Yesterday, I was chatting with a fellow blogger, Lola Lakely, and we were discussing many things, but one thing that came up was how hard it is to take care of something. Lola just got a puppy and I just had a baby and she was saying how it is a new experience to have something that relies on you. She immediately threw in, "We got a puppy, and not that it's the same thing but trying to figure out what she wants is hard."
And she is right.
Being a parent is hard. It is hard when you are a fur parent and it is harder when you are a full time parent. So, as we were chatting, I wrote down some rules for her to get tattooed on her arm as a sort of checklist. This is really a set of hard to figure out steps that people might want to know.
Step 1. Meet a mate. This is gender neutral and if you end up with a set of points or a set of holes, it makes no difference.
Step 2. Live together. This may go against some of your religious beliefs. If so, move step 4 between steps 1 and 2 but do not move past Step 4. You aren't ready yet.
Step 3. Get a Pet. Ever cared for another living thing? No. Well try it with an animal. Cats don't count. If you kill it, maybe you should think long and hard before procreating.
Step 4. Marry. Yes, I am throwing convention into the wind and actually suggesting you get married before you have a kid. And I have a great reason why.
Step 5 If you can do all that then you can have a kid
So, if you have done all of these steps you are probably pretty happy. There are exceptions to that rule because some people just don't work out but for the most part, I would stake money on this system. I haven't figured out how to market it yet but I am getting there.
Here is the logic behind my 5 step method.
You need a mate before you can move past step one.
Living together will teach you patience. Dating someone is not the same as living with them and even though they may have a tooth brush at your house, there are two people you are dating. One is the person you have over, and one is the person who is at home.
Pets teach responsibility and selflessness. You can't just run away for the weekend when you have a pet. Someone has to take care of them so they either go with you, causing you to be responsible even on vacation, or you pay someone to take them in which case you just got your first taste of daycare.
Marring teaches commitment. Sure, marriage teaches you all sorts of things, but by saying, "I Do" you are committing to something in a way you have never done before. I bought an extended warranty on a TV once that was 3 years. I have bought cars that I still drive. I even signed a 30 year note on a house, but at the end of the day a marriage is supposed to be a lifelong commitment and if you can keep it in your pants, it will be.
So, that brings us to kids. If you have patience, responsibility, selflessness and commitment, you can handle being a parent. It isn't an easy job, and some days you might wonder how you made it through another day, but it is worth every minute of it. As for why you should get married before you have a kid, having two people to raise a child is for the benefit of the child, but also for the people raising it. It is backup when you most need it and it is relief to know that if it gets to hard, someone is always there to support you.
That is all,
Disclaimer: I understand their are single parents out there. Their job is twice as hard and I would bet that most would all agree with my rules. Choosing to be a single parent is like painting a house. One person can do it, but it is a lot easier if you have help.