Loads of us are at the age where we are thinking about starting a family. But are you ready for it? Annaliese Dent from The Queen Sesh with Constance Hall weighs in.
I started breeding relatively early, at 27 years old, going by the average breeding age of today. If I can impart some YOLO hindsight wisdom before you do decide to or accidentally have kids, it would be the following.
My biggest recommendation and the only thing I really wish I had done more of is… TRAVEL. Travel as much, as far, as often as financially possible. You have the rest of your life to pour your wage into a mortgage.
2. Sleep in
Sleep in at ANY opportunity.
3. Enjoy eating out while you can
Spend weekends out having breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner at really tiny, smug, fancy and wanky cafes and restaurants. No kids menus or high chairs in sight. Eating out is fun for no one with toddlers, and by the time they are old enough to behave a breakfast out for four can easily set you back $100. Too much.
4. Talk things through with bae
This one is the least sexy, but potentially the most important. If you are pregnant (or in the process of trying to get pregnant) sit down over wine or decaf coffee with your bae and talk through the logistics of child rearing and each others expectations. If you feel you can't agree on things, get to a relationship counsellor STAT. It may feel dramatic - but prevention is the best cure and most of the time a couple haven't faced many (if any) large issues together. Nothing can turn a relationship on its head quite like those tiny humans. Conflict resolution and communication tools, exploring how you will navigate finances, caring roles, and parenting styles is paramount. Continually revisit and top up whenever needed.
5. Go to the movies often
Once you whack on $75 for a babysitter, you just don’t ever go to the movies (unless it's by Disney or Pixar).
6. Savour your weekends
Do things you really love doing and be spontaneous. Go to chic bars, drink expensive wine and cocktails, host elaborate dinner parties, go away for last minute dirty weekends because someday you will split your time between Netflix, playgrounds, kids parties or being on the sideline of a sports field.
7. Spend your money wisely (on designer fashion)
Think tasteful, good quality, classic and expensive designer clothes, handbags and boots that you can wear for years to come. They are one of the first luxury items that get benched when you have a thousand other financial priorities. Oh - and wear really really high heels while you can.
8. Don’t get a dog for practise
If you haven't already then don't get a dog to 'practise on' first. Wait until the kids are much older, then get a family dog. I know, controversial, but for me personally - once I had two young kids the dogs just felt like a burden. Another thing to look after and clean up after. Obviously not every parent and dog owner would relate, but I know many of my girlfriends who can.
9. Figure out who you are and what makes you happy
Write yourself a letter of who you are, what you love about you, what makes you 'you' and what you want out of life, love and your career. Take it out and read it to yourself down the track. For the primary carer, it's easy to lose sight of who you are and push you down the heap. A timely reminder from your former sassy self could be just the thing you need to navigate back to your true 'you' once you are out of the baby bubble and ready. While you're at it, write a letter with your partner, parenting vows if you will. We legally bind our intentions and publicly declare them to be with someone in marriage but the biggest thing you will ever do together is be responsible for the health, wellbeing and moral compass of another person together. Why not lock it down so you both know you are on the same page and re-read to keep yourselves in check as you go?
10. Don’t eat spaghetti bolognese
Lastly and most seriously, something I would never have realised... don't eat spaghetti bolognaise right now, because in time it will be the only thing you eat.
As doom and gloom as that all might sound, it really isn't. I can honestly say I wouldn't trade in all the chic cafes, sleep ins, movies and travel in the world for my delicious love soldiers. Being their Mum is the best thing I've ever done and my heart explodes with love for them a little more every day. Now: go book that holiday and make sure you get photo happy so your friends with kids can quietly self combust of Facebook FOMO.