How Long Should You Wait to Start a Family?

Moth and daughter laying in grass together

Life doesn’t often give us the opportunity to map things out for ourselves, so when it’s time to decide when to have kids it’s no surprise many feel stuck. It’s hard especially when you both know you want kids. Not to mention all the not so subtle hints your family and friends may throw your way.

You may not know when the right time is, but there are road markers you can look to and get an idea. When it comes to something as big as having children, you want to know for sure. You could always make like Lily and Marshall from How I Met Your Mother and wait for signs from the universe, but let’s look at these other factors to get a more concrete idea.

Have You Accomplished Your Goals?

What are the big dreams you and your spouse have that you hope to accomplish? Sit down with your partner and make a list. Are there some goals on that list that require most of your attention? If so, you’re probably going to want to work on these goals without children. Maybe one or both of you want to travel. Maybe you’ve been wanting to go back to school. There are a lot of reasons to wait on having kids and although some of your goals can be worked on with children, it’ll be much harder. Decide what goals can and can’t wait until after you have little ones. You’ll know you’re ready to start having kids when none of those goals seem as important as having children.

Baby putting coins in a piggy bank

How’s That Wallet Looking?

Another good sign to know whether you should start having kids is your bank account. How are you and your partner doing financially? Whether you want it to be true or not, kids are expensive. You’ll want to make sure you’re in a relatively stable financial position before getting pregnant or adopting. This rule can feel a bit harsh. You may be thinking, “but we really want kids now!” Think about how stressful it will be trying to raise your first child while worrying about money. It’s better to wait a bit and work on your finances before making any decisions.

Where Are You?

Speaking of finances, I’d like you to meet finance’s cousin: location. Where are you at literally? You could feel super ready to have children, but is your house? Think about how hard it will be to raise a child in your studio apartment. Are you in the right neighborhood? Although it’s not absolutely essential that you be in your dream home to have kids, you should at least know how far off a family-friendly home is. You’ll want to know that you can move by the time your child is older or when you have the second. Check your finances again and discuss moving with your partner.

Mom with a baby on bed

Are You Ready?

Knowing when it’s the right time to have kids is more than just details, it’s also a very emotional decision. You may want kids, but are you sure you’re really ready? If that question made you pause, you’ll want to think on it some more. What about your partner? It may be the case that you’re super ready, but they’re not quite. Don’t you want to be on the same page especially about something as big as parenthood? While it is true that you can never be completely ready, you should at least both want to start right away. If one of you feels that more time is necessary, then what’s the harm in waiting a bit? Use your emotions as your guide. As long as one of you feels they need more time, keep waiting. Once you both feel ready, then start trying. It’s as simple as that.

Be Young

Take age into consideration. How old are you and at what age do you want to have kids? Depending on how young you both got married, you may still be pretty young. Decide whether you need time to live out your young and free years. Does this kind of thing matter to you? Some people don’t care about that at all and just want to have kids right away. Be careful though, sometimes this choice comes back to haunt couples who didn’t take enough time and regret it later. The key is, you want to feel satisfied with the young years you’ve spent. Once you have a child, you become something else. You’re no longer a young adult, you’re a parent.

Couple cuddling together on couch

Couple’s Time

One of the main reasons people wait to have kids is to spend more time just being a couple. It’s important to look at your relationship. Are you both so solid as a team you’re not even worried about this? It honestly depends on the couple. Maybe you’ve both been living together for a long time even before you were married and exist together flawlessly. Either way, you’ll want to be sure you’ve had enough time to just be together and build your marriage before you have children.

Knowing the right time to have kids can be hard because it’s such a personal matter. It’s hard to know how to talk about any doubts you may have. Just be sure to have lots of open and honest conversations with your partner about your readiness. Regardless of the people who try to stick their noses into this issue, it truly is a private decision. So talk with your partner and go over all the things we’ve talked about. If you decide together, you can’t go wrong.

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