Welcome to fatherhood and your new role as a Dad. When I became a dad everyone told
me that everything was about to change and that there was no way to prepare for what was
coming, I’m sure you’ve been told that too. There was definitely a mix of emotions as I
settled into my new role, love, excitement and joy were partnered with an increased weight
of responsibility, awareness the importance of values and higher expectations of myself.
While it might be difficult to prepare for these changes there are three conversations that
can make the process easier.
I encourage you to break down your favourite activities into small, medium and large
versions. Instead of it’s an hour at the gym or nothing, you might go for thirty minutes and
get as much done as you can or walk around the block (great if baby comes along in the
pram or carrier) and do some squats and pushups (not with baby in the carrier) at the end.
These little breaks are easier to negotiate, find time in your now much busier schedule and
will help you to feel more ready to tackle the next dad challenge.
Additionally, you’ve probably had more contact with the health system in the months
leading up to or following birth than you’ve had in the rest of your life. Dads can think there
isn’t a problem so I don’t need to go to a doctor, you should make some time to get checked
out and make sure you’re good to go.
The best way to learn to be “good” with the baby is to spend time with the baby, often dads
assume that mums are just naturally better with the baby but it’s usually because they’ve
spent more time with them. Common times that other dads spend with baby are weekend
mornings, reading books before naps or nightly bath time so jump in and make it yours.
Dads tend to parent differently to mums so having a conversation about how and when
you’d like support from your partner is important to find your way of engaging with baby,
just like mum has.
How much leave will you have when baby arrives, how might your hours need to change,
what support might you need when you’re operating on less than ideal amounts of sleep?
Find out what entitlements you have and discuss how you’d like to utilise them. Do you
want a big block of leave to settle everyone in at home, do you want to save some for when
it’s needed later, would a regular late start or early finish be useful? Everyone’s situation is
different but I continue to be pleasantly surprised about what workplaces are prepared to
give when questions are asked, so discuss what works for you and then go into work and
Welcome to the dad club, jump in, get involved, keep the conversations flowing, talk to
other dads to understand their experience and what worked for them and remember you
are a great dad.
Brendon provides new dads with support and information to adjust to their new roles and
integrate self care, work, parenting and their relationships. Brendon has two young boys,
Theo and Fletcher , lives in Canberra and is an International Coach Federation
accredited coach who enjoys supporting new dads be great dads.
You can find out more about how to work with him here.
He also runs Dads Groups.