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Well-Balanced Dad Diet: Stay Present & Show Up

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

It's time to wake up, smell the roses, and engage with yourself. Often as parents, we find ourselves busy as heck. Between school, our jobs, extracurricular activities, chores, and managing everything that comes with the home, it's nearly 9/10 pm before we even begin to settle down the day. When we do, we are tired, we can feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and like a whole day slipped through our fingers. Where did the day go? Do you think back at the end of your day about how you missed out in one way or another when it came to your kids, partner, friends, and work and that you just missed the mark? Your mind may be in other places. Whatever happened, it's okay. It's natural; it happens to me all the time and not just cause of my ADD.

Credit: Andy Dean - Copyright: ©Andy Dean -

What I find myself doing is overthinking. I am often overthinking and find myself asking why I wasn't better, more active, do this or do that, why wasn't kinder? I have to stop and wonder why it's consuming my thoughts, why I'm letting the negative energy consume my thoughts and my mind. In hindsight, I did the best I could. Let's take some steps today; first, don't overthink it. Seriously, don't overthink it.

I have seen time and time again in dad groups the question, "I don't know what to do with my kids; I don't know what to do to spend time with them?" First, please take your time with it. You don't have to have these big, magical, whimsical, enormous, go-big, or go-home ideas. Seriously, I work with kids; I went to school to work with children, and one of the biggest things I have learned is that kids want to spend that time with you. They love you, and honestly, they want the time and attention most.

When you're thinking about what to do, did you think to ask your kid what they want to do? Has your kid been doing all the right things or working towards another trip to the arcade, movies, special dinner, or something for behavioral or academic goals? Time for you to come through and cash that in. Seriously, have you asked your kid what they want to do? Maybe they want to go on a walk; maybe they want to go on a hike; maybe they want to go to the gym with you and play basketball; maybe they want to kick a ball around with you; maybe they want to play some board games. Are you noticing a theme here? None of those items involve money; they require you and them to spend time together. The second step here is to ask your kids what they want to do, and when you go and spend that time together, you take your time and engage with them. You go all in on that activity and put all your energy, focus, and attention into that moment.

Now, how the heck am I supposed to do all that? It sounds great in theory, but I can't do that. Well, not with that attitude. I have one straightforward, simple thing for you to do to get you 90% there; the other 10% is showing up. Step three put your freaking phone down and leave it. If you end up taking your kid to the park, and then you sat the bench on your phone the whole time, instead of engaging with them after you asked them what they wanted to do, why didn't you stay home and let them play? The environment is different; what you're doing isn't any different. Your kid will have other kids to play with, maybe a sibling, but you are taking them intending to play with them, engage and spend quality time with them. If your partner asks you what you want to do, you go and do it, and then they sit on their phone the whole time; how do you feel? They feel the same way, disappointed, not as excited, maybe going anywhere was pointless, and you feel like they don't care about what you wanted to do. Ouch, that's rough to us as a parent, so why are we doing that to our kid? Remember, if you want your kids to be present and engage with you as time passes, you must set that example for them.

Wow, that was a lot about being present, and some of that was hard to swallow, or maybe it wasn't. Either way, we started to talk about showing up and being present. We got to the point where we are present and there at the moment, which is what showing up is; we go from being physically present to showing up by engaging and doing what we are there to do. Again, please, I'm asking you from me to you personally, do not overthink it. It is as simple as it seems, and I'm trying to make it out to be.

Now, how can I show up for my kid? I'm there as much as I can be. I do enough already, don't I? There are 24 hours in a day, you work for maybe 8-10, maybe 12 hours a day 4-5x a week, I only have two days off and I'm so tired I don't have the energy to do more than maybe something small on the weekends. Of course, it will look different for you than it does for me. I often say yes to all the opportunities to get involved with my kids, whether at school functions, coaching a team, or helping out with an event they attend or participate in. I say yes and build that into my schedule. However, I do my best. I know the limits of my capacity. I've coached multiple sports teams, volunteered with the little league, I help at school functions, showed up to the school functions to support, volunteered the time I could, and always offered to help when I could. I am always excited to get my hands dirty and help out because not only am I helping my kid and bonding, but I'm helping other children, family, and people by giving my time. This all brings me to step four, step up and say yes. You can only step up and coach part of the team and commit that much time and energy, but can you commit to being an assistant, maybe a helper on the field, as needed? Can you help set up or clean up a school event? Can you get your organization to provide a donation? Can you offer your organization for an educational purpose so your kid can show their parents what they do? So, reader, what can you and what will you do to get involved and show up differently?

It all comes back to when we talked about goals, having that tough yet beneficial talk with yourself about where your goals and priorities are. You have to prioritize your time and put your time and energy into things that matter. While still pouring into yourself, the additional time should be going into areas of life that truly matter most- relationships, kids, and other vital areas. When your time is spent, it should align with when you're physically at and where you feel you need to be showing up. There is a direct correlation between where you are and where you spend your time and energy. Yourself, your partner, and your kids should be your top priorities.

Lastly, where does your time lead up to the final point I would like to make? It's a fact that kids develop their main love tree by the age of 6, who they love, and who the primary people that love and care for them are. After this age, we can all think back to sporting events, school activities, plays, performances, and competitions; we remember who was there to celebrate with us, who was there to see our hard work, to see us do what we enjoyed and we remembered who wasn't there. Step five, show up when it's your time to show up. Let's say you're part of the single parent/co-parent club, much like me. You often are either the one taking them or showing up for *insert activity here*. So many parents, specifically dads, commit to never missing a ball game, a play, or an XYZ activity. It's so essential for your child to look out to the crowd, over at the bleachers, or into the audience and see you there. The nerves are eased, the jitters are gone, and it helps you feel like a normal kid. The child then feels loved, supported, and like you care because you took your time and energy to be there for them. To you, it's just time and a few dollars; to your kid, it's the entire world.

Five steps for you to take and many tools to add to your bag. I'm passing the ball back to you; it's your time now to show up and be present.

Did you know I have been staking a MAJOR WIN and got my FIRST children's Book Published?

Also, now you can enjoy my new book, A Baseball Game with Dad! Find it on Amazon.

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