Father’s day is, without question, a day to express your appreciation for your father. Whether you do this through a showing of manly solidarity — say, watching the finals over a few dozen wings and beers — or through your usual gift, it will all be in the interest of making your father feel like a good dad.
At day’s end, the smile on your father’s face might get that hamster wheel in your mind turning, and you might think, hey, that could be me! You might begin to realize, perhaps for the first time, that fatherhood is a rewarding and fulfilling venture. Are you ready to be a father?
The fact that you sometimes act like a kid yourself is probably not the best indicator. How can you tell if your fatherhood jones means you are ready to take the leap into fatherhood? Here are a few guidelines to consider.
Let’s say you are with that special lady you love so much. How do you know if you should consider having children? A good place to start is age. Note that the range of age in which people have kids seems to be getting later and widening. Any age between 25 and 35 is fair game; beyond is certainly acceptable as well.
Next, think about where you and your partner are in life. Remember that almost any circumstance can be fashioned into suitability for parenthood as long as the love is there. You may have some school to finish, or she may be in the midst of a career change. If you are both ready, though, there is no reason to hold off. Also note that you can think “outside the box” even with children.
Below are more tips that might indicate your level of preparedness. Note them, and keep them in mind as you figure out whether your life will lead to the creation of one.
signs of readiness
You have established your priorities
As an individual, and before making yourself responsible for another human being’s life, make sure you are fulfilling your own expectations out of life. For example, if you want to be successful professionally, then attain financial stability first. Once you have a strong, loving relationship with a lady, the decision to bring a child into the world becomes simpler.
You’ve found the right person to start a family with
Ideally, your relationship should be long-term in order to raise a child (or children) together. Committed couples can usually discern for themselves when the best time to take the next step is, which for many is after marriage.
You begin to love children more and more
You start noticing the little things about children, and they make you smile. The kids playing in the aisle at the supermarket have been seriously distracting you from your shopping duties. You note crib and baby-monitor prices at the hardware store without thinking. You enjoy and look forward to spending time with your friend’s baby, or your nephew, more than ever. You don’t mind their crying and whining as much as you used to, and so on. Chances are you want a kid.
Your money has kids written all over it…
Your financial plans involve a future family
For some inexplicable reason, you’ve become practical. You bought the Volvo instead of the sports car you’ve been eyeing; you bought a house in the suburbs rather than the downtown condo; you seem to go for the best deal at restaurants. There’s an explanation for this: you feel the encroaching financial commitment of having a child. You’ve stopped thinking about what you can buy yourself all the time and have realized that your money could be spent on something more valuable.
You want to continue the family tradition
Once you feel you are making the right decision in starting a family through marriage, you want to have offspring to carry the family name and gene. Be assured that this will come as pleasant news to your parents, who will certainly enjoy being grandparents, as well as your siblings and extended family. Most of the time, it’s a guaranteed new friend for all of them, at least until your child becomes a standoffish teen.
You sense a massive amount of non-romantic love
Love can be more than just for your partner. It’s true: many people’s desire to have children stems from the seeds of love, which already exists for that child. The love needs a place to grow. Let it happen.
don’t be misled
But before you rush off to the bedroom to start making babies, guard yourself against false leads. You may think that you’re ready, but if your feelings are more about you than the child, then that’s not right. If you feel there’s something missing in your life or you’re a single guy who needs a change, then a child is not necessarily the missing link. Perform a good evaluation of your own intentions before you commit.
Additionally, there are also signs that you are not ready for fatherhood, which may be interspersed with the above. If you’re having some of the following doubts, then perhaps you should put off your plans until you’re good and ready.
You aren’t committed to calming down
If you picture yourself putting the baby to bed and then heading out for a good dozen beers with the boys, then forget it. Old School this ain’t. You can either ditch the partying or put off having a baby until you’re ready to do so. Sure, in the past you’ve been able to juggle school and partying, work and relationships, etc., but raising a child is one thing you can’t “juggle” with lots of recreation.
You still have a lot to do as a couple
You and your partner are still feeling spry and adventurous. Especially if you’ve just gotten married, you may feel the urge to travel, find and renovate a house, be social, start a business together, etc. If that’s the case, then do it, and save the kids for when you want a different household vibe.
it’s about time
For now, take the time to say thanks to your old man for putting up with you for all those years, and for raising you to be the person that you are today.
Spending quality time with your father will mean a lot more to him than you can imagine. No matter how you feel about becoming a father, keep in mind that it’s okay to not want kids. The final decision is yours, and whether you choose to have children and raise a family remains your final pick.
Originally Published: http://www.askmen.com/money/body_and_mind_60/74b_better_living.html