How to (responsibly) find time as a new father?
Bringing new life into this world is no easy task. As men, it’s fair to say our role is much less involved during the first nine months. Once the baby arrives, however, it can be a struggle to find time for anything.
You don’t want to neglect your child, but there are realities to life that require your attention. Your job, your friends and yourself. These things are essential, and you might feel challenged to find time for each obligation as things start to pile up. So how do you responsibly find time for yourself?
Here are some suggestions on how to cope.
Ask for help from family
You likely know the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” During the early days, it certainly will. You’ll be in a tough situation without help from family and friends. Many people rely on having family members, such as grandparents or siblings, close to them when new children are born.
Don’t feel ashamed to reach out to a brother, aunt, grandmother or father for help. If you live near the grandparents, that can be a real advantage. They’ve done it before and can give a few useful tips. Plus, studies show that grandparents are good for your kid’s well-being. A loving grandma provides support and advice for children when faced with a problem or a scary event.
Budget time with your partner
Raising a child is a team sport. That said, you want to make sure your spouse doesn’t go crazy with over-commitment. Everyone needs a little time to themselves. For example, say you get up early and hammer out a few tasks that will free up your wife later in the day. In return, she can take care of the baby for a half-hour while you go for a jog.
Don’t expect things to fall into place instantly or remain consistent. It will require flexibility. Talk with your partner about what you’d like your schedule to look like. Then, see what you can do to agree on a compromise.
Prioritize your to-dos
Certain things aren’t going to get done when you have a new baby. Learn to be okay with that. It’s more important to know what you want from your career, your relationship and your hobbies. Actually, hobbies might have to take a back seat for a while.
Understanding your priorities will let you make tough decisions without feeling guilty. Think about what matters, both short-term and long-term. One tip is to map out your daily goals the night before. Mornings are hectic. With a handy pre-made to-do list, you won’t forget an important task.
Bring things into the home
Did you like to go out and spend the night in the town? Unfortunately, that kind of fun has to happen at home now. Look into making remote work arrangements, or transition to a career you can run from home. The goal is to spend more time with the baby.
It doesn’t stop with your job, though. You can find a lot of time for activities while watching the baby. Try involving your child in your hobbies. For example, if you like to bake, head into the kitchen. As you work, talk out loud about what you’re doing. Do you want to hit your fitness goals and stay in shape? Invest in a jogging stroller you can push as you run. You can also pop in a DVD and dance away to the oldies.
Your ideal lifestyle might not include baby-enforced house arrest. However, it’s what you have to get used to. Follow the tricks above to make time for yourself as a new father.
Any tips of your own?
Are you a new father with your own tips? Share them with your fellow dads in the comment section! We’d love to know your secrets.
Dylan Bartlett, aka, “The Regular Guide,” writes about a range of topics on his blog. Check out Just a Regular Guide for similar articles, or follow Dylan on Twitter @theregularguide for frequent updates!