Do you know what to expect from fatherhood? Are you planning to go about your regular routines and maybe just change a few diapers now and then? If you don't expect or plan to make more time to be with your family and your
Changes Dads Should Expect
First-time dads who think that their lives won't change much are in for a very big surprise. Having kids may not change everything, but it will change a big part of your life. You won't be able to go out each night, watch every sporting event on TV, or spend all of your free time playing golf. You will need to use a lot more of what used to be free time taking care of your baby.
Not being able to do things spontaneously is one of the hardest changes for many new fathers to get used to. No longer can you simply go to a movie or dinner on a moment's notice. You now need to plan things in advance, either around your baby's schedule or based on the availability of a baby sitter. Having to do a little planning is a small price to pay for being a dad, though.
Other things that you can expect to change during this first year can include:
- Needing to be more flexible with your time
- Being less spontaneous
- Getting by with less sleep
- Having less time alone with your partner
Of course there are plenty of positives, too. Chief among them is having the unconditional love of your baby. Remember that having a baby is not all about the things that you are going to give up or have less time doing. It just makes things easier in the long run if you go into this new time of your life with a good idea of what to expect.
Prioritizing Your Time
Just because you should be more available to help at home and with your baby doesn't mean that you can't still make time for other things that are important to you. As with other busy times in your life, you just have to set your priorities and give up some of the less important things you used to spend time doing. Take a good look at your usual schedule, and see which things show up more often than they should. Do you really need to go for a drink after work with the guys, spend several hours on the Internet, or watch whatever is on TV at night?
Not everything you do is going to be equally important, so learn to set priorities to better manage your time. Your priorities still can (and should) include some time for yourself. This means that in addition to your new role as the helpful father, you can probably still play your usual rounds of golf if, for example, you give up watching sports on TV in the evening. Or if you like working out at a health club regularly, switch your workouts to the early morning so that you can head home right after work to take over caring for your baby. As long as your top priority is your family, you should be able to balance the rest of your time to fit in the other activities that are important to you.