There’s a bit of a trend now with so many people waiting to have kids, that it’s meant that most of mine and Mr Robinson’s friends don’t have any babies yet. Obviously that’s very personal – not every couple even WANTS kids and some might not be able to. Every family forms in their own way at their own rate but one topic that comes up regularly is ‘readiness’. Were we ready to start a family? Were we TRYING? How did we KNOW we were ready?
Full Disclosure: our baby was very much planned and conceived pretty much immediately. For that we can always be grateful, many people won’t have it that easy. However, it meant everything went from 0-60 very quickly. One minute we were making the decision to go for it and see where the wind would take us: the next we were looking at a positive pregnancy test.
In many ways – all the practical, boring, adult ways – we probably were not ready on paper. We were less than a year away from getting married and paying for that wedding. We wanted to move, we had very little saved, and to top it all I had decided not to go ahead with a teaching career that I’d worked towards for my entire life. Within all that, we both knew we wanted kids.
I’ve thought about this ‘readiness’ for a while and if I’m being honest, I don’t think any person is ever going to be Ready. It’s not possible. Emotionally and mentally you can never be Ready.
You can’t sell parenting to people because it’s impossible to explain to someone how it’s going to be worth it. Many people look at the pile of negatives and they can’t align themselves with that change in their lifestyle. Dirty nappies? Getting peed on? Vomit? Considerable sleep deprivation? Childcare? Career breaks? Play dates? Loads of laundry? A gazillion bottles? Colic? Screaming? Crying? A bundle of items that need bought? No-one in their right mind thinks “YES, SIGN ME UP”!
What you can’t explain when you look at that list is that it’s worth it. People tell you it will be but you don’t believe them. All of those nappy changes? Well, in total, they probably only take up 20-40 minutes of my entire day. Sleepless nights? Our baby loves to sleep and yes, there are often BREAKS in sleep but we’ve yet to have a night of literally NO sleep.
We weren’t ready, we were totally unprepared. We got through it. I’m still not ready: I’m not ready for toddler tantrums; weaning; 7 hours of kids shows; nursery; school; or any of the hurdles coming up in our future. There’s no way to prepare for that because it’s going to be completely new for us but we’re going to get through it and it’s going to be worth it.