It’s a day where many of us can spoil our amazing dads, or kick back ourselves and let the socks, jocks and personalised beer glasses come rolling in.
While enjoying the festivities, we also wanted to take a moment and chat about some simple ways we can support the dads in our workplace and community, specifically those new to the ‘dad club’.
Welcoming a newborn into the family is a seriously exciting time, particularly for first time parents. Once the initial celebrations subside, a ‘new’ version of life begins. With the sweet cuddles and baby smiles, can come some substantial life changes and (literal) wake up calls. Months of disrupted sleep, new responsibilities and shifting relationship dynamics isn’t something many of us would jump at the chance to experience, but it is a realistic side effect of the incredible joy that is the newborn stage.
57% of first-time fathers experience a moderate level of stress with their new role, while 31% still considered anxiety and depression a sign of weakness among men. These findings, from a recent study commissioned by Beyond Blue & Movember, also discovered that the majority (79%) identified with the need to be the ‘rock’ for their family, and that this ‘need’ causes them a lot of stress and anxiety.
We can all agree that tackling the new role of fatherhood brings a mountain of new emotions, responsibilities and yes, stresses too. Showing up to work and continuing on with the day-to-day tasks there, can suddenly feel significantly tougher.
So, how can we, as colleagues and friends of new fathers, help them survive and thrive in this crazy and amazing new stage.
Hear them out
Do what you can to let them know you’re here for a chat. It can be easy to only ask about how the baby is going (they are distractingly cute), but make sure you ask how they themselves are travelling with it all.
Food is the way to their heart
Yes, food is essential for survival, but eating well and regularly is often the first thing left behind by new parents. There are a million ways you can help out a new dad (and his family) with meals. If you’re a great home cook, provide some meals or baked goods (bonus points if they’re freezable) for them to take home. Or if the kitchen is not your field of play, maybe gift them an Uber Eats/Deliveroo voucher or shout them a lunch or coffee one day.
If you have kids as well, suggest a social meet up. Connecting with other parents, particularly where you feel comfortable to show up with unwashed hair and ‘baby brain’, is a crucial element in feeling less alone with any challenges that may come along. Something simple like a park play date (even though a newborn won’t be quite up to sliding down any slides yet) can be the change of scenery and level of social interaction they might need.
Jump Into the Great Outdoors
Speaking of a change in scenery…. Finding ‘escapee’ moments within the workday, especially when it includes sunshine, fresh air and physical activity, has amazing health benefits for us all. So suggest a walk around at lunch (or a walking meeting) to your office ‘newbie dad’ and help each other enjoy the break from the desk.
Simply acknowledging the tough sides, as well as the wonderful beautiful elements, of new parenthood, can go a long way in helping the new dad’s in your community and workplace feel seen and supported.
So let this Father’s Day remind you to keep an eye out for the new dad’s in your workplace, and find ways that you can help amongst it all.
Read more about the ‘Healthy Dads: The Challenge of Being a New Father’ report commissioned by Beyond Blue & Movember.