Having children is a huge step in your life. To bring another life into existence is not something anybody should be taken lightly. Don’t be someone who wants to have children just because you want a baby. We look at small children almost as if they are fashionable trinkets sometimes. They are not going to be small forever, and they are not your plaything. This new life you’re choosing to make is a major responsibility. You cannot expect any kind of thanks or a pat on the back for taking care of it. Feeding the baby, clothing it and keeping it happy are all things that are expected of you. Even still, you must do more than this to properly raise your child. You have to prepare for his or her financial future, and teaching them about the world. Equally as important is your ability to adapt to modern parenting styles. If you’re going to get all of this right the first time, you have to look far beyond the hill.
Are you financially stable?
Historically, poor people have always had more kids but it seems like the tables are flipping. This could be for a number of reasons but many of them center around a lack of planning. Not being financially stable is a hallmark of being unprepared to have children. You’re putting the child is undue stress because you may not be able to afford the right clothes that he or she needs to stay warm. It’s not just about education because time and time again we are shown that even without an education you can go on to have great achievements. It’s a lack of financial understanding that is a big issue among all the families of all incomes. But just how much planning do you need to do? Should you really plan your finances from now until your child is 18?
The short and sweet of it is, no because that’s impossible. What you need to do is plan your finances to be stable for at least 5 years. What this will do is get you out of the early years danger zone where children are most vulnerable to poor living conditions. Make sure you have enough to pay your bills for 5 years or at least a solid plan whereby you know where the income is going to come from and how much of it you will need to support your family. Buying the equipment and things you need to bring your baby through to 1 year old is crucial also. If you don’t have this you simply can’t plan further. Paying for your child’s food, clothes and medical bills are the primary financial concern you should have. Sit down with your partner and talk about your job prospects, whether or not one salary will be enough in the beginning or should you both continue to work? The mother may need to take a year off from work, just until the child’s health is stable also.
Your living conditions
Your living conditions will be a direct correlation of your financial situation. If you have planned your finances well, you will have a home good enough for raising a child. It goes hand in hand to have a strong financial status and credit score, and a nice home with great living conditions. However, even your current living conditions will have to change. Before when it was just the two of you, you could stave off from having the heat on so your bills were manageable. On the other hand, when you bring a baby home you will need to regulate the room temperature in which he or she sleeps. It’s also a great idea to sweep the house all over and examine how well your home is really holding up for the sake of the child’s health.
Pick a room where the baby will be sleeping. Check the walls, ceiling and floor for any sort of mould or damp. This could cause the baby severe breathing problems. Snoop around the house checking for any sort of insect haven and call an exterminator if you need to. A particularly dusty room will also be dangerous for the baby’s breathing, so thoroughly cleaning the carpet and furniture is recommended. Installing a less powerful ceiling light will prevent any eye damage from occurring as baby’s eyes are very sensitive to light. Making sure that the windows are not leaking and that they are all sealed properly to prevent the cold from coming into the room is also on your checklist. All in all, the living conditions of the baby should be clean, warm and designed to cater to the baby’s health and wellbeing.
Checklist for the first year
The first year with your newborn child is going to be quite a challenge. But don’t worry, it’s not a mountain you have to climb, it’s simply getting used to the nuances of looking after a fragile yet growing body. There are numerous things you will need and it’s quite a shock to first-time parents when they see the number of things that are on the baby essentials checklist. Start off with building a nursery which is where your baby will eat, sleep and play. This is a little zone in the bedroom which is safely cordoned off from the rest of the room with a movable wall. You can get creative with what you will have in the nursery. Buy a small toy box, along with some stuffed animals. Make sure that you have plenty of different vibrant colors as well as themes so your baby son or daughter can be creative while playing. It should also be attractive to the eye, lots of things to keep the baby occupied but not so much that it would cause sensory overload.
A crib is necessary along with a soft mattress for your baby to sleep on. The mattress should be 100% breathable and washable. Crib size does matter but only if your child is larger than average in which case an average-sized crib is good. Baby clothing is where most of your money will be spent as you’re literally trying to build a whole new wardrobe. You’ll need several onesies, around 5-7 would be a good number. A sleep sack or swaddle to help the baby feel comfortable and move around in his or her sleep. Sweaters and or jackets are required when you’re taking the baby outdoors. A newborn hat to protect his or her head from the sun and rain. A winter hat or two to protect from the snow and chill. Other things like buying your baby a swimsuit is also prudently planning ahead.
A solid relationship
It’s a sad fact of life but so many relationships break down when they have their first child. There’s so much stress in the first year that you will barely have time for each other. So, if you’re not together for reasonable hours of the day then looking after the child is going to fall on one parent than the other. Balance is what you require in terms of lifestyle so both of you need to discuss who is ready to perhaps take their career less seriously and slow down for a while. The higher up the hierarchy you go in the world of work, the more responsibilities you will have and thus less time to spend together. Can you stand each other’s personality? Are you really making a wise partner choice? If you are arguing with each other a lot, but then making up afterwards, if you have a child you may be under such stress that you cannot find a way forward. Having a baby changes everything, especially the way you look at your partner. Are they going to be financially stable, will they take care of their health so they will be around to raise the child and will you get along with each other when things are getting very stressful?
Are you happy?
Having a child is not something you want to take on as a burden. The number one question of all is, are you happy? How is your career going? Are you in an occupation that you really enjoy? It’s not an easy thing to stop working and start staying at home. You can never go out of sight of the baby, you shouldn’t leave the baby alone at any point when he or she is awake. You must be comfortable with the partner you are with now. Do you think you could be with them for the rest of your life? How strong is your relationship with them and do you have a very close bond of trust? Do you feel happy about your physical and mental health? All of these questions must be answered before you get ready to have a baby. Your own happiness is paramount above everything else, without a good sound mind you won’t be strong enough to raise a child properly.
Plan for a child to the umpteenth level. Consider how strong your relationship is and if you really trust your partner to be a responsible parent.