Taking Care Of My Family Means Taking Care Of Me

There are so many stresses that we have as parents, as husbands, as wives, as colleagues that we all need that one moment to ourselves. Whether it is just 5 minutes, 20 minutes, or an hour in my case that we can call our own.


It seems that this time of year we are all working on our New Year resolutions. Maybe you have joined a gym, or you bought all new workout clothes in the hopes that maybe, just maybe you can shed those unwanted pounds. It was always a resolution of mine too, to get fit and to be healthy. Like many, I start out with good intentions and then seem to fade as the year goes on.

It was much of the same for me last year, and for good reason too. We had our second kid and quite honestly, my health and fitness fell… hard. At least I had a growing amount of belly fat to catch everything.

Where Is My Energy

Throughout the later part of 2016, my energy also started to fade. There were nights I would just want to veg on the couch and watch TV. Two things that weren’t like me, I never liked sitting on the couch (unless I was watching a movie with the Mrs.) and I generally don’t watch too much TV unless it is sports.

I could have easily said that this was as a result of the new baby. Sure, the 3 am feedings were getting to me. Waking up early to go to work with an increasing workload was all taking its toll. That wasn’t it, though.

As 2016 started to close, I logged into my gyms online account and saw something that hit me harder than seeing that belly fat every time I looked down. I had not gone to the gym since July! I had run since then, sparingly, but I hadn’t made the 2-mile trek to the gym that I had signed up for earlier in the year.

I Had To Take Care Of Me

I knew that something had to change, though. There was no way that I could just stop keeping up with my health. I had a history of health conditions that I had been trying to change over the last 3 years. For the last six months of 2016 I was just about to lose everything that I had worked toward. I had not even used my gym membership, where was that $20 a month going? For the first part of the year, I had worked so hard to lose the 15 pounds that were threatening to come back every time I stepped on the scale.

There were so many times that I would come home from work before I had to pick up the kids, and take a quick snooze on the couch. As a parent, we want to catch up on our sleep in any way that we can. That short nap, though, was also taking its toll on me.

I started to look back at what changed in 2015. It was in that same year that I had the same sort of revelation that I needed to do something. My energy was not where it should be. My son, though, was only growing older, and there was no way that I was going to be able to keep up with him at this rate. That was the year that I started running. It was one of the easiest things to do.

The Importance of My Health

I always knew that my health was important. I have talked about it at great length (here’s another post if you are interested) that I want to make sure that I am around for the long haul with my kids. I want to be that dad who is down on the floor playing with them. I want to be that dad who can run with them in the park. I want to be that dad who shows his kids why being healthy is important. The only way I knew how to do that was to make sure that I was taking care of myself.

A side by side comparison of when I wasn’t taking care of me to now, when overall fitness and health has become a priority in my life.

I opened up my calendar and looked at it. Trying to find a spare hour somewhere… anywhere on it. This was going to be harder than I had thought. There wasn’t much time between waking up, getting the kids ready, working, picking the kids up, making dinner, and then turning down for the night. As I sat there looking at my calendar, I started to think about the routine that my family was already in.

Finding The Time

The baby would wake up right around 4:30 or 5 am. Most of the time I would take that feeding and would normally not go back to sleep knowing that the alarm would be going off in what would feel like 5 minutes.

There it was. The time to hit the gym. I used to be an early riser when I had first started running so what would be the difference now?

That hour, early morning in the gym has become my moment of zen. My moment to decompress. There are so many stresses that we have as parents, as husbands, as wives, as colleagues that we all need that one moment to ourselves. Whether it is just 5 minutes, 20 minutes, or an hour in my case that we can call our own.

My moment just happens to be the hour between 5 am and 6 am. When I slip in my headphones, and either hit the weights or go for a run so that I can make sure that I am there for my children as they grow older.

The Rookie Dad

The Rookie Dad is father of 2, husband, TV Producer, runner, and co-founder of Dads Round Table and a contributor to Traveling Dad and Good Men Project.

2 Comments

  1. Great post man! I felt the same way when my daughter was born and started running and doing obstacle runs to stay in shape. Last year I ran my first marathon and I’m doing one again this year. Keep up the good work.

  2. Congrats on the weight loss!! I knew working out would be difficult when my son was born, but damn I had no idea I would be so tired!! I always say, though, that once you finish working out you never regret it.

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