Question: Dear Dr. Dish, I’ve been dating this woman for a year and I really want kids but I don’t know if she’s ready to be a mother. She does want to have kids (we spent four hours talking about that) but she is a bit self-centered about things. Like she does not like sacrificing time to do things for others. She won’t even reschedule her Pilates class to go to her sister’s daughter’s 8th birthday! Is she not cut out to be a mom?
Answer: It’s hard for me to say that she’s not mom material, especially since I don’t know her at all. But I will say that parents — not just moms — will have to make a lot of sacrifices to make a family work. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that just because right now your girlfriend focuses a lot on herself that she wouldn’t make a good mom.
When you’re single, you can be as selfish as you want. It’s just you. And in fact, a lot of people will purposely focus on themselves, especially if they’ve spent a lot of time doing things for other people (and not enough for them). That’s particularly true of people who are newly single; they just want to do all the things they didn’t do while they were in a relationship. But that doesn’t mean that when the time comes to be a parent, they won’t rearrange their lives and schedules to accommodate a new family.
Like for me, I’m busybusybusy. Sometimes I forget to eat. (Yes, it’s true!) But that doesn’t mean that I’ll continue this crazy lifestyle — surfing in the early morning hours, attending meetings, hanging out at the dog park for hours, working out at midnight, blogging at 1 a.m. — if I had kids. My priorities would change and I’d make it work.
You really need to talk with her about this. It’s not my place to say whether she’ll be a good mom or not. But you should consider selfishness — if that’s what this is — a red flag. But don’t let that be your deciding factor.