Perhaps more circumstantial than intentional, I’ve always been the one to take the leap first.
Out of all my friends, I was the first one to:
- Make the first major moves post-college (Massachusetts ➡ Texas ➡ Mass. ➡ North Carolina ➡ New Hampshire).
- Land a big boy job.
- Get married.
- Go bald.
- Become a dad.
Each of them has come along with its own unique set of challenges and lessons learned, but it’s that last one that’s been the most fulfilling/difficult/incredible/ridiculous/exhausting/fun.
My daughter was born in March 2017 and life has been a messy blend of chaos and laughs for the past two-plus years.
Every day, thoughts of “I have no idea what the hell I’m doing,” … “Nah, I got this,” and “What bodily fluid is that?” run rampant.
More than anything, though, in the early going I was always thinking about how tired and unfit for this I felt.
I started to come to the realization that, oh, yeah … of course “dad bods” exist. This whole parenting thing while also taking care of yourself is, uh, super hard.
On paper, the actual nitty-gritty parenting side of it is easy enough.
- Feed them good food.
- Be attentive.
- Limit screen time.
- Do your best to not drop them on the floor, etc.
For the most part, dads don’t need much help there.
Now try, however, to hit all those marks running on four hours of sleep, fueled by nothing but cold, leftover mac and cheese, a full pot of stale coffee and (Do-do-do-do-da) Dora the Explorer running on constant loop in your brain whether it’s currently on the TV or not.
It’s a recipe for disaster … but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Having the energy, mental capacity, patience and strength necessary to succeed as a father while also keeping up with being your own, healthy individual is crucial, yet feels near-impossible at times.
That’s where this site comes in.
I still think I did an acceptable job that first year — and my kiddo is greater in every way than I could have imagined — but I wasn’t satisfied at all with what I was bringing to the table as a father, and “acceptable” isn’t what I’m striving for and certainly not what I feel I owe my daughter.
Health, wellness and fitness have all been immense interests for me over the past decade, but that really ramped up after she was born and I quickly realized I needed to step my game up just to be at baseline.
My daughter deserves to have a parent (two, in her case) giving it their all — and I imagine you feel the same about your child(ren), current or future.
I knew I had to be better, so I’ve done everything possible over the past year to get healthy both mentally and physically, learn and grow. And keep at it.
To me, there was no other choice.
So I’ve compiled a set of tips, tricks, techniques and general advice for how to live better — so I can dad better.
If you’re already a parent, some or all of this has likely resonated with you on some level so far.
Hopefully you’ve figured out some systems that work to keep yourself running optimally so that you can parent effectively — if not, I’d love to offer some assistance.
If you’re a soon-to-be parent or it’s in the plans for you down the road, trust me when I say: you might think you’re prepared, but you’re not.
My advice is to put down the baby books (don’t worry — you’ll figure it out), take a look in the mirror and determine what you can do to put yourself in the best position possible to glide into parenthood with as much positive momentum, mental clarity and physical energy you can — and then roll with the punches from there.
The key to being a good parent is being a good you. Be the best version of yourself and the results will follow. Really.
I’ve found that when I’m maintaining “me” to the best of my ability, the rest tends to fall into place.
- My relationship with my wife and daughter improve.
- There’s a general sense of calm in the house.
- Everything usually flows like it’s supposed to.
- And when — not if — they don’t, I have the mental space and energy to tackle obstacles appropriately and swiftly.
As many of my friends and connections begin to venture into the wonderful world of parenting over the next few years, my hope is that this site becomes a resource for both information and inspiration on how to be a better you and, in turn, a better dad (or mom or person in the world, in general. Much of this will be broad advice that applies to many individuals.)
Think of TheDadBody.com less as a site to get parenting tips and more as a site for tips on how to become the great parent already inside of you waiting to be awoken.
(You know, because you’re tired AF.)
My views are often unconventional, some will border on medical advice (I am the furthest thing from a doctor — literally, I got a D in high school Anatomy so I became a writer — so use any tips here at your own caution) and some are just some personal philosophies and nuggets I’ve picked up along the way.
I’m thrilled to finally get this off the ground, I look forward to seeing how this will grow and evolve and I thank you in advance for reading, participating and learning.
We owe it to our kids to be the superheroes they see us as.
Goodbye “dad bod,” hello, The Dad Body.