How do you know when it’s the perfect time for you to start a family? Or have baby number 2, 3, 4, or a football team?
It feels good when you have a dream, you can turn into a plan and, eventually, reality. Humans are programmed with an ability to plan ahead. Seen from an evolutionary point of view, it is a rather useful skill – it has helped us prevent accidents, stock our crops to survive winters, reach goals, prioritize what’s important to us, and improve living standards. Timing is everything.
When it comes to kids, however, timing is a little different. You can plan when you want to try to get pregnant, but your body comes with no guarantees in that department. Some are lucky on their first try; some take years to succeed. You may be waiting for that perfect moment to arrive, but it may not be in your hands. This is actually helpful preparation for what lies ahead for you as parents!
Once you have your children, you can plan all you want. You can research and plan what you want to do with meal times, sleep routines, outfits, your career, vacations. But these are living (some would argue alien) creatures you’re dealing with. They will almost definitely not be aligned with your well-thought-out plans.
No parent can escape the inevitable inconveniently-timed spit ups, sick days, junior accidentally letting the dog out, refusing to leave home without wearing their favourite tutu when it’s freezing outside, or leaving the living room or kitchen looking like a construction site after you’ve turned your back for a split second. There may be times when you wonder if this is part of a conspiracy to drive you off your rocker.
But then there are the amazingly funny, touching moments that catch you completely off guard too. When your kid surprises you with the invisible cakes they’ve made and insist you sit down and eat them, even though you were hoping to get some work done. When they bring home a bouquet of dandelions (that leave stains all over their clothes = more laundry) because they wanted you to have pretty flowers. When building the new garage takes four times longer than you thought because your kid wants to help and learn how to use a hammer and nails. When you think you’re ready for dinner but end up cooking an extra portion for their friends, whether real or imaginary. You can’t plan for these things – they just happen.
So no, timing isn’t everything. There will be thousands of unplanned moments that will leave you puzzled, frustrated, laughing, loving, feeling both helpless, proud, and amazed that you have created this crazy kid who may end up teaching you as much about the world as you can teach them.
Your future child will love you no matter what is going on in your life. They really won’t care whether it’s the perfect time in your career if you have the perfect house or the perfect life. They will be proud of you, rebel against you, and become complete human beings either way. So, whether your kids arrive on schedule or as an unexpected surprise, there are millions of ways to make it the perfect time. Don’t worry. You got this!