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Sam Dobson Writes: Ten Things To Do Before Having Kids

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ten Things To Do Before Having Kids

Yesterday Blake and I took the old jelly bean car (I had a little hatchback) and traded it in for a more "grown up" vehicle. We upgraded to a Volkswagen Tiguan, a crossover or small SUV. I'm still not totally convinced that I actually have a new car, some pinching may be necessary. Anyways, I was in desperate need of more space. Transporting rescues in a teeny, tiny automobile is not fun; especially when said rescues are huge and obnoxious. I've literally had dogs try to climb into my front seat while driving on the freeway and that's some scary shit. This new vehicle will allow me to better contain the sometimes naughty dogs I chauffeur around.

Eager to show off my first big girl car, I quickly posted a photo to my social media accounts. Turns out, most of my family and friends only have one thing on their mind...babies. Numerous people thought it necessary to point out how such a vehicle could be useful in the event of an "accident" on our part. Well, I quickly assured everyone that Blake and I are no where near ready to add a human member to our family. Even so, some people are getting antsy. After we adopted our last dog, my mother and I were getting a pedicure when she turned to me and said "you're never going to have kids, are you?" Truth is, I'm not really sure what's going to happen in that facet of my life. We are undecided as of yet and in all honesty, we aren't in any hurry.

Now that I'm getting older, I realize how much having a kid will change our lives. Yes, most of those changes will be good things, but there are plenty of things you can't do, shouldn't do, or won't get away with doing once you have little munchkins running around. There are also plenty of things you should get out of the way before you plan on popping one out. Here's a few things you should do before creating mini-me's.

Blake and I with my nieces Ava and Sage

1. Establish your career goals and decide if you will want to be a stay at home mom. Work is important to me and it will probably be something I'll always want to do. I don't know that I could be happy being a legit stay at home mom, but maybe I could compromise and attempt to work from home? But first, I have to get my career moving and successful so that could be an option. I know that I'm not exactly where I want to be in my professional life and having kids right now would make it that much more difficult to achieve my career goals. If you prefer to stay at home with the kids, you'll want to make sure that will be financially possible.

2. Do some traveling. If you didn't get to do a post-college Europe trip or if you just can't enough adventure, take a dream vacation now when you don't have to do so with a baby in tow. Traveling with kids can fun, but hiking up to Machu Picchu is no easy feat for a toddler. Once the kids come, your trips will most likely consist of amusement parks or family-friendly camping. I may not have taken all my dream vacations thus far, but I have done a month of backpacking through some parts of Indonesia and a few trips to Costa Rica. And yes, I hope to cross more destinations off my list.

3. Get situated in a home. I realize that it may not be in everyone's financial abilities to buy a home in the present time and that's okay. I don't believe you have to own a house to successfully care for a baby. However, I do believe you should be established and settled in the home in which you reside. If you're renting, make sure it's a suitable place for a baby. Loud, partying neighbors or a sketchy part of town should be enough to give your current landlord notice. If you can afford your own home, it's probably a good idea to get all major renovations done before the kids come. Might be difficult to finish those projects when the baby needs feeding, burping, and changing, among other things.

4. Have a lot of sex. Seriously, as much as you can. All I hear from parents with young kids is how difficult it is to keep the sex-spark going. It can already be difficult for busy, child-less couples to avoid slacking in the bedroom, I can't imagine adding a kid to the mix of obligations. You proud mothers out there, don't go getting your panties in a bunch. I'm not saying it's impossible to have sex or that your kid is just an "obligation". All I'm saying is that with so much on our plate these days, it's easy to let intimacy with your spouse fall through the cracks. Get as much sex in before the babies come, you don't know how much you'll get for the next eighteen years...dun, dun, dun! (That was my dramatic, shock sound effect.)

5. Ask each other the tough kid questions. Blake and I get along seamlessly in so many facets of our relationship, it's hard to believe that we would have any problems when it comes to kids. I married a man with similar morals to my own, so there should be no issues, right? Wrong. We took a short quiz on kid-based decisions and it became apparent that we aren't exactly on the same page for all aspects of raising a child. And no, I won't go into detail regarding our disagreements here. No need to get either of our mothers worked up. But seriously, discuss the basic, but important, parenting questions with your partner before bringing an innocent child into the world. Discuss religious beliefs, educational path, grandparent involvement, breast feeding vs. bottle feeding, etc. Make sure you are on the same page or at least compromise where you can.

6. Get your partying done now. Yes, people with kids can still have loads of fun. The reality is those people usually have kids who are a bit older. If you have a toddler or younger, you find a trustworthy babysitter or you stay home. Even if you do have reliable friends, family, or help in general, it's kind of crappy to go out every Friday and Saturday night to get shitfaced while your baby is cared for by someone else. Am I wrong? And if you're breastfeeding a baby, you'd have to pump and dump all the time and that's just far from classy. By all means, go out and have a good time, but do so when the timing is right. It's easy to go out and party your ass off on a consistent basis when you don't have a child to raise.

7. Spend some time with young kids. If you are thinking about having kids but not so sure that you're ready, test the waters. Offer to babysit for a family member or friend. If you can't handle a night with two year old (no matter how terrible this two year old may be), you probably aren't ready. Any time I babysit my nieces, I always think about how it would be to have one of my own. They are pretty well behaved little girls, but they are still kids that require a lot of attention and tending to. It's easier to gauge whether or not you're up for something when you get hands on experience.

8. Go ahead, spoil yourself a little. Once you have kids, they will be the light of your life and the financial black hole. Your trips to the mall will consist of Baby Gap instead of Steve Madden, you didn't really need those sexy new pumps anyways. That precious bundle of joy will cost you a pretty penny or two. Splurging on unnecessary buys may become obsolete once you pop out a kid. I get buyer's remorse from buying Old Navy jeans on sale for $15. What the hell will happen to my wardrobe (if you can even call it that) when I have kids!?! I don't want to be the mom who looks like a homeless person, so much so, that their kid would rather walk the few miles to school than be caught dead in the same car.

9. Address any problems you may be having in your marriage. Of course you and your partner will bicker and argue from time to time, but if there appears to be one reoccurring theme to fights, it may be a bigger issue. If you constantly argue about frivolous spending or lack of intimacy, your relationship may need a little TLC before adding kids to the mix. A baby will not fix your existing relationship problems. Don't bring innocent Junior into an environment in which his parents will continuously fight over shopping sprees and lack of sex. Face those issues head on and attempt to fix them before cutting the umbilical cord.

10. Make sure you have a reliable partner in crime. No, I'm not talking about your bestie who always helped you provide an alibi to your parents after an all-nighter. I'm talking about your spouse. Make sure you have a partner you can depend on to be there for you and your new addition. Both future parents should be on board when planning for children. If you can't depend on your partner to stand by your side through thick and thin, you might not want to raise a child with him or her. If you know your husband will rub your back when you're in pain, hold your hair back when you're puking, attempt to not pass out during labor, and be an overall amazing father, then you've got the green light. I know with all certainty that if and when the time comes for us to add to our pack (yes, it's a pack because the dogs outnumber the humans), Blake will be an amazing father. I said "if and when", don't get all excited.

*As I said above to all of you proud mama bears out there, don't get your panties in bunch. I'm not a mom, nor do I pretend to be. I'm simply providing what I believe to be commonsense information to my fellow twenty-somethings contemplating whether or not it's the right time to have kids. And of course, none of this really matters if you have an "accident". Then you're screwed and you better just hunker down and get prepared. If that's the case, good luck to you and yours!

Oh! And here is a picture of me with my new car because I can't stop bragging about it :)

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At November 18, 2014 at 11:54 AM , Blogger Along Came Mary said...

My last comment went bye bye, but I said this is the best post I've come across in awhile! Its PERFECT & I completely relate! I especially want to travel more before kiddos. Thanks for getting me thinking! :)

At November 18, 2014 at 8:44 PM , Blogger Sam Ulmer-Dobson said...

Awe, thank you so much! I appreciate the kind words. Thanks for reading!


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