Wow, you guys, have I missed blogging! This unexpected blog break went longer than I anticipated. These past few months have been filled with wedding planning and enjoying the summer with my family, but I can't wait to get back into a regular blog routine. Today, I'm super excited to have Kayla Matthews from Productivity Theory sharing some great ways to address anxieties about starting a family. Caleb and I fall into the absolutely-we-want-children category, but I have some friends who are still on the fence. Undecided or not, these four tactics are a must when it comes to deciding to start a family. Be sure to leave some comments on what you all think!
It seems like there are two types of couples in the world: Couples who are absolutely sure they want children and couples who are absolutely sure they do not want kids. In reality, there’s also the category of couples who can’t decide whether or not they want kids.
It makes sense to be in the undecided category. Children can simultaneously be a tremendous blessing and a heavy burden. Child-rearing is not for everyone. There are many concerns that need to be addressed before you take the jump and decide to start a family. Everything from financial planning to discipline techniques will cross your mind as you consider having kids. However, there are ways to confront and dispel your anxieties. If you don’t know whether or not you should start a family, start by addressing your concerns with these four tactics.
You definitely must involve your partner in your decision making process. If you are on the fence about having kids, you need to see where his feelings lie. He may surprise you and be totally on board with having kids, or maybe he has no desire whatsoever. If you haven’t had the “when are we having babies” conversation yet, the time is now!
As soon as you figure out what your partner wants, or if he even knows what he wants, the process will be a little easier. Plan your family together. Talk through all of your anxieties. Is this the right time for you? Will there ever be a right time? Discuss what frightens you about children and discuss what excites you about having kids. Talk about what you want your lives to look like in 10 years. Are there kids in the picture? Are you happily married and childless? If you are undecided, a long conversation about what you and your partner want is just what you need.
Also, before you start a family, you need to be sure that your relationship with your partner is in a healthy place. Plan practical ways to nurture your marriage while raising children. If there are any signs of abuse, be it verbal, emotional or physical, you cannot have children. An abusive environment is not a safe place for babies and it’s certainly not safe for the person taking the abuse. Put your relationship’s health first before considering having children.
2. Observe Your Friends With Kids
Chances are strong that you have good friends who already started their families. They may absolutely love being parents. Good for them! You already know their outward opinions. What you need to do is have an open and raw conversation with them.
What is parenthood really like? When will you get past the sleepless nights and, really, how bad is potty-training? They will probably say the kids are worth all of it. Of course it is worth it for those parents because they truly love their kids. Be sure to push them to be honest. What’s worth it to them may not be worth it to you.
Don’t just talk to those friends of yours. Observe them. Do they seem happy overall? Do they seem run down, worn out and just plain tired? To an extent, these are symptoms of parenthood, but are you willing to go through that?
3. Plan Financially
Do some smart financial planning as you consider starting a family. A huge anxiety for couples who can’t decide if they want kids is the financial burden. A child costs a lot of money to raise. A 2010 USDA report on Expenditures on Children by Families says that it can cost anywhere from $8,480 to $23,690, depending on the age of the child. Ask yourself if you are in a good financial position to raise a child. Do you want to raise a family on one income or two? Plan carefully and use logic and reason to think through this concern.
4. Do Your Research
Think about all of the fears you harbor about having a baby. Labor, long nights with no sleep, breastfeeding and even diaper-changing might discourage you from starting a family. Those things are difficult to handle, but certainly not impossible. Read books, follow mommy blogs and ask for advice.
You don’t have to be an expert before you have a baby. There are plenty of resources out there for parents. The internet has everything you need to make an informed decision about even the most specific events. For example, this video checklist tells new parents everything they should consider for their child’s first road trip. You can’t get much more specific than that!
If you’re undecided, someday you’ll need to make a decision. However, there’s nothing wrong with taking the time you need to research, plan and carefully consider starting a family!
What about you? Do you want to start a family? Or are you still on the fence?
Image by Viktor Hanacek