Ask a Dad Question

How Can Traveling Dad Keep Partner from Being Overwhelmed?










QUESTION:

I’m 22 and haven’t spent a lot of time around babies. My partner is 28 weeks pregnant and we are expecting our son soon. I would just like to know if anyone could give me any pointers with the first couple of weeks of parenthood. I work "fly in fly out" (away for two weeks then home for one) and just want to make sure I do everything I can to make sure my son is OK and my partner isn’t overwhelmed.




ANSWER:

You are in a tough situation, as you know. You want to be a good dad and also have to support your new family. Here are some suggestions on how to be there for your family:

  1. The big issue will be your wife who will be on her own as a new mom, so focus on getting support for her while you are gone, and let her know that now. This may involve arranging for her mother (or yours) to help her out with the baby when you are gone, or something along these lines.
  2. No matter how much she appreciates your hard work, it will still be overwhelming for her to be alone with the baby for long stretches with little relief, so don't take it personally if she still gets upset about the load she's having to bear. Call and video chat with her regularly, make sure her support system is checking in with her a lot, and let her know she can always put the baby somewhere safe and walk away for a few minutes to calm down.
  3. As you get closer to the birth, or soon after your baby arrives, depending on your wife’s frame of mind, you might conclude that you need to be home with her. This would involve your telling your boss you need to take time off.
  4. The next biggest issue is your relationship with your child. When you are gone a lot and mom is handling most of the childcare, it can be tough to work yourself into "their" routine. So double down on bonding with your baby when you are home; this will be what mom appreciates most.
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