Becoming a provider for your family can be worrisome for many dads. The sudden responsibility of relying on a single income if your partner is taking maternity leave can especially be stressful.
The question of whether or not you’re going to be a good enough provider for your family is completely normal. Most dads worry about this and it’s way more common than you think.
Trying to live on one income is a struggle for most parents, especially if you were having trouble managing on two salaries. Becoming a dad may even feel like you have bitten off more than you can chew.
We give you a little outline of tips and what to expect when you’re introducing a tight budget into your life.
Stuff for baby
Babies don’t care much for material stuff. Let’s face it, they have no idea if they are being dressed in Armani or Target. What they do care about is being showered with love and affection with millions of cuddles and kisses.
Getting ready to add a little munchkin to the family is still an expensive exercise. You’ll need all the basics and that can still set you back for as much as $4,500 if you are frugal, and can cost up to $16K for those not counting their pennies. These figures are only for the first year alone.
Don’t put yourself under too much strain and look into options that will suit your budget. Save money by buying second-hand items (when it’s safe to do so), avoiding luxury brands and looking into borrowing or hiring equipment when you can.
Family and friends will no doubt want to help with smaller things like baby essentials, nappies, clothing and toiletries, and maybe some big-ticket items like a cot or pram.
Some dads might feel like they are being judged and being looked down upon for not being able to provide for their family. When people offer to help, they’re not judging you – they just want to help. If you have a great support system around you, willing to lend a hand, let them so that you don’t have to do it all on your own.
Negotiating for help
Most offers of help come with a no-strings-attached policy. Sometimes it may feel like there are conditions or expectations.
Have a chat with your partner to make sure that you are both happy with how often you’re willing to accept help from your in-laws, family, and friends. Setting up some boundaries for help may take time, negotiation and compromise. In the long run, nobody can have unrealistic expectations when it comes to helping others.
Money worries even before becoming a dad can occur. If you’re on a low income or have recently lost your job, paying off HECS or other debts, the ongoing financial worries can be a burden.
Getting help with money issues is a great way to assist you in setting up goals. This can work out perfectly if you are planning on making these big changes in your life, especially when you’re becoming a dad.
Getting your finances in order is the responsible thing to do if you haven’t been able to do this yourself. There’s no shame in getting help so that you and your family have a better financial situation. Seeking a financial counsellor’s input for dealing with bills can help you create a budget that works for your family.
- Check out the Commonwealth Financial Counselling program for free financial counselling to individuals, families and small business operators who are experiencing financial difficulty.
- Centrelink also offers free information through its Financial Information Service.
Working towards a budget presents a list of challenges, but just remember that the rewards are worth it. If you fall off the wagon, just be resilient and get yourself back on track. Try to learn from the mistakes and don’t be hard on yourself or your partner.
Remember the following:
- Discuss and agree with your partner ahead of your baby’s birth about how and when you’ll accept help and from whom. Also, think about what you’ll say when people offer help so you’re not caught off guard.
- Learn about managing money and budgeting. This will ensure that you will be spending time with your new family and not be worried about cash flow.
- Look into Dad and Partner Maternity Pays and any other Government parenting payments that you may be entitled to.
Share your experience with other dads so they know they aren’t alone when it comes to these financial struggles but also remember why the sacrifice is worth it.