quite a few years.
2) Who are you sharing them with?
For most people, this question would be answered easily with the answer of a partner or spouse. However, how well do you really know this person concerning their desires, needs and habits? Are you able to answer this question with a clear view through the baby fog? This is probably the most important question you should be asking yourself.
3) Have you ever experienced what having children is like?
I just loved on Hulk Hogan’s show how they made their son carry around a “pretend” baby for 24 hours. He had to feed, change, burp, hold, wake up with and carry the infant around the entire time, no breaks. It wasn’t surprising that he said it was the worst 24 hours of his life and he wasn’t going to have any unexpected’s any time soon. Of course this was only a small dose to the real thing. I know I was warned, but it took having children before I realized the full scope of things. Thus far, there are no long-term experiences other than having them yourself. I would recommend watching Jon and Kate plus 8, that’s a good start.
4) Considered multiples, disabilities etc?
The last thing on the earth I ever expected was twins. There are all the stories of people who have them in their families and then when they themselves have them, they aren’t so gravely shocked. Or maybe the had in vitro? Once again, not a great shock. However, there are those people like me, who never in a million years thought about having twins. In some instances, there isn’t much difference between one or two…say having one drink, then another. Having one baby then another, can leave you in shock for years…at least two or so. Then there are people who have children with disabilities. My hat goes off to them for I greatly admire their love, determination and patience that they must find in order to withstand one of life’s greatest challenges. Some have to quit their jobs and their whole lives revolve around the needs of one child. I am truly amazed. Not much impresses me, but those parents do.
5) Do you have family, friends, support?
As they say, it takes a village. Parenthood is 365 days a year, nonstop. No vacations, no holidays, no sick days, not even a rest and relax day. Sure, you can include your children in fun activities and have fun with them, but they always require care no matter what the occasion and you will need that 3rd eye that doesn’t exist in your head. It’s a lot easier if you know there are family members that are willing and able to step in and give you a break. The more the merrier!
6) Where are you located?
Location, location, location. Whether it’s finding out about daycare, schools, family friendly neighbors or any environment that can make your experience as a parent and a child’s life easier, then where you are located on this earth can make a huge difference.
7) Have you factored them into career plans?
Many people say, I want a career and a family. Okay, we see it’s doable. However after all of those years of women struggling to get their foot into the workforce door, once it was in, the next question was did it really want to be there away from their offspring. There aren’t any total parent/child friendly solutions to this dilemma to this date other than working around both at the same time the best you can. Most people spend their time putting one foot in front of the other and that means school, career and then kids. So often after they’ve taken those steps they find themselves trying to balance the two, while walking on a tight rope. Understanding the reality of both demands and how they affect both roles can help you plan on if and how you will deal before making the decisions that will take you there.
8 ) Have you taken your health into consideration?
My aunt said one time, no man would ever ask a woman to have a child if he truly cared her. That’s not what the hallmark cards say, so I shook my head up and down not really getting at all what she was saying. However after two births and witnessing other friends of mine going through pregnancy, I see her point of view now. I was one of the lucky ones. I only suffered minorly compared to some. I was on bed rest towards the end with my twins, but I had one friend who was on it for quite a few months, just for one. We would go out to the store and by the time we had returned, she was so swollen her feet wouldn’t fit in her sandals. With advanced medical care, women don’t encounter death with pregnancy as often as they did in the past, but it’s still a major health risk.
9) Have you thought about how many children you want and in what time span?
A lot of people tend to say they are going to go with the flow and allow God to decide how many and however they will have children. However there are so many pros and cons to not only having children, but when to have them and how far apart, that doing your homework with your pro/con columns, is probably a bright idea.
10) Can you afford to give them any advantages in life such as cars, braces and college?
Not saying that kids can’t live off of bread and crumbs for 18 years if they had to, but there’s something to be said for parents who can give their children advantages in life when it comes to some of the extras. Depending on who you talk to, the things mentioned above aren’t extras. However if you have multiple children or it’s already tight with cash flow, they can seem like major extras that as a parent you can’t offer.
11) Are you a cook or can you afford one?
I don’t like to cook. I cook to live, not the other way around. However once I had three children, I had to admit that I was no longer the proud owner of all of the boxes in the pantry. Nutrition and what we feed our children can make a huge difference in their overall quality of life (clear throat, and our own too). All of a sudden you become the nutritionist, the cook and the serving lady of a lunch cafeteria.
12) Have you and your partner had enough time to spend a solid foundation, not only have the same goals but have the same ideas about achieving them?
Most marriages/partnerships consist of other things besides kids and those aspects are just as important to keeping things going. You can be on the same page with children, but if you aren’t with the other things as well, then you might need to reconsider. Of course love is the biggest factor and you can only hope that it’s strong enough to keep the loose ends together, but doing a logical evaluation will help you determine if you’ll be able to keep the car the kid is riding in on the road.
13) Do you have pets?
I thought it was a cute idea to get my 6 mo. old son a puppy. What can I say, but that I was 20 & clueless with my first. Little did I know it was like having another baby 6 months after the first one. Animals are like children, they need the attention and love as well and unless you are superwoman or have lots of help, you may want to postpone thoughts of pets. If you have them already, you will want to be ready.
14) Do both people want children? You could even include family into the equation if you are counting on them for their support.
Some people will say that they want children, maybe aren’t 100% sure or even that they don’t want children and one parent end’s up doing most or all of the work. Know your partner’s reasons and feelings just as well as your own so that you can at least be prepared for the reality.
15) Do you both agree on how to raise the child and respect each other as parents?
There’s no way any couple will ever be 100% in agreeance on every aspect of child rearing. But if you cover most subjects and issues and see where you stand, you will have a better feel of how the child will be raised or how much compromising will need to be done in advance. Sometimes marriages/relationships work all the way up until the issue of child rearing pops up.
16) Have you considered your reasons for having a child?
Reasons for having children are almost always selfish. I mean why produce another child that needs care when there are already so many here already that do? There are tons of reason people have children…boredom, family & societal pressure, loneliness, right their parents wrongs, give their lives meaning all the way to wanting to simply see what their child would look like. Thinking about our shallow reasons & being honest about them, might make our choices clearer.
17) What type of parent do you believe you will be – look at your parents.
As much as I said there were things that I would take and leave with my parents, I have little to no control over what they really are. Because we can almost be genetical programmed with habits and traits picked up by our parents, it’s almost impossible to always be aware and conscious of what we are doing as parents and how we are passing the good and the bad down to our children. Are you going to be able to handle that guilt? It’ll definitely make you more understanding and loving towards your own parents and their achievements and mistakes.
18) Would you be able to raise a child on your own?
Anything can happen. As much as you plan, ask questions and believe that you know the person you choose to have a child with, anything can happen in relationships and in life in general. Once you have a child, you are responsible no matter what and its best to be able to answer yes confidently to being able to handle it on your own if need be.
19) Have you addressed all things, like life insurance, will’s etc.?
It’s really responsible of someone without children to have all their affairs in order in case of death, regardless of parent status. However it becomes irresponsible if you don’t and you have children. Having certain insurance’s and documents in line are no longer a luxury, they become a necessity.
20) Could I raise my child full-time if I want to?
Most people already have their minds made up concerning being a stay at home parent or not. However you never know what could happen after the birth of a child and it’s quite possible that you would want or need to live off of one income. Not everyone has this option, however if they did, the experience of parenthood may be that much more enjoyable and ideal.