1. Get involved
You’re no different from every other new father, perhaps unsure of yourself and slightly intimidated by fatherhood.
But embrace this new chapter in your life with confidence. You need to get connected with your baby and with everything she does. Don’t stay in the shadows.
2. Be yourself
You don’t need to pretend to be super-funny or super-sporty, or super-whatever. Your baby will love you for who are you.
If you’d rather read her a story than to sing with her, then do it. It’s the time that both of you share that matters, not what you actually do together.
3. Support your wife
You’re not the only one who is stressed, tired and anxious about managing the little one – your wife is just as strained, even if she keeps her feelings to herself.
Be ready to support her with practical help at all times, and be willing to listen when she wants to share her doubts and worries with you.
4. Develop financial diligence
Even if you have saved in preparation for your baby’s arrival, you’ll have to accept that you can’t spend the way you did before.
Adjust your money habits so you keep within your income. Besides buying baby essentials, you’ll also have to save for future childcare and education expenses.
5. Be flexible as a father
Avoid adopting a fixed role, such as the family disciplinarian (every time she misbehaves, you are the one who reprimands her) or the family joker (whenever you are with her, you try to make her laugh).
There is no reason why those different roles cannot be shared or alternated with your wife.
6. It’s no longer about you
Your new baby needs to be the centre of attention because she is dependent on you both to meet all her physical and psychological needs.
So stop moaning when you find that your wife is more absorbed in the little one than she is in you – she won’t be sympathetic. Instead, give everyone time to adjust to the new family.
7. Engage the grandparents
They may want to help out, so look on them as a valuable, loving resource.
Accept their offers to babysit, and listen to their parenting advice (even if you decide not to implement it). Caring, sensitive grandparents are an important part of your family.
8. Have couple time
Make it a point to arrange a reliable friend or relative to care for the little one at least once a month, so you can go out together as a couple.
No matter how tired you both are, spending time together – without your baby in tow – will strengthen your relationship with each other.
9. Arrange family outings
Get out as often as you can, whether it’s to the park, a mall or to visit a friend or relative.
True, getting ready for these outings can seem rather like moving home, but it’s worth the effort. Going out as a family is good fun.
10. Pat yourself on the back
Every day, reflect on at least one incident that day which you managed really well.
Be proud of your skills and achievements. That will boost your self-confidence as a father.