If you’re having some anxiety about becoming a father, that’s completely normal. When you’re still child-free, the impending arrival of a new life that you’re responsible for is something that can feel worrisome. Some men fear they’ll never be ready to become a father, and worry that means they’ll never have children.
When you decide to have kids or the news arrives that you’re having a child, it brings with it a new set of concerns and emotions — sometimes these are emotions you didn’t even know existed. The idea of how to know you’re ready for parenthood isn’t always discussed: You might think some things are common sense while others seem downright terrifying.
Despite all of the common concerns people have about never feeling ready, you’ll be astounded at just how easy it is to become a father.
When you’re becoming a father for the first time and you feel anxious, know that it’s normal to never feel ready, but everything changes when your baby is born. You should take this seriously and give some thought to what becoming a father might mean for you, while also giving thought to the concept of starting a family in general.
You can’t prepare for everything in life, but there are still some things you should know before your baby arrives. These pre-parenthood tips will help you focus on what really matters so that once your baby arrives, you’re ready to be the best parent possible. So if you’re giving serious thought to becoming a father, below are some tips for how to get ready for this important role of being a parent:
Visualize Being a Father
New fathers will need this strength and endurance to endure those sleepless nights with a newborn baby or when facing a toddler with a temper tantrum. There will be plenty of situations when the father’s skills are tested when he is trying to be a dad with maximum effectiveness.
By imagining yourself as a parent, even if you don’t feel prepared, can reduce your stress and give you the confidence to become a great father. Picture yourself doing the things that make you nervous or uncomfortable, like changing the diaper or staying awake late comforting a crying child, but this time try to imagine yourself welcoming the challenge and meeting it head-on.
You may not feel particularly adept at the moment, but if you mentally prepare for dealing with your child’s emotional meltdowns and defiance, you can deal with it calmly.
Talk Parenting with Your Better Half
The first few weeks after the birth of a new child can be as confusing as they are lovely. You’ll be adjusting to the demands of parenting and trying to fit those adjustments into your relationship.
Conversations about how both of you plan to parent before birth can help you work through some of those questions and settle into your new roles as parents. What’s more, talking about parenting with your partner helps both of you feel prepared for this next stage in life.
Regardless of the path you choose, remember that you don’t need to (and probably can not) make all the decisions right now. Most couples do best if they talk through the issues and then agree that whatever plan they reach is what they will both support. That way, neither of you ends up feeling like your rights and desires were trampled, and no one feels like less of a parent,
Understand Your Workplace Policies
If you work for a company, both expected and unexpected leave will be accommodated. Ask the HR department about what your company’s parental leave policies are.
Talk to your co-workers and subordinates about what you expect from them and how you want to manage your workload during your leave period. Discuss your parental leave policies with your superiors, and plan how you’re going to end projects far in advance of your due date.
Make a Budget Plan
It’s hard to fully comprehend how much stuff kids need before that stork delivers your bundle of joy. The sheer cost of a baby can be a significant deterrent for would-be parents on a tight budget, but cutting corners on your preemie’s expenses is hard to do. After all, your little one will need a lot of things, from diapers to clothes to cribs, and you want the best.
With a bit of frugality and preparation, you can make the transition to parenthood financially seamless — and not at all stressful — for you and your family. You’re going to get many recommendations from friends and family, and you should listen to them, but make the final decision yourself. And don’t forget you can always check out our baby registry checklist for some pointers.
Prepare The Nursery
Preparing a nursery for a new baby is no easy task. Sure, you can just dump a crib in there and fill it with a few rolled-up towels to use as cushions, but that would be both difficult and uncomfortable. You also can’t just add a changing table on top of some milk crates. That’s not safe or comfortable for either parent or child.
Most of the time, it’s best to fix the nursery well in advance of your baby’s birth. Many new parents who haven’t done their homework before the baby is born sometimes discover that their nursery isn’t really ready for a newborn at all.
It might be finished with paint and such, but since such things as crib mattresses and furnishings need to meet specific federal safety standards, they typically require more time before they can be used.
Be a Team Player
Understanding that you are all on the same team is a fundamental shift for co-parents. It can change your whole mindset about your responsibilities, how you interact, and how much time you invest in the relationship.
It’s easy to get caught up in what your better half is doing wrong or what they don’t do for the baby, but it’s important to remember that you are all looking out for your child’s best interests. You’re both working hard taking care of the baby every day, so don’t forget to acknowledge this.
Working together helps make sure that you and your partner take care of yourselves and your child. It isn’t always easy to take care of a newborn without sleep. But if one of you has been up all night with the baby, the other parent should be willing to help out by carrying the extra load in the house — or even just doing a little more work at work — so that everyone gets some sorely needed rest.
You don’t have to be a perfect man to be a father, but a little preparation will go a long way. However, if you’re a first-time daddy, don’t freak out. All parents were newbies at some point. You just have to have patience and try to relax while preparing for your baby. If you put the time and effort into adapting your lifestyle a little at a time, you’ll be ready when the baby arrives.
If you are at the family planning stage of life right now, a CircleDNA test will provide you with a family planning report that helps you learn about genetic carriers and other helpful information.