This article gives you nine probing questions to ask yourself to determine whether you or you and your partner are ready to expand your family. These questions will help you whether you are adding a new family member through adoption or the birth of your baby.
If you find that these questions give rise to issues to resolve before expanding your family, the questions themselves will help you find solutions. Best of luck!
Question #1: If You Have a Partner, Are You Both on the Same Page About Expanding Your Family?
This is the first question because if you are in a committed relationship, you both must agree that you want another family member. If one of you is reluctant to commit for any reason, that is a recipe for disaster for everyone involved, including your new baby or adoptee!
Be sure to thoroughly discuss your wish to add to your family with one another, and seek counselling if you find it challenging to convey your wishes or understand your partner’s. It is essential that you both understand and empathize with one another and understand what responsibilities lie ahead if you decide to expand your family together.
If you are in a committed relationship, you and your partner should answer and discuss the following eight questions. If you are single and seeking to expand your family through the birth of a child or adoption, these questions apply only to you. However, you should know that your future pool of people willing to be in a relationship with you will be reduced by the number of suitable candidates that do not want children, only a partnership.
Question #2: Is Your Income Stream Steady and Sufficient to Support Another Family Member?
While government assistance is available for some weeks just before and after you give birth or adopt, those funds are insufficient in the long term to provide for the raising of your child. It would help if you considered your income and the stability of your terms of employment.
How long have you been working there? How often have you had a raise in salary? How stable is the firm that employs you? Do you currently have disposable income that you intend to invest in your child? Do you have six months to a year’s worth of emergency savings in case of job loss, job reduction, or other financial emergencies?
The answer to these questions will determine whether you are sufficiently prepared and financially stable enough to welcome a new family member into your home. While there are plenty of successful parents out there who did not examine their financial situation so closely before expanding their family, by doing so now, you avoid feelings of economic uncertainty and stress—eliminating uncertainty to the extent that it can make you a happier, more influential person and parent.
Question #3: Are Your Housing Arrangements Stable?
Where do you live? This is important to consider because someone living in the spare room of a friend’s flat, or living in their parents’ basement, is less ready to welcome a child into their space than someone who has their own home.
Your home may be a house or an apartment – the type of housing you have does not matter when determining whether your living space is appropriate for a new family member. Plenty of successful parents live in rentals. But you must be able to decide to the best of your ability whether you can remain where you are for the long term.
Stability in housing is an overall stabilizing factor for a family. Starting your family with this expectation, regardless of whatever unforeseen circumstances arise, is ideal for creating the mindset to expand your family.
Question #4: Are Appropriate Education and Activities Readily Available in Your Area?
What is your neighbourhood or village like? Is an appropriate school nearby? Are there parks and places to be and play outside? Is the community socially active? Is there a variety of activities, such as sports, music, dance, or art, for your new family member to do when they arrive?
Suppose you live in an area of commercial properties or live in a very rural area. In that case, you might consider how you will fulfil your child’s needs concerning education, activities, and community and what alternatives are available. These are problems that can be solved with enough planning.
Question #5: Do You Have Enough Room to Add Another Family Member?
This last question regarding appropriate housing for an expanded family regards the space you have at home. Sure, plenty of successful parents have had a child while living in their first studio flat and allowed the baby to sleep in their bottom bureau drawer. Still, eventually, they all have had to find living arrangements with more space to accommodate their growing child.
Solving the problem of space before you welcome your new family member allows you to devote more time to parenting than looking for a new place to live, packing to move, unpacking once you do move, and becoming accustomed to your new community. Assess your space and take action, if necessary now, before your child arrives.
Question #6: Do You Have Enough Time to Devote to Being a Parent?
Parenting takes time, patience, and devotion. Do you have enough of each?
If you’ve been spending your weekends clubbing or hanging out with friends to date, ask yourself whether you are ready to change that to being home with your child. Many young working adults wait to have children until they have had their fill of an active social life. This is perfectly normal.
Regardless of your age, look also at what is taking up your time presently. Sure, there is your employment, but how else do you occupy your time? Do you have hobbies or engage in activities you are unwilling to curtail to have time to parent your child?
Be sure, to be honest with yourself in answering this question.
Question #7: Do You Need Additional Education About Being a Parent?
If this is your first child, you will want to seek advice, information, and/or actual training about parenting a child.
You may think that being a parent will come naturally to you as it has come to parents since time immemorial. However, there are skills one must have to be a successful parent in today’s world. A parent must be a nutritionist, a child psychologist, a nurse, a life coach, a teacher, and a child’s emotional support all at once. Why leave your success at parenting to chance? Be the most effective parent and seek outside resources to expand your knowledge and skill bank.
Parenting classes are even given online for your convenience. Enrolling in one now will provide you with the confidence to begin parenting effectively and calmly from the first moment your child arrives.
Question #8: Are You Willing to Prioritize the Well-Being of Your New Family Member?
If you’ve struggled at all with the last two questions and the issues that arose from considering them, this is the bottom-line inquiry. Are you ready to put your child’s needs above your own?
This means, can you set aside your wishes, preferences, and, yes, requirements to ensure your child’s health, safety, and general welfare? Are you willing to reach out and make an effort to obtain the skills you need to be an effective parent? Can you devote time to being a parent at the expense of your downtime or social time? Are you willing to spend your hard-earned money on your child and their needs and wants rather than on yourself?
If the answer to any of these is no, even a soft no, it is not the right time for you to expand your family. You will be stressed out and resentful of your parental obligations, and your child will suffer as a result.
Again, be honest with yourself. Being honest about where you are in life helps you as well as your future child.
Question #9: Is Your Extended Family Supportive of a New Family Member?
Now that you’ve determined you are ready, willing, and able to parent a new family member, you also have to assess your extended family’s readiness to expand.
If you are close with your extended family, meaning spending regular time with them is part of your lifestyle, you need to know whether they will welcome and nurture a new family member. Are they excited by your news? Are they looking forward to the time when your new child arrives? Does anyone seem reluctant to celebrate your decision with you?
Determining the answer to this is for your well-being and that of your extended family members and your future child. It may be that you must visit with extended family or certain members of your extended family-less, or perhaps more! Regardless, you need to determine who your extended family is on board with your decision and make plans accordingly for yourself and your child.
We have just presented a lot of questions and information that you need to absorb before beginning the process of expanding your family. While this may seem overwhelming, that is okay. Taking responsibility for another human life is a huge step that should not be entered into lightly, but considering these questions and your responses will set you on the right path to a happy and prosperous future.
It is a fact that children do not come to those who are not ready for them. Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the responsibility that comes with expanding your family and how it will affect not only you but those around you as well.
Before adding a new baby to your family, it’s important to consider your current situation and how you and your partner feels about it. While we can’t tell you whether you’re ready to expand your family, we hope this article has given you some things to think about as you explore your options with your partner.
We hope you enjoyed this blog post about how to tell if you’re ready to expand your family. If you have any other questions or concerns about this topic, or wish to add some insights, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
About the Author
Veronica Baxter is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area. She frequently works with the Law Offices of David Offen, a noted bankruptcy attorney in the area.