Am I Ready To Have Children?

Today I saw a blog post about knowing if you are ready to have kids. The blogger talked about people being in love with the idea of a wedding and not really thinking about the long haul. She wondered if she was in love with the idea of having a baby. You know the shower, the excitement, the gifts, the cute baby stuff. She posed the question: How do I know I am ready?

I started to leave a comment, at which point I realized I had a lot to say on the subject. I decided to make it a post instead. Maybe some of you are wondering the same thing. Or maybe some of you have ideas to throw into the mix.

These are my ideas and opinions based off of my experience. They are in no means meant as a judgment or will they hold true for everyone.

In general: if you are thinking this much about having children, you’re probably ready. Well as ready as you will ever be (more on that later). My guess is: you haven’t spent your entire adult life seriously contemplating children. If it is weighing on your mind a ton now, it is probably because it is time.

The short answer: You are never ready to have kids. There is never a good time.

If you are waiting to be “ready” or for a “good time” you probably aren’t ever going to get there. At some point you just want kids, so you dive in. You cannot possibly ever be ready, because you cannot possibly fathom what being a parent means. Sure, you had parents, yes, your friends have had kids and yes, you read every book there is on the subject, but guess what? None of it makes you ready to hold this human being and be fully responsible for it. Nothing.

There will always be things on the list: a bigger house, a better car, a bigger paycheck, more in savings. My theory on these things: I am not going to make permanent decisions on non-permanent factors. I could win the lottery 5 years from now. Okay, not likely, but the point is these factors change. People get new jobs, people lose jobs, people get promotions, people win the lottery. When you are 70 looking back on it all, is the big savings or the car you drove 40 years ago really going to matter? No. The family that surrounds you, that you created, will.

How do you know if you want kids? I like to think about my future. Do I want to be 70 eating Christmas dinner with just my husband? Or do I want to be 70 and have a house full of children, their spouses and grandchildren? If 70, with just you and the hubs sounds good, maybe kids aren’t for you, but if you see yourself surrounded by a whole crew I guess that means you need to start a family.

Taking the leap is hard. I know it is hard. Having children will change every aspect of your life. It will change your life in ways you cannot even imagine. I am not going to pretend that it is always easy, but anything worth having takes work.

The neat thing about having children is how it changes all of you. I believe I have a strong marriage. I love my husband, but more then I love my husband, I love my family. I love what we are as a unit. I love seeing my husband as a father and Quinn as a son and a brother and Eleanor as a daughter and a sister. I love the way we compliment each other. Watching my family grow and evolve has been the most rewarding experience of my life.

No trip, date or night out with friends will ever compare to my family. My husband and I look back at life before children and wonder what we did with our time and where we found our joy. Once you meet these little beings that are such a perfect mix of you and the person you love, it is kind of hard to imagine a world without them. Their enthusiasm for life and the way they look at the world is refreshing. It reminds you to find more joy in life. Actually, it practically forces you to find joy.

The thing to remember with children is: This too, shall pass. When you are tired and worn out…this too, shall pass. When they are snuggled in your arms…this too, shall pass. Raising children is a journey, an adventure and it passes way too quickly. Each stage brings new challenges and new rewards. Like everything in life, you get out what you put in.  Reminding yourself that a diaper change is a time to make silly faces and noises with your baby, or a middle of the night feeding is extra snuggle time makes the moments count.

My children give me far more than I give them. They literally make me a better person. They make me think twice about the way I talk to my husband and to others. They have changed the way I look at the world. They find joy in everything, and in turn, I find joy in everything. They are really stinking funny. We laugh a lot around here. They love and adore me and my husband. They want to wait on the front porch for daddy to get home. When he does, they run into his arms yelling, “daddy!” Do you know what that does for someone’s self-worth and their confidence? Watching them grow and learn and turn into people you are proud of is beyond cool.

If you are wondering how we got here, how we got to the point where wanted to have children. We bought our house, I ran out of birth control and we said why not? Now is as good of time as any. And what do you know? If I thought about it, if had worried about it, if I had waited until we were financially ready, until everything was just so, we still wouldn’t have kids. The last, almost 4 years, have been nothing short of incredible and I am so glad I dove into parenthood.

What are your thoughts? How did you know you were ready? Are you still on the fence? Is anyone getting pregnant tonight ;)?


For more personal posts or more on being a mom check out: Waiting For Someday, How I Came to Be A SAHM, The Best Day of Your Life & Other Lies, Trusting Your Mommy Instinct, The Simple Joys of Being Mom, Don’t You Get Bored, Guilt, A Mother’s Curse, Eleanor’s First Laugh, The Family Movie Night That Never Was

  • Rhetta Hallstrom McIff

    Oh, how I remember talking on the phone with my best girl friend and asking her the exact same question! Her reply was exactly what I needed. You’re ready when you no longer have reasons NOT to have children.

    We often think about all the reasons why we would love to snuggle a baby and dress it in adorable outfits knowing it will stay perfectly clean all day long (ha! ha! ha!). Thinking about why not to have a baby is a tough one. For me, I wanted to have some time with just myself and my husband but I also wanted to be a young mom. I wanted to provide a good home but I knew our finances weren’t going to change much in a few years time. Was I ok with not having new hip clothes for a while? Was I ok with less sleep? Was I ok with sharing my husband? Could laundry and I become friends?

    I think the funniest part about it all is that even if you’re trying to be real about starting a family, you still get blown completely off your chair! You find out who you really are when you have been awake for 3 days with a sick child. You find out that you have courage beyond any warrior in the world. You find that you would step between your child and anything that would harm them…willingly! You will emit a ferocious growl if someone even looks menacingly at your child. It’s pretty cool!

    Great blog post! You took me back to some pretty amazing memories…my kids are now 14 and 10. Wow…

    • Megan Bray

      Great comment! It is pretty incredible how even when prepared, you are so unprepared. And yes, pretty amazing what becoming mom does to you. Thank you so much. I loved every word of it!

  • Melissa Schartz

    So glad you did a post! I think you’re totally right, it’s so heavy on my mind because I AM ready. :) Thank you!

    • Megan Bray

      You are welcome. And even when you make up your mind you’re in, it is still pretty shocking to get back a positive pregnancy test :).

  • Ann Marie

    Beautiful, beautiful post. That’s all I’ve got, other than “I agree with every single thing you wrote” :)

  • Gigi

    I hesitated commenting as it’s been a few years since I decided to become a mom….but I just had too say how empty my life would be if I hadn’t been blessed with my four kids…so many years of wonderful memories…and now the undefinable joy my grand kids bring me….so happy…so blessed…so lucky!!!

    • Megan Bray

      Taught me everything I know :)

  • sara muszynski

    Every word that you wrote is beyond true. I agree with it all 100%! It made me teary eyed.

    • Megan Bray

      Thanks Sara. Isn’t it funny that even after you have a kid, making the choice to do it again is just as hard.

  • Geri Johnson

    We were ready for kids after we’d been married a couple of years. I stopped taking the pill & waited 7 years for pregnancy to happen. By this time two of my younger sisters had already had a couple of kids. I miscarried my first pregnancy the same day one of my sisters gave birth to her 2nd child. That miscarriage devastated me. I felt like I was standing on the edge of a bottomless pit and that if I let myself go I would never climb out of it.

    I wanted a baby so badly that I could not hold someone else’ s baby because I knew I would not be able to give them their baby back without bursting into tears. I stopped attending baby showers for friends because I didn’t want to be the idiot crying in the corner. It seemed like everywhere I looked or went their were either pregnant women or women with newborns.

    But a year after my miscarriage, I was pregnant again & on July 7, 1980 during record setting heat in Dallas of 113 degrees I finally had the little girl I dreamed of. And 5 years later her brother was born.

    Now my first baby is a mommy x 2 herself. She has a 3 yr old son and a 6 month old daughter.

    I thought my kids were the joy of my life but now I have grandkids and they too are my joy and my blessings!

    • Megan Bray

      I am sorry you had to go through so much heartbreak to get there, but I am glad you go there. My mom left the same comment about grandkids. Hopefully, someday I will find out all about that joy. Thank you for sharing.

  • Bridget

    My first daughter was not planned. I wasn’t ready. My second daughter was planned. I was more than ready. In the end, it didn’t matter if I was ready or not… I love them both to pieces and wouldn’t have it any other way.

    • Megan Bray

      They are pretty loveable :)

  • wearewatson

    Thanks for this encouragement! Just something I needed to hear. :)

    • Megan Bray

      You are welcome.

  • Nancy

    Wow…this is something I really needed to read right now. I desperately want them. I need them in my life. Hubby feels much of the same. Our stumbling block is where we live: not a good neighborhood for kids, and we’re trying hard to get out first. But you’re right, there’s always going to me something more. You’ve reestablished my confidence in just going for it!

    • Megan Bray

      I’m glad it helped :)

  • Becky M.

    I couldn’t have said it better!!!! As my husband and I are contemplating baby #3, we’re worried if our house is big enough….having to star over with another newborn…vacation next year….and I was reminded that we were “never ready”. Our family should not be put on hold for these factors. This is very well written and so true!

    • Megan Bray

      We are in the exact same position with number 3. It is a leap of faith each and every time.

  • Heidi Milton

    Ha ha, 2 of my 3 were surprises — the first and the last. Wouldn’t change a thing! We plan and God decides, and he never gives us more than we can handle.

    • Megan Bray

      Well said.

  • Jess B

    I am currently almost 10 weeks pregnant with my second child. I also have a nearly 10 year old son. Neither pregnancy was “planned” but I am so over the moon about both of them. My SO has an 8 year old girl that I didn’t give birth to but love like she was my own. We are currently scrambling to combine two households/two families into one. It is hectic and crazy…but beyond worth it. Your words ring SO TRUE. We never would have planned to do this now. We weren’t ready. But it is all going to work out and we can’t wait to welcome our 5th family member in April :)

  • Samantha

    Beautifully said!

    • Megan Bray

      Thank you!

  • QingyuanMama

    When I was very young, I heard a man at work say that it was never a “convenient” time to have children. His wife and he were excitedly expecting twins, and his view was you could plan and save and wait ’til (ha!) you had your ducks in a row, but really it was nothing you could be ready for. Flash forward to my late ’30s when I found myself still unmarried, but in a lovely home, my education complete, and working for a company that was incredibly, generously, family-friendly. And I had a huge, supportive family. I was raised! Now it was another little girl’s shot. I knew I was ready, so I adopted my fabulous 1-year old daughter. “Ready” is very subjective. And when you are, you *still* won’t be ready for the feeling of having your heart live outside your body and for the incredible joy.

    • Megan Bray

      It has taken me so long to respond to this, because I was looking for the “right” words. Still don’t have them. I just loved this comment. When it came through on my phone, I read it and teared up. What a lucky little girl!