In terms of preparing for fatherhood, most people think of tactical things. They might think that new dad tips only involve changing diapers, holding the baby, or the best baby products to buy. While all these are great, you become experts on these things as time goes by.
Preparing to be a dad more so involves mental preparation. You must understand the nuances of the changes in your environment, relationships, and life. We prepared seven pieces of parenting advice to help you tap into the fatherhood mindset.
1: Talk With Other Fathers
Your feelings as a soon-to-be father or new dad are not new. It helps to speak with other dads who are going through the same thing as you or dads who have already gone through your new experiences. For one, you won’t feel alone because you create a sense of community. Another benefit of talking with other fathers is the insights they can offer.
Having a community of people with shared experiences is valuable. With a support system ready to discuss the uncertainties of fatherhood, you can get through any difficulty because there are resolutions to the challenges you are facing.
You can rest assured that fathers will be enthusiastic about giving advice. Wanting to share knowledge and experiences is a human trait. For instance, if you find that your newborn sleeps better when you play some of your old records, you’d want to share that with a new father facing problems with putting their kid to sleep.
2: Get Your Finances in Order
You might argue that finances are unrelated to mindsets or mental preparation for fatherhood. On the contrary, financial stress is a real problem that any new dads are worried about. Beyond saving money and not spending on useless things, you have to adjust your budget to accommodate a new life.
In the US, they say that it costs $240,000 to raise a child up to age 17. Preparing for this challenge may require expert advice. Consult with a financial planner or advisor to help you plan for your new family’s expenses.
Making smart financial decisions is not limited to working fathers. If you are younger and have limited resources, you still need a professional to help guide your decisions. Consider getting a better-paying job or finding a side hustle to earn extra income. The early stages of fatherhood can be stressful, so you want to reduce as many potential issues as you can before the child arrives.
3: Turn “I Have To” Into “I Get To”
Instead of having an “I have to” mindset, shift into an “I get to” mindset. For instance, if you find yourself saying “I have to feed the baby,” you can say “I get to feed the baby.” Or turn “I have to go to the appointments with my wife” into “I get to learn more about my future child.” Change your mindset to create opportunities out of your newfound fatherhood.
Think of fatherhood as a blessing that you are grateful for. “Thank goodness I get to be a dad!” When you express your gratitude, you are creating a positive impact on your life. We believe that you cannot be depressed if you are grateful. In that sense, gratitude is the antidote to depression.
4: Check the Influence Around You
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn used to say that you are the sum of your five closest friends. So, reassess the company you keep. Do you surround yourself with people who make good decisions? Do they take good care of themselves? Do they treat other people well? You may need new friends if you answered no to any of these questions.
As a new father, your environment will change. Some aspects of your life that made sense up to one point may no longer serve you the way they used to. Take partying for example. Before fatherhood, you loved to party with your friends. As a new father, partying may not be as interesting anymore. You’ll have to make the choice to adapt to that change.
Think of these adjustments to your environment as necessary steps for your child’s future environment. You are essentially building your child’s immediate world with the company you keep. Your environment will dictate who and what your child interacts with, so you must be mindful of external influences.
5: Be Okay With Mistakes
You must understand that mistakes are inevitable and normal. As a new father, you have to learn to be okay with your mistakes. Forget about lacking self-confidence and being hard on yourself when you make a wrong step. All the mistakes you’ve made prior to having your child will seem irrelevant compared to the mistakes you will face as a new father.
Successful fatherhood has no room for ego. We are meant to make mistakes, accept them, learn from them, and then move on from them. It’s a constant cycle. We’ve all held the baby wrong, changed their diaper wrong, or dressed them backward. Mistakes to the tactical things are fixable. We must focus on minimizing the mistakes related to our mindset and how we raise our children.
6: Continue Your Dad Education
Nothing compares to learning how to be a new father as we go through the experience ourselves. While advice from parents, relatives, or support groups is important, we urge you to learn about the different aspects of parenting from actual dad education.
There are optimized ways of dealing with our children, communicating with them, and dealing with discipline. However, there is little education for fathers that covers these topics, and even fewer dad’s seek such education. So, we have created a webinar, “Six Proven Strategies to Be a Better Father,” for the sole purpose of continuing your education on fatherhood.
7: Learn to Be Empathetic
Practicing empathy is vital in preparing for fatherhood. Empathy means looking at situations from the other person’s perspective or putting oneself in another’s shoes, as the saying goes. Being empathetic enhances partner dynamic, improves parenting skills, and develops interpersonal relationships.
Interacting with others through an empathetic lens is a game-changer. Empathy is about hearing another’s side and understanding it. You don’t have to take their side; just hear them out. For instance, if your pregnant partner feels unwell and complains about swollen feet. Instead of replying with a typical, “Try lifting your feet and relaxing,” approach it more empathetically.
An empathetic reply would be something along the lines of, “That must be uncomfortable. Is there something I can help with?” Acknowledge how your partner feels and offer your assistance instead of giving unsolicited advice. Let them know you hear them and are there for them. Practicing empathy with your partner is crucial because you will take this skill with you when the child arrives.
We designed all these tips to prepare you for fatherhood. It’s an amazing experience that you must be grateful for. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic.