Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“How Can You Tell If He’ll Be a Good Dad?”

My boyfriend and I are in our late twenties, have been together close to two years and are very much in love. We often talk about what our future will look like. He has consistently expressed his deep desire to have a child and be a stay-at-home dad, and I am content to accept the role of mom and breadwinner. You’ve written about how, when choosing Drew as your life partner, you knew he would be a great dad. My question is: How did you know?

We don’t have any friends with babies, so I’ve never had the opportunity to see my boyfriend in action with them. He is kind, nurturing, patient and understanding with me, but how do I know he will act the same with a small child? I grew up with a sister twelve years younger, and I clearly remember how much work my parents went through when she born and how it completely changed our household. Babies create a lot of emotional and financial stress. Even though I feel like we’re a few years off from having a family of our own, I’m afraid my boyfriend will crumble under the pressure. How can I know my boyfriend is the right man to start a family with? — Potential Breadwinning Mom

I’m going to answer your question by turning it back on you: How do you know you’ll be a good mother? Isn’t that a more interesting thought to ponder? After all, it doesn’t matter whom you choose as your co-parent: if you have kids, you’ll always be the mother — that part is a given. So how do you know if you’ll be any good at parenting? You said yourself you don’t have any babies in your life, and even if you did — even if you had a niece or a nephew or a friend or two with kids — it’s not like your experience with them would tell you everything you need to know about motherhood. The truth is, it would tell you very little.

The thing about parenthood is it’s a journey you can’t truly begin to map out until you take your first step, and even then, you can only plan one or two steps in advance. How do you know if you or your partner will be any good at it? You don’t! You don’t truly know until you do it. Becoming a parent is life’s biggest leap of faith. It’s scary and exhilarating and nerve-racking and one of the most joyful (and sometimes heartbreaking) experiences you can imagine and it will knock the breath out of you over and over.

You cannot plan what parenthood will be like or how you — or your partner — will handle it, but you can begin to hone certain necessary skills and look for these skills in a potential co-parent. You’ll want someone who is patient, compassionate, flexible and fun. You’ll want someone whose best traits complement your best traits and who fills some of your gaps. You’ll need someone who is a wonderful communicator and a strong nurturer.

I was lucky to find that in Drew. I knew before we had a baby that he had the traits that make a good parent. It was also a good sign that he actually likes kids and was very committed to the idea of being a father himself. I knew he could be a good caregiver because not only was he caring toward me — especially in my first few months in New York when I was homesick for Chicago and frustrated that I couldn’t find a job — but he also takes wonderful care of his elderly father (who turns 92 this weekend!). Unlike you, I did get to see the potential father of my children interact with his own niece and nephew as well as friends’ kids, and it was clear he had a way with them. He’s funny and charming and sweet — all the traits that (most) kids love.

To be honest, I was more concerned about how I’d fare as a mother than how Drew would do as a dad. I have a tendency to be impatient, short-tempered, and overly critical. I have lots of good traits, too, but those flaws of mine worried me. Plus, I SUCK when I don’t get enough sleep. But I really wanted to have kids, so I chose a mate and co-parent carefully. While I didn’t have a guarantee Drew would be the best dad ever or that I would be an ok mom, I knew we made a good team. I knew his good traits tempered some of my bad ones and vice-versa. There were enough checks in our positive column that I felt the leap of faith into parenthood was worth taking. It’s always going to be a leap of faith, but choosing the right kind of person can make that leap a little less scary.

So, ask yourself if you and your boyfriend make a good team. Ask yourself whether he’s caring and compassionate and, most of all, patient. And when you say you worry he’ll crumble under the pressure of fatherhood, think about what makes you feel that way. If there’s a legitimate concern, don’t ignore it; discuss it. Be open with each other about your worries. That’s another thing good parents need — open communication with each other.

In the end, you won’t truly know what kind of parent either of you will be until you have a baby and begin the parenthood adventure. But paying attention to the kind of people you are and the kind of partner you are for each other will give you a pretty good indication whether you’ll succeed as parents.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected] and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

71 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Anna March 15, 2012, 10:21 am

    You pretty much covered all the things I was going to say, Wendy. One thing I will add is that the best trait I think a man can have toward being a good father is the desire to be a good father. My boyfriend tells me often how excited he is to be a father in the future and how he wants to spend every waking minute with me and our child when that happens. Even though we’re not there yet, he already shops online for things he wants to buy our kids in the future and we often end up discussing parenting techniques and the importance of education. To date, we’ve been 100% agreeable and that’s why I am excited to start a family with him someday. Instead of “Oh crap, she’s pregnant” I look forward to his reaction of “Yes! She’s pregnant!” and the subsequent happy dance.

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    • avatar

      PFG-SCR March 15, 2012, 11:55 am

      “Instead of “Oh crap, she’s pregnant” I look forward to his reaction of “Yes! She’s pregnant!” and the subsequent happy dance.”

      You both will be like that, but then it’ll be followed three minutes later with panic and “What did we just do?!?!?!?!?!” as you realize that everything is about to change.

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  • avatar

    artsygirl March 15, 2012, 10:25 am

    Great advice Wendy – I was thinking the exact same thing. There are so few guarantees in life that all you can do is trust the other person, and your own feelings/instincts, unless there are red flags (like he kicks small animals).

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl March 15, 2012, 10:27 am

    Amazing response Wendy. Absolutely perfect.

    I’m more nervous that I will be a so-so mother than if my BF will be a good father. I am short-tempered, easily frustrated, im-patient, and a little bit selfish. Watching my BF interact with our cat has really showed me how patient, loving, caring and un-selfish he is. He scoops the litter box with our grumbling, feeds Frank on his schedule, even give up his pillow to the cat. I know a cat and a baby aren’t the same thing, but seeing the love he has for our furbaby has made me even more confident he’ll be an amazing dad.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy March 15, 2012, 10:41 am

      Yes, that’s a good point about watching how someone cares for his/her pet. It can give you some indication of what kind of parent he’ll be. Drew’s always been so good with Miles and Simone, who were my pets long before they were his pets.

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    • avatar

      evanscr05 March 15, 2012, 12:23 pm

      GatorGirl: I’m with you. I’ve always wanted children, but I’m absolutely terrible with them. I’m also short-tempered, easily frustrated, impatient, and a little selfish. I’m especially terrible with the little ones. When they get to be about 5 and I can talk to them and play with them and stuff, then it’s easier for me, but the little ones, I just have no idea what to do with them. I hope that changes one day when they’re mine. I try, and I really want to get better with them, but I just don’t have that instinct yet. But, I KNOW my husband will be an amazing dad. I always knew he was great with little kids, but I really knew a couple of years ago when my brother, sister-in-law, and niece stayed over night at our place. We offered to watch my neice (who was 2 months old at the time) so that they could get some sleep and be able to make the long drive home the next day (at least a 12 hour drive). I knew it was going to be a sleepless night, but actually having to deal with an infant that wouldn’t stop crying and I didn’t know what to do was rough. It really freaked me out and I started crying, too, so my husband took her and told me to go back to bed and he stayed up with her the rest of the night. He held her, he sang to her, he changed her diaper, he fed her, he pretty much did whatever he needed to. He was so gentle with her and so patient, and it seemed so natural to him. It was really awe inspiring. I still feel like I’m going to suck at it, but it’s really comforting to know I’ll have a partner to help me through the tough periods.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl March 15, 2012, 12:32 pm

        I’m scared about the 5 and older years! I know I can take care of a baby- my brother and sister ar 8 and 10 years younger then me so I’ve changed my fair share of diapers and other assorteed baby tasks. Also my cat like to wake me up ever 3 or 4 hours every night, so sleepless nights are part of my life already (I know a baby is a 100 times worse but this is a start). I’m confident in the sleepless nights part it’s when they start school and talking back and all that that I’m worried about! Tweens and teenagers terrify me!

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      • avatar

        evanscr05 March 15, 2012, 12:40 pm

        haha we have 3 cats so I feel you on the sleepless nights thing!

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  • avatar

    PFG-SCR March 15, 2012, 10:27 am

    I won’t reiterate the points in Wendy’s reply, but I definitely agree with her.

    I did have some additional thoughts, as well – why does your boyfriend (who hasn’t spent any time around young kids) want to be a SAHD? You mention that you worry that he might crumble under the pressure, which leads me to think he’s demonstrated that in some capacity. Does he not handle stress in the workplace and thinks being a SAHD is easy when compared to that role? What is his personality like? Is he introverted and likely to just stay at home, or is he someone who will likely expose your child(ren) to many experiences when he’s a SAHD? How does he handle chaos? How does he handle when things don’t go the way he wants them to?

    The fact that he’s “kind, nurturing, patient and understanding” with you is good but you’re right in that you need that to an even greater degree with children. However, it’s not to say that he doesn’t have the capacity to change and be more of those. I definitely have become a much better person since becoming a parent.

    As a last point – you mention that you are okay with being the sole breadwinner as a mother. That might very well be the case, but I would make sure that some of your concern over your boyfriend as a SAHD isn’t because you are uncertain if you want those roles for your relationship.

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    • avatar

      AndreaMarie March 15, 2012, 11:20 am

      I was thinking the same thing. If he wants to be a SAHD because he just loves children so much and wants to be as hands on as possible than there really is nothing to question in regards to is future-fathering. He clearly has the passion and desire to be the best father he can be. But is there another reason for him to be at home? Is he having difficulty holding onto a job? Does he not handle the stresses of working well? Or is it just that your job provides a significantly larger salary?

      Also, if you are deciding to be the breadwinner than that will take time away from you doing the majority of the hands on raising of the children and will limit the amount of time you spend with them. Is that something you are comfortable with?

      In any event, there is really no way to predict someone’s parenting abilities. I havea friend from college who was a “party girl” to say the least. When she got pregnant it was difficult for all of us to picture her as a mother. But she ended up being an amazing, sacraficing, and nurturing mother.

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      • avatar

        PFG-SCR March 15, 2012, 12:03 pm

        Agreed – my mother-in-law told me a few years after I had kids that she was pleasantly surprised because never thought I’d be a good mother.

        Thanks, “mom”.

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      • katie

        katie March 15, 2012, 8:25 pm

        ah, backhanded compliments… gotta love em.

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  • avatar

    Jessibel March 15, 2012, 10:38 am

    My fiance isn’t the most patient guy in the world, and before we got engaged I was in fact a bit worried that he wouldn’t be a good dad because of that. His friends had babies and he wouldn’t hold them. Then one day we were on a delayed flight, sitting in the seats of the plane, and a baby/toddler probably about 2 or 3 was directly behind my fiance. This kid was screaming and sobbing his head off, and the poor father (who was alone) was trying everything. Everyone was glaring daggers at this dad. My fiance however, never glanced back until he turned around and very kindly said to the guy “I know this may be overstepping, but is there maybe anything we can do? Would he like to watch a movie on my iPhone, or would he be distracted if I played a game with him?” The dad was grateful, but said no. I was absolutely amazed and later when we were home said as much. My fiance just very matter of factly shrugged and said “that could be me in a few years, so I knew the guy needed some slack.” Right then and there all my worry evaporated.

    LW, do either of you have a pet? Sometimes you can see hints of how a guy will be as a parent in how he treats his pet (especially dogs, since dogs, while totally awesome, are basically akin to infants their entire lives.)

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    • avatar

      jaybro March 15, 2012, 12:03 pm

      Aw, cute story. Your fiance sounds so sweet.

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  • JK

    JK March 15, 2012, 10:45 am

    Perfect advice, Wendy.
    What I would add is that in parenting, I find that each parent naturally has the role that is more natural. I´m a SAHM to 3 girls, and do most of the heavy lifting as it were. But when my husband comes home he´s the ones that the girls horse around with, that the 4y.o plays “soccer” with (and watches sports with). With me it´s the dressing up, putting make up on, “helping” clean and cook. So I think I´m trying to say that each person uses their strengths in parenting (as in everything else in life).

    And I hope your FIL has a great birthday, Wendy!!!

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    • JK

      JK March 15, 2012, 10:48 am

      Clarification: I mean the role that comes naturally to them, before anyone jumps down my throat. I suck at sports, so it´s only natural that my husband is the one to play them with the girls.

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  • avatar

    Bunny March 15, 2012, 10:59 am

    I’d like to thank both the sender of this letter and Wendy. I’m a huge DW fan but rarely comment mostly because of my busy life of procrastinating as a graduate student. This time I felt like commenting because this post really hit home for me.

    I’d been feeling worried lately about how I would fare as a mother in the future. My boyfriend is a pediatrician so it goes without saying that he loves and does great with kids. Coupled with the fact that he is 10 years older than me and the pressure to have kids as soon as I’m done with my graduate program is huge (albeit this won’t happen at least within the next 5 years). I’ve been joking with my friends that I have a “timer” instead of a biological clock because of this. I’m very career-oriented and I definitely postponing childbearing until I’m stable in my career. I guess also the thought of taking care of a “human toy” (as we like to call them) when I barely know anything in this world is incredibly intimidating to me.

    “Becoming a parent is life’s biggest leap of faith” really resonated with me and I realized I don’t have to worry about it right now. I can figure it out later with my boyfriend.

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  • avatar

    LolaBeans March 15, 2012, 11:10 am

    oh wendy, you say such beautiful, touching things about drew. he must love reading these! it’s like a public love letter to him! so adorable.

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary March 15, 2012, 11:10 am

    I think this is a really great and articulate response, Wendy.

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  • BriarRose

    BriarRose March 15, 2012, 11:17 am

    “You cannot plan what parenthood will be like or how you — or your partner — will handle it”.

    That right there is the biggest point to remember. It’s a learning curve which you both will figure out and adjust to as time goes by. Luckily in the beginning it’s just meeting the needs of a newborn….teaching about sharing, stranger danger, saving money, being a good person, not playing in traffic, and a million other things….that comes later. As parents, you and your partner will fail and succeed at various times. You’ll each have strengths and weaknesses, and you’ll figure out the balance. If you do it alone, you figure that out too.

    I remember one time I had supreme Mommy guilt about something, and my then husband said to me, “How many parents beat their kids, neglect them, don’t love them, etc? You love our daughter, you take good care of her, you are doing the best you can, and she is happy and healthy. Stop being so hard on yourself”. Remember that, and apply it to both yourself and your parenting partner.

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  • avatar

    _jsw_ March 15, 2012, 11:17 am

    As it turns out, I’m a pretty decent father, and due to flexible hours at most of my jobs prior to my current one (only the past 8 months), I spent a lot of time with my kids when they were infants, and I still do.

    However, there weren’t necessarily many signs I would be prior to me becoming one. I wasn’t a bad guy, but I’d never been in any situation that is even remotely like the one involved with having a child, and in particular an infant. I just adapted well to the role, and I love it.

    On the other hand, my wife, who I’d always seen as the more compassionate, empathetic one, reached less well. She’s still very good at time management of the kids’ events and such, but she did not and still does not handle the stress of having kids very well.

    So… I have to agree that you never really know until it happens. Becoming a parent is a transformative event, and it can radically alter how someone behaves. Some people stay as they were. Some change dramatically. I agree, the better someone’s qualities seem ahead of time, they better they are likely to be, but you never know.

    Spend three months never getting more than two hours of sleep in a row and never more than five hours a day. At the same time, take on a a task that requires constant and not easily scheduled attention, like fostering half a dozen animals all at once.

    That will give you a much better idea of how you’ll both react than would his suggestion that he would like to raise the kids and not work otherwise.

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    • avatar

      _jsw_ March 15, 2012, 11:18 am

      “reacted less well”

      Sorry, at work, distracted, and didn’t have time to check the auto-corrections.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 15, 2012, 11:37 am

      I really like this reply! There is no way to know how you’ll do in the trenches until your in the trenches.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 15, 2012, 11:38 am

        until you’re in the trenches

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      • Brad

        Brad March 15, 2012, 2:11 pm

        You’re lucky you fixed this before the grammar police issued you a citation.

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  • avatar

    Lindsay March 15, 2012, 11:33 am

    Wendy’s right that you won’t know until it happens. But I think that him liking and wanting children and being an overall good guy with good qualities should satisfy you for now. I’m curious as to why you worry your boyfriend will crumble, especially considering most people seem to worry more about their own parenting skills. Do you have a reason? Maybe your nervousness about parenting in general is coming out?

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 15, 2012, 11:54 am

    As mentioned above there is no guarantee.

    The traits that I’ve found most important for parenting are patience, flexibility and pragmatism. Kids require tremendous patience. When your infant cries and cries you need patience. When your toddler has no common sense you need patience. When your middle schooler doesn’t want to do their homework you need firm patience. You also need to be flexible enough to try different approaches. You may know exactly how you want to do everything but that doesn’t mean that your way will work. Which leads to being pragmatic. Can you honestly evaluate the situation, including yourself, and realize when something works so that you can be flexible.

    Seeing how well someone plays with a baby or child, while nice, doesn’t in any way show how they would handle a baby that cries for an hour or three hours or ten hours. It also doesn’t show how they would handle a toddler melting down in a store. If someone is mean to children that is a definite warning sign but being nice in small bits doesn’t necessarily show that they can handle the long haul. Someone who has spent a significant amount of time around small children and so has a good understanding of small children is probably a more sure thing because they have a better idea of what they’re agreeing to do.

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    • avatar

      _jsw_ March 15, 2012, 12:05 pm

      Very good points – especially the one that being around kids in small doses is not the same as caring for them every day and dealing with them as they evolve from infants to teenagers.

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    • avatar

      PFG-SCR March 15, 2012, 12:21 pm

      I would add consistency to those qualities.

      And maybe a little bit of fear. 😉

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 15, 2012, 12:24 pm

        Fear makes me laugh!!! Definitely a healthy dose of fear.

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  • avatar

    oldie March 15, 2012, 12:01 pm

    This is a very strange letter and it is hard to guess the real point of it. Everything she says about her boyfriend, her relationship, and her willingness to have him be a stay-at-home dad is positive. Mid-way throught, she drops the observation that as a child, she thought her much younger sibling was very emotionally and financially stressful to her parents. Then a hop-skip-and-jump to worry that her bf won’t be good with kids, because of stress. No leadup whatsoever to that worry, apart from her childhood observation of her parents.

    This seems about her, not her bf. She sees children as unbeliebably stressful. My question is not will bf be a good dad, but is LW willing to be a mother? Something from her childhood experiences seems to have soured her on the notion of kids.

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    • avatar

      _jsw_ March 15, 2012, 12:07 pm

      “She sees children as unbeliebably stressful.”

      They are. Even if they’re the most perfect children in the world and you’re independently wealthy, you stress that they’ll get hurt somewhere you can’t get to in time.

      And most kids aren’t perfect, and most people aren’t independently wealthy.

      Stress is inherent in parenting. It can be minor or extreme, but it’s always there.

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      • BriarRose

        BriarRose March 15, 2012, 12:41 pm

        This is not a strange letter at all–in fact, I would say this is the LEAST strangest letter ever written to Dear Wendy. Having a child is the most stressful thing I’ve ever done in my life. The LW is wise to acknowledge it’s not all cute tiny clothes and booties, birthday parties and play dates and holidays, and sweet moments of whispering I love you to your baby as she sleeps soundly for going on 12 hours.

        Although remember what “they” always say…if you wait to have a baby until you’re 100% ready, you’ll never have a baby.

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      • avatar

        _jsw_ March 15, 2012, 12:49 pm

        Conversely, if you think you’re 100% ready, you’re likely delusional. 😉

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      • avatar

        oldie March 15, 2012, 1:24 pm

        Yes, it’s natural to feel uncertain, but she places all of the uncertainty on is her bf going to be a good father. It’s a strange letter because all the evidence in the letter suggests that she is reacting out of her own uncertainty about herself. There is not a hint of a reason given why she should have concern about the bf as a father, if she truly is as content to be the family wage-earner as she says she is. Something rings wrong about this. If she had said ‘how can I know that I am ready and can be a good mother’, fine. If it’s even ‘how can I be sure that WE will be good parents?”, again, fine. She just comes out of left field with the ‘how can I be sure that HE will be a good father? That distinction strikes me as fully deserving of a ‘say what?’ given how perfect she says her relationship is.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 15, 2012, 1:30 pm

        I hear what you’re saying. I kinda thought that too.

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      • avatar

        PFG-SCR March 15, 2012, 1:34 pm

        My take on it was that she was even more concerned because of his “deep desire” to be a SAHD, so he’ll be spending (in theory) 24/7 with the child(ren).

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      • avatar

        PFG-SCR March 15, 2012, 1:38 pm

        ^ I was going to add, but edited out because it’s likely to cause a debate that I’m not trying to start…I’ve been a working mom and a SAHM, and there _is_ a difference in the parenting under both of those situations.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 15, 2012, 1:47 pm

        I don’t see how anyone could disagree with that. (FWIW, I’m a working mom.)

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 15, 2012, 1:49 pm

        Can I ask which you preferred? Or which was easier in your mind? I’m sure there were pros and cons to both, but maybe you still have a preference.
        Did you find your kids having an issue when you made the switch?

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      • avatar

        PFG-SCR March 15, 2012, 2:14 pm

        Honestly, I would have loved to have been able to balance work-family in the career I had, but for a few reasons*, it just wasn’t something that was in the best interest of my family. So, me being a SAHM was definitely the right decision. I quit when my second child was born, and my first was 23 months old so none of them (had a third child later) remember life when I was a working mom.

        * – The most significant reason was that I was in a demanding professional services field with a lot of hours and some travel (as was/is my husband, but in a different type of professional services firm).

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  • avatar

    jaybro March 15, 2012, 12:11 pm

    Ditto on all the comments about not knowing until you’re already there. But I’ll also iterate that you’re not alone. I feel like everyone is going to freak out a little bit at some point whether or not they’re going to be good parents. I’m nowhere near having children, but I feel like I’d be a good mother because I’m a good aunt (yes, I know I get to leave at the end of the day), but also I’ve had really good parenting role models growing up. My best friend’s mom, my mom, and my sister all make wonderful mothers and watching them parent me, my friend, and my nephews has really taught me well. So you could take that approach when it comes to both of you. Did y’all have good models growing up? Do you have good models (friends or siblings, perhaps) now? If you didn’t/don’t, are you fully committed to changing the way you parent from what you’ve been exposed to? Just some questions to ponder. And really, I think as long as the commitment is there, as other posters have noted, then you both should be fine.

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  • avatar

    Francine March 15, 2012, 12:22 pm

    I don’t think it’s possible to know if someone will be a good parent. There are a lot of things in life that aren’t certainties and being able to make decisions in situations where the outcomes are not cut and dry certainties is a great skill to develop before becoming a parent.

    Have you asked yourself what proof you have that you’ll be a good mother? Obviously, the most you can know in this case is what traits you think make a good parent and whether or not you and your boyfriend possesses them (or, since you aren’t even trying to have a child at this time, have the potential to develop them).

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  • CatsMeow

    CatsMeow March 15, 2012, 12:43 pm

    I don’t have kids, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

    But I think that determining the “readiness” or capacity of someone to be a good parent not only involves evaluating the qualities that Wendy and other commenters mentioned, but also the quality of the couple’s PARTNERSHIP. How well do you work together as a team? Will the two of you crumble under the stress, or disagree about the aspects of how to handle certain situations? Or are you good at compromising and communicating about possible differences in parenting styles?

    I think there are other specific things you can address before you take the leap – and of COURSE things will change down the road when you’re in the middle of it all, but it’s probably good to see if you’re on the same page about certain things. For instance, you’ve detemined that he would be a stay-at-home parent, and you both seem to agree on that, so that’s a start. You could also talk about discipline styles, or what type of rules you would have about chores and homework and an allowance and whatever else. Do you want to save for your child to go to college, or do you want him/her to work and pay for it on his/her own? What type of school do you want them to go to? Etc. Etc. DWers, chime in because I know I’m missing things (I’m not a mom, OK?).

    Again, you don’t need to agree on everything from the get-go, but I think it would be helpful to start considering these scenarios, see where you both stand on certain issues, and figure out how to compromise if differences arise.

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    • JK

      JK March 15, 2012, 12:51 pm

      You did good, Catsmeow 🙂
      It is really important before having a kid to a)have your r/ship as stable as possible and b)be on the same page about things. Not to mention be ok financially, etc. At least that´s my opinion.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray March 15, 2012, 12:53 pm

        JK, could you please march yourself into the March Madness forum and tell everyone you love Missouri? I know you’ve probably never been to my home state but they don’t need to know that for now. All the Kansas lovers (all two of them) are making my blood boil.

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      • JK

        JK March 15, 2012, 12:56 pm

        I was actully just going to ask what March Madness actually was.
        But yeah, Missouri is the best!!! 🙂

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        Addie Pray March 15, 2012, 1:00 pm

        Go tell Silver and Ktfran. They are being horrible, horrible monsters.

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      • JK

        JK March 15, 2012, 1:08 pm

        There you go (you convinced me with Brad Pitt)

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 15, 2012, 1:35 pm

        I LOVE Kansas!!!!!

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray March 15, 2012, 1:54 pm

        *WHAT* is happening?! Wendy and Wendy’s Missouri family, where are you? Must I fight this battle alone?

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy March 15, 2012, 2:08 pm

        Missouri!!

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray March 15, 2012, 2:17 pm

        Boom! And there you go, Kansas lovers. Wendy, tell them what you told me the other day, about how Jackson’s first words were “Go Tigers!”…

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        silver_dragon_girl March 15, 2012, 2:34 pm

        Whatever. He’s going to grow up and need to “rebel” and go to KU…

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy March 15, 2012, 2:35 pm

        Oh, it’s true. When he was three weeks old. He’s very advanced.

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      • avatar

        silver_dragon_girl March 15, 2012, 2:35 pm

        Um, leaving the forum for backup is cheating. FOUL!

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray March 15, 2012, 2:36 pm

        (D’oh – you weren’t supposed to see this.)

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      PFG-SCR March 15, 2012, 1:44 pm

      @CatsMeow: I do think a discussion of some of those points is important, but there isn’t a “one size fits all” parenting style that works for every child. I have three kids, and each of them is very different. Even though there are two years between each of them, I do parent each a tad bit differently based on their personalities and their respective ages.

      Also, I read a ton of parenting books while I was pregnant with my first, but it’s sort of like college and your first job – you learn some theories, but until you’re actually in the thick of it, you really don’t know what it’s like. Not only that, what you think might work well in theory doesn’t always fit with your child(ren) and/or your philosophy once you’re a parent.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 15, 2012, 2:07 pm

        My husband told a friend just this weekend that when we had our second baby, our daughter, we at least thought we knew what we were doing but we found we had to toss everything we knew and write a new manual. The friend laughed and agreed. He has a some sons and a daughter and he commented that there really is a difference between parenting boys and girls. I think the natural difference in personality, regardless of gender, also makes a huge difference.

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      • JK

        JK March 15, 2012, 2:09 pm

        Yes, your lastsentence is spot on. I have 2 girls(4 y. and 10 m.) and just last night I was saying to my husband that they couldn´t be more different!

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        lets_be_honest March 15, 2012, 2:12 pm

        When you talk about your girls, it makes me a little jealous that I didn’t have another one for my daughter to have a sister. They must love being sisters…sometimes 🙂
        It’ll be so nice for them when they are older and have each other to share clothes with and boy stories, etc.

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      • JK

        JK March 15, 2012, 2:16 pm

        🙂 Now they´re having a ball, the 10 m.o. just started walking properly, so she´s chasing her sister aorund the house all day (the other day the eldest was running around screaming that a zombie was after her). And they like dancing together. ANd they laugh at each other´s jokes. We´ll have to see when they´re older, I guess.
        My sister is 3 years older than me, and we always got on really badly.
        As for the clothes sharing, the baby will have to lose some weight first! The eldest has always been really tall and really skinny, and the baby is really tall and not so skinny (to not say plump :))

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        lets_be_honest March 15, 2012, 2:21 pm

        Oh how cute. I can picture it now!
        I have 3 sisters and we are so close. Its weird I am usually so happy to have an only child (and she is happy to be one), but here and there I get emotional about her not having a sibling. There is nothing like it.

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        PFG-SCR March 15, 2012, 2:21 pm

        From everything I’ve read, the closeness of siblings is generally more a function of personalities rather than gender. However, I have two boys and one girl, and I do wish she had a sister.

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        lets_be_honest March 15, 2012, 2:27 pm

        I agree, I just was speaking to the “girlier” things sisters usually share. I also have 2 brothers, one who is 18 months older than me and we get along just as well if not better than I do with my sisters. And my little brother, ahhh, what an awesome lil guy. Coolest kid ever.

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    Colleen March 15, 2012, 2:00 pm

    Wendy’s response is great. But if you really want to see how your boyfriend is around kids and you don’t have any in your life, how about volunteering? There are plenty of schools, kids’ programs, shelters, etc. that would welcome volunteers whether it be once or on a long-term basis. It’s not parenting by any stretch of the imagination but it will give you some experiences to share together and discuss.

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  • landygirl

    landygirl March 15, 2012, 3:08 pm

    The only thing you can count on in life is that you can’t count on anything. Wendy gave some good advice, my advice is to listen to it.

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      lets_be_honest March 15, 2012, 3:11 pm

      Yea, I hate that. Its true though.
      “The best laid plans…”

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      • Lili

        Lili March 15, 2012, 3:24 pm

        “…never get me laid.” Sigh.

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    YouGoGirl March 15, 2012, 3:08 pm

    I am 54 and have been unable to have children. I was ambivalent about not having children because I never felt much desire for a child, but I was very troubled because my infertility made me unable to be “respectable”. I was not even sure if I had maternal instincts because it was too painful to explore these feelings if I could not have children.

    Then I met a stray cat who had been abandoned by my next store neighbor and was roving the neighborhood. It took me several months to earn his trust, so that I could lure him into a carrier and take him to the vet for his shots without getting bitten or scratched. I had Shiloh neutered and took him into my home. Suddenly at age 54 I discovered that indeed I do have strong maternal instincts.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest March 15, 2012, 3:11 pm

      That’s very sweet.

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