Submitted by Joe Beckman at Papagio.net
Parenting is difficult. No if's, ands, or buts about it. I'm all about having kids...seriously instead of reading this, you should be trying to make babies. However, with that said, it should NOT be something that is done because you just "think" you are ready. You want your marriage to survive? You want to be the best dad you can be? Than you better not just "think" you are ready... you better "KNOW." Here are 5 things to think about before making this decision. Read them and make sure you are able to check ALL of them off.
1. Take Care Of The Problems You And Your Significant Other Are Dealing With First (At Least The Big Ones)
Truth is, if you think you are going to be stable, strong, and respectful parents if you're not even stable, strong or respectful to your spouse/partner, you are WRONG! Having a kid does not make things go away. Sure it may sweep it under the rug for a bit, but you need to sweep it back out and clean it up before you bring another human life into this world.
2. Experience Life And Everything That It Has To Offer
This doesn't mean go jump out of an airplane, or climb Mt. Everest, or wrestle an alligator, (unless any of that excites you) but rather do one or two things (or more) that you have always wanted to do. If you are a huge baseball nut, go visit Wrigley Field, if you are a Trekky, go to a Star Trek Convention, if you have always wanted to see the The Coliseum up close and personal, book the first flight to Rome. Go do it now! You'll be a better dad because of it.
3. Talk Finances
This is big. Maybe the most important considering how financially draining it is to have children. Now, I'm not advocating to wait with kids until you have made your first million...there are plenty of families who are check to check and still very content. But if you don't plan on how you are going to pay $10,000/year on daycare (oh yes, it's possible) you're going to be in a sticky wicket. You'll pull from other areas to pay, and then you'll accumulate debt, and then that really job that your were once okay with starts to become that stupid company that doesn't pay you enough, you get bitter and bitter and more bitter. Create a plan. And then create a Plan B. (need a financial advisor? I have a great lady that I trust more then anyone with my money. Contact me, and I'll hook you up)
4. Communicate Parenting Styles
This could be a 2 page story on it's own. Look, 100% of parents want to do the best for their kids, and about 99% of spouses will have different ideas on how to make that happen. Sit down and talk each other. Read books. Ask friends/co-workers/neighbors or any other couples that you trust and respect how the approach they are taking. From there, talk to your spouse about what you really feel strongly about, and be prepared to have a reasonable explanation why. You can't just say, "I think spanking is the right choice for disciplining because that's how my parents did it, and it worked on me." Think through your reasons, and don't be SO stuck on one issue that you are not willing to budge. It's all about compromise here, and the more you are willing to budge on certain things, the more likely your spouse will too.
5. Make A Pact, A Mission, A Mantra Etc… That You Are Going To Remember To Always Be Good To Your Significant Other
So the truth behind all of this is that no matter how hard you plan and how ready you are, it's going to a challenge. You ever see the Amazing Race? Sometime even the most likeable couples get ugly every once in while. The stress is just too much. However, the more you can stick true to a common mission of being good and respectful to your partner, the faster you are going to pull through. Write it down, paint it on a wall, tattoo it on your forearm in Chinese letters. Do what it takes to remind yourself to be good to your teammate during this time.
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