Category Archive : Caring for Yourself

Before you became a father, life had enough responsibilities already. You have your role at work and responsibilities there. You may have responsibilities with your own family that need to be attended to. If you complete volunteer work or even a sport/activity in your personal time you will have responsibilities there. Within your relationship you will have responsibilities to your partner. Plus on top of all of this are any financial responsibilities that are tied to these life areas. Juggling these responsibilities is busy enough as it is, but then once you enter fatherhood and become a parent, your responsibilities increase significantly and place pressure on all other areas of life. Learning how to be a dad is challenging enough within its own right, but learning how to add the responsibilities of fatherhood to your already full life, and keeping it all going, takes the difficulty level up a notch.

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I have always struggled to get into regular exercise habits. I start up, get into a really good pattern for 3-4 months, and then something happens like falling sick or going on holiday, where I stop working out for 1-2 weeks. After this, it takes me a good few months to get back into a routine before the same cycle occurs again. In fact, once my wife fell pregnant, I again attempted to get into a good routine with the hopes it would continue once baby arrived. I even managed to break my old cycles and workout for a solid 6-7 months, 4 days a week for a little over an hour each morning. I also started to see some physical results of my training (as well as an increase in strength and stamina).

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How to find time to relax with a newborn, a question I also found myself asking regularly, often coming up with the same answer – you don’t find time! Relaxation becomes a thing of the past when you are caring for a little human, and you may often question when you will be able to find the time. And in my experience, what I found was not that I ‘found time’ to relax with a newborn, but rather I had to change my mindset towards what I was already doing. Finding ‘relaxation’ within my duties as a father, enjoying the moment and practicing this idea you may have heard about called ‘mindfulness’.

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There are many questions that I began asking once my daughter had come along. How often does a newborn need to feed? How many wet nappies is normal? Is my baby’s poo colour normal? But no question was more pressing than finding out how to get sleep with a newborn. As I mentioned in my previous post ‘Expectations VS Reality – What to Expect as A New Dad‘, there are quite a few changes that occur when you become a father, but the most challenging change I found was adjusting to the new sleep pattern that a newborn entails. This was such a challenge that I found myself Googling for answers a few times a day in the first few weeks. I don’t know if I ever found a single answer that worked, but I tried a lot of strategies that were recommended and my wife and I were lucky enough to find some semblance of normal sleep after the first 7 – 8 months. Hopefully through reading my journey, it will help you with yours.

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I sometimes think back to where my mind was at prior to having a baby, when my wife was still pregnant and we were in the ‘expecting phase’. At the time we were just over the moon to be having a baby, so I thought I knew what to expect as a new dad. And the challenge is that nothing can really prepare you. You can read tonnes of blogs, watch YouTube videos of peoples experiences, or even have friends tell you the honest truth. But none of that will prepare you, because you haven’t been through it yourself. You have nothing to compare those stories against in your own personal experience bank. So what your brain does compare the stories to, are experiences that it thinks are related. Let me run through some of my own personal examples.

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