For some couples in America, the decision to grow the family may not be a stressful thought as they may have all the necessary resources to add a few more babies to the nest. For others, however, this is a decision that requires considering crucial things first. The average cost of raising a child in the US up to the age of 17 years is $233,610, making it even more vital to think seriously through the decision. Can you cope with the demands of another new-born, adjust finances, and go through the cycle of sleepless nights again? Here are a few things to consider when thinking about growing your family.
Although the prospect of having more children is a welcoming idea, it is not an option for many. A key question to ask yourself when thinking about growing your family is whether you are financially secured to do so. Producing more children as a way to expand the family may mean making even more sacrifices. Holidays and regular expensive dinners may have to be put on halt for a while. Things such as diapers, baby clothing, baby foods, health, childcare, etc., come at high costs when calculated annually. Although the traditional hand-me-downs can cushion some of the expenses, it is not always so. At some point, you will need to invest in new things for them. It is also open knowledge that as children grow up, the cost of maintaining their upkeep increases as well. All these make it crucial for you as parents to assess before taking the leap.
When a new baby arrives, one parent will have to stay home to provide care; usually the mother. It is a natural reaction for mothers to focus all their attention on a new-born, meaning she will have to pause on her career goals for a while. Are you prepared to do this again?
By law, you will be paid maternity leave and benefit from a tax break in some instances. In addition to this, find out if your employer can offer flexible hours or a work-from-home policy for mothers who just completed maternity leave. Find out from your partner if they are comfortable with you becoming a stay-at-home parent. This may require quitting your day job entirely. Is your better half able and willing to be the sole provider until a baby is old enough for you to return to work? Even though there are no right or wrong answers, you both should reach an agreement convenient for both of you.
In deciding to grow your family, age should be considered. Doctors recommend that women begin to have children in their twenties through to early thirties. The constant improvement in science and medical procedures no longer made age an obstacle to childbirth. Despite this, pregnancy takes a physical and emotional toll on the mother, especially when she is older. Symptoms of pre and postnatal depression are relatively higher in older women. Although the US National Center for Biotechnology Information agrees that maternal attitudes moderately improve after age thirty, there is still cause for concern. The reason is, Cortisol levels naturally rise after the age of thirty years, and for women, that may make the pregnancy period even more cumbersome. Fortunately, you have a plethora of information available online and in clinics to self-educate on these matters. If in doubt, book an appointment with your Ob/Gyn to assess your safe chances.
- Lifestyle changes
Because you are already a parent, you are not new to the rigorous terrain that comes with it. Everything you intend to do (or not do) requires a tremendous amount of planning. The resulting factor in this regard is a loss of spontaneity in your lifestyle. For example, it will be quite impossible to regularly go out with friends without planning to have help with the kids first. Unfortunately, leaving this to the last minute could wreck your plans.
Having another child also means changing your means of transportation. Do you own a beautiful two-seater sports car? Well, maybe it’s time to trade that in for a safe family car.
- Your living space
Your living arrangements play a significant role when considering the prospects of growing the family. Apart from the growing noise levels at home, you will also need a place of refuge and privacy. Besides, older siblings may have reached the point where they may need a room to themselves. How do you cope with these changes?
If you started with a two-bedroom house as a young couple, that home would have to change after a few years of procreation, as your three or four children will not fit into a 1,200 square meter home. You can also try out modern home plans to add more space into the home you intend to purchase or already have. These help you create the ideal family home to your exact preferences with no stress and modernity.
- Relationship challenges
If you ever thought having more children as a way to grow your family will put the spark back into your relationship, you may need to think again. The amount of stress involved in raising additional children will most likely put a strain on your relationship instead. You will have even less time to focus on your partner and make them feel loved and appreciated. Moreover, because children are entirely dependent on your care and attention, both of you may need to compromise on spending time with the other. It is advisable not to bring children into an already shaky relationship. The unhappiness and conflict in the home would inadvertently create and expose your new addition to a toxic family life.
Be sure that you and your partner are in the right place in your relationship to undergo a new addition to the family; ensurethat you two understand the challenges that may come up and are ready to overcome them together.
- A stable support system
When you already have kids and want to add more, you need to consider your support system. Will you hire childcare services or a babysitter? Or ask trusted family members to move in with you for a while? Regardless of how hands-on you are as a parent, you will need crucial help at some point. Besides, the support you get will take some pressure off your schedule and also boost your physical and mental health.
At this stage, as you consider how this will work out for you, use a weekend to babysit for a friend or relative who has more kids than you do. Before proceeding with this, ask your partner, spouse, a matured sibling, or a trusted friend to take care of yours. Better yet, have open communication with your partner about how they intend to pitch in to help as the family grows. Fortunately, this is one of the best ways to experience the real deal.
The most important thing to consider is preparing for life’s unexpected events. If your spouse got diagnosed with a terminal illness, can you carry on as the growing family’s primary provider? Ensure that as you both share a life, all assets and debts are planned in a way to protect the surviving family from any unexpected eventuality. Indeed, big families are beautiful to have, but they are costly to maintain.