It seems there are a load of new dad bloggers out there relieving their boredom (as I do) by writing a blog. For those bringing up their tiny ones, those days spent with pooey fingers on nappy tables, maybe bottle feeding at 2 am, maybe midnight runs to hospitals with some injury or other, drives down autobahns with kids arms in an L shape at 160km, days spent feeling in deep despair at the life you lead – well they do get easier. In fact, the phase where the small ones need you wanes. What fills that void? In my case, it was finding some kind of outdoor work such as gardening for old ladies, and lately getting a dog (another topic). As a veteran of this lifestyle, I’d love to pass on some tips for those sailing in my boat today. What would I advise? Here I assume you start from Square One as I did. I had a pretty cool life before children (we refer to life before kids as BC!!).
The first thing I would advise is to get your nutrition under control. This means learning to cook. Get hold of a book like Jamie Oliver’s “Ministry of Food” and in there he teaches enough to get started. With that book, I was able to present decent enough fare on the table. Once you can d the basics, you may begin to see patterns in the stuff you make, like the 5:3 ratio of flour to water when you make a pizza. Go then to Michael Ruhlman’s “Ratio” which pretty much teaches the principles underneath all food prep. You may have heard of the “clean” eating thing. Reducing carbs is a good thing, not necessarily eliminating them, but watching your intake, is to be recommended.
Secondly, once you figure out what you are eating and can reduce the packet stuff, is to get a small veg garden together. Start in spring with a few tomato plants from Aldi, then maybe a herb bed, or some spuds in a pot. I’ve been growing my own a decade now, and love the quality of stuff we eat.
Make no mistake, this gig we do is unusual, and I may be wrong but I think we’ll always be a niche in the family way of things. The pressures we Dads are under are invisible, and when you sit here as I do kind of watching the news and Youtube stuff, days do indeed drift. The constant “do this do that” does wear at you, and yes you will gain if you didn’t before, a respect for the mums who always look utterly haggard on the shop runs. This is where some kind of meditation helps. Yoga, Progressive Muscular Relaxation, Tai Chi or my choice Qi Gong, can ease the way and switch off from the crap at times.
Many of us get so worn out we neglect ourselves, especially with the isolation. The lack of structure and order can take their toll on fitness Some would say go to a gym, but in my case, I found the cliquishness off-putting. Besides, I now prefer to exercise on my own using callisthenics. What’s that? Old fashioned push-ups, pull-ups, squats. Aren’t they hard? No, if you progress along from easy to hard in a structured way. Get a copy of Convict Conditioning (Google this) to see what I mean. Much of this long lost art is coming back, having been preserved in the most unusual of places – prisons!
Many of you are lucky enough to have kept your old employment, at least in a part time capacity. When I began this, I lost my job owing to outsourcing to India, so I lost absolutely everything to do with my old career. I began from scratch about five years ago. I started to do lawn care and landscaping for an old lady. Then I helped a lady in her greengrocer’s shop. An accident at the market made me realise with huge respect to those market stall peeps that this wasn’t for me – I am an office rat. So I began to learn to program in Java. I’ve spent the last two years learning this at the “Cave of Programming” site owned by a kind Britt John. I’ve coded one site but am looking for more and even Android apps to write.
So here are some of the things I really wish I’d known before I embarked on this journey over a decade ago.