Six Things You Should Do Before Having Children

Some people dream about getting married and immediately having children. Hold your horses people! Once you have those lovely bundles of joy, your marriage and your life will completely and utterly change in ways that you cannot begin to fathom. I know everyone says this, and there is no other way to explain it. Your life will change, and it will revolve around your children's schedules.

Those statement may have frightened many of you from ever having children, and that was not my intention. Here are a few things I wish my husband and I would have done before having children.

1. Travel
A stroller and a car seat each count as checked luggage on flights. Travel as much as you can before having children. My husband and I were stupid and only went to local places on weekend trips. See the world, learn a new language, and experience life outside your culture. You will be a better person, and eventually a better parent for it.

2. Finish Your Education
Again, we didn't do this one either. I was six months pregnant with my second child when I walked across the stage to receive my bachelor degree. My second son was a year old when my husband finished his degree.  It is difficult to study when you are taking care of little ones. You can do it. We did, but looking back I would have preferred being finished with college before welcoming babies into the world.

3. Pick a Profession
Unless your desired career is to be a stay at home mama, then you need to decide on a career before filling the nest. Work at your chosen profession. Gain experience and network with business associates. You can work those long and odd hours when you don't have children. I know this could take a long time, so let me explain. I'm not saying you should be in a career 10 years before expanding the family. Select a career and get your foot in the door. It's easier to go back to a field you have experience in than starting from scratch when you have little one. Basically, set yourself up for success down the road.

4. Save, Save, Save
Once you have children, you will want to settle down in a good neighborhood with good schools. You will also need room for your brood. When it's just you and your honey, live in a small space and save as much as you can. Invest your money, save up for retirement, save up for traveling, and save for a down payment on a house. Pay off all your student loans and debt. Going into parenthood with as little or no debt as possible is a smart move. Finances can be a strain on a family, and as the family grows you don't want debt hovering over you.

5. You Don't Need All That Stuff
When my husband and I were just starting out, we knew that we didn't need to have everything that everyone else had. However, we spent all of our time and resources acquiring things that didn't matter. Stuff is highly overrated. Forget buying all of the things you think you need and stick to what you really need. I understand a splurge every once in a while, but don't make it a habit. See #4 if you need more clarification.

6. Work on Your Marriage
This is one of the only things we did right before having children. My husband had just turned 21 and I was 19 when we were married. We spent as much time with each other as possible, and we even worked together before our first child was born. There was so much I needed to learn about being a married person. We had to learn how to give each other space, how to come to a joint solution, and perfect dating as a married couple. The list could go on and on. We needed time to learn about each other and build on the foundation we set. Your marriage will long outlast children living under your roof. Work on your marriage. Date your spouse, and put your spouse first. I'm more in love with my husband today than when we married. After seven years, we decided it was time for children. They completely transformed our family. Our marriage was jostled, but we stayed together because of the time we took to become a couple. For some of you, it might only take a year or two. Others will need more time, and that's okay.

If it were possible to roll back the clock, I would tell myself to do so many things differently. I'm thankful for my experiences, and I'm definitely learning from them. My children are a blessing, and I love them with everything in me. Having a family is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. Take a little time and decide what you want to accomplish before you embark on the greatest adventure of all, parenthood.


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