Having children is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your life, and it’s something that nothing can really prep you for. Every kid is different and some can be more difficult than others. There’s nobody out there who feels completely ready for their arrival. Even for couples who have been trying for a long time, there’s a panic that sets in when the test is positive. Here are some signs that you’re more ready to be a parent than you think.
- You’re willing to put your own needs aside. It’s important for moms to relax and have a night out every once in a while. In fact, it’s healthy. But for about a year — especially if you choose to breastfeed — your schedule is the baby’s schedule. It can be hard to cope with at times. You might not describe yourself as selfish, but if you’re used to getting your way all the time, it’ll be a big adjustment.
- You or your partner has a stable career. If you keep jumping through jobs or getting bored after a month or so at a new place, you may have some difficulty. Kids are incredibly expensive. That first year, you’ll need diapers, creams, baby shampoo, wipes, and plenty of clothes among other things. Diapers can be very costly, and newborns use a ton of them. You don’t have to be wealthy to have a baby, but knowing you can afford one will take a lot of the stress off your plate. If you’ve already started mapping out finances in regards to hospital bills and baby supplies, you’re truly thinking like a parent.
- You’re starting to feel like you need more of a purpose. It’s completely fine to not have kids. In fact, nobody needs to be a parent —having children will never fully define you as a person. But if you feel like you’ve got a lot of love in your heart to give, you may be ready to get started. Parenting is an unpaid job, but it’s incredibly rewarding. Watching your children grow will almost remind you why life can be great. Seeing them learn and explore the world is the closest you’ll come to reliving your childhood.
- You’re starting to pay more attention to children. You’ve noticed yourself interacting with them more when earlier, you’d shy away. Talking to kids can be a lot of fun. They have interesting perspectives on the world and they know how to have fun. You’re also not turned off by tantrums. You’re fully aware that sometimes, kids have meltdowns since they haven’t matured yet.
- You and your partner have a strong and loving relationship. If you’ve been fighting a lot, a baby won’t make things better. In fact, it’d be cruel to bring a child into a situation where his or her parents are constantly at war with each other. You can’t often predict a split in the future, but you need to have a solid foundation to start with. You and your significant other are going to go through some tough times together when your child is born, so you need to trust them.
- You and your partner have talked about parenting techniques. Not only do you need to get along, but you need to be a united front when it comes to parenting. Talk about some dream scenarios with a kid, and see what your partner would do in the situation. Now’s the time to get his opinion on everything from punishments to extracurricular activities. Your views don’t need to be exactly the same, but they definitely need to complement each other.
- You’ve spent your free time scanning sites and forums about pregnancy. It’s not really important for you to hear a bunch of birth stories posted by strangers, but it’s weirdly how you’ve been passing the time. This shows that you want to know all you can about the whole process. Pregnancy itself can be a scary thing, so it’s almost like you’re doing homework for when your time comes.
- You’ve mentally mapped out the space for a nursery. Whether you buy or rent, you’ve been able to picture where the crib and changing table will go. If you’re into interior design, you may have also perused Pinterest for some decor inspiration. Whether it’s a boy or a girl, you’ve got something in mind for both. Kids take up a lot of space, so converting an extra bedroom — or moving to a bigger apartment — is an important step forward.