Deciding to have a child is one of the biggest decisions a person can make. Although having a baby is a wonderful experience that results in a mini human who kind of looks and acts like you (which is pretty awesome), kids come with an enormous amount of responsibility and they require you to change a lot of little — and big — things about your lifestyle. Some people know their whole lives whether or not they want to have kids, but if you're on the fence, there's plenty to consider before making your decision.
Read through and answer the following nine questions honestly. Talk to your partner about your responses, especially the questions you answered differently, and decide if those spark any sort of deal breakers.
1. Do you enjoy spending time with children?
Do you happily hang out with the kids of friends and family members? Answering "yes" doesn't necessarily mean you're ready to have a baby, and it's totally OK if your answer to this is "no" – some people don't fall for kids until they have one of their own. Regardless, think about why you answered the way you did before committing to having a child of your own.
2. Do you have the means to support a child financially?
No one likes talking money — it's awkward and uncomfortable. But be honest with yourself about your income and if you have enough money coming in for all the things a baby needs. Be prepared to consider a few financial sacrifices here and there as well, like not taking expensive vacations or eating meals at home more often than not.
3. Do you have a good network of people around for emotional support?
An important thing to consider before having a kiddo is the people you surround yourself with. Sometimes moms and dads just need to vent about their kids, or conversely, they want to talk about something completely unrelated to kids to feel like their old selves for a minute. Make sure you have friends and family who can emotionally be there for you when things get tough — you're going to need them.
4. Are you considering a child to save a relationship?
Hey, sometimes kids can save a failing relationship, but most of the time, they won't. If you're trying to salvage the love between you and your partner, that's something you should do well before deciding to have a child together.
5. If you ever babysat, did you enjoy it?
Did you babysit purely for the 20 bucks, free snacks, and to watch movies after the kids were asleep, or did you babysit for the experience and because you love looking after little ones? If it's the former, did you actually like the time you spent with the kids before bed, and do you think you handled all of your caregiving tasks well? Just something to consider . . . parenting is 24/7 and you most certainly do not get paid for it.
6. Do you value your social life above all else?
If you're the type of person to pack a million events and people into your days to get the most out of your social life, think about whether that's something you're prepared to give up. Your social life will probably take a huge hit after a baby, so if that's one of the most important aspects of your life, you may want to wait a bit longer.
7. Will it bother you to be the first of your friends to have a baby?
You don't need to have kids just because your friends do, but if you are the first person out of your group to have kids, bear in mind that you may not have as much time to be around them — or as much in common with them — once the baby comes. If you think you're going to be missing out on too much, that's a valid feeling to consider.
8. Is getting tons of sleep extremely important to you?
If you prioritize your love of going to sleep early, sleeping in on weekends, and taking naps, you may be in for a reality check. It's one thing if you're getting sleep now because you know you won't once you have a baby, but if you really value sleep and aren't willing to live some of your days on empty, a kiddo schedule may not be for you.
9. Are you easily irritated by children crying and misbehaving in public?
It's easy to respond to this by saying, "Yes, I get aggravated when kids are brats in public, but my kids will never do that." Spoiler alert: your kid probably will be a brat in public at some point regardless of your parenting skills. It's natural not to love the sound of a screaming baby while you're trying to enjoy a meal or fly cross-country, but if every time you witness this behavior it sends you into a hostile tailspin, it's better to know now if this alone is a true deal breaker for you.