Sunday, April 23, 2006

Are you and your Spouse Ready for a Baby?

By Christina VanGinkel

Many women today embrace a lifestyle of being single, going to college, and entering a high paced job field. Some of these same women, maybe you even, then meet the man of their dreams and before they know it, they are still in the high-paced job field that they strived so hard to get to, but they might also be entertaining the fact of joining the high-paced job of mother. If this scenario describes you, even somewhat, then be sure to read on for a few thoughts that might help you make your decision about possible motherhood being added to the mix.

If you are already pregnant, the choice of becoming a mother might already be made. If you are just entertaining the idea though, there are aspects of combining the two, job and family, that you can consider beforehand, which can help you make the decision.

Financial security is an important issue. Sure, people of all economic brackets have kids, but the more financially stable the parents are, the easier it will be to provide for them. Go over your finances before making any decisions, and be sure that you and your spouse are at least somewhat on the same level of where you want to be now and in the future. Outfitting a nursery, diapers, formula, lost job time, cost of daycare, schooling, etc, should all be looked at with as much common sense as possible.

What options, as far as daycare centers and other forms of childcare, are there from which you can consider? Besides daycare centers, there are often nannies and private babysitters. Finding out which of these options is available to you can be a major make or break point in your decision. The suitability of each, such as how clean they are, how crowded, what the daily routines at each are like, and the cost, will all play a part in the decision process. Suitable baby care must be available, otherwise you may be left with the choice of having to leave a job that you do not want to, and maybe cannot even afford to consider leaving. The importance of two incomes and the benefits that certain jobs provide for a couple or family is more common these days than ever before, with the rising costs of everything from the mortgage payment, health insurance issues, to fuel costs.

Does your job or your spouse's have a positive outlook or maybe a program of some type in place for when a child is sick and a parent needs to miss a day or two of work? Even the best of babysitters or daycare centers will often want a parent to stay home when a child is sick, to avoid the ill child contaminating other children that are at the same center.

Check if your company has a program that allows a parent to bring along an infant for the first few months of life, when they are too young to be crawling around and getting into things, and offer a daycare center on site for when baby must be moved to a more traditional means of daycare. If the company that you work for offers such a program, count yourself lucky, but also consider how this might benefit your interaction with any child you might choose to have. You can often pop in on breaks, and eat lunch with the child on a somewhat regular basis.

Problems with delivery and the health of a newborn is not something many expectant parents want to think about, but they do happen. Be sure to consider what might happen in a worst-case scenario, even one that might be short term, but also issues that might be long term. Do you have family nearby that could offer a network of support, or will you be left to deal with the good and bad all on your own, just the two of you?

Are you emotionally prepared for a newborn, and how about your spouse. Are you ready to give up at least some of your fancy dinners out and last minute weekend getaways? Some people do manage to keep up the lifestyle they had before baby arrived, and others do a complete turn about. The majority seem to land somewhere between, still having a social life, but not to the degree that they had before baby.

Adding a baby to your life is a big decision. Take the time to think about it as realistically as you can, and you will at least know that you took the time to consider the different aspects of how your life might be altered before you make the big announcement that you are expecting!

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