So you’re going to have a baby or at least you’re planning on having a baby. It’s okay not to be sure about how to plan or when to plan. There are some important discussions and decisions to have and make, from assessing your relationship to making sure you can afford to have a baby, so here are a few thoughts to help you get on your way…
Your relationship with your partner is likely to change during pregnancy and after the birth of your baby. There are things you can do to help strengthen your relationship and connect with your partner.
Start talking about…
For starters there are some key discussions you should have, here are a few questions to help you get started:
- Are you both in the same place, and have you thought about how becoming parents may change you and your relationship?
- Where are you going to live? Have you considered living near to friends or family that may be able to help out?
- Have you considered childcare responsibilities, finances and your work life balance?
- Are there any particular additional stresses currently in your life that might have an impact on your relationship?
As a father you too have a crucial role to play, before and right after baby is born. So start to think about how you might get more involved if not already in the household chores.
This decision will really change your life. You need to think about how you will feel and how you will cope. To prepare yourself for the change be sure to talk to your partner, a friend or family member. Remember to own your experience and not rely on other peoples.
Let’s talk about money
It’s only natural that you want to give your baby the very best of everything. Your baby will thrive either way with your love. Make sure you are prepared for both the expected and unexpected. Most new parents have admitted to spending more than they should on their baby, usually buying a number of things that are used for a short period of time, and sometimes not used at all. Be sure to find out what is needed and what could wait. Also talking and planning together will save you money and ensure that you are both involved in the process.
When you start to plan, the pressures around budgeting may make you feel like you do not have enough money to have a family, if this is so try to think about what you can save by changing your lifestyle while preparing for your new arrival. Be sure to have a budget with all your incomings and outgoings, and start to prioritise the most important things. Be sure to not compromise on spending time together, just find more budget friendly ways to do this. For example you can cook each other meals instead of going out or agree small budgets for gifts and days out. Creative gifts will also be a good way to save as it will also become a great skill to have when baby arrives
Think about your banking arrangements: You might consider saving some money in a joint pot that contributes to the baby budget and the future of your child.
Also consider opening up a joint account
A joint account can be used to cover household bills and other shared expenses which can make life much more straightforward. If both of you pay in a set amount – say between 10% and 40% of your salaries – each month, an account of this kind can also help to prevent arguments about money.
When it comes to savings, the main advantage of having a joint account is that you can both add to it at any time, meaning that the balance is likely to grow faster.
Having a joint savings account is therefore very useful when it comes to saving for a baby.
Read more on budgeting here.
If in Debt…
Have a good look at your finances and be open and honest with you partner about your financial situation. You can only be helpful and supportive to each other if you know exactly where you stand.
When doing your budget, consider including the debt you are paying back as this will give you a clearer picture of your finances.
If in debt seek advice: If both or either of you are in debt and need some help sorting this out speak to someone. You can talk to and get advice from Step Change the debt advice charity on our forum.
In order to save and make sure you are buying the right things ask around.
Talking finances can be a difficult discussion, however most dads we’ve spoken to have reported better outcomes for their families when these discussions are had regularly and openly.