ready for children?
June 22, 2005 9:05 AM   Subscribe

To the metaparents... how did you know you were ready to add to your family?

My spouse and I have been talking about and we think we're ready to start with the TTCing. I mean, we could probably use a bigger house and a bigger savings account, but then again, we're ok now. We're stable, the insurance is good, and our families are wonderful. All signs point to go.

How did other people come to the conclusions that they were ready? And did they regret their decision? Anything they wished they had done before?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
The missus and I knew we were ready when:
  • We both had (relatively speaking, in these times) stable incoming
  • We felt like we had some good romantic vacations
  • We had already discussed, at length, and agreed upon child rearing guidelines/techniques
  • I got "baby fever"
That last one was the sure sign; when the man in the relationship gets all ga-ga when a cute baby is nearby, and the woman gets all tingly when she sees her hubby responding in that way, it's time.
posted by Merdryn at 9:41 AM on June 22, 2005


income*
posted by Merdryn at 9:41 AM on June 22, 2005


You have got all the major factors right.
posted by webmeta at 10:06 AM on June 22, 2005


We always said we would have kids when we owned a house, first son came 14 months after close on the house :)
posted by patrickje at 10:11 AM on June 22, 2005


1) When we knew we could afford to support and feed a child without having to eat Ramen and sell the camping gear.

2) When we fully understood that having a kid is one of the few irreversible decisions a person can make and we were prepared to accept our choice no matter what.

3) When we both knew each other well enough to know that any differences in parenting technique would be minor enough that we could deal with them easily.

4) My wife was 42 at the time so we knew that it was pretty much now or never though we wouldn't have gone through with it if we hadn't reached 1 - 3.

Looking back, maybe I wasn't ready because I have no idea what "TTCing" means.
posted by bondcliff at 10:16 AM on June 22, 2005


Trying To Conceive?

Just a guess. I don't have any kids yet myself, so I don't have anything else to add.
posted by ambrosia at 10:24 AM on June 22, 2005


Man, am I looking forward to having a kid...

So far, our requirements are that we have a dwelling that can accommodate a family
and
Enough savings and investments that, when the child is born, we won't blink an eye at the income lost when one of us quits our job to care for the child.
It's still quite a few years off, though. The both of us are ferociously obeying our logical sides and forcing the thought of having a child to the deepest recesses of our minds.

From what I see, you seem to have all the major issues covered. I take it that this would be your first child?

My mother told me recently that you probably won't ever feel grown up enough to have a kid. That is, during the pregnancy and especially when they hand you your newborn and send you home from the hospital, you'll be thinking "Who's letting me get away with this? Isn't someone going to stop me and make sure that I don't screw this up? I know that I have a 30 year old body, but my brain is still 18!!!"
She reassured me that although you might feel ill prepared in some respects, as long as you love your child, are totally committed to it, and are prepared to be flexible and adapt to its needs and growing personality, YOU WILL BE FINE. The experience grows you up and molds you into a parent.

Good luck, anon. And boy, do I envy you.
posted by Jon-o at 10:47 AM on June 22, 2005


i don't see any justifcation for using TTC out of the blue like that. you gotta at least define it. its a real problem how people just use acronyms for no reason nowadays.
posted by alkupe at 10:48 AM on June 22, 2005


I wasn't ready, but my wife convinced me I was. Turns out, she was right. We weren't near "prepared" per Merdryn's criteria (although we had discussed childrearing and family philosophies in great detail while we were still dating), but I don't think you have to look at having kids as being the end to things like "romantic trips" and stuff like that. In fact, when I send my last kid off to college, I'll only be 46, so there's still plenty of time for those trips.

To me, I think the biggest single criterion is the strength of a couple's relationship. If you're really sure you've found the right person, the rest of it will fall into line. So what if you have to eat Ramen Noodles for several years?
posted by Doohickie at 10:54 AM on June 22, 2005


So far, our requirements are that we have a dwelling that can accommodate a family and Enough savings and investments that, when the child is born, we won't blink an eye at the income lost when one of us quits our job to care for the child.

Personally, my wife and I weren't anywhere near that level of comfort. Yet I would still do it exactly the way we did it all over again. There have been some tight times, but we always managed to make it through. And it's probably a pretty good idea to raise a kid with the knowledge that they can't always have whatever they want; it's good to see their parents having to make choices and set priorities because money is tight. This is how they will learn to do this for themselves.

My mother told me recently that you probably won't ever feel grown up enough to have a kid. That is, during the pregnancy and especially when they hand you your newborn and send you home from the hospital, you'll be thinking "Who's letting me get away with this? Isn't someone going to stop me and make sure that I don't screw this up? I know that I have a 30 year old body, but my brain is still 18!!!"
She reassured me that although you might feel ill prepared in some respects, as long as you love your child, are totally committed to it, and are prepared to be flexible and adapt to its needs and growing personality, YOU WILL BE FINE. The experience grows you up and molds you into a parent.


That is exactly true, and constituted most of my objections to having a kid. My wife said that, no matter what, the parents will know more than the kid for a good, long time, so this argument is moot. (Only when they hit their teens does this become an issue, and by then you will be much wiser, even if the kids don't agree.)
posted by Doohickie at 11:02 AM on June 22, 2005


I just had my first child 3 months ago...the pregnancy came as a surprise..we weren't ready to become parents, but we had a strong loving relationship.

I don't know if you are ever truly ready, or if there is ever a perfect time to have a child. Our daughter has changed our lives that's for sure, but I wouldn't give her up for anything and the love I have for her makes it all worth while.
posted by Gooney at 11:17 AM on June 22, 2005


I knew I was ready when just the two of us in the house felt too empty. This in turn kind of made life feel empty. I knew I had more to give, and work wasn't the place for it, neither were our friends or family. We needed some kids!

What were we doing with all our time? We both knew we always wanted kids, and we had our house now, good jobs, and it just clicked for both of us.

Now that we have a child (and another one in 2 months) I cannot possible imagine what people without kids do to stay busy, and those are often the people that talk about how busy they are.

It's funny you ask this now, just last night my wife was going through her journal. On Nov 14, 2002 I said I was ready to have kids. Our son was born Aug 25, 2003, you do the math.
posted by gfroese at 11:20 AM on June 22, 2005


I knew I was ready when I didn't need to ask anyone else if I was ready to have children.


I'd hold off until you're sure.
posted by GernBlandston at 12:01 PM on June 22, 2005


after 8 years of marriage, three simple factors compelled our very deliberate decision to have a child*:

1) the dog: after several years with her, she really convinced us that we still had a bit more love to give.
2) the finances: we burned the mortgage, paid off nearly all the outstanding debt, and socked some way so that we could downsize to one teacher's salary.
3) the friends: we watched from a safe distance as several good friends went through the process ahead of us. they made it look easy. turns out, if you and your spouse love one another, it is.

*we are not experts by any means; we are 11 weeks into this, as of today.
posted by RockyChrysler at 12:02 PM on June 22, 2005


If you wait for the perfect time, you'll never have a kid. Trite but true.

It was timing for us. We didn't have a house, and my income was far from stable, but hers was good enough for the small town in which we were living. We were both in academia, and we knew we'd have the summer off. I was working on my dissertation, so the hoped-for birth would serve as a good deadline for me to get at least the first draft finished.

So we started "trying" in September, and my daughter was born just after final exams in June. We all stayed home over the summer, then I taught part-time in the fall while my wife returned to work full time. We were able to coordinate our teaching schedules around feeding times, so it was pretty much a perfect (and now, for me, unrepeatable) situation.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:06 PM on June 22, 2005


Many of the factors that other people have mentioned have to do with knowing the best time to have a kid. Knowing you're ready to have a kid is very personal and hard to define. It means you understand that up until now you've been the center of your life and you're prepared to make the switch to taking care of a completely selfish human being. It's realizing all that a child will add to your life and accepting the negative that will come with it. But, as other before me have said, it's knowing that you will never be 100% ready and will never feel like "perfect parent material".

Me? I've been ready for three years. My hubby's been ready for two. Our life, on the other hand, hasn't been ready. (But our maternity coverage will begin in about a week, so this is totally on my mind).
posted by wallaby at 12:27 PM on June 22, 2005


I don't regret anything, but in addition to all of the above, I wish I had been in slightly better shape when I got pregnant. It might sound minor in the scheme of things, but I think physically I would have been much better off if I had lost 15 pounds before becoming pregnant.

I say this as someone who was in good general health and was not considered "officially" overweight (but I could definitely spare the 15 pounds). Some might be critical of my thinking, but I'm betting they haven't experienced pregnancy.
posted by peep at 12:48 PM on June 22, 2005


Eco-extremists and kid-phobes aside, kids are basically the default option in a marriage -- the natural thing to do when there are no longer good reasons not to do so. However, one spouse's resistance (well-reasoned or not) is a good reason not to -- I get a very bad feeling when I hear that someone had to be bullied by his wife into having a kid.

I think the money thing is exaggerated. Kids clothes are cheap and so are kids food. As long as you're comfortable with your source health insurance and aren't living with your parents/in-laws, you're good to go. Kids don't need the vast majority of the crap that middle class parents buy for them.
posted by MattD at 1:01 PM on June 22, 2005


Word, peep.
posted by jeanmari at 1:57 PM on June 22, 2005


having a kid is the most natural thing in the world. my wife and I decided on the spur of the moment and conceived our first try. she was out of work and in grad school and my job sucked. we had no savings and a lot of debt.

best idea we ever had. i wouldn't trade anything for not having my daughter. the thing is this: when you have a kid your life doesn't change... *you* change more than you ever thought you could.

the one thing is that I think that you really have to be in love with the sposa, though. i can't see how it would work otherwise.
posted by n9 at 5:49 PM on June 22, 2005


You're ready when you hear:

"What does this 'plus' sign mean?"
posted by catkins at 2:50 PM on June 23, 2005


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