I’ve been reflecting on the concept of Ready. Again. This is a topic I seem to enjoy circling back to. See “Ready or Not”.
Inspired by a recent conversation with a friend, I’m fascinated by the idea that we humans believe we need to be or feel ready. Specifically, we were talking about the idea of being ready to have children, to start a family. This is a big one, right?
People understand that having a child will result in a tremendous change to their lives. My first response to that is…“You have no idea!” As it turns out, having no idea and truly understanding that, turns out to be a key.
Life will never be as it was before children. You will not be the same person you were before becoming a parent. The tint on your glasses will change. In fact, you will be issued a completely new pair.
People have insecure thinking leading to fear of whether they are good enough to be parents. They question: whether they will know what to do; whether they can handle the responsibilities. And much more. The imagination may run rampant with questioning and doubting.
Here’s what I have come to see about Ready.
We can’t be Ready. Ever.
It is an unattainable concept. Maybe even a myth. Rarely will we believe we are ready. Especially for big changes. Especially for things we have never done or experienced. And especially for things that appear uncertain and connected to buckets of insecure and fearful thinking.
The future is unknown. We don’t know what an event or experience will be like until we arrive there.
We may rehearse scenarios in our minds, which humans seem to love to do. We can make up all kinds of what if’s in our little pea brains, innocently under the illusion this will help us “get ready”.
Life will keep life ing, unfolding, as it tends to do. One moment at a time. You may read a plethora of parenting books and everything changes the moment a baby arrives.
We can really only respond to the moment IN the moment. And we can’t possibly be ready for the next moments because we don’t know what they will be. We don’t know what our state of mind will be, therefore how we will feel.
Imagine if we never needed to worry about being ready.
I’m not suggesting we should not prepare (learn, save money, collect things, read books, whatever looks like a good idea.) However, ready takes care of itself.
In each moment we will know what to do. We may later wish we had known to do it differently. Or we may later be grateful for what we did. That’s ok. Again, life, life ing.
One of the biggest decisions we make in life is whether or not to have children. It is truly life changing and can be amazing, challenging and heartbreaking all in the same breath. Is there a way we can be ready for that experience?
No way. NO WAY!
There’s really good news here. We get to figure it out as we go along.
Humans are truly amazing in real time. We are ready for the next step because we are poised to take it in all moments. As long as we are alive, we have to be. By default, we put one foot in front of the other even when it feels as if we are standing still.
Psst, it’s not really possible to stand still if we are still breathing.
The journey of a parent is definitely a “figure it out as you go” affair. Our wisdom guides us through the moments. It’s the one thing we can rely on. Always there, always available.
Two years ago my son Kyle was in an auto accident. He came home in a wheelchair. I remember wheeling him into his bedroom and sitting there thinking “I have no idea how this is going to go. How am I going to manage through the healing process before he can walk independently again? How am I going to get enough helpers for his round the clock care? In fact, I don’t even know how to get him out of the wheelchair and into his recliner.”
I was a classic case of NOT ready!
Then I stepped into the flow of life. I knew to ask my husband for help with the first wheelchair transfer and everything went from there. Sometimes it was very rocky and other times, smooth. I didn’t know what to do until I did. I took many steps. Falling at times, I always got up again. That’s what it means to be a parent.
In fact, that’s what it means to live life.
If in your heart you want to nurture and love a child and expand your family, you can put “ready” aside. It doesn’t really exist.
You will never be ready. The good news is, it doesn’t matter.