“So when are you all going to start having some kids?”
It seems like almost immediately after a young couple gets married this is the first question that is asked of them. I mean, some couples don’t even get out of the church before someone “jokingly” brings up what they assume is this happy couples future – children of their own.
If you’re like my wife and I, that question began to get old after about the second week of marriage. You see, we had a plan. We thought we had figured out the optimal time to have children: when we would know each other well enough, there wouldn’t be any issues in our marriage, and money would be abundant as would time. For us that number was supposed to be 5 years. See that phrase “supposed to be” – things didn’t work out that way.
However I will say this, things worked out. It wasn’t what we were expecting or even thinking when our daughter arrived in January of 2015, but it was right. I believe it was right for a few reasons, ultimately because God worked it out, but also because Ashley and I had done some preparing.
It is true when people tell you that nothing can fully prepare you for having kids. It’s an amazing adventure and honor though isn’t it? I know some people who use check lists or to do lists as they work towards a goal. Many people try and do this when it comes to kids as well and while it may seem silly, I don’t know that it’s completely foolish to do that. That being said, you must leave some sort of room for certain things to not be checked off. Let me leave you with some questions to ask yourself before deciding to have kids.
Where are you personally?
I know this is an extremely broad question, but a child will affect a very large part of your life. For many who have kids in their 20’s, adapting to no longer being able to do all the things you want, when you want is a challenge. Along with that, make sure you aren’t just examining the physical, but also the emotional and spiritual. Do you feel strong enough to endure the emotional roller coaster that is parenting? Have you established your beliefs deep enough to hold on to them and pass them down to your kids?
Where are you in your marriage?
It happens far too often that a child enters the picture and a marriage becomes non-existent. It becomes a roommate situation and sadly often ends in divorce. Before you have kids you must examine your marriage. It doesn’t have to be perfect, because honestly, no marriage is, but it needs to be strong, it needs to be committed, and it needs to be tested. Raising a child can complete a family or destroy a family. Remember you were married first and that child needs to see you as husband and wife and friends as well as mom and dad. Make sure your marriage can stand the good and the bad and that you can support one another and be strong when the other is weak.
Where are your finances?
I wish I could give you an actual number to have saved up, but I can’t. Let me say this, you will never have enough money to have a child. It comes with a lot more expenses than you can imagine. However, you can and should have a developed discipline in this area so you can wisely budget and navigate the extra cost of starting a family. I don’t believe you need to have $10,000 in the bank to have a family, but you do need to have your finances in order and be ready to make sacrifices and wise decisions.
Where are you in your career?
This may seem silly to ask, but for some a job or career is the most important part of their life. When you have a child this has to change and so you may have to change the pace, frequency and amount of time you spend working on your career. Make sure you are at a point where you are prepared to give your time and attention to a little one.
Where are you in your life goals?
Almost every one of us has life goals. We may not have written them out, but they are there in the back of our brain. We are reminded of them as we watch movies, scroll through Facebook or Instagram and watch others achieve and attain goals. There are certain goals that may change or disappear when you have a child. There are other goals in which you now get to include your child. Either way, make sure you have an understanding of what you want to achieve in life.
Having children is one of the most exciting parts of this life. To know that God would entrust another person to your care is an honor and huge responsibility. Take some time, ask the questions and enjoy the journey!