The Worries of a Dad-to-be

The Worries of a Dad-to-be OK. So what's the big deal with being a dad? Why should I be happy about having a baby?

Getting excited about having a baby is generally seen as a female trait - they can talk about it endlessly whereas most blokes don't find the prospect as fascinating. However, when it actually happens to you I guarantee your attitude will change. Maybe not immediately, but it will, even if it's just that you can't wait to buy some fancy toys.

But that's just it - there's so much to buy. We never seem to have enough money for just the two of us, let alone a third person.

I know exactly what you mean. We had the same concerns but it's not as bad as you might expect. Firstly, you do get a little help from the government (click here for details on saving and investing for children). Secondly, it's surprisingly easy to economise by resisting unnecessary luxury items, buying many items second-hand (often hardly used) and in any case, clothes and presents just seem to appear from eager friends and relatives in the first few months at least.

Another thing to remember is that compared to countless other parents around the world, you're probably not doing that badly. Very often it's media pressure that makes you think you need more money. If you want to be richer, there are three things you can do:

  • Adjust your income
  • Adjust your spending
  • Adjust your expectations
I favor the third option. The most harmful thing is to envy other families just because they can afford genuine Brio rather than the cheap supermarket equivalent, for example. For a few years at least, splashing in water will be as fascinating as playing with the latest battery-guzzling expensive toy. Of course, it goes without saying that if don't think you can afford children and yet you smoke, you don't have a leg to stand on.

Finally, your income will stretch further because, to be brutally honest, you just won't have the time to indulge in little luxuries or your hobby as much as you did before. More than money, children need your attention and affection.

More than money, children need your attention and affection.
I'm not sure about that. I love my hobby and I wouldn't be happy giving it up. I also love my sleep and we all know what happens to that.

No-one said having a family was easy and compromises do have to be made. Having said that, it's so much easier when it's for your own child. I think it's fair to say that your attitude to other people's children now is a million miles away from what you will feel when you come face to face with your own offspring and you'd be surprised at what you're prepared to sacrifice. As for lack of sleep, get as much as you can while you've got the chance...

I'm yet to be convinced. Also, if we're spending less time out enjoying ourselves, that means more time spent at home. It's cramped as it is and we can't afford to move to a bigger place. Surely we can't squeeze in a baby as well as all the baggage they come with?

This sounds vague but, like so many other concerns, things will just seem to sort themseles out. We lived in small flat for the first 2 years of our son's life, often feeling guilty that he didn't have enough space but always being surprised at his patience and flexibility. I wouldn't crave a Ferrari if I hadn't seen other people driving them and, similarly, babies have no experience of any other lifestyle (other than being squashed in a tummy) so they don't feel hard done by.

You may be right, but in any case I don't think I'd make a very good dad. I wouldn't know what to do.

This is the kind of worry you have to put to one side. We all have those fears but I believe that, apart from the obvious extremes, there's no such thing as good or bad parenting - just different parenting styles and who has the right to say what is best? You can't go far wrong if you trust your instinct and lead by example. Be kind to them and their mother and they'll be kind to others. Try not to worry about things that aren't really important or that you can't change and you'll be helping them to grow up as calm and patient individuals. You can't avoid tantrums but you can help prevent some of them in this way. Am I convincing you yet?

Gradually, but you can't change the fact that I just don't really want children.

I think a lot of men feel like that, myself included at one time. Becoming a dad caught me by surprise but from that moment, everything changed. Babies in pushchairs suddenly looked cute, screaming toddlers in the supermarket received my sympathy rather than my evil eye and I even started driving safely. I can't make any promises but remember when you first started chatting up girls and how good it felt when they laughed at your jokes or flashed you a smile? Multiply that by a really large number and that's how good it feels to see your own child laugh or smile. There's simply nothing like it.

So you'd recommend being a dad, then?

Recommend it? I love fatherhood so much I built a website about it...

Comments (now closed)

I became a father nearly 4 months ago. Stable relationship etc... but have never wanted kids and the pregnancy was an accident. I'm finding it really difficult accepting what has happened, and I'm not enjoying fatherhood at all. As far as my experience goes, it's a myth that everything clicks into place - it definitely hasn't for me. But I've become very good at assembling flat-pack furniture.
New Dad18 January 2007

I found out yesterday that my girlfriend is pregnant - 5 weeks. It was a huge shock and the financial side really worries me. We told our parents last night and they have said that they will be there for us and it has made me feel sooo much better - I am really happy!
Carl9 January 2007

My girlfriend is 1 1/2 months and when i found out i threw up for about 2 hours... my best friend has a kid so i know so of the stuff but your website is really helpful... thanks
Eric31 December 2006

my partner is 3 months pregnant, im so delighted and i really cant wait until the birth, this will be our second child as we have a 2 year old boy already, weve had 4 misscarages over the past 2 years, so now that were at the three month stage, we can relax a bit more,
lee9 December 2006

My girlfriend has told me she's pregnant, no less than 6 pregnancy tests positive! I can't believe how excited and happy I am, I keep breaking into huge, face-splitting grins and my eyes go full of tears. I've never been happier or more optimistic about the future.
Jack24 November 2006

i am a mother to be... and the father of my baby is with me and he is very excited about the whole thing... he even plays with my stomack and talks to the baby, and i am only 9 weeks pregnant... i had asked him about the money situation and he said it will be fine it will cost alot but i would rather go naked than make my baby not have the things it needs.... he was very understanding and knows that we will get through it.. and the reason to be happy about a baby is becuase they will always be yours. and you can say that with out lying because the mother didnt conceive on her own now did she? i didnt think so... dont be worried and be happy trust me no matter how ruff it gets later on in life you can show that girlfreind or boyfreind all those imbarasing pics and laugh your head off lol....
kristan 16 November 2006

I just found out an hour ago that my wife is pregnant. I feel extremely wierd mainly in a negative way. Your website is fantastic and I have saved it to my favourites. You are so positive and that gives me hope. No doubt i'll be in touch soon. Take care.
Kevin15 November 2006