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Don't just sit on you ass! Try to get something done.

February 13, 2014 The Wine Time Dad 1 Comments Category :

Being a new parent and also newly married is never an excuse to let yourself go or leave aside your hobbies. Until several years down the road you find yourself saying "I used to" a lot. Granted if there is another parent in the mix but you both work, you're going to have even less time. If you both work but have no readily trusted babysitter AND have multiple kids, then this would be a good time to turn back. I can only speak from my experience, which encompasses a fraction of the types of parents in this country, and even less worldwide. Still, from my limited point of view bias, I'm still gonna say, "Don't let yourself go and continue to work on the things you like to do that make you interesting."

When you have a child and are in a committed relationship you learn to compromise and sacrifice, more than a bachelor/ette, in order to... Hmmm, create a fair and equal partnership. Which is actually a good thing because a fair and equal partnership brings about more happiness. And, happiness, as any cliché does or should go, makes everyone healthier. However, you may find that you run out of time quick and do less of whatever hobbies you enjoy. I suggest you don't fret about this.. You will learn to reincorporate certain aspects of your "before life" into your "now life" but not with the intensity you applied to everyone of them before. You just have to accept this, and it'll be easier to transition to a life with parenting responsibilities.

Certain aspects of your domesticated life will take precedence over others. For example, in an average day you won't be able to work out for two hours, watch all your missed shows, work on a blogpost for an hour or two and then drink whiskey while you read for the rest of the night. That whole ayahuasca retreat, writing a novel and saving the world thing, is going to have to be put on hold, too. You're going to have to rearrange your schedule so that you can accomplish specific goals without all the wasted time (the TV shows and blogging) (maybe the reading, too). If you like to write, then you'll find nap times and late night the only time of day when you can concentrate (I may have touched upon this topic, here). I know Stephen King said he used to put one of his kids in a crib infront of the TV while he wrote but he was obviously better as shutting out a screaming baby. I can barely concentrate on this drivel with only the TV on.

That's another thing.. I felt anxious about potentially cutting out all the TV shows I had on my list while living in Japan. I didn't want to have to leave my vapid teen dramas about witches and vampires behind. But, it was totally liberating. I also just lost interest in some of the shows. I mean, how many times can they keep recycling the drama in Vampire Diaries? After a while it just becomes to repetitive.

You know what? Fuck TV. Really. Even the history and science channels are suspect. I can only imagine how little an impact on the world Galileo, Einstein or even Jesus would have made with the draw of TLC and A&E begging for their attention. It's mind-numbing addiction.


Staying in decent shape, can be more difficult to work into your schedule, especially because it requires, in my opinion, at least 4 days of uninterrupted focus on a serious 90+ minute workout.... We'll come back to the exercise component later.

There's more than one way to outsmart a baby..
Reading is something you're definitely going to have cut back on, especially if you want to make time to write. Sitting on the toilet is really the only time you're going to have to read, if your baby doesn't stand at the gate screaming at you (I've put up a gate, separating the toilet from her grabby hands). If you've accomplished your writing for the day, then go ahead and crack open a book at night when no one is around. However, sometimes you'll find that you're too mentally "done in" to focus on a book and writing is even more of a task. Which makes your pre-bedtime ritual more suited to a cocktail and The Walking Dead or Tattoos after dark.

As for exercise, making it to the gym even four days a week may be pushing it and when you're there you don't have the 90+ minutes to bang out a workout. You may barely get an hour. So, your best bet is to do some of your strength training at home. Maybe your cardio, if you can get your baby into it. I plan on teaching my little future judoka some kata and striking techniques when she's old enough...

Lifting weights at home is a good option if you have the equipment for it and your infant doesn't get in the way, which is impossible most of the time. She will likely balk at the fact that you're not paying attention to her, and may inhibit you're ability to finish a set depending on what exercise you're trying to execute. And, lifting weights is only going to work if you have equipment that doesn't take up too much space and isn't a danger to the mobile infant (everything is potentially dangerous). Maybe something like those Bowflex dumbbells?

In any case, if lifting weights is a possibility, then I wouldn't suggest planning a whole workout while you're with your baby. Instead do small parts of a workout throughout the day. You can start while she's have a morning bottle, if she's still young enough for that, then finish off when she takes her nap. That's how I usually did it while the baby was still just an expressionless blob, and it worked for a while.

However, if weight training makes you feel like you're neglecting your "little shadow" too much, then maybe you should think about devising an exercise strategy that includes your baby. Turn your body into a virtual jungle gym, or use the baby as weight or a medicine ball. For example, by doing some basic yoga stretches, your baby may become amused by the unusual standing positions and shimmy over to join you. She may just try to push you over as mine did, so you can work on your balance.

All joking aside, if weights really aren't an option, use more functional strength training exercises like pushups, pull-ups (if you have the bar) and planks. Hell, kettle-bells are all the rage these days, so maybe you could use that (another one of my goals this year, besides continuing to be awesome, is to learn to use kettle-bells).

Anyways, I can almost guarantee that your baby will love your pushups more than you, as you've become this amusing mobile platform that she can climb on. Yes, it's a bit annoying that she's climbing all over your back but don't be such a weakling, you should be able to do a pushup with a 24lbs baby climbing on your back.

Pull-ups are great for a walker (not a zombie from The Walking Dead) as she will try to grab your knees or feet, depending on how high you are. Just be careful not to get so caught up in your epic pull-up session that you forget where she is and accidentally knee her in the forehead. Or, find her eating tissue out of the garbage in the bathroom, during a set.

Last but certainly not least is the grueling plank. I never was into this particular exercise and I'm still not into it. I fight with my lack of desire to do them all the time, but begrudgingly I get them done. Honestly, I only started doing them because I screwed up my wrists. No, I didn't screw them up the way you were thinking, you perv. It was... Uh... a weight lifting injury that was exacerbated by... Swimming. In any case, even if planks don't really get you all that riled up, they are a source of infinite wonder for your baby. They're also great for developing core muscle groups like your back and abs. It is the one exercise I've been able to do for extended periods of time without incurring the "you're ignoring me" wrath of my baby. While doing planks, I instantly transform into a tunnel to crawl through or a raised platform to climb over. Occasionally I get a smack in the face by an overexcited baby who is always trying to run off with my timer.

Lastly, when weather is decent enough to take the baby back outside. If you're not much of a runner, it doesn't take too much more effort to get a power walk in. Hell, do it in the winter- just make sure she doesn't get frostbitten.

While these exercises won't necessarily satisfy your cardio requirement, you can easily get them done whether the baby is asleep or awake (either will work for the power walk). So, there is no excuse for you to become too sedentary and out of shape. Sure it's easier to zone out infront of Fox News after a long day of cleaning, laundry and mind-numbing play, but no need to make a habit of it.

The idea is, whatever you like to do in your free time, don't slack off on it too much just because you're too exhausted or lazy. Part of what makes you unique and interesting are the things you enjoy doing and if you don't make time to push yourself to do them, you'll end up with baby brain. Weeks, months and possibly years will go by when you suddenly awake out of your stupor and realize that you're about as relevant as a textbook on science from the nineteenth century. You'll find your self sitting infront of all your baby's clothes, trying to work out the best socks and top combination to match her blue jean colored pants, and it'll hit you. You'll start to sweat and have this weird sense of being disconnected from yourself, as if you're seeing through someone else eyes. Then you'll have a breakdown and your lover will come home to you just mindlessly rubbing one single spot on the floor.

Maybe that only happens to housewives... I'll stay optimistic about my fate.

Either way, keep it simple and don't expect too much of yourself while you're a full-time care-giver. Just do what you can and everyone will be better off for it. You might even surprise yourself with how much more of an efficient time manager you'll become. Or, you'll turn into a pro at creating more free time during the day with which to do more of nothing..

Peace out.



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