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The family car: lifestyle changes for Dads

Katharine Wellmann
Your lifestyle is about to change enormously. Here’s what you need to know.
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Congratulations, your partner is expecting a baby! Exciting times await. We give you the heads up on what to expect when your baby arrives. 
 
Changing your car
If you’re currently driving around in a Ferrari with minimal boot space, it’s now time to upgrade (if you can call it that) to a safer vehicle. When taking a new car out for a test drive, you need to ensure it has safety features like airbags, an antilock braking system (ABS), and active head restraints to help prevent neck injuries. It's also a good idea to bring your baby seat along on your test drive. Check to see that there's enough clearance for rear facing seats and that the seat bottom is deep enough and flat enough to hold bulkier seats securely. Finally, ensure that the boot of the new car is big enough to fit in a pram, shopping and a bag full of baby paraphernalia. Obviously, four doors will make it a lot easier to take the baby in and out of the car.

Less “me” time
Once the baby arrives, you will find that it’s not that easy to lie around on the couch watching sport. That doesn’t mean that you’ll never have time to yourself again, just that you might need to trade time off with your partner. When there’s a newborn in the house, there can be little time for relaxation in between the feeds, burping and changing. You have to be creative to find relaxation time. Take turns with your partner to grab a few minutes for a nap, go for a jog or catch up on the news. Be sure to set aside some down time for yourself – it's essential to being a good Dad.
 
Responsibility
When you bring your baby and wife back from hospital, you’re likely to drive like you are transporting china. You may feel overwhelmed with a sense of responsibility and the realisation that you are no longer just responsible for yourself. Try not to panic, you are not the first Dad to feel like this, and over time you’ll become more comfortable with your new role. You were born for this!

Sticking to a budget
Newborns are expensive. Nappies, paediatrician’s bills, the cost of vaccinations and childcare, and the fact that your partner is probably not earning anything for a few months can make it necessary to draw up a budget. Spontaneous weekends away will probably not  be possible at first, but if you stick to the budget you’ll be able to treat yourself – and your partner – now and then. And the payoff is huge: you get to hang out with the coolest person you know – your baby.

A new circle of friends
Once you have a baby, it’s inevitable that your partner will start socialising with other Moms she may have met at antenatal classes or at the clinic. Your nights at the pub or Sundays playing golf are likely to be swopped for lunches with couples with babies.  This is an opportunity to make some new friends who really understand what it’s like to be living with a newborn, but don’t forget your old friends too. It might be a relief not to talk about babies for a while!

 The end of all sleep
Well, not all sleep. But the end of long nights of uninterrupted sleep. Be prepared for little or no sleep in the early days. Try to share the load with your partner so you are both able to get some rest. You will find that sleeping in on a Sunday morning becomes one of your most coveted fantasies!

When your baby arrives, it is likely to be the most momentous change you have ever experienced. Embrace the changes and take them in your stride. You can do this. Do you have any tips for other new Dads?



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camille
24 March 2015 09:03

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