Monday, November 25, 2013

Parenthood Week 26 – Are You Ready?

“How did you know that you were ready to have kids?”

This is one of the hardest questions about parenthood which like “when did you know you were ready to get married?” is a mixture of logic and understanding the unexplainable parts of the human heart.

I’m not exactly sure when Diana and I first started talking about the possibility of having children. It wasn’t something that we obsessed about but it came up before we got married as part of our life plan.

Many family members and friends advised us to not have children immediately after we got married so we didn’t. There were things that we wanted to do that we knew would be hindered by having a child. So in our first couple years of marriage we had our European adventure (read about it here), we raised our puppy and had many experiences as a married couple which really enriched our lives.

For the longest time, having a child, was just one of those things that we would do later, and before I knew it, later was now and it felt like the right time.

Here’s the logical side: before you have children you should have a good living situation, have your finances in order and have a career that you feel good about. Here's the thing: almost everyone I have met either moved right before having a baby or right after. We did that too. It would be idea to be settled down in the perfect house before having a baby but it’s rarely the case.

Finances and the job should be in a good place. However if you wait for these things to be in a perfect situation you will never end up having a baby. Part of having a baby is learning how to reallocate your household budget and that’s something that’s difficult to understand or do before having a baby. Yes, you should be in a better situation with your money and your job, but don’t wait for things to be perfect because that will never happen.

No, we didn’t have the perfect place to bring Ollie home to but our checkbooks and our jobs were doing okay. Then there’s the basic division of labor, which is also a big issue.

One of the things that made me feel most comfortable and made me excited about having a kid was the way Diana and I handled raising Buffy. When Buffy needs to be fed or walked, someone does it. It doesn’t matter if I’ve fed Buffy every day for the past week, if it needs to be done I'll do it. Taking care of Buffy has never been about keeping score. It’s not important who walks Buffy, it’s just that she needs to be walked. We both chose to bring her into our lives and it’s not fair that the care of a living being be thought of as a chore.

When I thought about all of the diapers and feedings, I felt confident that it wouldn’t be about who’s turn it would be to take of our baby, just that we would both step up when things needed to happen and we do.

All of this was great, but there’s one more piece which speaks to the human heart. I asked Diana last night when she felt we were ready and she said it was a gut feeling. I agree. At a certain point I looked at Diana and when I thought about the idea of having a child with her, my excitement overshadowed all of my nervousness and worry about having a kid.

The idea of having a kid is crazy. It’s a journey that you don't have full control over that is filled with uncertainty and extreme emotions. Even in our modern age, the risks surrounding having a child are very high and changes that you have to make when you become a parent are incomprehensible.  Somethings has to help you get over that.  

I’m a worrier and Diana’s always motivated me past my worries to experience life to the fullest. I’m not sure how she helps me get over myself, but she does it all of the time and my life is so much more full for it.

When Diana asked me last year if I felt like it was the right time to have a kid, my mind immediately flooded with all of the reasons not to have a kid and then I looked into Diana's eyes.  When my eyes met hers, things felt right.  My worries didn't go away but I felt safe and excited.

For me, it wasn't so much about knowing that I was ready.  It was about sharing this experience with Diana.  This made me feel confident to continue this next step in my life's journey, knowing that we would take each step together.  

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