Someone asked me recently about how I knew I was ready to have a baby. I tried not to laugh. That’s the question that every single parent has asked. And you know what?
There’s no answer. How are you ever “ready”?
But I thought I’d try to answer the question. Because (A) it’s really not nice to laugh at someone who asks a legitimate question and then refuse to answer it, and (B) it is truly a great question. And seriously, before we decided to have children, we didn’t own a home, I had a horrible credit rating, was uncertain about my job and hadn’t been able to keep any of our pet fish or house plants alive for longer than a few months. How on Earth could I think I was “ready” to be a mom?
Here’s my answer:
You are never “ready”. The most financially secure, responsible, educated, organized people are just as unprepared for what’s to come as us average folk.
If you know in your heart you are ready, then that is the real answer.
But if you really want a checklist or some actual verification of what you are getting yourself into, try asking yourself these questions:
Are you ready to have your heart and soul be in another human being?
Are you ready to be totally okay with poop on your hands, a binky in your pocket and spit up or vomit on your shirt?
Are you ready to hold this little being and realize you are overwhelmed with more love than you ever thought you could feel for someone?
Are you ready to watch this little person grow at lightning speed and accept that you cannot stop time?
Are you ready to eat your meals cold and/or feed your child 2x before you’ve even had your first cup of coffee?
Are you willing to accept that you don’t have any answers?
Are you willing to consider another discipline route or try a different parenting method if what you thought was perfect isn’t working?
Are you ready to buy clothes you think are ugly or have cartoon characters on it that aren’t cartoons you’d choose?
Are you ready to do anything that you must do as a parent when your child doesn’t fit in the cookie cutter you planned (yes, that happens. Pretty much 100% of the time)?
Are you ready to reprioritize your entire life?
Are you ready to have a warm beer at 4 pm on a Tuesday instead of a cold one 3 nights per week? Forgo adult movies for 5 years?
Are you ready to stay calm and focused when a teacher or principal tells you that it was your kid who did something wrong and not blame someone or something else?
Are you ready to let go when your child is about to make a mistake? Or get hurt?
Are you ready to feel completely helpless when your child is suddenly a teenager and you have to rely on what you’ve given them to let them be independent?
Are you ready to have to lay down tough love when necessary?
Most importantly, are you ready to put this little person into your life that will force you to feel unconditional love, hope, fear, frustration, exhaustion, comfort, joy, pride and every feeling you’ve ever had to the nth degree?
Are you ready to have a little heartbeat and baby sighs against your chest?
Are you ready to hear “mommy” or “daddy” for the first time and try not to burst into tears?
Are you ready to love like you never loved before?
Are you ready to stand tall and hold back the tears when your child steps onto the school bus for the first time?
Are you ready to walk to your car to head to work even though your child is still screaming during day care drop off?
Are you ready to fight back tears while you are holding your child for the doctor for an xray, shot, splinter removal, etc.?
Are you ready to have this little being take you to the edge of sanity with a 2 hour meltdown and then back again when he/she falls to sleep on your chest?
Are you ready to take the training wheels off your 5 year old’s bike because he’s convinced he’s ready even if you’d like him to wait until he’s 8?
Are you ready to work together with your partner to be the best you can?
Seriously? Who is ready for this?
But if anyone asked themselves these questions beforehand and over-thought it to death, then we’d have a lot less families in this world.
Go for it. Promise to do the best you can. And you are as ready as you will ever be.