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6 Things to Consider Before Having Kids

Mighty Mommy has experienced both the emptiness of having no children and the craziness of growing to her own small team. Today she offers six things to consider before your family grows.

By
Cheryl Butler,
Episode #416

Tip #4:  Your Relationship With Your Spouse/Partner

A new baby can make getting a hot shower difficult, let alone maintaining a marriage or relationship. According to Pamela Jordan, PhD., who specializes in parental relationships and teaches couples how to prepare for a baby, whether or not you succeed depends on the communication taking place long before the child is even born.

In Does Having a Baby Strengthen Your Relationship? Jordan says "What's absolutely essential is two partners make a decision together to have a child." 

Adding that it's vital that both partners make the decision to have a child. When that's the case, a baby can positively enhance the relationship and bring the parents closer together. If parents aren't on the same page, having a child could be detrimental to you as a couple.

If you're considering having more children, a Today.com survey suggests three children is the tipping point for the most stressful number of kids to have. Going from one to two is more manageable than going from two to three. This makes sense, considering we only have two hands and now you and your partner are outnumbered by the kids. 

So basically, do you and your partner agree? Sometimes one partner is ready and the other isn't. It's hard to be in sync all the time. Sit down together and discuss your points of view. You may not resolve anything right away, but you'll have a better understanding of the issues.

Tip #5: Your Financial Situation

Money isn't everything, but it certainly helps when you're raising a family. According to Gallup polls, most people say the ideal number of kids is two and according to the Census, most parents have two kids. In today's economy and with the cost of childcare so high, two might be the affordable family limit. 

According to a recent report from the USDA, "Expenditures on Children by Families," the average cost of raising a child today is over $245,000 — and that number doesn't include college tuition or inflation. Costs incurred after age 18 aren't tallied, including higher education. The USDA uses a 2.4% projected inflation rate to find that the inflation adjusted cost will be over $304,000 per child.  

It's a good idea to have room in your monthly budget before you conceive another child, but in all honesty, we didn’t base our decision to have a large family on our pocketbook.  We knew there would be many sacrifices raising eight children, yet we did manage to trade off on certain parts of our lifestyle such as we very rarely went out to dinner or splurged on designer brand labels so that we could afford to take our kids on vacation each summer and help with college.

Consider your work situation too. Many women find it harder to keep up with full- or part-time work once the second or third child comes along. Can you afford to leave your job or reduce your hours if that seems best or to pay for the new baby's childcare if you keep your job?

Check out the online article from Money titled 5 Ways to Prepare Your Finances for the Next Baby for some eye-opening strategies.  

Tip #6: Your Career/Personal Goals

If you’ll be returning to work, you should think about how you anticipate your job and career aspirations fitting into your new life. Will it be OK if you leave at 5pm every day to pick up your kid from day care or does your job require you to work late hours? Many women have regrets about leaving a successful career behind to stay at home full time, or they feel conflicted if they have to leave work to pick up a child from daycare. Being aware and anticipating as much as you can, can help avoid frustration later.  See Also: 12 Ways to balance work and motherhood

In addition, keep in mind that adding one or more kids to the mix will also hamper your personal time.  My biggest regret early on when our kids were so young was not to continue fostering my personal goals.  I had a period of time where I was a bit of a martyr, and it served absolutely no purpose and didn’t benefit my family in the least.  See Also:  5 Ways that Selfish Parenting Can Benefit Your Family.

How have you decided if you’re ready for a new baby?   Share your thoughts in the comments section at quickanddirtytips.com/mighty-mommy, post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. or email me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com. Visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.

Be sure to sign up for the upcoming Mighty Mommy newsletter chock full of practical advice to make your parenting life easier and more enjoyable. 

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