There are few things more exciting than a growing family but given the challenges that come with parenting, you would be wise to have a plan before you start your family. Adding a new family member is about more than just adding an adorable bundle of joy to the family nucleus—it’s hard work.
There’s no doubt that the United States is one of the best countries in the world to raise a family, but parenthood is full of highs and lows no matter what corner of the earth you inhabit. You have to consider everything from family dynamics to your and your spouse’s career growth and finances. Continue reading to learn what needs to go into planning your family.
1. Is this the best time for you to have children?
Over the past few decades, people have been deciding to wait until later in life to have children. If you and your spouse are older adults, then you have to be realistic with yourself about whether or not you’re ready to be caregivers to young children. Will you and your spouse be able to meet the care needs of a newborn?
Many experts agree that the best time to have children is between your late 20’s and early 30’s. That age range is ideal for women’s bodies as well as being the age range that’s safest for the baby.
Also, you have to take your future plans into consideration. If you and your spouse are older adults, then most of your friends probably have grown children. It’s easier to surround your child with suitable friends their own age when your friends have children in the same age group.
Older parents planning families should also think about how having young children will affect their future plans. Starting a family too late in life could affect your career growth and even your retirement plans. Ultimately, you need to ask yourself will you still be in a great place to be a primary caregiver to your children in 15 or 16 years when they’ll need you to be their guardian angel more than ever.
2. Where are you financially?
Another thing you and your spouse need to seriously consider before starting a family is your financial health. Your child’s quality of life is directly tied to your ability as their primary caregiver to provide for and protect them, so you need to be real with yourself about any financial issues.
Even though it’s a difficult decision to make, it may be better for you to hold off on making a family if your financial situation isn’t up to par. Your career could have a meteoric rise like John Foresi‘s, but give it time to flourish before throwing yourself into parenthood.
3. Is your relationship healthy?
Many couples make the mistake of thinking that having a baby will fix their relationship, but nothing could be further from the truth. Believe it or not, one of the most common disagreements that spouses have is parenting differences.
If you and your significant other are already having relationship problems like financial issues or miscommunication, then young children are not the fixer elixir. If you and your partner are struggling with differences, disagreements, and resentment, they will get in the way of you giving your child the personal care and attention he or she will need. Get your relationship in order before adding children to the mix.
4. Do you really want to have children?
Unfortunately, some people become parents just because they feel the pressure from their own parents. Before you and your partner decide to add to your family, you need to establish whether or not the two of you want kids yourself, or are you having kids because it’s expected?
Not wanting kids doesn’t make you a bad person. If you don’t want children, whether it be for financial reasons, career priorities, or you’re just having too much fun with just you and your partner, then that’s alright. You owe it to yourself and any children you plan on bringing into the world to make sure that parenthood is what you really want.