photo by Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash

Planning for Parenthood

October 11, 2021

by mikkie mills, guest contributor

So much is changing in the country today, but one thing that Americans are consistent about is their desire to have children. Since the 1970s polls have reported that over 90% of adults have children or are planning to in the future. Of adults that have had children, only 10% say it is a decision that they question. So if you are planning to have kids in your future, you are in good company and it is a choice you can be sure will bring you joy. Here are a few things to think about to help you plan to be a successful parent.

Know What You Want in a Partner

Not everyone is cut out to be a parent, and if building a family is a life goal for you, you need to consider this when looking for a future mate and co-parent. Don't go crazy with this, after all no one is perfect, but you should have a shortlist of qualities that are deal breakers for you. You may find that using professionals like Los Angeles matchmaking services is a great way to hone your choices.

If you see a family in your future, you'll need a partner who is at least on the path to being financially secure. One of the biggest stresses that parents report is over the financial requirements of raising children. In today's world, you'll need a partner with a good financial outlook.

You need to speak openly with any potential partner about their views on starting a family. If they say they don't want kids, you need to really hear that. Don't assume they'll change their mind in the future. They may, but if you're the kind of person who feels their life won't be complete without kids, that's not a chance you can afford to take. If they share your dream, then talk openly about the timeframe in which you see this happening. Talk about your views on parenting, schooling and discipline. Start now to become the team you will need to be to become successful parents.

Embrace Your Freedom Now

Although only a tiny fraction of parents report regretting having kids at all, many do say that they wish they had enjoyed their pre-parent life more. Having children is a great blessing, but there are many things that you will sacrifice when you transition to being a parent.

Make plans to do the things that will be challenging to do once you have kids. Many parents say they wish they had traveled more, finished a higher level of education, or fulfilled dreams of risk-taking activities like sky diving or parasailing. If you live the pre-children stage of your life well, you won't have regrets about what you can't do once the children are here.

Study Parenting

Most big life goals require study and planning. People spend years in college to prepare for a career. Even recreation goals need forethought. If you had dreams of hiking the entire Appalachian Trail, you'd study up on it, right? You'd start a fitness program, learn about potentially dangerous wildlife, educate yourself on the best hiking shoes and how to pack your backpack. And yet few potential parents approach parenting in this way. 

If you are lucky, you've learned a lot about what it takes to be a good mom or dad from your own parents, but you could learn a lot more by studying parenting. Will you be a helicopter parent or more hands-off? What about discipline? Do you want to homeschool? Take this time to educate yourself on the various parenting techniques and think about which ones suit you best, recognizing that the actual journey of parenthood requires immense adaptability. Still, don't leave being a great parent up to chance.

Parenting is wonderful and challenging. If you already know this is a major life goal, then you need to prepare for it. Choose your partner wisely and take the time to study how to be a great parent. In the meantime, enjoy the life you have now so that you will have no regrets when you move on to the next stage.

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