|At also helps to have a supremely cute baby|
She asked for the #1 but that's really hard. So here are my top 4, in priority order.
- The real, genuine desire to be a mom. Because when you get simultaneously peed and spit up on while changing a poopy diaper only really, really wanting to be a parent will keep you sane. That and excellent baby wipes. Seriously though, motherhood is both wonderful and challenging. Sometimes at the same moment and sometimes you just feel one of those things. When you are feeling the latter, it is incredibly helpful to remember how much, in the big picture of life, you want to be a mom.
- A good relationship with your significant other. I assume fatherhood is also wonderful and challenging. Inevitably there will be moments that you are both feeling the challenging part and will lean on each other. Many times that will get you through it. But sometimes you will fight. Sometimes you will have big, sucky, awful fights. You need to love each other and be so committed to each other that you can power through the big, sucky, awful fights. And work well enough together that even in the middle of that fight, you can get the baby dressed, fed, diaper bag packed, house locked up and be out the door to do whatever it is life mandates you do, fight or no fight.
- A strong village. Not your literal town of course, but the village in "it takes a village to raise a child." People you trust with your kid, pets, house, car, self, etc who you can call to help with whichever one of those is needing some extra help. And who will find a way to help you, come hell or high water. The kind of people who will call in sick to their own job because you need them that desperately. People who will non-nonchalantly wash your dishes and not mention that you have spit up in your hair and your breath smells like a horse's rear. You really really need those people.
- Financial stability. There is likely someone who will debate this one and that's fine. In my experience though, financial stability matters. In the pre-baby days, Ross and I had a seriously impressive (not from the dollar amounts so much as the organization) family budget. We could tell you exactly how many dollars came in when and exactly how many went out and to what. Post-baby, the reality is we know roughly how much comes in, what the big bills are and when they are due. I have no idea where all the little $5, $10 and $20 things go to like I used to. NOT A CLUE. And with a baby, there are a lot more of those. My point is for me, it is important to have enough financial stability not to need to track those things. Because if we are too tired to cook and we really just want to spend $15 on ordering in pizza, we need to be able to do that without concern.
PS BONUS I would say you need to be happy with what you did pre-baby. Like for us we really wanted to go to Europe. So we did. And if it is 10 or 15 (gulp) years before we can travel like that again, so be it. We checked that off our list. DOUBLE BONUS You also need Amazon Prime.