The birth of my beautiful child is just around the corner. My intention is to thrive as a dad and as an individual during this point in my life. And I want to take as many impending Dads with me on the journey.
Ok, I’m gonna level with you. I’m creating this program partially…ok, 50/50…alright, mostly because I’m afraid that when my child enters this world, I’m going to develop man boobs quicker than you can say ‘got milk’? The only upside to that situation is that I might be able to help out in the breastfeeding department.
Regardless, I do not want to walk – or should I say waddle – down the path that so many of my dearest friends have travelled over the years. They have sacrificed their health and sanity for their child and wife. Many of you might be thinking to yourself, “Who is this jerk? If they handed out licences to have children, this fella is going to the back of the line. And staying there!”
Just stick with me. Hang in there for a minute and let me explain myself. There’s a reason that airlines make parents place the oxygen masks on themselves before they apply the mask to their children. I am going to be no good to anybody if after seven days of being a father my eyelids are held up only by the ground and I’m finding that episodes of The Bachelor are making me cry more than my baby.
While I can try to empathise with the pressures associated with motherhood – especially during the first few months – I will never truly understand them. Motherhood appears to be relentless and the support that a new mum receives from her partner is paramount to raising their child and developing their relationship with one and another. This is exactly why I am openly a little intimidated by this upcoming chapter of my life.
From what I understand, the first two weeks of parenthood are spent in a cave of tears, poop and pee. Then we need to deal with the baby. Changing, feeding, and growing familiar with what they are actually trying to communicate. Two weeks to establish a language between yourself and a child who has one syllable to their repertoire, which is WHHHHHAAAAAAA. Challenge much?
Two weeks go by and mum stays home with the little tot while you’re expected to go back to work and provide food and shelter to the people who mean the world to you. Yet, the world keeps on turning and from what I understand, this has happened to quite a few people in the past. And it will continue to happen in the future. That’s right. We are not the first people to have a child. I love my wife beyond words and would do anything, and I mean ANYTHING, to ease her difficulties during this parenting process, which is exactly why I need to take care of me. Remember the oxygen mask? As the non-birthing part of this equation, I need to delineate between offering emotional/practical support and martyrdom.
I have been working in the health and wellbeing field for 15 years now. I know what happens when people stop moving, start eating poorly and become sleep deprived. They change, and not for the better. Like I said before: the motivation for this program is somewhat fueled by self-interest. I’m writing this program for me, because I know I’m going to need it. When times get tough, I know I won’t be thinking lucidly. I’m going to need a strategy, a game plan to revert back to. I also happen to know that there are millions of people like me out who don’t have a toolkit to look back on when the liquid green baby poo hits the fan.
So, how can I achieve this without waking up and seeing my wife hovering over me with a steak knife muttering sadistically, “I hope you slept well sweetheart”! Yep. Creepy.
Benjamin Franklin said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.
So, here’s the plan…….
1. Make a plan. It doesn’t matter if I deviate from the plan, as long as I have a starting point.
2. Establish clear communication with my partner. Begin a dialogue about what might seem to be appropriate times to train.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help. Be vulnerable enough to accept helping hands.
4. Design the ideal training schedule. They need to be local. Short, sharp and effective.
5. Have a plan B
6. Have a plan C
7. Meal prep. (This could be where friends and family come in). This is huge. Organisation will really come into play at this point.
8. Manage sleep strategically and intelligently. Create a list of strategies, hacks, nutrition and supplements that will maximize my limited sleep as well as give me energy for the day ahead.
There…. That doesn’t sound that tough? Does it?