Nothing can fully prepare you for parenthood or the monumental changes that come with it. But there does come a time when you feel those first twinges of the urge to procreate. You may have already felt them and don’t even know it. Here are a few signs that you might actually be ready to become a dad.

1. You gravitate toward your nieces and nephews.
At family gatherings you may find yourself drawn to the kids’ table, and it’s not because you’re craving macaroni and cheese. If you love playing with your nieces and nephews, you can probably imagine playing with your own kids some day. When you start to see kids more as interesting little people, and less as snot-nosed brats, you’re on the path to fatherhood.

2. It doesn’t freak you out to think about the future.
If your only concerns are where you’re going to dinner or what girl you’re going to swipe right on for your next date, you’re obviously not thinking too far ahead. And, if that’s the case, kids aren’t even on your radar. However, if you’re thinking about the future with a larger perspective on your overall plan, you’re probably about ready to be a dad.

3. You want a pet.
Owning a dog and having a baby are two very different things, despite what passionate dog owners will tell you. But feeling the urge to nurture a pet is a small stepping stone toward feeling the urge to become a father. 

4. Partying isn’t appealing anymore.
Once you’re a parent, nights out without kids are few and far between. So when you’re ready to say goodbye to hitting the bars every weekend, you might also be ready to be a dad. Just remember, even if the party scene seems tiresome and full of drama right now, as a dad you’ll look back on these carefree days with longing; so soak it up while you can.

5. Hotness isn’t your number one priority in potential girlfriends anymore.
You might not be consciously sizing up your dates for motherhood, but you’re probably looking for a girl with whom you can see a real future. When you reach a point where you’re looking for a little more substance and a serious relationship, that’s a good sign that parenting will eventually be part of your plan.

Photo: iStock/bjones27