It’s Finally Time To Acknowledge the #DadBod In The Room

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Yes, all this week I have been living in past by looking back at how the first seven years of parenting has gone. Our oldest just turned seven so that makes sense. Our youngest is about to turn four. That pretty much means he is self-sufficient right? Okay, he is not ready to go to the store and buy be some beer, but we now have kids that have their own lives. We are starting to gain back more free time. Oh, when I say free time, I don’t mean sleeping, eating or taking the TTC to work. I mean actual free time to get back to doing things just for me.

One of the areas I wish I had done better at during the first seven years of parenting would be taking better care of myself physically. I am by no means a whale, but I can certainly relate to the term #DadBod

The positive is there is a lot more of me to love. But of course when you kids slap your belly and laugh, you know it’s time to do something about it.

So when opportunity knocks, you put down the chips and answer the door.

One of the cool perks of my job is they just signed a deal with GoodLife for a very substantial discount. And since I can walk to two different locations in less than five minutes I decided to jump on board.

Yep, starting next week it looks like this #dadbod is going to start working out again.

I am keeping expectations pretty low. This could not be more clear when I found myself celebrating that I bought a padlock. Small things eh?

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The plan is to try to go to the gym a few times a week on my lunch break. I simply need to get into a routine because the last time I did the gym thing, I got very into it. Then I fell out of the routine and pretty much never went back.

The motivation of course is in the mirror every day. I want more energy. I want my clothes to fit better. I want to get ready for the next decade when it would be pretty easy to go downhill fast.

I would be more than thrilled to get back to where I was pre kids. So that means losing about 10-15 pounds and actually having some energy past 3:30 pm.

I don’t plan on sharing photos of my progress or even talking about it much. I’m doing it for me really and those who need me to be around for a long, long time. Besides, there are enough #dadbod photos all over the Internet.

So that’s my story. Hopefully I am all set and going strong as we hit October. I figure a week back at the gym warrants a giant Thanksgiving dinner right?

Wish me luck.

 

Celebrate Father’s Day in Pampers or UNDERWEAR! #ThanksBaby

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In case you missed the news, it’s Father’s Day this weekend. A day where everyone seems to think it’s a time to celebrate the father figures in our lives. In our house, it will be pretty normal. Play with kids, relax with kids and maybe get some takeout as a treat. No big whoop.

But it does make me remember back to all the memories I have had as a dad so far. Just like this new video from Pampers that may bring a tear to your eye. NO? You are one cold person.

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How Dads Are Changing The Way They Parent

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Photo is not with article, I just like it. Taken by Scott Munn.

This is an article I was featured in recently in Parents Canada Magazine for Father’s Day.

A few decades ago, most talk of fathers’ roles had a straight-up Don Draper-style emphasis on breadwinning. Toronto dad Michael Cusden remembers his dad “just kind of came home from work, had dinner and read the paper and then we went to bed. That’s what dad was to us.” A much more hands-on father, Michael is a digital marketing professional and creator of a blog called Like A Dad. He says the upside with today’s model is, “I know my kids way better. I know what they like. I know their personalities. I know how their day was.” While Michael admits that balancing it all can be stressful, he says, “My dad says he kind of wished he lived in a generation where he got to do it.”

We thought it was time to ask dads what is life like for them today. What are their new struggles, joys and expectations? Here’s what we learned.

Today, leagues of engaged modern dads like Michael are slowly refashioning what fatherhood looks like. For example, 2011 Statistics Canada figures found that 30 percent of eligible fathers filed for parental leave benefits in 2010 – a nine-fold increase over the previous six years. StatsCan also reported in 2011 that the number of stay-at-home dads had tripled over 30 years; and that the number of families headed by single dads is rising.

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Spoiler Alert: It’s Okay For Your Kids To Fall Down

Today as I was putting on a t-shirt, I noticed it still had a patch of blood on the shoulder. It’s a new shirt and with new shirts, I dread washing them, so it made its way back in the drawer until now.

The blood? It’s from Charlie’s face. Last week he tripped on a stick and did a face plant in the driveway. I did not really want to lift him up and see the damage because I knew it would not be pretty. For those wondering, I did not take a photo of his giant lip. Just imagine a red balloon below his nose.

Luckily, all teeth remained and it was just a nasty fat lip with some bleeding. Tears and blood were shed on my shirt and Charlie was fine 20 minutes later. Kids are tough. I think younger kids are tougher than older kids. They bounce back strong. The crying, it’s just what they read in their how to be a toddler handbook.

It wasn’t pretty, but he fell over while having a blast playing basketball with his brother and uncle.

This is where I want to remind parents, kids are going to cut, scratch, bruise, bend, break and do all kind of silly things to their bodies. As long as each incident remains minor, it gets chalked up to having fun. It’s called being a kid.

I did so many stupid things as a kid. I stuck my foot into the front wheel of my bike once to see what it would do. Well, it flipped my bike over my head and left me on the pavement scuffed up. Lesson learned.

Are you seeing where I am going with this? Kids learn stuff the hard way. Charlie tripped on a stick because his body and brain are not ready to notice danger or simply step over the stick. He was busy laughing and running and fell. He learned the pain of it and I bet next time he will be more likely to naturally avoid the stick. Yes, yes, for all you experts, this is based on nothing more than a parent’s hunch.

Go to any park, pool or open space and you will see young kids surrounded by adults who are 100% focused on thwarting danger. The breeze is too strong, add clothes. The ground is too dirty, let’s get out the Purell. The bathrooms look gross, let’s end the fun and go home. I am not saying this is bad. You are caring for your kids. But you need to let some of the world in. Kids can’t learn without it.

Our parents of the Mad Med era have gotten the raw end of the parenting deal lately because they were too lax on things. They were more worried about socializing with friends, having fun, not sweating the small things and actually interacting with the world. Car seats were installed wrong, smoking around kids was normal and talking to people you did not know was okay. Well for all those “bad” parenting moves, I would say I turned out just fine. I know right from wrong and know what pain will be felt for doing something stupid (sorry, silly, Harry hates when we say stupid).

I believe the term now is “helicopter” parents because they are running around behind their kids trying to predict the future. Some even make that whirring noise, I kid you not. Parents have become the Gary for their kids, for those who watch Veep.

Unleash your kids, let them have fun, let them fall down. They will get back up, dust themselves off and learn from the experience. Don’t be owned by the fear of breaking them. You won’t.

Charlie’s fat lip is almost gone. It did not bother him in the least. Since, he has probably fallen five times and scratched his hand and bruised his leg. I sense a gasp from those around us when it happens. I don’t panic. It was not the end of the world. He fell over. I picked him up, checked if he was okay and moved on. No drama required. You treat it like a big deal, they learn that it’s a big deal and will turn it into a HBO special.

You are not a bad parent if your kid gets hurt playing. You are not a bad parent if one of your kids hits the other. This is what kids do. As a parent, you educate, be there for when they need you, and try to let them experience everything. You can’t protect them from the world. It will exhaust you, stress you out and make being a mom or dad not that fun.

Stop sweating the little things. Kids are pretty amazing at survival.

As for the blood patch on my t-shirt. Screw it. I am wearing it and reminding myself that my kids are growing up and when they need me, my shoulder will be there for them to cry, bleed, sleep and take comfort on.

It’s a parental badge of honour and I don’t care if people look at me like an extra from CSI.

What do you think? Are we becoming to over-protective as parents?

My Likes And Dislikes Of My New York City Trip

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It has been a few days since I returned from an amazing trip to New York City. I was there on a media trip to cover an event put on by Swiffer.

But for the most part, my time in The Big Apple was free time. That meant sight seeing, eating, walking, experiencing and having a blast. I did as much as possible for one guy to do in the time I had. I walked over 50 kms while I was there. I went as high as Central Park, as low as Ground Zero and hit the water on the east and west side.

Being on foot in a city like New York is a must. It allows you to get your bearings. It gives you a real sense of where everything is located. I had little problem figuring out the streets and where I was going. I admit I used my Google Maps a few times, but for the most part, I did a great job of just figuring it out on my own. Plus it is always fun just to explore without a destination.

I saw a lot of cool things. I witnessed New Yorkers doing their thing. I had to deal with some very annoying trends.

Here are five things I liked and disliked about my first time in New York City.

New York Likes

  1. Stoops. It was one of the first things I noticed as I was driven to my hotel. The stoops that are so common in TV shows and movies. Rows and rows of Brownstones, each with a stoop that I could picture myself sitting on in the summer.
  2. The Energy. No matter where you went, it was electric. The pace was fast, people had a purpose and it was fun to join the masses. I am a fast walker, so I fit right in.
  3. Central Park. I have always bragged about how much I love High Park in Toronto. But walking into Central Park was like nothing I have ever seen. Surrounded by the city on all sides, but sitting in a relaxed green space was quite special. I can’t wait to take the boys there one day.
  4. The bridges. Flying in, it was so cool to see all the bridges. I miss Halifax for this reason. The Brooklyn Bridge looks as cool as it does on TV. It was also a bonus to go over one on the car ride back to the airport.
  5. Pizza. It was my mission to have some classic New York pizza. I had two amazing slices on my last day. The crust was perfect, the sauce was clearly homemade and the atmosphere in the pizza shop was everything I dreamed it would be.

New York Dislikes

  1. Selfie Sticks. Can we rid the planet of these things now? I was blown away by how many people were waving these things around. They were sold of street corners. They were close to hitting people at major landmarks, they are destined to fill Value Village for years to come.
  2. Extra Height. I went up the Empire State Building. I paid to hit the 86th floor like everyone else. But I fell for the extra cost of going to the 120th floor. It was not worth it for photographs as you are enclosed with dirty glass. Save the 20 bucks.
  3. My Hotel. It was in a great location, but it was not my thing. The Ace Hotel catered to young and hip kids, mostly dudes. It was a hipster, male dorm with free wi-fi and way too many groomed beards. The bed was short, the shower was tiny and there was zero natural light.
  4. Data shortage. I got killed on my data even though I was using #RoamLikeHome from Rogers. Not your fault New York, but it was a definite dislike.
  5. My Stomach. It was not big enough. I want to go back with the metabolism I had at 18. Too many times I got full and had to tap out. I had some amazing BBQ, burgers, fried chicken, fancy food and pizza. I still feel full.

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