Many couples discuss having a family. They may pick names, discuss if they want a boy or a girl, and etc. There is nothing wrong with having a family. Children are a blessing and are an out example of the love that a couple have for each other. However, many question, when is the right time to have a child? Some think the right time is when they are “older” But what is older exactly? Some say the right time is immediately after saying I do – in hopes that the honeymoon night may mark the start of a family.
People have asked me often, my response has never changed. I believe it is best to enjoy being married first. I always encourage a couple to experience this new life. At least give yourself two to three years to enjoy being married and being in your new life. It is one thing to date but another to be married. Things begin to change and not in a negative way. Your schedule is no longer just ‘your’ schedule it becomes an ‘our schedule’. You no longer live alone but have a lifetime roommate, your new spouse. There are so many elements of marriage, which you will begin to learn. Your personalities begin to develop deeper, lifetime goals may alter, and the romance between you gets more intense during the early years (aka the honeymoon stage). I say the honeymoon stage should never go away. This is why I urge couples to postpone having children. I do not do this because I do not want them to enjoy parenthood. I want them to enjoy each other first and continue to build upon the foundation of their family. It is very important to have an identity as an individual as well as a corporate body before having children. Having this solid foundation and understanding of self and each other will prove to be vital when you start your family. As parents, we are the first examples our children see for what a marriage is. The role of both, husband and wife are seen daily with our actions. If a woman does not yet know how to be a wife or a man a husband, what example will they display before their children? Then think of the power couple, how they are not only secure within themselves but also their relationship. The wife understands how important it is to cater to her husband’s needs, stroke his ego, and respect him even when she disagrees. What joy when a husband sends his wife flowers and love notes . Invites her for an evening dinner and a movie and leaves the kids with a sitter. I could give scenario after scenario filled with what ifs. I hope that you see where I am going. You have to have a history of dating and love before having children in efforts to survive after having children. The reality is having a child will change your life. Your schedule changes, your finances change, your ability to do some of the things you use to do before may change. Life honestly changes. Yes, the child is a joy but it does alter things. I hear of so many couples that separate after having children and it saddens me. One of the problems is they stopped making time for them.
Amado and I were guilty of this. I became a stay at home mom in 2004 and dedicated my life to my family. I put my studies on hold and resigned from the workforce. I could not see myself allowing anyone to take care of my children. Placing my children in the care of a complete stranger gave me a very unsettling feeling. Aside from that, financially we could not afford it. We would have easily spent around $300 a week for both of our boys to be in childcare. That totaled $1200 per month. Which would have been pointless, I would have worked to pay my children’s tuition. Just one of the financial changes I mentioned. Now, being a mother I enjoyed it. It brought me a sense of peace and pleasure. Motherhood is an unexplainable joy. However, I longed to have my husband. He was tired most nights because he worked long hours (to give for us). During this time, our sons were about three and a newborn. I recall many nights when the kids did not want to sleep. Therefore, I found myself sleeping in the living room with the baby after finally getting our oldest to bed. There was no way I would place the baby in the room with him, only to wake him and start over again. That would only further drain me. Sleeping in the room with my husband with the baby was out of the question. Amado, the light sleeper who wakes up at 4 AM to get ready for work. I loved him too much to do that to him. Therefore, the sofa it was. This went on for about a little over a year. Of course we snuck some quality time in there for us but it was shortened by the sounds of a crying hungry baby or a knock at the door because, David (our oldest) just needed to know what we were doing and why it was taking so long.
Looking at it now, almost ten years later, it makes for fond memories and great laughs. However, my point is, if you have children early on in your marriage and you’re not mentally or emotionally ready to deal with this it can place a strain on your marriage. Small situations like the one I mentioned can cause other things to happen and things can spiral out-of-place. Granted this is not always the case and I thank God for that. The majority of the time it is. Some couples will make it through, like Amado and me. On the other hand, many go their separate ways, leaving the children to wonder about marriage and its purpose.
So, the next time you discuss having a family, talk about when the best time for you and your spouse is. Only the two of you will know what works best for you both. Whatever your choice may be, make sure you properly prepare yourself. It is another life you are adding into the equation. Lastly, when it may happen for you, CONGRATS!!!