Congratulations, You Are A New Dad
If you recently welcomed a new bundle of joy into the world, you likely have a lot on your mind. Your brain might be racing like a panicked rabbit. What happens if they develop colic overnight? What if their crying is due to some kind of severe medical issue? How will you afford their tuition?
It’s natural for the tension to overwhelm you at times. But chronic stress can lead to health issues and strained relationships. After all, your partner is also reeling from the changes of parenthood, and they could be dealing with the toll on their body as well. Getting a handle on your emotions ultimately benefits both you and your entire family.
New Dad Stressor #1: Money Woes
It costs a small fortune to become a parent in the U.S. The average cost of labor and delivery is approximately $10,808, and that’s assuming all goes well. If your infant was born premature or had other health issues, you could be staring at a much higher figure.
Plus, given that the nation stands alone among developed countries in not guaranteeing health coverage as a right, you may toss and turn with worry over how to pay for upcoming treatments.
Even if your child enjoys perfect health, you’ll have less leftover at the end of each month. Unless you want your child burdened by student loan debt, you’ll need to start saving for their education early.
It costs nearly $10,000 to attend an in-state public university, and private tuition costs much more. Plus, you’ll need to come up with everything from diaper cash to field trip funds along the way.
Strategy: Start a Residual Income Stream and Talk to a Financial Advisor
One way to ease the pressure is to establish a residual income stream. Ideally, you can complete this before the baby is born — but it’s never too late to start.
You can rent out a spare bedroom on Airbnb or sell photos or courses online. The idea is to get money coming in without taking more time out of your already hectic week.
Also, consult with a qualified financial advisor, even if you think your income doesn’t merit such an approach. They’re a wealth of strategies to help make your money work for you without you putting in much extra effort.
New Dad Stressor #2: Spending Time With Baby
When you’re a new dad, you want to spend time with your new family member. However, you may also have outside responsibilities pulling at you. Your boss wants to know when you’ll return to the office. Your in-laws inquire when you’re bringing everyone over for a visit — it’s enough to make you feel stretched on a rack.
Fully 44% of new fathers express anxiety about the amount of leave they’d get. The U.S. stands alone in not guaranteeing any leave to new parents. While many employers will give new moms at least a few days off to recover from the rigors of birth, fewer do anything for dads.
Strategy: Talk to Your Employer
If you feel like you don’t get enough time with baby, talk with your employer. Depending on the size of your organization, they may or may not offer the time that you need on a paid basis.
However, keep an open mind. For example, could you return to work on a part-time basis if you telecommute, even if you can’t afford to take time away entirely?
New Dad Stressor #3: Lack of Adult Time
Once the baby makes three, you don’t enjoy the level of intimate time with your partner anymore. Plus, you might feel like you lose your spontaneity — no more merely grabbing your keys and heading out. Now, you have to remember to pack a diaper bag.
Strategy: Talk to Your Partner and Support Network
Talk to your partner about your needs, but exercise empathy when you do, especially if they’re recovering from birth. It can take several weeks for their bodies to return to normal.
Also, draw on resources like your in-laws and close friends. You can gain a new appreciation for your MIL when her babysitting gives you a few hours to read a book or lunch with the one you love.
Ease Your Stress With These Tips
You can navigate the recent changes in your life — and the associated stress — with these tips.
Congratulations on your new family member!