Deciding When to Have Kids – and How Many?
If you give your girlfriend a ring, she’s going to ask for a wedding. When you give her the wedding, she’s probably going to ask for a home. When you move into the home, you’ll both see an empty room. Seeing the empty room will remind you about having a baby …
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Wait a minute – I’ve heard this before. The reason it sounds so familiar is because the story is probably a lot like yours and mine. When my wife and I knew we wanted to spend our lives together, it was a foregone conclusion that we’d happily welcome kids along the way. The only questions became when and how many?
Of course, no one can answer those questions but you and your spouse. But there are some factors to consider when deciding to have kids.
If you digs are tight, you need to think about how an addition will make things even tighter. Remember, it’s not just the extra person (however tiny they may be – initially), but all the trappings of babyhood: bassinets, cribs, playpens, changing tables, swings, dressers, etc. You also have to be prepared for anything, like – surprise – the possibility of more than one baby!
You can’t put a price tag on a human life, but you certainly can on diapers, wipes, formula, clothes and baby furniture. No, it’s not cheap having a baby, but neither is anything else in life, so it’s all about priorities. Be sure to consider what your budget can handle, because you don’t need extra strife when undertaking something new.
You also need to consider your work situation. Some employers aren’t so family-friendly and may not make it easy for both mom and dad to transition into this new lifestyle. Be ready for anything career-wise, even if that means that one of you suddenly changes plans and decides to quit work and stay home with the baby. It could also mean transitioning into a work-from-home gig for one of you. If none of that is an option, figure out how much childcare will cost in order for you to keep your current job.
Having a baby at age 25 is a lot different than having one at 45 no matter whether you’re male or female. The challenges are different for each gender, but proper consideration remains just as important for each. You’ll also need to discuss how many kids you hope to have, and by when. Planning for future additions is a lot like planning your financial future – it takes a lot of thoughtful joint discussion.
This category offers a lot of intangibles that could sway you in either direction. Are you so active in a hobby or passion that it could prevent you from raising a child as it deserves? Do you have a solid support network nearby? Are you planning a major career change or dramatic move across the country? Take into account all those factors that influence how you function in life.
If one of you is ready and the other isn’t, that’s going to take some heartfelt and meaningful conversation. It’s not like you’ll be able to resolve your difference of opinion overnight. But remember, you got into this relationship for a reason, you’re committed and you can work this out. Something this important deserves a lot of loving empathy, as well as give-and-take.
Of course, there’s another factor not examined here – and that’s your heart. You know you love each other, and you want that love to grow even more. So you could always stop thinking about it, over-analyzing it and just get on with it.
Then one day when you have a baby, you’ll lay her down for a nap. While she’s sleeping, you’ll look around your home and realize there’s an empty room. And chances are, if you have an empty room …
How did you decide when to have kids, and how many?