By Chief Writer for Veterans United Network, Levi Newman, for GalTime.com
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People talk a lot about how working moms are affected by having children, but I rarely hear the conversation turn toward how working dads’ lives are changed.
My life was dramatically altered when my wife and I started having kids, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.
I believe that it’s time we all start talking about this issue, so for all those new dads trying to balance work and family life, this one’s for you.
The New Family Man
When I first became a father in 2000, I was a mere 20 years old. I was excited and scared and curious, all at the same time. I didn’t really understand my new role as a dad, or my role as a “family man.”
It took nearly 10 years for me to get into the groove of what I was supposed to do. I had to put away the video games (not completely, of course – let’s not get crazy), wake up earlier and go to bed later, help my wife with more cleaning than I used to, and, most importantly, set time aside to have fun with my wife.
Being a father is a full-time job, but being a husband or partner is just as important. Wearing your different “hats” at different times can be difficult at first, but it’s all about striking a balance.
Share the Load
With great power comes great responsibility. I get it, you’re not a super hero, but you kind of need to be. With all the talk of modern women trying to balance work and family, the fact that men should be deeply involved in family life is often overlooked.
The modern man has just as many balls in the air as the modern women, and we should be performing our juggling act together, helping each other handle the influx of new duties.
When it comes to children, especially newborns, try to go the extra mile. For example, I try to get up at night every time my wife does, at least until there’s a rhythm between us.
She needs to know that I’m going to be there for her and the baby, even if I’m not physically doing something. Simply being there to talk to her makes things run more smoothly. Never underestimate the value of watching TV with your wife at 3 a.m.
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Don’t Be Afraid to Make Changes
After you find out that your first baby is coming and you finish processing all the emotions that come with that news, it’s good to step back and evaluate your involvement at work.
If you can step back a little and downgrade your involvement in committees or extra projects when the baby comes, do it! Take full advantage of every opportunity to spend more time watching your little poop machine grow.