Posted by Duff

How do you know you’re ready to have a child?”

My mother, who I would describe as practical, frugal, responsible, said, “You just know. And don’t wait until you have enough money saved, because you’ll never have enough.”

Surprisingly Zen advice, and easy for her to say, since her kids are in their thirties, balanced-diet-eating adults who say ‘thank you’ and have never been incarcerated. She can say whatever she wants with been there/done that credibility.

So I waited to just know. I used to believe in signs, to the foolish point of seeing them where none existed. So nowadays, signs have to club me over the head.

There are those who were born knowing they wanted to become parents and those who are shocked to find out that they will be parents at all. But if you’re the third kind, like me, there’s a journey to reach that state, quietly punctuated with sign posts. A small child might make eye contact with you, unblinking, and smile. Suddenly, pictures of your colleague’s new baby are of interest, and you’re not just being polite. But if you’ve listened to a new parent talk about sleep deprivation or tub poopies and you still aren’t doubling up on birth control, it’s probably time.

My sister-in-law told me: “I asked myself, what’s preventing me from having a child? So, I like to take naps after work. I’m not going to have a child because I’d miss an occasional nap?”

She and my mother were onto something, by the way. There would never be enough money in the bank, assuming a college education will cost more than my home is worth in 2023. I don’t sleep in anymore, but as far as my daughter is concerned, I’m on par with Lenny Kravitz. I can tell you no amount of sleep (unless it’s during the newborn stage) feels as good as being the Dervish’s rock star.

Sure, I miss certain things about my life pre-child. Most of them have to do with sitting still or doing things slowly. But none of them is nearly as rewarding as watching the Dervish discover a bug or succeed at getting an entire forkful of rice into her mouth without dropping a single grain. There is no substitute for watching miracles happen.

So, along with my mother’s eyes, I plan to pass along her advice to my daughter (hopefully once she’s 30, has done a few things she can always look back on and say “those were some great times, just for me” and has found a partner who loves her as much as her parents do). She will know when it’s time.

So, how do you know you’re ready for #2?

When your 22-month old pulls Babies and Other Hazards of Sex by Dave Barry off the shelf, holds it open to the chapter entitled “Are You Ready for Another?”, calls “Mommy!” and points to the burning question. On Mother’s Day.

Did I say signs had to club me over the head? That one left a mark.

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