Work Life Balance Questions As A New Dad

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Tired dad yawning and feeding baby

(reading time ~8 1/2 minutes) 

This article will discuss "Work Life Balance Questions As A New Dad." Many studies have dealt with mothers' challenges when trying to maintain a career and a family, but it's just as important to look at the obstacles that dads face when doing the same. 

Dads, you may feel the weight of responsibility to provide for your family when you become a parent. Probably, working and doing well at it seems more crucial now than ever before, whether or not your spouse is working.

Starting a family requires a significant financial investment. Drops in family income are commonplace, such as when you go from a two-person working household to one. This may significantly pressure you and your spouse.

Exhaustion and stress are results of a combination of factors such as a lot of work, a lengthy drive, and few options in setting your hours.

How To Balance Work And Family As A Dad 

Fatherhood may alter your outlook and priorities at work in ways you might not expect. Having a child may make you appreciate the little things in life more. Finding that sweet spot between business and personal life can at times seem nonexistent.

The most important thing is to pinpoint your values and those of your loved ones. 

Why It's So Important To Be An All-In Dad 

Many research studies have linked a father who is involved and caring to a child's improved cognitive abilities, language skills, and academic success. A father's influence on his child's mental health and socialization is undeniable. 

Research shows that children who have involved fathers are more likely to develop traits like extroversion, self-assurance, and self-control. If dads are engaged in their children's lives, they are less likely to act out in school and engage in risky behaviors such as smoking, drinking, and teen sex. 

However, most fathers struggle with being both involved in their children's lives and accomplished in their careers.

50% of fathers in the workforce say it is "extremely or somewhat difficult" to juggle their professional and personal commitments. Yet, 85% of dads, as reported by the Pew Research Center's research on social trends, say they want to be equally involved as their partners in raising their children. 

This is why focusing your time and attention on the things that mean the most to you is crucial. For starters, communicating openly and honestly with your spouse about your responsibilities within and outside the house is a great starting point in getting at your values.

Work life balance questions as a new dad

Together, Couples Should Consider: 

  • What are the most vital aspects of our personal and professional lives? 
  • What are the many paths forward for us right now? 
  • To what extent do we have access to childcare facilities? 
  • How will we periodically assess how well our plan is working? 
  • Will there be a primary caregiver at home? If so, how does he or she feel about being "unemployed"? 
  • What's the plan if our baby gets sick or has a doctor's appointment? 
  • Is there a way that either of us can help more by working fewer hours? 

Flexible Working Conditions And Other Considerations 

For many fathers, the concept of "flexible" working arrangements is more like a fairy tale than reality. However, there may be some changes you can take to improve your work-life balance.

Find out what paternity leave is available to you and, if any, how much is paid time off. When a man is the primary breadwinner for his family, taking extended unpaid paternity leave might put him in a tough financial position.

Find out what you're entitled to in terms of workplace flexibility. Can you start at seven and leave early, so you're done for the day well before your child is ready for bed?

Learn how to deal with stress in the workplace. Talking about your family at work can let others know they are a priority. Be the hardest worker all day long and leave on time. 

Find out if there's a chance you could work from home periodically.

Limit the number of additional hours you spend working from home and the frequency you check your email while caring for your child. 

Consider making major adjustments in your lives, such as changing shifts or employment.

A family calendar is a must to keep track of everyone's hectic professional and personal schedules. A weekly planner can be a great method to keep track of everything going on in your lives, from appointments to babysitting shifts, and to share this information with whoever is in your child's care. For example, if someone else is picking up your child at a particular time, it should be noted on the planner. Try to schedule one personal event for yourself each week too. 

Chores 

In reality, parents never get to leave work behind. Instead, there are unwashed dishes, unclean clothing, bottles that need sanitization, etc. And it's easy to adapt the role as the "fun" parent and leave your responsibilities on your spouse's shoulders but resist the urge.

Sleep 

Everyone who's ever been a parent knows what it's like to be sleep deprived. In a career involving a lot of mental or physical exertion, lack of sleep can lead to tension at work and home, making it more difficult to strike a reasonable balance.

Fewer Opportunities To Mingle 

Partners don't have as much free time together after the birth of a child. It might be difficult for single fathers to maintain friendships. Other couples will just have to understand when you need or want to take a rain check from social engagements. Sometimes your social life needs to be sacrificed for the sake of your home life.

It can often help with support and childcare to become part of a dad's or parent's group.

Depression 

postpartum depression mom

Approximately 14% of new mothers experience postpartum depression or anxiety. As a caring spouse, you may want to step in and help improve things, but that's generally not what needs to happen. Make sure that your partner immediately receives the necessary medical attention. 

It's common for fathers to feel fierce pressure to succeed in both the home and the workplace. Due to competing needs, it's easy to feel hopeless when trying to strike a balance. Often, you feel like you're failing and letting people down at work and home. This can cause depression as well. 

Some fathers feel sadness and anxiety after the birth of a child, similar to the way some women have postpartum depression. However, it is not often recognized or treated in men. If this is you, talk about it to your significant other and seek medical attention if you've had depression lasting more than a week or two.

Work Life Balance Questions 

Reduce Your Daytime Interruptions As Much As Possible

Being "at the moment" at work and with your children requires you to tune out all distractions and pay full attention to the tasks at hand, for instance, by avoiding distractions like social media. Organize your time and priorities at work and home daily.

Also, try to manage your new work projects and expectations as early as possible. 

Planning Time Together As a Family Is Essential 

Once things get busy, and they are now if ever, important family events and vacations won't happen unless you plan for them. Moreover, if you want to be methodical about scheduling, you might try planning things out quarterly, just as you would for professional projects.

Try To Be Reasonable About The Chores While The Kids Are Home 

It can actually be tempting but try not to overdo accomplishing chores while the children are at home. Chances are they've been looking forward all day to seeing you. Spend as much time as possible with your newborn.

The benefits of starting a connection with your child will be more significant in the long run than maximizing chores done. Let the house go a little or if you can spring for it, consider hiring a housekeeper once a week. 

Professional Work At Home

When professional work must be done at home, try to accommodate your loved ones' routines as much as possible, whether starting work after everyone is in bed or before everyone is up and about. Establish a bedtime routine for your baby, so it's predictable and reliable.

Keep Your Work And Home Life Separate 

keeping work life and home life separate

Maintaining a physical separation between work and relaxation spaces can help you maintain concentration, even when working from home. A distinct space for work and another for play and relaxation will help create a smoother transition between the two environments.

If you work outside the home, change out of work clothes as soon as you get home to mark the transition physically. Keep away from the workplace laptop when you're not at work. Don't try to cram more work into your days off. Instead, give your time and attention to the kids, family, and, as necessary, chores. 

Prioritizing off-hours and vacations for family fun is vital for separating business from personal life.

Get Help 

Very often, family members, friends, and neighbors are only too happy to help out. Don't be afraid to take them up on it. Can a family member be "on call" if there's an emergency and you need help with the baby? Make dad-friends to schedule baby play dates or other activities. 

The Morning Routine 

Set and maintain a morning routine that includes you, your baby, and other family members. Packing lunches and snacks, filling bottles, setting out clothing, preparing the diaper bag, taking a shower, etc., may all be done the night before, saving you time in the morning and making it less hectic.

Meal Preps 

Create a meal plan. Prepare your shopping list in advance to accommodate the meals you'll be cooking this week. Simple recipes that allow you to swap out items when you're low are the best bet. And take advantage of Instacart (and Amazon) when you can. They're great time savers.

Preparing more involved meals is best done when you have more time, such as on the weekend or when the baby is sleeping. Make enough for a few days' worths of eating. 

Childcare 

Finding a reliable childcare arrangement, such as a large daycare facility, a home daycare, or a nanny, may help the guilt associated with returning to work. Regardless of your chosen path, gathering information is essential before making a final decision. 

Check references, get vaccination records, drop in unannounced if possible, and have a backup sitter ready just in case. Start your research very early as many daycare options fill up fast

Participate As Far As You Can In Childcare 

how to balance work and family as a dad

Your partner's physical body will require some rest after giving birth. Remember that aside from breastfeeding, dads can do everything, from bathing a baby to changing a diaper to rocking.

Even when you're unable to breastfeed, you may still provide your baby with bottles of extracted milk or formula, giving your spouse a respite and yourself more time to connect with your child. It's about maximizing the moments you have with your child. 

Seize the opportunity to simulate a natural breastfeeding posture by holding your infant close and placing the bottle where your breast would be. If you want to make the encounter memorable, try taking off your shirt for some skin-on-skin bonding.

And speaking of maximizing the moment, carry your kid or change diapers in conversation. For instance, say, "Let's change this dirty diaper. Doesn't that make you feel better? Don't be sad; we're almost done."

The more you chatter with your child, the more you bond with him, and the more his language and cognitive skills grow. (Listening to music, reading, or telling stories, have a similar impact.)

Help Each Other Through The Early Week Of Insomnia 

You can do a lot even if your partner is breastfeeding: 

  • Get the baby out of the bassinet or crib. 
  • Change a diaper if needed. 
  • Bring the baby to your spouse for feedings. 
  • Put the baby back down. 

Your Relationship Comes First, Too 

As you figure out how to parent as a couple, try to have an upbeat attitude and support one another. A simple "how are you doing?" may go a long way toward showing your lover how much you care.

Getting used to negotiating and discussing goals may help with parenting down the road. Make time to be together just the two of you, even if it's just during the baby's nap.

Take Care Of Yourself And Exercise

Your ability to take care of your child and spouse will increase if you are healthy. Keep your energy level as high as possible by adopting positive habits such as a healthy diet, exercise, and getting as much rest as you can, whenever you can. It may seem like the last thing you have time for is to exercise, but you're going to have to keep your energy up to be able to balance everything on your plate. 

Conclusion 

The demands of being a contemporary father come from many directions. Today's working fathers confront difficulties and opportunities unseen in prior eras. Most dads willingly take on more domestic duties, but the workplace hasn't changed much regarding what's expected of fathers and mothers. Even though it's a precarious balancing act, you CAN balance a successful profession with being a present, emotionally engaged parent.



About the author 

Dan Sperling

I'm the proud father of two great children. They are grown up now, and although I would have preferred to be a stay-at-home dad, I had to work. Luckily, I could work out of my home so I was around a lot. I ran a video production company, had a couple of great guys working with me and it allowed me to be around the children a lot. I was the "fun guy" for my kids and fathering was something I just took to.
When my daughter became pregnant, I was glad to see my son-in-law was doing everything right--or as good as it gets--we're always winging it, right? It got me thinking that so many dads would like to be more emotionally involved and knowledgeable when it comes to their wives' pregnancy and the first year of their children's lives.

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