Back in baby boomer times, women married and had children younger. These days, the norm has shifted. Women are prioritizing their careers and trying to start families afterward. Having children is a very big thing. But, there are many ways to parent, and the answer to the question, “when is the right time to have a baby” really depends. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you decide what time of life is right for you.
Will I Continue Working or Become a Stay-at-Home-Mom?
Do you have strong feelings about staying home with your children or staying in the work place? This is something to think long and hard about before you take the plunge. If you feel strongly about staying home with them while they’re young, you will want to wait until you are in a financial situation that allows you to stay home. If you have a husband or family member who can support you by paying the bills, now might be the right time.
If you feel strongly about going back to work after maternity leave, you need to think about how you want to handle childcare. Do you have family in town that can help or would you be able to afford the type of childcare you want?
If you are dead set on returning to work, I will say this. You may think you want to return to work, but if you have the option to choose, just know that many a pregnant woman have uttered the words, “I’ll be back in the office in 2 months flat!” only to make a regretful phone call a few weeks after the birth to say, “I’m so sorry to do this to you…but, I’m not coming back.” You may have your baby and be totally excited to go back to work. That is the case for many women. But, if this is your desire, keep in mind that your desires could potentially change.
Do I Have Relational Support?
Having a baby is not easy. But, most people will tell you (and they’re right) that there’s no perfect time to have a baby. However, if you are planning, it’s a good idea to plan for your baby’s arrival to happen when you have people to help and support you. Again, it’s really impossible to plan your life out so that baby comes at the “perfect” moment, but if you have a say, you won’t regret choosing a time where you have family and friends around who can help you.
Is Backpacking Through Europe Important To You?
I’m not saying you can’t travel or go on adventures when you’re a mom, but I will say that you might not be the same version of you once the baby comes. I remember before I had kids, my husband and I had all these ideas. We weren’t going to let a baby jeopardize our free-spirited schedule. We’d continue to do our thing, and our children would adapt. I laugh when I think back on that conversation because I was probably the most rigid, scheduled mom once I had my first child. PUT THE PEDAL TO THE MEDAL; NAP TIME IS IN 17 MINUTES!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Once I had a baby, I realized how important structure was, for everyone involved. When you take your baby out of town for the first time or skip nap, you’ll see. Baby will be fussy the whole day. You’ll try everything and nothing will work.
The point is, yes, you have every right to raise your child to be a flexible, well-traveled infant, but you may not want that anymore once you become a parent. If you have big plans to travel or go to medical school or do something else very far away or time consuming, you may want to hold off on the child rearing until those things are in your rear view.
All these ideas aside, having a child is a wonderful blessing in any and every phase of life. No matter how “together” and “ready” you are or feel, motherhood is hard but wonderful work.