Sunday, May 15, 2011

Top 10 Things to Ask Yourself Before Having a Baby

Now that we are on kid number 2, Adam and I have been debating about having another kid. This debate (and my current lack of sleep) has spurred my

Top 10 Things to Ask Yourself Before Having a Baby

1. Am I ready spiritually? Kids are a ton of work. As with marriage, your relationship with God is key to being a parent. Kaylee is hitting the terrible two's (sadly) and requires LOTS of patience. This is not a fruit of the spirit that I am "fruitful" in.  There are so many days where I either beg God for patience or have to ask Kaylee to forgive me for losing my patience with her. Add to that my lack of sleep from being up with Ella at night and I am not the kindest person in the world. Ironic though that in 1 Corinthians the first two words used to tell what love is are the two things I really struggle with sometimes. Patience and kindness.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

Don't even get me started on the things I am lacking in the rest of that passage. Either way, if you are not ready to face the facts that you have areas in which you need to work on spiritually or if you are stagnant or do not have a relationship with God at all, you should probably think twice before popping out children.

2. Is my marriage ready for kids? Again, can I just say, kids are a lot of work! Marriage is a lot of work in itself and does not need the added struggle of kids if it is a rocky road in itself. If your marriage needs some work first, check out my Top 10 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Hot for my own marriage checklist.  I cannot imagine how bad things would be if Adam and I were on the outs. When it comes to kids, you have to be a team. Working. Supporting. Helping. Having kids comes a lot easier if you have your helpmate by your side. If your marriage is great, then you may be ready for little Junior.

3. Am I ready to give up my "me" time? Let me first say that if you have a wonderful spouse like I do, you will still be able to have "me" time. However, overall, your "me" time becomes "our" time once you have a baby. Babies require your undivided attention. So, that hour that you used to spend unwinding by watching television or playing on the internet is now spent playing with your baby or changing diapers. Kaylee is at the point now where she wants your attention as soon as you walk in the door. After a long day of work, you don't necessarily feel like dealing with a whiny toddler. If you are not ready to spend time with the baby after an exhausting day at work, you probably are not ready to start the reproduction process.

4. Am I ready to give up our "alone" time? As newlyweds you are all about being with your spouse and doing fun things together. You want to do things with other couples. You want to stay up talking until late hours dreaming about the future. After you have a baby, your time together is now spent with a third person. Your date nights can still happen if you want them to, but require a lot more work. You have to find a babysitter. You have to work it out where you can go when it is not time to feed or make sure to leave a bottle. Your late night hours are spent holding, changing, and nursing a baby. All the things you used to do together, are now things you do with a baby present. You can still do those things, but that time is much different with a baby around. No more quick runs to Wal-Mart at 3am for toilet paper - at least not together. If you are ready to give up your time "alone" together, then maybe you are ready to add that 3rd family member.

5. Am I ready to put forth the time and energy it takes to have a baby? New babies take energy all hours of the day and night. Late night feedings and whatnot. If you only have one baby, you may find time to rest if you are not working and can sleep while they sleep. With two kids, you don't have time to sleep because you have to chase around your older kid while the other one sleeps. Babies need lots of love and attention. This takes time. If you have lots of time and need to burn some energy, babies may be right up your alley.

6. Am I ready for all the baby stuff? Baby stuff is everywhere. You may not be a clean freak like I am so this question might not be for you. Just move on to number 7. However, you guys out there that think everything has a place - this one is just for you. Right now as I am writing this, I look around my living room and see the clutter of baby stuff. In 2009 before Kaylee was born, my living room looked so different. I had two couches, an ottoman, a tv stand, and two side tables. Now you can add to that the pack-n-play, the bouncy seat, Kaylee's little chair, a baby doll crib, a basket full of toys, other smaller toys that sit next to it, and a large stack of books.  We keep it fairly organized and in it's place, but it is still a lot of stuff. Something that you definitely have to get used to. If the idea of having cute little baby things scattered about your house makes you excited, having a baby will help you make it extra scattered.
 
7. Do we have room for a baby? This is something I wish we would have considered before buying a car. Now we are stuck with a car much too small for our expanding family. If we would have thought about this early on, maybe we could have saved ourselves from being sardines and purchased a larger vehicle in advance. This is also something to think about as far as your home goes. Maybe you don't have an extra room for the baby.  If you don't have room, then you won't have space to fill it with your own little addition.


8. Are we financially ready for a baby? This is a really good question to think about. Not necessarily as the deciding factor, but to prepare yourself mentally for the difference in your finances.  Last year we spent $3821.28 on childcare and our general "baby" section of our budget. This does not include clothing. It is mainly diapers and other baby items that we may have bought over the course of the year. Throw in all the clothes and doctor's visits and you are looking at about $5000 added to your spending over the year. (This does not include your labor and delivery costs.) Maybe you want your baby to sport the finer things. You can expect to spend even more. If your finances seem to be pretty steady and you think you can find wiggle room for several thousands of dollars, you may just be ready for having a little tax deduction.


9. What stage of life are our friends? I find this question pretty important. One of my friends called me the pioneer of our friend group as I was the first to have a baby in the group. It was so difficult because when I was pregnant, all I wanted to talk about was being pregnant. Once I had the baby, all I wanted to talk about was having the baby and what she was doing at the time. Maybe you had the same experience after you got married. That feeling of now that I am married, I want to talk with my girl friends about being married. My friends did finally catch up with me, but it was probably the hardest transition I have ever had to make alone. If your friends seem to be on the baby move, then you may want to jump on the baby boom bandwagon.


10. Are you ready physically to have a baby? Having a baby takes a huge toll on your body. Even though you are having a baby, there are days when you feel fat and ugly. Once the baby comes, then you have to deal with the aftermath of the awkward belly flab, stretch marks, healing, and the line that runs down the middle of your belly that wants to stay with you until your babies graduate from college. Add to all of that, exhaustion, fatigue, leaking nursers, and hormonal changes. If you are not ready to take all of that on, then you may not be ready to grow a baby.


Please understand that simply answering yes or no to one of these questions alone does not answer the yes or no to whether or not you are ready to have a baby. That is why I have 10 questions.  I think you (as a couple) need to answer all of them to get a true picture of what life would be like with a baby and know if you are ready for a baby or not. Plus, as a couple take time to pray about it. (going back to question 1)  There are so many joys of having a baby/kids, but I also want to be real with you that they take work and require that you are ready to be the most selfless person that you have ever been. If you can't handle both sides of that equation, then as much as the idea of a baby excites you, you probably are not ready for one.  

4 comments:

  1. Hey, K...

    Bookmark this and read it again in about 10 years. It will be interesting to see how your perspective emerges as you and your kids grow into life together.

    Kids are expensive, taxing, hard work, life-altering, freedom-sucking...however - so are all of my greatest friendships in life (including my relationship with Jesus).

    I hope God continues to bless you not only with energy and creativity in raising your kids, but I pray that He will continue to breathe His life into you so that your kids will become the world-changers He has created them to be.

    Just think! God has blessed you with kids that HE made - so that they could learn to love Him and impact others for the Kingdom.

    Love you, love you, love you!!!

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  2. BTdubs..."yimguy" is Uncle J

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  3. Nice list! Babies definitely take a lot of energy, money, and time, but it's worth it in the end. Unfortunately, for Gerald and I we didn't get the time to evaluate whether we were ready for a baby or not...."Oops" babies do happen frequently! : ) But it was the best two "oops" I've ever made, because now I have my beautiful boys, and I wouldn't change a thing. Good luck on your decision as to whether you are going to expand your family some more. I love readying your blog, btw!

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  4. I think the answer to all of your questions for most people is "no". But the most important question should be "am I willing to trust God with our family?" Regardless of whether or not you think you are ready or not, God is the ONLY ONE who can make life, and our readiness in our own minds has nothing to do with it! We may be "ready" and have to wait years, or not ready and have a baby now. Either way, God will provide all the means and the grace we need for any situation if we trust Him. So back to the Grand Prize question, "am I willing to trust God with my family?" It's a tough one.

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