Becoming a parent is one of life’s most rewarding experiences, but it can also be exhausting. Juggling work and taking care of your little one is harder than you think, but it will become easy as pie with a few tips.
Here are eight things to keep in mind that should help a dad balance their new life as a parent with work:
1. Plan ahead with your employer
If possible, try to find out what your paternity leave policy is at work before the baby is born. If you are lucky, they may offer more time off than just a few weeks or days—but this isn’t always the case. Try to find out what kind of flexibility your paternity policy has and how much leave you can take.
This way, when the baby comes, you won’t be blindsided when your manager tells you that they can only offer you three days off and not the two weeks you were hoping for.
2. Take it day by day
Be realistic about how much you can manage in the beginning. Don’t try to do too much all at once. You need to take it day by day. This way, you will wake up one day and realize that your little one has been sleeping through the night for a week.
So, don’t get stressed if you have a bad day here and there. Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint. That’s why you have to be ready for the long haul.
3. Educate yourself on what is normal
Parents often feel confused or scared when their children are not developing at the same rate as other children their age. Try to remember that every child grows and develops according to their own timeline. Your children could probably teach you a thing or two about patience.
4. Spend quality time with your family
Remember that children learn by modeling behavior, so try to spend quality time with children every day. Play with them, read to them, and spend special time together where you can just hang out. This will help children feel loved and secure, knowing that their father is always there to support them.
You can also spend more time with your kids in other ways. For instance, if the regular visit to the children’s allergy doctor is near, you can volunteer to go instead of your partner. This way, your partner will have time for themselves, and your kids will see that you are willing to take on any task necessary to make their lives a bit easier.
5. Help around the house
There are many ways for dads to help around the house these days. If possible, take children to the store with you and let them choose what they like. Talk about colors, flavors, and food groups when buying groceries.
If children are old enough to help prepare dinner or wash dishes, encourage this instead of leaving all of these tasks for your partner alone. By doing so, children will have a better understanding of the importance of responsibility in the household.
6. Expect some stress
Try not to worry about your kids when they act their age and set some boundaries for them instead. This means that your children will get upset at you sometimes, but it is better than them not understanding where the line between children and parent stands.
Of course, that’s not to say that children should always be allowed to do what they want, but they need to know that you love them unconditionally no matter what. Thus, if children get upset that they can’t do something or are tired, it is okay to give them a little leeway.
7. Be active
Children need their dad to be healthy and strong to keep up with them, and it is your responsibility to be their role model. Children who see healthy habits in their dad will begin to follow suit.
That’s why you should encourage children to switch off screens, sit down to eat meals at the table, and play outside whenever possible. And if children see you exercising every day, they will want to join in too!
8. Have fun
At the end of the day, your children need to know that you are on their side and always ready to play with them. Make sure your kids know how much you love and cherish them. Hold your children close, and read their favorite stories as often as they like.
Becoming a new dad can be overwhelming, but it is definitely manageable with a bit of patience and effort. Don’t let the fear of failure or success overwhelm you. Just take it day by day, and everything will work out in the end.