It has been approximately three years since my wife first told me that she wanted to talk about having a child. At the time, I knew that not only was I not ready to be a father, but I also recognized that we were not prepared as a couple for such a responsibility. We were not prepared individually for the level of selflessness that is required to be a parent. In reality, we were and still very much are, learning how to be less selfish with one another. After preparing to be parents for over two years before attempting to get pregnant, and now being the parents of a three month old son, I believe that our intentional attempts to be better equipped intellectually, financially, and emotionally, are serving us well.
Selfishly, and not in an objectionable way, one of my first protests to attempting to have a child was that we had only been married for a little over a year (we have now been married over 4 years). During these years we have been able to grow closer together as a couple, and we have also been fortunate to pursue life experiences that otherwise would not have been possible with a little one. In truth, neither of us could have imagined the sacrifice of time that is required to take care of a child. Both my wife and I are the oldest children of our parents, and neither of us can reasonably nor accurately recall the challenges and difficulties that our parents faced while raising us or our siblings at young ages, so our experiences with little ones were limited to get-togethers with family friends, or an older cousin, with little ones of their own, and of course, my wife’s social media feeds which only ever show the best and brightest moments in idealistic, misrepresented realities. Hardly enough exposure for the two of us to even have a clue how much work would be awaiting us with a child of our own.
Another protest that I had was attributed to my lack of work life balance. Even then, although I recognized I was not yet ready to be a father, I knew that when the time came I wanted to be an involved, present father, in part, in order to be a conscientious, supportive husband. Looking back, this was the most significant reason we decided to hold off on having a baby. This was the turning point in which I realized that my job was doing me more harm than good, and as a result, in our determining that we needed to take intentional steps to prepare ourselves for having a child, I obtained the necessary motivation to find the career that I am now enjoying, which gives me the time to be an involved and present father, thus empowering me to be a more confident and capable dad, and thereby enabling me to be a supportive and helpful husband.
It is most likely impossible to be ready to have a child. Despite imparted wisdom, good parenting books, and second hand experience, the first hand experience of being a new parent will certainly, at times, knock you off your feet. However, with some thoughtful planning, life optimizations, and diligent effort to improve ourselves, I know that my wife and I are incredibly more prepared to be parents now than we were three years ago. Despite the challenges associated with having an infant, we are attempting to enjoy our son to the fullest measure we can. Hopefully, by learning from our mistakes along the way, and diligently trying to be better versions of ourselves, in a few months, when we are a little more rested, we will be able to look back on this period of time and smile.