If you want children but consider timing to be an issue, then allowing nature to take its course is arguably best. It happens when it happens, as there is never a right time to have a baby, really.
But if there are things you want to achieve first, be sure to work on you first.
Living and financial situation
One of the most common objectives for those planning to have children is the desire to overhaul their financial and living situation. With 58% wanting to own a home and a quarter of women wanting to save at least £5,000 before even committing to try for a baby.
Buying a property when you’re pregnant, on maternity leave, or when you have a young family can impact your ability to secure a mortgage. This is because of the significant changes to your financial circumstances. Although a lender cannot directly ask if you’re expecting or are currently on maternity leave, you are obliged to disclose any affect on your finances. This can include reduced pay, dependants and existing living expenses. As such, we can see why its desirable to jump onto the property ladder before taking the maternal plunge.
Take advantage of the first-time buyer schemes and offers
If you’re a first-time buyer, take advantage of your position with the lifetime ISAs, stamp duty relief and help to buy schemes. If you look to take up the full benefit of the lifetime ISA (where you’ll get £3,000 from the government for saving £200 a month), you’ll have a £15,000 deposit in just 5 years. Lots of lenders have low deposit requirements for first-time buyers too so worth looking for those deals.
If you’re looking for any wrung on the ladder, shared ownership is another viable option. This is a scheme where you own a share in a property with a developer or lender. You can own as little as 25% and can even, eventually, look to own the property in full. You only pay a deposit for the amount your share is worth. So, if the property is worth £300,000 and you want a 25% share of that property, your share would be valued at £75,000. You would therefore likely need a deposit of between £3,750 and £7,500.
Buying a house is considered one of the most stressful life experiences (91%, where having children was the most stressful for 81%). So, planning your property purchase around your pregnancy is ideal from a health perspective too.
Buck list goals
Life doesn’t have to end when you welcome a child into the world. However, we do get that your financial circumstance does change quite significantly, as does your focus.
Currently your bucket list may simply be a long list of things you want to achieve. To help you achieve your goals, its advisable to break them down into manageable chunks. Prioritise what you’d like to do before you have children; be it the more extravagant holidays or adventurous aims. Follows this with the things you can do during their earlier years; European destinations could be feasible for example. Or you could go on a date night to see the show you’ve been dying to see for example. As they get older, your finances may free up a little as the frequency for clothes, toys and nappies reduces. You can put any extra income towards holidays that not only enrich your life but give your children invaluable life experience.
It may also be worth having a segment on your list broken down by decades/by certain ages. E.g. achieving financial independence, working on your qualifications etc. to allow you to work on life management goals.
So, if you do have a bucket list of objectives to do in life, prioritise what you can and want to do before you have children and what you want and feel is feasible to do when they arrive and beyond.
Establishing your career before having children
Establishing your career first has shown that you could earn on average 13 per cent more over your lifetime than if you have children at a younger age. This is because you’ll have more experience in your field and you’re likely to already posses the required skills and education to keep your career on an upwards trajectory even once you’ve had children.
Skills and education with a little experience is the key foundation for any career. Focus on transferrable and in-demand skills, take courses that can work around you and show a willingness to get involved; speak up at work and share your ideas, engage with your manager on what you’d like to achieve and if you’re able get involved in more projects and familiarise yourself with the broader work carried out in the organisation this will only benefit you.
If you’re wanting a career and a family, you really can have it all. Look to the organisations and their policies: Do they offer flexible working? Are there any benefits that you could take advantage of? Do they offer shared maternity and paternity leave etc. Consider what is important to you and see how the organisation weigh up to these as much as what the job offers and entails.
Additionally, when you’re on maternity leave, stay somewhat engaged with your field. Keep up with the news, read around your subject matter and/or take short courses or attend networking events and workshops. It can even be helpful to keep in contact with a few colleagues or managers (if you have that kind of relationship) to keep abreast of what’s happening.
Build up a support network
It’s important to have a good support network around you when you do have children so that you can have some time with likeminded people. Additionally, like any relationship, it’s important you have something for yourself too! Continuing to build your network at work, with friends and even when it comes to exercise will help you to achieve it all.
You may be fortunate to have friends all embarking on this new journey together. So you can arrange playdates and go to classes and workshops together. Often, you’ll meet expectant parents when you’re at the anti-natal classes or groups you decide to try. But it can be helpful to make new friends with groups who are thinking of having children, or who already have children. So that you will have a little community of those embarking on a similar journey. It can be difficult to make new friends but there are opportunities to meet new people around every corner; at your gym class, through mutual friends and even by taking up a new hobbie.
Whatever your goal in life, we’ve lots of other articles that can help you to fulfil your dreams. We’ve shared some additional pieces below that continues these topics. If you’ve something in mind you’d like us to take a look at let us know. You can email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a comment below.