As delighted as they are at the prospect of starting a family, many dads-to-be also experience some anxiety, particularly about feathering the new nest. Most couples make a birth preferences plan - it’s a good idea to do a postpartum plan, including finances, as well. This frees you up to make those wondrous first few months as financially stress free as possible.
If you’re the higher breadwinner and you’re planning on cutting back your hours or even leaving your job, finances are likely to be a big concern for your partner. He may not have actually have come out and said it (you may have noticed some “comments” though), so it’s important to address the topic. In fact, financial stress is a leading contributing factor to Paternal Postpartum Anxiety and Depression, experienced by 17% and one in ten dads respectively. Newborn dads often also experience a great deal of tension between doing the right thing, taking financial responsibility for the family and working harder or extra hours and at the same time wanting to be home on-the-dot to be a present partner and hands-on parent. It can feel like a rock and a hard place with a (sometimes stressful) commute in between.
So make time for conversations about finances and family life. Be prepared to broach the subject sensitively: our ability to achieve and earn can also be verrrrry closely tied to our self-esteem, so perhaps not surprisingly, finances is also one of the top five sources of conflict post-baby.
Establish priorities and explore options that might fit for your family. Some dads might want to take on two jobs, but there’s a hidden cost for that. Men who are involved in day to day dadding tend to have higher self-esteem, happier partners and closer relationships with their brood. Some couples consider both partners working part-time and sharing baby-care. If you’re working and your desire is to retain your employability and career opportunities, having dad be a stay-at-home-more parent may be an option. If possible, talk with others in this situation so you have some idea of the real pros and cons of all the scenarios before making decisions.
As much as it’s desirable to plan beforehand, sometimes it’s only possible to really know what you want to do after the baby arrives and you’re in the thick of it – so be prepared to be flexible. Most importantly, keep discussions constructive - you’re both in this, and so much more, together.
Five ways to manage financial stress:
Reduce spending to just the essentials – less stress is worth more than most indulgences.
Delay major purchase decisions – including expensive things you think you will need for the baby. You won’t. The best things about having a baby don’t cost a cent.
Find out work leave entitlements, government benefits, insurance coverage etc. so you can take advantage of what’s possible.
Consolidating credit card debt, renegotiate the mortgage, talk with a financial advisor if needed..
Get DIY savvy. You can save a fortune by doing things yourself and it means you’re at home more often to catch those special moments.For more on budgeting: http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/money_budgets_providing_family_dads.html.