Changes in roles and responsibilities
Since finding out that you are going to become a parent or becoming a parent, you may feel an increased sense of responsibility for bringing a child into the world and their upbringing. This change in roles and responsibility may encompass the role as primary provider for the family for a brief, or extended period of time.It can also impact on couples where the caregiving is equal.
As you make the adjustment from individuals and/or a couple, to parents and a family – you are likely to feel different.
It is common that at times things may feel chaotic as you try and manage new demands, keep everything stable, and deal with the possible disrupted sleep that often comes with this transition.
“The house suddenly went from the quiet and empty place it had been a few weeks ago to a place full of noise, with absolutely no room. It felt as though our entire lives had been hijacked.”
Many expectant and new fathers particularly, also describe an increased sense of responsibility as they need to be the provider for their family. This can also lead to ongoing feelings of stress.
This is all normal, and with time you will master new ways of doing things and contemplate your new priorities. Give it time. This is all part of the transition to parenthood and adjusting to your new role, and new life, as a parent.
Juggling work as a parent
But as I started planning (for the baby) I started to worry more and more. I knew we had to have enough money to raise him properly… I had to keep working hard, and keep hitting those (sales) targets – the baby and Michelle were depending on me.
In addition to adjusting to all these changes in your home life, for most fathers and partners there is your working life that also needs to be returned to, and integrated into your life. Adjusting and getting back into work life as a parent (with it’s own demands) coupled with the effects of interrupted sleep and/or possible sleep deprivation is yet another transition.
Whilst more than ever you may wish to return home from work and be able to relax and want to zone out in front of the TV to wind down, the experience of your partner and their needs may be quite different. For example, your partner’s day may have lead her to be quite isolated, lacking adult company and/or attending to the needs of the baby all day, hence she may crave adult conversation and/or some time for herself.
It is important to acknowledge the diversity in your situations and needs, and try to both compromise to some degree so that both of your needs can be fulfilled – at least in part. Acknowledging and genuinely respecting the critical role that both parents play will be beneficial for your relationship in the immediate and longer term.