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Are You Ready to Have Kids?

How can you really know?

cryingbaby

How can you be sure you’re ready to make the biggest commitment of your life?  How do you know you’re ready for the non-stop messes and tears?  How can you tell if you’re mature enough emotionally for the daily stresses of children?  How do you know if you’re ready for the possibilities of disabilities?

These are questions I ask myself constantly.  Watching friend after friend get engaged brings out some strong emotions in me I never realized I had before!  A long-time high school friend of mine just put a ring on his girlfriend of 1 year (who I still have never met).  I probably won’t be seeing him much anymore!  And just last night, one of my girlfriends got engaged last night after 7 long years of courtship!  No, neither of these ladies are pregnant (that I know of!), but they always say that babies come sooner than they’re planned for, right?  Because of that, I can only imagine these people are going to be bringing little bundles of joy into the world sooner than later.

Are both of these couples I described ready to have kids?  That’s a fair, question, isn’t it?  Are they even planning on having kids?  Have they even talked about it?

If they do want kids, how can they know that they’re really READY?  There are a few key indicators that I’ve found through my research on this topic.  I am going to share those with you and some that I have discovered through observation of others.

THE LIST

  1. Are you married?

If you aren’t married, move along.  This article is not for you.  If you haven’t found a partner to love and cherish for the rest of your life, how do you think you will fare raising another human being for the rest of your life?  Kids are not like goldfish.

  1. If you are the woman, are you willing to quit your career to begin a whole new one called Motherhood? If you are the man, are you willing to take on full financial responsibility to provide for your family?

Your kids will be healthier, happier, and stable.  Knowing that Mom will be at home and be available for hugs and kisses at any time is an intangible asset.  And a fun fact: your kids will be smarter due to a more nurturing environment.  It is much easier to learn, grow, and mature in an environment when kids can feel that they are loved and cared for.  Daycare really doesn’t cut it- ask any preschool teacher- they can tell which kids have been raised by a motherly figure or by a stranger in daycare.  There is an incredibly evident different in behavior.

Oh, and another added bonus?  You will be able to make the decision to home school easier! (This one is just for giggles, not everyone is suited to home school, and I get that.)

  1. Does your spouse (or you) have a stable job that can support two?

This is a similar question to #2, but it’s a little different.  Even if the husband is willing to work his butt off to provide for the family and the wife is happy to stay home, the husband must be able to take home enough money to feed everyone.

At the same time, having both spouses working can be quite expensive too, when you factor in all the things that will have to be done by a third party.  Did you know that on average, “stay-at-home moms are worth $117,000 a year” (Scribner, 2014)?!  That includes the meal prep, daycare, and cleaning costs.  Stay at Home Moms are busy!  This doesn’t mean they can’t ever have a career again, but it’s unfair to say that raising kids, cooking, and cleaning isn’t a career.  In fact, I would dare say it’s one of the most important careers that exist in the world.  I would dare go a step further and say that many of the crimes that I hear about on the new for Detroit would be cut in half if more moms actually raised their kids and more dads stuck around to help with discipline! (Did I just go on a tangent there?  Sorry, I’ll control myself a bit better next time!)  Anyways, like I was saying, once your kids reach an age where they can be self-sufficient, you can consider working from home.  This is only true if you are capable of handling stress and not letting it interfere with being a wife and a mother.

  1. Do you and your spouse communicate well?

If you and your spouse are constantly disagreeing on things and getting upset with each other, you really need to reevaluate.   Adding kids to the equation will increase stress, which will amplify those negative feelings.  It would be unfair of you to add kids to the mess of a marriage you already have.  If you and your spouse haven’t ever discussed the deep topics, like religion, politics, etc., then perhaps you aren’t ready for kids.  To spank or not spank?  Were one of you abused as a child?  The hardest things to talk about are usually the most important.  Better to discuss before there’s a crying baby in your arms.

  1. Have you agreed on the big 3 topics?

First, how will the children be disciplined?  Do you think spanking works?  Some do, some don’t, but it’s important that you two agree on this.  It can cause misunderstandings and fights.  Second, do you plan on raising your children a particular religion?  If you don’t but your spouse does (or vice versa) you are leading yourself into a world of spiritual headache.  Do not bring kids into this.  Lastly, if either of you ever feel that there is a time or place for undermining the other’s authority, you have no business creating children.  The last thing a kid needs is one parent who is super lenient and another that is not.  This will create instability in the marriage and the child’s relationship with both parents.  If one of you is readily willing to undermine the other, that means that your marriage is probably on shaky foundation and needs some patching up.

Maybe you have already discussed all these things with your spouse.  If so, great!  You might just be on the path to having kids with them!

  1. Have you been together for 3 years as a married couple?

This question refers more to the idea that you cannot be in the honeymoon stage when you make this life-altering decision.  Having kid’s needs to be a spiritual, emotional, and logical decision.   It is not one that should be taken lightly and should not just be pillow-talk.  It needs to be coffee-shop, pros and cons list conversation.

  1. Why do you want children?

Do you want kids because you think they’re fun and will make you happy?  Then you are making a selfish decision.  On the other hand, if you want to introduce a new soul into the world, I encourage you to do so.  If you want to invite a left-behind soul into your home to help raise what someone else was unable to, then I encourage you to adopt.  Adoption is a noble decision and I commend parents that have grown their families this way.

Before a child is even conceived, I would encourage the parents to read through these questions and talk about them in depth.  If there are big areas where the two of you disagree, it’s best to not have kids.  Even if you think its okay for now, and that you can deal with the disagreement later, realize that one of you is going to bend.  And whoever bends on any of these decisions will feel resentment.  That resentment will be unhealthy for everyone’s relationships.  The spousal relationship will be strained.  The parent-child relationship will be strained.



For Further Reading:

http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-you-need-to-consider-before-having-kids/

http://national.deseretnews.com/article/2721/6-things-you-should-understand-about-stay-at-home-moms.html

http://www.ssb.no/forskning/discussion-papers/_attachment/113165?_ts=13ea1e1e480

http://www.parenting.com/article/the-new-stay-at-home-mom

Baby Photo from:

25+ Crying Baby Beautiful Pictures

21 Bedroom Items You Must Acquire.

The ideal bedroom is a safe haven- a peaceful retreat, a calm place to rest from the daily storms of life.

cottagehomeimage

Here are some of my must-have items for the bedroom.  This list is nowhere near exhaustive, but I feel like I’ve covered my bases pretty well.

  1. Full-size bed. These are just enough space for two bodies, but not too big to fit in a small bedroom.
  2. Comfy chair. Reading in bed is not my strong suit.  For reading or watching a movie, I prefer a lazy boy, chaise, or if there’s enough room, a loveseat.
  3. Quality bedding.  Pick items made of durable, easy to wash fabric is a smart investment.  Picking a color that will go with the color scheme of the room is important.  White bedding is not the best choice for long-term, as it is way too easy to permanently stain it, especially if you are a bed-eater.
  4. High-quality Linens. Sheets, pillow cases, and dust ruffles don’t have to all match to work well together, but stick to your color scheme with these.  The higher the thread count- the softer.  Be sure to check what the washing instructions are for your selections.  Though they might be pretty, they might be a pain to launder.
  5. Pillows that match your sleep habits.  A learned a gross fun fact a few weeks ago: You really should replace your pillow once every year or two.  Those things become filled with gross things like dust, dust mites, makeup, and spit.  On one hand, because they’ll be replaced rather frequently, consider that the right pillow can make or break your night of sleep.  Select the right pillow for yourself and you won’t have neck pain in the morning when you wake.
  6. Night stand. The perfect night stand has enough room to hide the things you need hidden but not enough room to allow you to fill it with clutter.  Drawers with compartments and just enough table space are some things to consider when shopping for this item.
  7. Curtain Rods and Black-out Curtains. I love the curtains that have swirling ends, or orbs made of crystal.  They come in all different colors and styles.  Black out curtains are a must if you aren’t a fan of pull-shades.
  8. Pull shades and Valances. If you are a fan of pull shades, add these to your list.  They’re an easy item to overlook when compiling a shopping list for your new bedroom.  You’ll need to measure twice before you buy them, however, so this can be a hard item to purchase before you move into your new home.
  9. Lamps and Other Lighting. The amount of lighting you want in your bedroom is a very personal choice.  My parent’s bedroom is rather dark, with only one window and one lamp in the room with no overhead lights.  They used deep maroons, browns, and blacks.  They intended it that way.  For me, I’d rather have too much light so that I can double check the shades of my outfit, which leads me to the next item on my list.
  10. Christmas Lights or Projectors. I have always had Christmas lights in my bedrooms.  Sometimes strung across one wall, sometimes strung across the ceilings in abstract patterns.  This seems slightly high-school, but I really love having the lights on when I sleep!  A newer fad is projectors, they come in all different colors and light shows.  Some make waves on your ceiling while others display dazzling fireworks and aurora borealis-inspired designs.  These projectors range anywhere from $50-$200 and considering how cheap I am, I’ll stick with my Christmas lights!
  11. Beautiful Audio System or Television. I am not a fan of TVs in the bedroom, and I’m sure that’s because of the movie The Ring (super creepy, it still bothers me).  I am a huge fan of music and radio playing all the time in my room.  I love falling asleep to soft music, I have a Copeland Radio Station on Pandora.  A nice speaker system is an investment I’d be willing to make.
  12. Mirror.  Personally, I think a full-length mirror is a must-have, but a large wall mirror would work too.  Full length mirrors fit perfectly on the back of a bedroom door, but large wall mirrors create the illusion of a larger room.
  13. Heated Throw or a Heating Pad. I think all gals will agree, this is absolutely necessary.  When it’s chilly outside and all you want to do is cuddle up, these are perfect.
  14. Humidifiers.  These can be life savers- they help you breathe better at night and are especially good for people with asthma, like my poor boyfriend.  There are heated mist humidifiers, which are even better, though a bit pricier.  They do require some maintenance, my Mom suggests a few drops of bleach every time you refill it and to replace the filters as soon as they look less than perfect.  You don’t want to be spreading germs around when you’re trying to breathe easier!
  15. Fans.  Some people love them, some people hate them.  I happen to be a hater, but my boyfriend can’t fall asleep without the sound of it droning on, which ties in nicely with my next item.
  16. Sound Machine. I cannot sleep without one of these.  I used to dread sleep-overs at my friends’ houses because I couldn’t fall asleep without the comforting sounds.  They come with all different soundtracks.  My favorites are rain, thunderstorm, and white-noise.  It blocks out other noises that might make it hard to fall asleep, like car alarms and what not.
  17. Photos and Artwork. Personalizing your space is important. There are a few tips here, keep photos relevant and make sure none of the ones in you hang evoke bad memories.  They might be beautiful pictures, but if they bring you back to a terrible time, just get rid of them.  Trust me.
  18. Wall Hooks and Shelves. Hanging or arranging knick-nacks is easier with a space specifically made for them.  Make sure if you use a wall shelf, you don’t place too much weight on it, and make sure that it doesn’t collect junk.
  19. Closet Organization. This could include one of those fancy walk-in closet drawer sets with specific places for everything.  Perhaps you don’t have that much room, in the very least, a shoe rack will help you keep the floor clear and make it easier to find that pair of pumps that you know would match your dress!
  20. Dresser Drawer. Not only do you need a dresser, you need to get those amazing scent packets that will make your clothes smell fresh.  Drawer liner are also a nice touch.  These come scented too.
  21. Wax Melts, Oil Diffuser, Candles, and Incense Sticks. No matter which you choose, make sure it is away from high-traffic areas and not easy to bump into.  I have a habit of knocking into wax melters and splattering wax everywhere.  They are not fun to clean up after, so keep this in mind when you’re decorating.  I burn my incense sticks in a cute little silver bucket filled with sand.  Once they’re all burnt, I throw the sticks away and mix the ashes into the sand.  It retains the smokey smell even after the fire is out.  Keep in mind these create a lot of dust which means more cleaning, and they’re not great for people with asthma (sorry Brandon!)

 

When selecting some of the items listed above, having a color scheme in mind is important, especially for the bedding and curtains.  Selecting this in advance and sticking to it is important!

Here are some important color tips to keep in mind:

  •  Blue is the best color for a bedroom.  It stimulates sleep and relaxation.
  • Caramel walls will lead to the most romance for couples.
  • Green, like blue, is calm and soothing.
  • Red symbolizes aggression and passion.  Because of this, it should be used in moderation.  I suggest using it as an accent color and using it for only one wall (or none at all).
  • Contrary to popular belief, purple is said to be the worst color for a bedroom.  It can be overly-stimulating and lead to overthinking and stress at bedtime.

My ideal room will contain elements of sandy brown, gold, and blue.  As I’ve begun selecting bedroom items, I’m keeping myself in this color scheme.

colors

 

First photo from cottagehomefurniture.org

My color information came from here: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/11536209/list/bedroom-color-the-secret-to-more-sex-and-more-sleep

That lovely pallet came from colorotate.org, which is an awesome service for decorating inspiration.