Friday, January 31, 2014

When is the right time for a baby?

 (I hope our babies look just like him.)

Well, when a man and a woman love each other, very much….okay okay, I’ll stop.

Lets restart:
Before David and I decided it was time to pull the goalie (too much?), we had a hard time with the concept of knowing when “the time was right”. Guys, I’m not sure if you know this, but creating a human being and being responsible for it is a huge, gigantic, monstrous decision. We constantly found ourselves saying “how can you ever be ready for something like this?” and that was probably the wisest thing we said the whole time. It’s true. Unless you’re an egomaniac, I don’t think you ever get to the point where you say “you know what, I would do an incredibly flawless job of raising a child to be upstanding, contributing member of society.” I mean, sure, we all hope and pray. But when it comes down to it, it’s always going to be a bit scary, and a lot nerve-wracking.

The “right time” is different for everyone. Everyone has different priorities and their own mental checklist of things they would like to accomplish before a baby is considered. I've attempted to write up what our own mental checklist was and the conclusions we came to before that infamous goalie was benched.

1: >>MONEY<< of course! This is obviously a huge deal. Babies cost money (I know, it’s true. I mean they could at least have some sort of buy-one-get-one deal or something.) We talked to a lot of people about this, and opinions varied. We heard “you can never have enough money saved” (before you have a baby) quite a bit. But for us, we definitely had goals we wanted to accomplish before a baby was on our radar. A: We wanted to pay off my student loans to free up that extra cash. When we first got married, we were pushing $1,000 a month in loan payments. This was between different student loans between the two of us, and our car payment. At this point, we have paid off the car, paid off my 21k of student loans (in a year and a half! This is something we’re extremely proud of and worked so hard to do), and have our loan payment down to $118 a month, definitely more manageable. B: We wanted David to be in a position professionally that I wouldn't have to work after baby. This has always been important to us, but especially David, being the gentleman he is. He has always said if I want to work, that is fine. But he doesn’t want me to have to work. We have yet to determine what I will do after (I enjoy my job, after all!) but having the option of being a stay at home mom is a great one to have, no strings attached. C: We wanted a good amount of money saved in the bank. David and I have always tried to live off of his salary, dumping everything I have into loans and into savings. We wanted a substantial amount in the bank for whatever may come our way in the future. That number is of course different for everyone, but we set a mental goal and worked our way there.

2: >>TRAVEL << I love traveling. The desire to travel the world is woven into my DNA. David, on the other hand, enjoys traveling, but it wasn't what necessarily made up his bucket list of things to do before baby. I know that a lot of people want to travel quite a bit before they “settle down” with a baby. I have a few thoughts on this; A: I have had the wonderful opportunity to travel quite a bit growing up, traveling all of the United States and visiting several different countries around the world. I realize being able to do that while in high school and college is rare. Most people save up for years to go on an international trip and may only be able to do this a few times in their life. In that way, I have counted my blessings for being able to already cross several places off of my bucket list prior to baby. B: We have no intention of stopping traveling when we have a baby. Now, “traveling” for David and I together consists of traveling within the states. We go on dozens of weekend trips a year, driving distance from our home. We don’t see why this would need to stop when we have a child. Of course there will be major adjustments made to getting from point A to point B, but David and I have always been the “let’s go have a picnic at the park” kind of people. Not the “I CANT WAIT TO SEE WHAT NIGHTLIFE IS LIKE HERE!” kind of people. So thankfully, we are pretty simplistic when it comes to traveling.

3: >>HOME<< This was something that was important to us, but in no way a standard for raising a child, in our opinion. For us, we wanted to purchase a home before we had a baby. That is of course not to say that you can’t excel at raising a baby in an apartment/condo/townhome/mansion/penthouse/etc. That is just something we would have liked to do (mainly for the investment aspect), and we were blessed to be able to purchase our first home in August of 2012. Going back to the financial aspect, we decided to purchase this home primarily with David’s income, in preparing for the future with the whole “so you don’t have to work” deal. (bless that man.)

4: >>SOCIAL<< David and I are pretty social people. We love getting together with our friends pretty regularly. But we have never been big night owl people (I should clarify, once college ended, we really started enjoying sunlight…) I know I know, queue the jokes of “when you have a baby you’re going to HAVE to be a night owl!” we get it, but that, of course, is not the kind of “night owl” we were referencing. Of course we will be up in a heartbeat when baby needs us throughout the night. My point is that of course socially we will be cutting back in seeing friends, we are confident that on the times we head out, baby will be able to join us at a friend’s lunchtime BBQ, as opposed to finding a sitter while we hit up the bars. For us, we didn't have much that we wanted to “get out of our system” before we had a baby. That stuff got out of our system quite some time ago (or was never in it in the first place).

5: >>EMOTIONAL<< How do you judge this one? How do you declare that you are “emotionally ready” for a baby? I think the light went off in our heads when the thoughts of a baby feasting off my boob, blown out diapers in the middle of the night, my body drastically changing and making me no longer have the figure of a pre-pubescent boy, and babies throwing up on me didn't bother me like they once had. I no longer had a continuous “ewwwwwww” run through my head when I thought of a baby covered in poop and having to be the one to clean that mess up. Of course there is more to it than that, but for the sake of time, we felt like God had prepared us for this time emotionaly.

5: >>TIME<< This references the time between David and I. We definitely wanted a good amount of time between just the two of us before we wanted to have children. Of course there are couples that start right away, and more power to them! But for us personally, this is something of great value to us. We have been together for 8 years now, and by the time baby comes in August, we will be married for 4 of that. If God had intended for it to just be the two of us forever, we would consider ourselves blessed. We have an absolute adoration for each other, which has been built over the several years we have been together. We are so excited to bring a child into the family that God has been building and sharpening and working on over the last several years. I trust David with my life, and our babies precious life and I don’t have a doubt in my mind of the kind of father he is going to be. He has (somehow) already proven that he is the most amazing father in the world.

We wanted this time in our life (whenever it came) to be nothing but joyful. Of course there is the normal worry and fears of adequacy that can flood my mind, but we didn't want being financially unstable to put a damper on this time. Or to feel like we rushed it within our own relationship to have a baby and miss out on the alone time we loved so much. Or feel that we were emotionally unable to care for our baby. Or to feel "robbed" of any carefree, irresponsible behaviors some people have an itch to get out of their system. We wanted this to be exciting, and a blessing. We have enough on our minds with the upcoming responsibility of having a baby, we didn't want anything else that we could control to add to it. 

1 comment:

  1. I love this post. I'm not married and so there are no babies for me for many years but I loved reading your list and how you prepared to make the decision to start having children. Y'all are going to be great parents. I can already tell.