Working out if you’re ready to start a family is a big decision, and one which shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are many factors to consider, including where you are in your relationship, how you’d like to raise your children and whether your finances will stretch to feeding another mouth.
The decision to start a family is a life changing one, so making sure you and your other half are on the same page is key. If you’re not sure, consider these questions…
Do you both want children?
It sounds like an obvious question, but many couples enter into long-term relationships and even marriages without discussing whether they want to have children someday. It’s best to broach this topic early on in the relationship (not on the first date, but before you make a long term commitment) to ensure your views are compatible. There’s no compromise when it comes to having children, you either have them or you don’t, and for a lot of people this is a deal breaker.
Are you mature enough?
By this we mean are you mentally mature. Bringing a child into the world will change life as you know it, so if you’re not ready to give up impromptu Friday night drinks and holidaying in Ibiza, chances are you’re not ready for children just yet. Take time to enjoy life as a couple before deciding if the time is right.
Is your relationship stable?
This one goes without saying. If you’re in a committed, long term relationship which you see lasting a lifetime, then you may be ready to have children. If you have any doubts on the longevity of your relationship it means it’s probably not the right time. Bringing up a child alone can be tough so make sure you are both committed to going the distance and are ready to work as a team and support each other.
Is there anything else you’d like to do before you have kids?
Backpacking through Asia, buying a new car, doing up your house or getting married; these things cost time and money, which are two things you’ll have less of once your bundle of joy arrives, so make them a priority before you make babies. Chances are your partner will also have things they’d like to achieve pre-children, so talk about them and make a plan together on how you’ll achieve your goals.
Can you afford to have children right now?
It’s easy to get caught up in the romance of having a child of your own, but they can be costly. Ask friends and family who already have children to help you work out the costs and then discuss with your partner whether that’s something you can afford right now.
How will you bring your child up?
There are so many conversations to have around this topic. For example, if you and your partner are different religions, which will your child be? If one of you is a vegetarian, can you cope with pureeing chicken for your meat-eating child? And it’s not just differences of opinion, there’s also the practical side. How long will ‘mum’ stay home after giving birth, or maybe your family dynamic would suit a stay-at-home dad?
By discussing these questions before hand you’ll ensure you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to kids.