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Well-Balanced Dad Diet: How you View You

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When you woke up this morning, you got out of bed, let the dog out, went to the bathroom, and then looked in the mirror. Did you recognize the person looking back at you? Are you happy with the person that's looking back at you? I want to know, are you not forgiving yourself? Do you feel like you've lost sight of yourself, you don't have passions, that you're not enough, and you might even feel like you're not doing your best or even a good job? Lastly, how full are you if you were a cup of water? The likely answer is that if you're a parent and specifically a dad, it might be pretty empty, and you might not have anything to pour in your partner, kids, co-workers, or those you interact with daily cups because you're so empty and need a refill.

You'll notice some core themes as we inch towards the middle and back end of the well-balanced dad diet. You start to see things repeated and talked about more with application to the topic. Today, I want to give you something other than challenges. However, I want to challenge your perspective and perception of yourself. I want to ask you many questions today and leave room for you to think, and you end up reading this to close the tab feeling, just feeling and thinking.

Creator: Moostocker | Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The first series of thoughts I want to propose is forgiveness. I am forgiving you for not being perfect. You are human, my friend; you are not perfect, and you never will be the perfect partner, parent, friend, child, co-worker, or whatever the label might be you. You are going to need to be fixed. However, why sit there and dwell on every time you yelled, were mean, said something wrong, or didn't do something the "right," or when you forgot something and all the other things that happened that you end up dwelling on and beating yourself up for, why? However, we do need to own our mistakes. When we mess up, we own it; we don't make excuses or point the finger outwards when it needs to come in. We go, apologize, ask for forgiveness from those we hurt, and then forgive ourselves. We pick ourselves up, dust off, love ourselves, be kind to ourselves, forgive ourselves, and hit the reset button. Notice what I didn't say; I didn't mention dwelling or beating yourself up.

Please don't hear what I am not saying; I am not saying that it's okay to forget important dates, commitments you've made, plans, and things that are important to your partner and kids. Show up when you said you would keep your word, and celebrate the dates and times that are significant to others.

The next part of this all goes into pouring back into your cup. If you woke up this morning and didn't fully see yourself as you are, you might look tired, worn down, out of it, and you feel like you're barely getting through each day. Your cup is empty, and we must find ways to get that filled back up. First, if you don't love what you're doing and if what you're doing is nothing to fill your cup. Well, therein lies a challenge and something to think about. The true definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. So if your cup is empty, it's likely time for change and to consider trying something new or returning to the things you love that may have been placed on the back burner.

Let's discuss what fills our cups and how we start filling them again. Well, it starts with love. No, I'm dead serious; love for you, love from others, love for what you're doing, and making sure your love is being given where it is reciprocated. With your hobbies, interests, and things you do every day, make sure there is love in everything you do. With that, a sense of gratitude goes along with it. We need a mindset shift; instead of an "I have to" take the kids to school, go to work, get out of bed, go to the gym, work out, or whatever it is you feel like you have to do, shift to an "I get to." You get to do all these things because you are blessed and fortunate enough to do those things. I get to take my kids to school, and in that time, I am taking them to school; I remember some parents don't get to do this, ever; for whatever reason, I am getting a few extra minutes to tell them I love and talk to them. You could also be grumpy and say I have to take my kids to school, I'm tired, it's cold, and I want them out of the car so I can start my day. You now have started your days and their days off on a negative note instead of with love, gratitude, and appreciation.

What about the things you do for yourself? Wait, did you say you don't have any, or that they fell to the wayside, and you don't have time, or you don't want to miss any time or moments with your kids, so you gave up those hobbies, interests and a part of you is dormant now. Now you have gotten to the point where you're a father, husband, and *insert job title here*, but who is behind all that. I'm a coach, Awana leader, writer (obviously), podcaster(duh), avid gym goer, video game enthusiast, pokemon guru, and much more. I am also, on the surface, D & P's dad, I'm a care coordinator, but the labels do not define me; I am defined by the impact I have through all of those, and I maximize my impact because I take care of me and I have things I love, enjoy and have a ton of fun doing. I do many things; that's my choice and what works for me, and that is what I can manage and do with my time. However, it shows there is time; there is always time to burn.

One of where you can start is 30minx3-5 times a week doing something for you. Communicate with your partner as needed here, but you're telling me the 30min you spend on the couch doing nothing couldn't be used to get outside and walk, do a quick workout that works for where you are today? I mean, Netflix (not a sponsor) has workout videos now, and YouTube has tons. Are you telling me they couldn't be used to taking the dogs out to the park and throwing a ball for them? The 30min you waste scrolling Tiktok, IG, and Facebook couldn't be used to draw, journal, write, be creative, or cook a new recipe. You can't take that same 30min you have to burn to tend to the garden, work on a car, or do something you enjoy doing with your hands that's fun, and you love. I need help seeing the downside of this. You're going to be smiling, have the happy endorphins going, you're going to be busy using your brain in a way only you can, you're expressing emotion and energy in a way that special to you and essential to you. Why would you have given that up?

Keeping the struggling flame lit - Gather Magazine

Your passion for writing, gaming, fixing, building, working out, martial arts, whatever it was, didn't die. You didn't do anything wrong when you slowed and stopped doing it. Your priorities shifted, and you got consumed by the love of parenting, the work you might be doing now; that love and passion shifted into something that needed it more. However, you have been off the wagon too long, and it's time to find you again. Because once you find that passion, you find clarity in your thoughts, actions, decisions, emotional regulations, your communication, things will start to change, your cup fills up, you have a little more to pour into other necessary cups, and the benefits far outweigh the small amount of time you feel you won't get back. Your partner, kids, friends, family, and others deserve the best you they can get, so take the time and start on the path to getting there. Start filling your cup 30min at a time.

The next is with your partner, significant other, spouse, or whatever you call them. Same idea if you feel that connection isn't there and the view of the relationship, you as a partner, isn't where you want or need it to be. 15-20minx7 days a week, you give that full attention to them. You put the phones down; you ask how their day was and talk about each other's days, even the dull and mundane; you must be present with each other and give that time to others. Your relationship deserves that. Trust me, I didn't do it in my marriage, and now I'm divorced and have learned from my mistakes. Once you begin to put even this tiny amount of effort into your relationship, you will notice changes in communication, love being given and received, happiness, the vibes, and all it took was a small sacrifice of time to get back towards building that love and connection that once may have felt lost. Again, this cup of your relationship is being refilled and ready to pour into other areas of your life.

I want to bring this all together by saying that you are enough. You are doing your best, I'm sure of it. If you aren't, you wouldn't be reading all these and wanting to improve. Every day, our best looks a little different, it is not going to be every day we work out, write, check everything off our to-do lists, and don't yell at our kids, and we feel just excellent going to bed at the end of the day. Somedays, they ran at 15%, 30%, or maybe 81.2%; whatever the tank might be today, you give the 100% of that 38%, and you do your best. Don't make excuses; own up to your mistakes, forgive yourself, forgive those around you, start small with 30min, reignite the fires of your passions, and start pouring into your cup.

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