So, from the title, you may have guessed what this post is about, no?
New dad, old dad, that’s me. I’ve just been blessed with a little baby boy. A month old at time of publishing, July 2016, and I’m over the moon.
Scared? Hell yes. First thing that comes to mind is my health and fitness.
Yes, I’m fitter than your average 74 year old…Problem is, I’m 43…
I, as a new dad, am already being tested with regards to sleep and work time management as I have a toddler, a rampant “twonager” to contend with already.
I won’t go into the medical aspects of older fatherhood because, let’s face it guys, we should be prepared. We’re not on a clock, we can pretty much carry on “producing” until we meet our maker. We men age faster and die younger too. So why should we be caught with our pants down..?
What I will do is focus on the unwritten expectations of a new dad, both inside and outside the home.
First thing’s first…
Look after number one, yes you. The last thing you need to do as a new dad, is look after everyone else and forget about your own health and wellbeing. That, my friends, is a recipe for disaster at any age. Your partner will be stressed and exhausted after pregnancy, childbirth and all that follows, but stress and exhaustion are around the corner for you too if you’re not careful.
Stay on top of your diet and your rest. That is only way you can hedge the fitness stakes in your favour when your partner and the little ones come crawling or crying or bringing whatever else they have in their tiny arsenals. And they WILL BRING IT…
And the rest…?
When they sleep, you sleep. The other way round is like catching the flu on the first day of your vacation. Charge your batteries when they charge theirs.
There will be negativity and doubters who are usually either considerably younger or considerably older but at your age you carry with you enough experience, maybe not of babies, but of life in general to be able to both ignore the negativity and prove the doubters wrong.
Use that to your advantage. New dad, prepare and be prepared. Be ready for colicky tears and multiple nappy changes, late nights and early feeds. Time is your enemy, there is never enough. Work as a team and communicate well for your miniature adversary holds no sympathy for YOU. Get supplies in early and in good quantities.
Be prepared for a new NORMAL.
The time that you may initially feel that you are losing, you will find, turns out to be time you were probably wasting anyway, like lazy hours watching catch-up TV or box sets. Women are the ones bombarded with post-natal advice. No, I’m not knocking that, but guys get very little, and society “accepts” this.
Some men gain weight during pregnancy….Yeah, I said it. The older you are, the harder that weight is to lose. We don’t give birth after 9 months and our bodies don’t have a pregnancy to “recover” from.
The key here is diet.
80% diet 20% exercise. Cut out (Or reduce, depending on how much weight you want to lose) sugars, carbs and fizzy drinks. Alcohol goes without saying.
You will need to chow down on high protein meats and fish and green vegetables, the darker green the better….and DRINK WATER, loads of it, all the time. Before you know it your energy levels are on the way up and your weight is on the way down and I haven’t even got to the exercise bit yet…. because I don’t have to.
The body is an amazing machine, as you will have noticed by now from your partners’ amazing post partum recovery. The exercise is a bonus activity, the baby will keep you busy enough. If you have gym time, you have baby time and you have partner time. Apart from that, do what you can, when you can. The kids will help, it’s more fun time for them.
Enjoy it. Take all your wisdom and fill these vessels and turn them into beautiful people. Teach them well. They don’t and won’t judge until they are taught to. Be there for them as much as you can. Don’t assume that they need anything more. Don’t compete with “other” dads who have fewer years under their belts for their journey is different from yours. These little people won’t know you as old Dad, they’ll just know you as Dad.
Do you have any suggestions for those new dads out there who may be finding fatherhood a little daunting?
What can you suggest as ways of managing time between work, rest and play?
We may all know someone who is on their way there or you yourself might have something to add.
Have your say…