Becoming a Dad Article

Balancing Act










Being a dad has a lot to do with choices between competing priorities (you might have noticed). You want to take several weeks off without pay when the baby comes while one of your major concerns is how you are going to pay for all of this.

Nobody can tell you to make these choices; each new father must figure out how to make it all work on his own. We generally have a full life before our first baby comes along. Our careers are usually building or in full swing.

We have developed broad relationships with our mates, spending time together and sharing common interests. We have friends, hobbies, outside activities, and physical endeavors that fill out our days. In many cases, long work hours have already stretched us to the limit.

Of course, your child will require a large amount of time. A small amount of "quality" time doesn't cut it with kids. It is very unlikely this extra time is readily available to you, and so you must reorder your life. Some men faced with tough circumstances get proactive early on.

It is increasingly common to find fathers-to-be taking major steps to assure they can make their families their first priority by:

  • Changing jobs or careers to enable more time at home
  • Moving to reduce a long commute or large mortgage
  • Cutting back on expenses or selling their "toys" - motorcycles, boats, sports cars - to reduce debt and financial demands

Many men, though, have little flexibility regarding work commitments. In addition, good choices are hard to make when you are dealing with an abstract notion of what your child will mean to you. 

Once the stork has landed and after your life has settled down a little, you'll be in a better position to assess your options.

It is important that you remember to make the hard choices and not simply get comfortable in an untenable position in which you are not a significant part of your child's life.

The bottom line is that your baby must become your priority and you have to figure out how to make this happen. It's good to take your time in considering these issues during your mate's pregnancy; otherwise, you might get hit like a ton of bricks when your baby arrives.

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