Work Life Balance For New Dads

Written by admin

Mar 19, 2019

March 19, 2019

I NEED TO CHANGE MY PRIORITIES…

In my role as a full-time classroom teacher I can work up to 60 hours a week.  My wife, as a college lecturer can work beyond 70 hours a week during busy exam periods. I also study the piano and try to get at least 30 minutes  practice done a day.  Since starting a young family with 3 young children life has become incredibly hectic, overwhelming at times, leaving little precious time to spend with my wife and family.  

Argh! I’m going to be a dad!

Finding out I was going to be a dad for the first time was the most incredible feeling in the world! My overwhelming thoughts were; am I ready to be responsible for a little person? How can I afford all the inevitable expenses? Will I be a good dad? Will I be able to turn this little person into a kind and thoughtful being? Will the baby be fit and healthy? I can’t sleep now, how will I function when the baby arrives?!

 

My wife and I researched everything. From Gina Ford to Super Nanny, buggies and carriers, sleep patterns, nappy creams, dummies, cots, baby monitors. No stone was left upturned. The one question neither of us thought about was how will children affect our working lives.  We didn’t ever think about how we might reorganise our schedules to spend time with our precious little girl. Not until my first day back at work, after 2 weeks of paternity leave, did this thought cross my mind.

Returning to work after the birth of my first daughter was THE BIGGEST LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE. Reality hit home instantly.  I discovered very quickly that life was going to become incredibly challenging. I lived to spend time with my daughter and she needed her daddy.

This realisation forced me to turn to online communities like (www.parentingfordads.com!) These amazing groups with dads sharing their own challenges and amazing journeys helped me to find solutions to addressing my work life balance, in favour of LIFE! 

Finding a balance between work and home life was  incredibly challenging with a new born and 2 working parents.  This only became more difficult with addition of two more little ones in quick succession! 3 children under 4 years old!  Ultimately, I think this was a major contribution to my battle with depression. (A story for another time!)

“However, there are ways to begin addressing your work-life balance as a new dad, or a dad at any point in time along the journey of fatherhood .”

Put down your phone and mobile devices!

Get into the habit of just turning of your phone  as soon as you walk through the door. AT LEAST  for the first couple of hours. 

“I always put my phone and tablet on silent as soon as I get home.  I also put them out of sight and reach. We always eat dinner at the table with only soft music in the background.  There are ABSOLUTELY NO external distractions until the childrens’ bedtime.  This includes no television. This way I get to spend at least 2 hours of quality time with my children every evening. This is what I call one of my non-negotiables”

DATES FOR DADS

I wholly encourage all dads to take some time off to spend quality time with their children. Particularly if your working hours are, irregular, inflexible or you work shifts.  Call these your dad dates!

“Spend as much time on your days off with the children as possible. During busy teaching and exam periods  I  could often go 3-4 days of spending no more than 10-15 minutes at the most.   This was a contributing factor to my own mental health battle.  I now make sure that we go out regardless off the weather. There is SO much to do.  Go for a picnic or a bike ride, if it’s raining take waterproofs, rain suits and wellies. Go puddle jumping, make mud pies, make a den in the woods to keep dry.”

My own children now add these activities on their daily reward charts. I can’t remember the last time they asked for time on a mobile device or computer!

Time is precious, they want to spend as much special time with you  as you do with them.

“I’m Late, I’m Late For a Very Important Date”

My second non negotiable is always leave work on time. I am always home at 5:00pm. This lets me spend time with the children before bedtime.

“Bedtime for my 3 children is 7:00pm. We have routines in place to make sure homework, spellings and reading are done every night with my eldest 2 children. This then leaves plenty of time for me to ‘fool around’ with them before story time. We play hide ‘n’ seek, run around the garden in all weathers, snuggle, talk about their day, giggle, and bath. Its daddy time, time to bond and make memories.” 

Collecting my 3 children from after school care and seeing them run towards me with beaming smiles is the highlight of my day.  Its as beautiful as hearing their silly games and laughter as they wake up each morning.

Do you have a Dad’s story to share?

Tag us into your dad stories to feature in our articles.  It’s you, real life dads, sharing you own parenting experiences with one another that make this such a great site.  If you’re interested in finding out more about writing an article then  just email dad@parentingfordads.com.

“My dad is my greatest role model.  Living life to the full, always there to share the good times and pick up the pieces!”

Make time for those cherished dad memories.

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DO YOU HAVE A DAD'S STORY TO SHARE?

Tag us into your dad stories to feature in our articles. It’s you, real life dads, sharing you own parenting experiences with one another that make this such a great site. If you’re interested in finding out more about writing an article then just email dad@parentingfordads.com.

“My dad is my greatest role model. Living life to the full, always there to share the good times and pick up the pieces!”

Make time for those cherished dad memories.

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