Tests To Help You See If You’re Ready For Kids
If there’s one thing I’ve heard from every parent I’ve known it’s this: they had no idea how hard it would be. Or, they’ll say something like, “Nothing prepares you for parenthood.” While that’s true, it seems worth it to at least try some things that may make you feel a bit prepared. Just because nothing can truly prepare one for parenthood doesn’t mean couples should just go ahead and conceive, having had, in no way, experienced what it’s like to adjust their lives for a child. Not even a little. That lack of preparation is what can lead parents to fighting so bad during those first few years of parenthood, that they nearly divorce. While some may say you should enjoy your final months without kids before diving in, others may suggest that you should actually ease yourself into the chaos—early. They may be right. Here are tests to find out if you’re ready for kids.
Caring for an elderly relative
If you have an elderly relative who needs 24-hour care, stay with this relative for a week. He may need help going to the bathroom in the middle of the night, he may need to be reminded to take medication every few hours, and he may need help eating. He may even need diaper changes.
Caring for a sick pet
Hopefully your pet doesn’t get sick, but if he does, you’ll discover if you’re ready for kids. You’ll get up for middle of the night walks when the pet isn’t feeling well. You’ll scramble to take calls from the vet while you’re at work and pick up prescriptions during your lunch break. You’ll need to find someone to stay with the pet any time you leave the house.
Having several houseguests, for a while
Have several friends or family members stay with you and your partner for a few days. Every moment, someone will need something. Where do you keep your mugs? Do you have any cereal? How do you work the remote control? Shoot, they broke something—was that valuable? They need a ride. They don’t have a car here.
The old caring for an egg/bag of flour test
Maybe we’re all too young to have been around during this era, but there was a time when health classes would ask teens to care for either an egg or a flour bag for a week, to show them how tough parenthood is. At the end of the week, that egg or flour bag couldn’t have even the tiniest scratch or mark on it or the student would fail the test.
Set alarms for 2:30 and 5:30 and 7:30 am
These will be roughly the times you wake up for feeding your little one. Do this every night for several nights. And try not to fight with your partner about it.
Hold a 10-pound bag of flour for 30 minutes at each alarm
When you do get up for those “feedings,” hold a ten-pound bag of flour or some other ten-pound item. For 30 minutes. Standing up. Rocking it. That’s about what you’ll do when you have a fussy baby.
Don’t swear for 48 hours
Just try it. Maybe you won’t need this skill around a baby, but when your children begin to speak, you’ll need to clean up your language so they don’t repeat what you say.
Save a third of your paycheck, each month, for three months
Considering that caring for a baby in her first year of life will cost you roughly $12,000 (and that’s a conservative estimate), a couple with a household income of $100,000 a year should prepare to put away about 12 percent of their income, just for the child. And a little more for emergencies. So, start automatically directing that amount to a savings account each month, now, just to see how it feels.
Look happy during all of this
Oh, and while all of this is happening—the midnight feedings, the helping guests use the remote control and find the cereal, and the changing diapers of the elderly relative—you must look happy.
Count every item you don’t want broken or dirtied
Walk around your house and put a little sticker on every item you refuse to get dirty, scratched, or broken. Now, put a sticker on every item that is dangerous for a child. Those are all the things you’ll need to put away for several years.
Have your partner interrupt you repeatedly
Ask your partner to not let you get through half a sentence without interrupting you, and to ask plenty of unnecessary and nonsensical questions after everything you say. That’s what a kid will do.
Neglect your hygiene for three days
Don’t shower, apply makeup, or put on anything besides sweatpants for days. Oh, and don’t brush your hair. This will probably happen when you’re a mom so you may as well get used to it.
Barely see an adult for days
Sometimes, when you have a baby, you won’t see another adult besides your partner for days. You won’t get to speak to a grownup. It’s all baby talk and lullabies and tantrums and crying. Isolate yourself for a few days from the world, just to prepare for the mental warfare.
Watch only Nickelodeon for days
Don’t let yourself watch any of the shows you want to watch for days—or even a week. It should all be Nickelodeon or Disney, because it will be when you have kids. You can’t very well play “Game of Thrones” with toddlers around.
Now try to have a date night
Now after all of that. When you aren’t showered, haven’t slept, and have barely spoken to an adult for days, try to have date night with your partner. You’ll need to still have these when you have kids, and you’ll need to try to enjoy them.