When you talk about starting a family, people will ask if you are ready. Some families came together without them being prepared, and they managed to survive and even thrive under those conditions. So why does the one word ‘’ready” mean so much?
It is because being prepared mitigates small problems that can potentially make you regret your decision. Creating a family is committing to a new life and standing by that new life until the children can fend for themselves. It is eighteen or more years of looking out for someone else; giving them the necessary tools and freedom to grow. While love and trust are important qualities, there is a technical aspect as well.
- Have a steady income with a cushy safety net
Children are expensive, from their education to their healthcare. You need to be financially ready to take on the responsibility. It doesn’t stop at having a job or business. Steady income is one thing, but the safety net you need is another.
Your finances should be able to take care of you, think retirement fund, health insurance, and emergency fund. As much as you are willing to sacrifice yourself for your child, should anything happen to you, they are still affected. Care for yourself before others. Set aside a minimum of six months’ worth of salary in case of shifts in career and be as debt free as you can.
Start saving money for your child before they are even born; this allows you to seamlessly transition from being individuals to parents without struggling in the first few years of the baby’s life.
- Have a supportive community nearby
Never underestimate the help a supportive community can offer. Besides being physically there to babysit and teach your children. They can be a source of information to you as well, guiding you through tough situations that may seem impossible. Lay down your roots and foster those relationships since they not only affect you but extend to your future children as well.
Try to live in an area that allows you to visit your family and friends (and vice versa). Relationships can withstand distances, but it becomes limited. Be there for the big events.
- Have a regular housing plan
While it is not a must to own a house, it is generally encouraged. Regularly paying rent, moving when issues in the contract happen, compromising with your neighbours or landlord can be difficult when you are juggling childcare as well. Having your own home gives you a level of control. Look for affordable mortgages and loans, it is a risk you need to be willing to take if it means settling down.
If the prices are too expensive in the city look at smaller towns and counties. For example, homes for sale in Mornington are more affordable than an apartment in the capital. Switching environments is common when preparing to have children, since community and family is the new priority. At the very least, have a plan with a fixed home down the line.
These things are not a guarantee for a perfect home life, but they do help deal with the many uncertainties of starting a family and child rearing.