My Decision to Not Become a Parent Yet Means I'll Be a Good One When I'm Ready

I've always wanted to be a mom, but I wasn't the little girl whose dreams revolved exclusively around this desire — I had other dreams I wanted to pursue, too. I wasn't obsessed with playing dolly (though I did love my American Girl dolls), and I picked games of four square at recess over playing house. But I always knew without a doubt that one day, I'd want to have a family of my own.

Even though I was the baby of the family, I was always at ease around children, assisting my older sister at her babysitting jobs at a young age and taking up my own business as a weekend and summertime nanny as I got older. And I have to say, I had a knack with them. I understand kids; I see how their little brains work to take in the world and absorb information, and I have an easy time empathizing with their emotions. I credit that to two things. First, my memory is notoriously good, so I remember what it was like to be little. And second, I still have not grown out of my childlike interests. I'm a sucker for a throwback book series, movie, game, or TV show. I always click on articles about the '90s and get pure nostalgic enjoyment out of rehashing the past. I will also forever be able to crush Harry Potter trivia. (Legit Gryffindor over here!) This has allowed me to genuinely listen and easily bond with all the kids I've taken care of in my life, as well as my niece and nephew.

However, I'm almost 32 now and happily married, and though kids of my own aren't far off, I'm not quite ready yet. And I think recognizing that I'm not totally prepared to be fully unselfish yet already makes me a good parent.

I am loyal down to my core, sometimes to a fault, and I feel very protective of those who I love. Frankly, I'm a little scared to introduce a child into my world because all those already-intense feelings that I have will multiply an exponential amount. As an aunt, I know that the love is all worth the worry, but I still worry.

In addition to that, aunthood has given me a good peek into what motherhood takes. My head is not in the clouds when it comes to raising a child. I've caught a glimpse of how hard it can be and know that the put-together Christmas cards and perfected social media posts are just one part of the story. That knowledge empowered my decision to not rush into parenthood right after I said "I do." Once that little amazing person made up completely of me and my husband comes into this world, I'm a goner. I know it. Nothing else will ever matter as much.

So I am working hard to check off a few more things on my career and travel to-do list and get some last ducks in a row so I can be fully ready to give myself to my kids, like I know they will deserve. No, I'm not planning to give everything up — very much to the contrary. I want my passions and career to continue to thrive, but still, I know my priorities will shift. That's totally OK and totally expected — I'm just not ready for it quite yet.

So, with that, this is my very first step to being a great parent to my future children. And when the time is right, I cannot wait to meet them.