kids

14 Signs You’re Finally Ready To Become A Parent

by Desirée O

The urge to have a baby can be hard to resist, especially when people in your social circle start having little ones. And adorable nieces and nephews as well as ridiculously cute celeb children (we’re looking at you, Luna and Miles) don’t make it any easier to stay childless or child-free (depending on your personal situation and perspective).

And while “a baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, a home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for” (author unknown), becoming a parent isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly.

There are plenty of aspects to consider before you start shopping for a crib. And while some factors might seem obvious, there are others that might not have occurred to you. From physical demands to financial considerations and so much more, here are 14 ways to know that you’re ready to become a parent.

1. You’re Doing It for the Right Reasons

1. You’re Doing It for the Right Reasons
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There are a lot of reasons to have a child, but you want to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. First and foremost, you should have a baby if it’s the right choice for you and the right time for you. While there’s nothing wrong with getting pregnant at the same time as your friends (frankly, it’s nice to enjoy the experience together), you shouldn’t try to have a baby just because your friends are becoming parents and you have family-related FOMO.

2. You’re Responsible and Know How to Take Care of Yourself

woman on computer
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Parenting a child is the biggest responsibility you’ll ever have. You’ll need to take care of your child’s physical health, emotional well-being, education, and everything else. That means putting three meals a day onto the table as well as booking dentist appointments and cleaning up after a creature who’s a master mess-maker. If you have trouble managing your own schedule and taking care of your own welfare, then you might not be ready to take care of someone else’s. But if you’re relatively on top of things, you could be prepared for parenthood.

3. You’re Emotionally Prepared

woman reading book
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Having a child is a long road of highs and lows. One moment, your little one could be cuddling with you, and the next moment your toddler might be having a major meltdown. And that’s not to mention the emotional teen years. Moms and dads have to deal with heartbreaking moments when their children get hurt and manage their anger when their young ones face unfair situations. Parents have to advocate for their children and be strong when times get tough. Before you have a baby, make sure that you’re emotionally prepared for everything that comes along with having a child.

4. You’re Physically Ready

woman exercising
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If you plan to carry a baby yourself, you need to consider whether or not your body is ready to do so. Forty weeks of pregnancy can put you through everything from backaches and an uncontrollable bladder to more serious issues like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, or hyperemesis gravidarum. Then you get to go through hours of labor, requiring more endurance than a marathon. But that’s not when it ends! After you deliver a baby, your body needs to heal (your uterus must contract, and you might have to recover from an episiotomy), while at the same time you might be trying to produce milk to breastfeed. Before you get pregnant, you might want to check in with your doctor to make sure you’re in tip-top shape and physically prepared for what your body is about to go through.

5. You’re Financially Stable

woman on computer
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Having a baby can be quite costly (and that’s putting it mildly). There’s a long list of items you’ll need when your little one first arrives (clothes, a crib, diapers, etc.), and as children age you regularly have to replace their wardrobes, not to mention feed their growing appetites and pay for their recreational activities. According to the US Department of Agriculture, raising a child in America today costs $233,610 (excluding the cost of college) for a middle-income family. That’s why you’ll want to be sure you’re financially stable before you have a baby.

6. You Have a Strong Support System

support system photo
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As they say, it takes a village to raise a child. Having a support system — whether that includes family members, friends, or hired help — can make all of the difference. If your family doesn’t live nearby and/or you can’t afford to bring on a nanny, check out some local parenting groups to connect with other families in the area. Whether you’re in need of a babysitter or a little advice, having people around who are willing and able to help will make life so much easier.

7. You’re Ready for Sleep Deprivation

mom drinking coffee
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When new moms and dads tell you that their babies never sleep, they’re barely exaggerating. Of course the little ones have to sleep at some time, but their sporadic and inconvenient naps are far from what an adult needs to function properly. If you have a baby, chances are you’re going to experience sleep deprivation on a level that you’ve never imagined, so you definitely need to be ready for that if you’re thinking about becoming a parent.

8. You’re Able to Handle the Not-So-Nice Side of Parenting

mom changing baby's diaper
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Being a parent comes with a lifetime of joyful memories. But it also comes with some pesky problems, icky issues, and harrowing hardships. From cleaning up poopy diapers to taming toddler tantrums, dealing out discipline to managing a moody teenager, being ready to have a child means also being ready for the not-so-nice side of parenting.

9. You’re Ready to Help With Homework and Attend Kindergarten Concerts

child concert
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Having a hand in your child’s education is part of being a parent. And while it’s adorable to teach little ones their ABCs, you also have to be ready for everything from kindergarten concerts (it’s cute when your kid is on stage, but honestly the gym gets pretty darn stuffy after the second hour) to helping build a last-minute solar system diorama when your child forgot to tell you about the homework assignment that’s due the next day. And it helps to stay one math lesson ahead of your kid to prevent an awkward situation, so be prepared for that.

10. You Can Handle Unsolicited Advice

woman ignoring others
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Everyone receives unsolicited (and unwanted?) advice from time to time, but when you’re a parent, the tiresome tips will come at you from both expected and unexpected sources. Your great aunt will tell you you’re holding the baby too much, while the next door neighbor you’ve never spoken to will offer home remedies for an ailment she thinks your child might have. Frankly, even nonparents will let you know how they would do things if they had kids. The only people you should be listening to are yourself, your partner, your doctor, and those in your life whom you trust. To be a parent, you need to be ready to ignore everyone else.

11. You Can Dedicate the Next 18+ Years to Someone Else

11. You Can Dedicate the Next 18+ Years to Someone Else
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When you decide to have a baby, you’re making a long-term commitment. Not only will you be raising that child for 18 years from childhood through the teenage years, you’ll also still need to be there as your teen enters adulthood. And even as grownups, many of us lean on our parents, which is proof that it’s a role that you never fully leave behind.

12. You’ve Done the Pet Test

woman and dog
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It’s an old-school method, but it’s tried and true. Before you have a child, try getting a pet. You can even start with a goldfish, and if you keep that alive, move on to a cat or dog. Being responsible for an animal’s meals, supervision, health care, and happiness can give you a glimpse of what it’s like to take care of a child. If you successfully parent your fur baby, you might be ready for a human baby.

13. You and Your Partner Are Both Sure That You’re Ready for Kids

parents and child
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If you’ve considered all of the aspects of becoming a parent and still feel confident that it’s the right choice for you, that’s awesome! But if you have a partner whom you’ll be parenting with, then make sure that you’re both ready to have kids. If either of you is unsure or hesitant in any way, it’s important to talk things through and perhaps wait a little longer.

14. You’re Ready for the Unexpected

parents and child
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While it’s important to prepare yourself as much as possible for having a child, you also need to prepare to feel like you’re totally unprepared. When you have kids, anything can happen. Life has a funny way of being unpredictable, and that multiplies every time you add another little life into your family. That’s what makes being a parent both utterly daunting and totally worthwhile!