If You're Not Ready To Have Kids Right Now, You'll Notice These 4 Things About Yourself

Maybe one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your life is whether or not you want to become a parent. Even if you’re not ready to have kids right now, you’ve probably considered whether it might be something you want to do down the line. You don’t have to make a decision yet, and that’s totally fine, but of course it’s always useful to consider the pros and cons of either choice. That way, when the time comes, you can feel confident in whatever kind of family life you choose to pursue — whether it’s with 10 kids or none at all.

Can’t make up your mind? Well, even if you want kids eventually, there are some surefire ways to tell that maybe you’re not ready just yet. No matter how much of an independent adult you are, raising a child is a huge undertaking — I mean, seriously enormous. And it’s not ever something that should be taken lightly. To get some clarity, I spoke to family therapist Liz Higgins about how to know when you’re definitely not ready to have a kid. Before you dive right into dreams of parenthood, take a step back and see if the following signs are true in your life. If so, that’s all the confirmation you need that now is not the right time to become a parent. Later? Maybe. But in the moment, it’s time to chillax.

You’re Super Attached To Your Freedom

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If the thought of having kids feels like a sacrifice to your life rather than something that adds value, it’s probably a sign you’re not ready. Higgins says these thoughts are normal to have for anyone considering parenthood — it’s all about determining when having children is worth the commitment. “There’s a way to balance it all, and it might benefit you to talk with your partner or a professional about ways to prepare for this next step of adulting,” she suggests. “As a parent, one of the best things you can do for your children is model self-care, so you don’t want to lose your 'me time' just because you have kids.” When you do feel ready for children, make sure you prioritize your relationship with yourself, as well.

You’re Feeling Super Energized And Fulfilled By Your Career

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OK, don’t get me wrong — it’s absolutely possible to have a thriving career and also have children. But if you haven't thought through how you’re going to make it all work, you probably want to press pause. “You might not be ready for children if you haven’t yet determined how you will maintain your career path with kids, whether that’s having a full time nanny or scaling back your hours so that you have time for work and home life,” Higgins explains. It's normal to feel overwhelmed by the logistics of this new reality, but if you truly can't figure out any kind of game plan that fits with your life, it's probably not time yet. Take a while to think about how you want to divide your time between career and family.

You Can't Imagine Scaling Back Your Social Life

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Your crew is important to you, which is totally valid! But part of parenthood is choosing to spend less time with friends and more time with your children. “It is a phase like no other and truly requires a restructuring of your life’s priorities and schedule,” Higgins emphasizes. Above all, keep realistic expectations of how your life will change once you have kids. Of course you can maintain the friendships that matter, but they’ll definitely have to start taking up less time and energy.

You’re In An Unhealthy Relationship

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If you’re planning on having children with a partner, it’s crucial that the two of you have open communication and a clear understanding of how you will shoulder this new responsibility. Higgins says she often hears from clients who think that having a baby will make their relationship easier — totally not true! “As beautiful as parenthood is, it is a surefire way to increase stress, and often creates more challenges for couples than not,” she says. “You want to make sure you feel confident in the status and health or your relationship before taking this next huge step.” Talk to each other about your expectations and how you will make your relationship a priority even amidst all this change.

Any of these scenarios sound familiar to you? If so, it’s probably a sign that you’re not ready for parenthood just yet. But don’t stress! Everything has its time. And when that time comes (if you decide you want to have kids at all), you’ll be more confident and ready to take on this life-altering, difficult, beautiful task.