It’s common for millennials to feel the pressure of finding a balance between career and family. This issue has sparked numerous conversations about how our society has changed over the past few decades. In the days of Mad Men and, for some, watching the way our parents did it, it’s clear to see that times are changing and a new mentality has come to surface.
Back in the day, couples got married right out of college, and one partner went off to work while the other stayed home to raise the kids. However, with an increased cost of living, less job stability, and the emergence of new global industries like the booming tech and start-up worlds, there’s no longer a set road map by which to spend your young adult years.
Women are going full-speed after careers of their dreams, couples are taking more time to get to know one another — and themselves — before walking down the aisle, and the lines have been seriously blurred as to what makes for an “appropriate” age to start a family. If you’ve been on the fence about having children, here are 10 signs you’re not ready.
1. You’re constantly on the move
If you enjoy a globe-trotting lifestyle and can’t seem to stay in the same place for more than a few weeks, then beware. As The Guardian points out, babies typically offer up several speed bumps when it comes to traveling. Sure, you might be lucky enough to birth a child who never cries, doesn’t risk catching germs, and is a ready-to-travel tot. But you could also win the lottery.
2. You and your partner are having relationship issues
While no relationship is perfect, and everyone goes through rocky times, having a baby isn’t the answer to solving your problems. Maybe you know someone who decided to have a kid because they thought it would make their relationship stronger and all their problems fade into the abyss. But honestly, do you think bringing a child into an unstable family will solve anything at all? If you thought your relationship was difficult before, try dealing with your previous issues, along with the new challenges that come with having to raise another human being. All the while being sleep-deprived and covered in throw up.
3. You want things to remain exactly the same with your partner
On the flip side of the former point, maybe things in your relationship are going swimmingly. So much so, in fact, you’re worried a baby will change that. Of course, you don’t need us to tell you that yes, a child will undoubtedly change the name of the game in every aspect of your life. But if you’re worried this change will come with more bad than good, The Huffington Post says you should probably hold off.
4. You enjoy eating in peace and value time to yourself
If you often find yourself enjoying long, leisurely meals, either with your friends or by yourself, then it might not be your time to reproduce. While introverts can make great parents, Elite Daily recommends those who truly want, enjoy, and most importantly, need that ever-so-necessary alone time think twice before tossing that birth control in the trash.
5. You’re not financially prepared
Breaking news: Raising kids is expensive! You’re probably already aware of the major undertaking that is having a child, but have you really thought about just how much you might have to give up? Your hobbies, luxuries, and any other unessential expenses in your life might have to take a back seat.
According to information from the U.S. Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, as reported in a Men’s Health article, providing for a child will run you about $12,600 to $14,700 per year, which will only continue to rise as the child grows up. Factor in dance classes, summer camp, prom dresses, basketball tournaments, and everything in between, and you’ll soon be burning some serious dough.
6. You just don’t want to
In life, there will be many things you do not want to do, but must. As an adult, you realize the weight of your choices. You might not want to stick to a diet, but you do, because you’re aware of the consequences of eating poorly. You don’t want to go to work one day, but you do, because you know you can’t afford to lose your job.
These are all situations where you have done something because you knew the outcome would in some way benefit you or your loved ones. Having a child, however, should never fall into this category. If you don’t want kids, don’t be afraid to say it. Be honest with yourself and with your partner. You will do yourself more harm than good in the long run, and doing so at the expense of a child isn’t reason enough.
7. You think having a child means giving up your career
Some people choose to be stay-at-home parents. Others, however, want nothing more than to go back to work just mere months after the baby’s born. Returning to work doesn’t mean you didn’t want to have kids in the first place, but seeing the situation as an either-or scenario does. If you’re terrified that having a baby will force your career onto the back burner, it’s clear you’re not ready to start a family.
8. You feel pressured
Just as feeling pressured isn’t reason enough to get married, neither is it to have kids. Just because tying the knot then starting a family is considered the status quo, it certainly doesn’t mean having a child is the natural next step for everyone. No amount of pressure — whether it be from family, society, or religion — should cause you and your partner to buckle, at least not in the kid department.
9. You feel like you’re racing against the clock
This point is especially geared toward our female audience. We all know the basics of timelines when it comes to bringing life into this world. At a certain point, it’s inevitable a woman will no longer be able to become pregnant. But deciding to have children for the simple fact that you’re fearful you one day won’t be able to is no reason to bring one into this world. Make sure you’re 100% positive you actually want one first.
Luckily, though, there are options if you end up changing your mind several years down the road. If you’re still unsure, but are on the verge of menopause, you can freeze your eggs. “The women who sign up [for freezing their eggs] have thought about it for a while,” Georgia Witkin, Ph.D., told Psychology Today. “There’s always a trigger that prompts them to make the call. It could be a birthday, a breakup, a doctor’s visit or hearing of a friend’s fertility problems.” While such events may spark your interest in freezing your eggs, it’s certainly a better option than having a child before you’re ready. And remember, there’s always adoption.
10. You don’t want your social life to change
Having a kid throws a serious wrench in your social calendar. Do you love partying until the wee hours of the morning — just because you can — and sleeping until noon the next day? Well, you can kiss those days goodbye. As soon as you bring a child into your life, a late night takes on a whole new meaning. According to Bustle, if you’re not ready for major social changes, you’re not ready to have kids. Having children means swapping late-night pizza for midnight feedings. If you’re already concerned about this, it’s clear you’re not ready to have kids.