Pitfalls of the Modern Dad Movement

Pitfalls of the Modern Dad Movement

Our generation has seen a definite shift in expectations of the man of the house. It’s not uncommon for dads to be much more involved with their children than our fathers before us. In addition to being the main bread winner for the family, modern dads are accustomed to playing more of a part in the household duties and bucking the stereotypical trends of yesteryear.

It’s a far cry from my upbringing.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to give you a sob story. My upbringing was fantastic albeit tumultuous at times with respect to the old boy. Admittedly, I was a very sensitive and highly anxious child and Dad’s parenting style involved strict adherence to the old-school views of masculinity (a direct result of his own upbringing) which didn’t lend itself to my sensitive nature.

“Harden up. Stop being such a pussy“.

I didn’t connect well with my dad during my formative years. He did shift work at a coal mine so I didn’t see him much. I know that memories can be easily screwed but I don’t often remember him being involved with my sport or school life. I can’t remember him cooking or cleaning much and I had to battle to spend time with him. When we did spend time together I often felt myself trying to prove my masculinity to him, and failing dismally. Having grown up and experiencing what it means to work and provide for my own family, I now understand a little better that he would have only been working hard to do just that. He was probably just exhausted all the time but that’s not what a child sees.

However, at times I absolutely needed a firm hand to help force me out of my comfort zone. A good example is when I was too afraid to swim in the local public pool because I genuinely believed it was shark infested after seeing the swimming club logo of a shark on a sign next to the pool, which my young mind considered a warning sign. This was a problem because I was supposed to be competing in club night and it would have caused mayhem amongst my peers had I warned them of our supposed impending doom.

Dad’s solution was to simply hurl my tiny, frightened body directly into the (non) shark infested pool.

In what can only be described as a manic frenzy, I worked my way to the edge of the pool completely unencumbered by any form of marine life (emotional scars, on the other hand, were inflicted). It seems cruel but it is exactly what I needed at that time and I spent the proceeding years winning numerous swimming competitions. Dad’s action was the catalyst for lessons I learnt in the importance of hard work and discipline. Whenever I needed an extra boost whilst competing, I would imagine I was being chased by my Dad.. riding a fucking great white.

In stark contrast, let me introduce you to the Modern Dad. He works full time, cooks dinner, changes nappies, washes clothes, plays with the kids, gets involved with their learning and also tries hard to be a good husband. He’s a top bloke and family is his number one priority. He’s also exhausted and under an immense amount of pressure to perform in the mantle of a ‘Modern Dad’. Sound familiar?

Then, we have the Modern Influencer Dad. This guy can be seen publicly performing household duties whilst brandishing a child attached to his body with an overpriced human carrier, via his social media page. He posts lovely blurbs about how amazing his wife and kids are, everything is perfect, he has heaps of money and well-known brands like to provide him with complementary products to prove that he is a fantastic dad, and you could be too. His name is Steve.

Whilst he’s a top bloke and loves his family, Steve’s a bit of a problem for the average Modern Dad.

I have personally struggled with the expectations of the Modern Dad. It’s tough because obviously I want what is best for my family but I also don’t want to completely lose myself in the process. It’s difficult to find that balance. For instance, it is difficult for me not to feel guilty when partaking in my hobbies because I should be doing something that benefits the whole family. A quick scroll on social media has left me feeling deflated because other dads appear to be better fathers to their children or husbands for their wives. Ultimately this just leads to a nasty cycle of feeling inadequate or a little lost.

Our kids are watching and learning from our every move. Whilst it’s important to exhibit the desirable characteristics of the Modern Dad, we need to make sure we are also taking care of our own wellbeing. Importantly, our kids will learn from that too.

No dad is perfect. The best thing we can do as fathers is be present, learn from our mistakes (we will make many)and look after ourselves in the process.

dadBod to dadRig: Dealing with Fitness Failures

dadBod to dadRig: Dealing with Fitness Failures

Part 2 of the dadBod to dadRig Series

Catch up on the on from the introduction to the dadBod to dadRig Initiative. The series will also include a number of supplementary articles to inform, entertain and help keep your motivation and discipline maxed out .

Recap

Failure is a part of life. It’s how we deal with those failures which determines the true nature of our character. Let me tell you, I have failed dismally with my fitness goals so far this year and I’m going to share that with you despite my embarrassment.

Since the big launch of the dadBod to dadRig initiative back in January, I have gained 2kg and my work clothes are so tight that it’s uncomfortable to wear them each day. If I look down from a standing positing, I can only just see the end of my dick. I’m not even 30 years of age for goodness sake.

The point is, this is real life. Losing weight is difficult and set-backs, life circumstances and old habits will take time to overcome.

Many blokes struggle with their weight and body image and it is easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others and feeling like you are the only useless fat fuck who can’t see his own dick. It’s much easier to feel sorry for yourself then to act and work hard to achieve your goals, and that is exactly what I have done over the past few months.

The Comparison Cluster-fuck

The problem with comparing ourselves with others is that there is no comparison. We are all individual and we all have our own unique set of circumstances, values and problems.

Take Chris Hemsworth for example. Frankly, I love the bloke. He is built like a brick shit-house, he’s a philanthropist, seemingly good parent and an iconic Australian larrikin. My wife seems to be a fan too.

It is completely unrealistic to compare yourself to a bloke like that. Obviously, he works incredibly hard for the life and body he has built for himself. However, with a net worth of $130M, a personal trainer on tap, excellent genetics and a personal chef preparing nutritionally optimised meals, comparing yourself to Chis Hemsworth is like comparing films produced by Marvel Studios with films produced by DC. It’s simply not a fair comparison.

Remember, he is also already in peak physical condition, unlike us mere mortals. It’s like comparing an elite runner with an amateur table tennis player. It’s chalk and cheese.

The Resilience Resurgence

Now that we have established that comparing yourself with others is counterproductive (although difficult to avoid), it’s time to focus on ourselves.

I failed to achieve my goals because life got busy and I completely lost sight of goals. Work has been horrendously busy, and as a result I prioritised drinking beers as quick-fix for post work relaxation instead of prioritising good nutrition, exercise and sleep. I visited the servo hot box for deep fried processed foods instead of preparing healthy whole food meals.

We were also forced into a snap COVID lockdown where I was required to live at the site camp for a few days which also threw out my routine of travelling home each day.

I fell off the wagon, hard.

That’s ok. Just need to re-focus and have another crack. That’s resilience and it is very important because your best efforts will often be challenged by what life has to throw at you. Your mission is to maintain focus on your goals and deal with the adversity as it comes so you can remain consistent and ultimately achieve your goals.

For me, this is a matter of ceasing empty promises and taking action. As such, I have revised my goals which will be used to measure my success.

Goal Status (revised)

My overarching goal is weightless with a view to transition into performance based goals in the future.

GoalTypeTimeframeStatus
Loose 1kg each week for 16 weeks (in time for anniversary get-away 27/06/2021)Fitness20th June
Run 5km – Run 3 times per week progressively increasing distanceFitness25th April
Complete 3 resistance training sessions per weekFitnessWeekly
My weight-loss oriented health goals

Physical Metrics

This part is a bit scary because although I know I’ve let myself go a bit, I have now quantified how much I’ve let myself go. Again, it’s an important step to take and I’m deciding to use it as more motivation rather than deflation. Here are my metrics and some photos which will be considered the baseline for all progress I make. You can learn more about tracking physical metrics by clicking on this link where you can also download the excel spreadsheet I use for tracking – complete with sexy graphs.

Starting weight: 103.9kg


Physical metrics tracked using the Quintessential Dad Physical Metric Tracking Excel Spreadsheet Template

Summary

In the coming weeks I’ll share further details about my workouts, nutrition, inevitable struggles, progress and informative (hopefully entertaining) articles pertaining to health and wellbeing – specifically for dads.

Get Involved

I encourage you to get involved and share your story so we can support each other in prioritising our physical and mental health as busy dads. You can easily get involved by connecting via one or all of the avenues below:

  1. Connect via Instagram: @quintessentialdadau
  2. Connect via MyFitness Pal: quintessentildad
  3. Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email via the contact page to receive the content direct to your inbox
  4. Get in touch with me directly so we can share your story and inspire ourselves other dads to achieve our health goals

#dadbodtodadrig

dadBod to dadRig: Week 1

dadBod to dadRig: Week 1

Part 1 of the dadBod to dadRig Series

Righto legends, it’s time to put my money where my mouth is and well, stop shoving so much junk food and alcohol into my mouth and get my pasty white rig moving again. Following on from the introduction to the dadBod to dadRig Initiative, the following article will form the basic template for future posts which will be published each fortnight inline with my metric tracking measurements. There will also be a number of supplementary articles to inform, entertain and help keep motivation up.

Before we get into the nitty gritty, I figure a good starting point is to reflect on the reasons for wanting to improve my health and wellbeing. Millennials call it, ‘finding your why?‘.

I call it no longer wanting to be a fat fucker and actively working to improve my self-confidence, improve my mindset, live longer for my family, set a good example for my kids and lead a more active lifestyle. I encourage you to take some time to think about this, write it down, and put it somewhere you will see it every day so you are constantly reminded of your reasons to make positive changes in your life.

Goal Setting

Now that we understand the deeper drivers behind our desire to strive for health and wellbeing (rather than simply wanting to fit your into your favourite jeans again), we need decide on what improvements we are actually working towards and set some goals. My goals are listed in the table below and are currently weight-loss oriented. These goals will be statued each fortnight to ensure I am still tracking along well. This will be a good way to check-in and reassess if the goals are appropriate and if I am doing everything humanly possible to ensure I am going to crush them. Once I am comfortable with this, I will shift my focus to performance based goals and focus on some more specific detail.

GoalTypeTimeframeStatus
Loose 1kg each week for 16 weeks Fitness26th AprilTBA
Complete 2 guided runs per week (using the Nike Running app)MindfulnessWeeklyTBA
Complete 3 resistance training sessions per weekFitnessWeeklyTBA
My weight-loss oriented health goals

Importantly, I’ll break these goals down into ‘micro-goals’ on a day-to day basis to achieve some small wins, keeping me motivated and focused.

Physical Metrics

This part is a bit scary because although I know I’ve let myself go a bit, I have now quantified how much I’ve let myself go. Again, it’s an important step to take and I’m deciding to use it as more motivation rather than deflation. Here are my metrics and some photos which will be considered the baseline for all progress I make. You can learn more about tracking physical metrics by clicking on this link where you can also download the excel spreadsheet I use for tracking – complete with sexy graphs.

Starting weight: 102.5kg


Initial physical metrics using the Quintessential Dad Physical Metric Tracking Excel Spreadsheet Template

Energy Deficit

After reading Not a Diet Book by James Smith, I learnt that creating an energy deficit is a fundamental requirement for weight loss. So one of my focus areas will be tracking food energy using the MyFitness Pal app and exercising in accordance with my goals above.

In my post The Key to Reviving Your Health and Fitness, I touch on the importance of small wins, making sustainable lifestyle changes and abstinence from alcohol which are also key elements.

I’ll cover all of these topics and more in much more detail for future posts as part of this series.

Summary

In the coming weeks I’ll share further details about my workouts, nutrition, inevitable struggles, progress and informative (hopefully entertaining) articles pertaining to health and wellbeing – specifically for dads.

Get Involved

I encourage you to get involved and share your story so we can support each other in prioritising our physical and mental health as busy dads. You can easily get involved by connecting via one or all of the avenues below:

  1. Connect via Instagram: @quintessentialdadau
  2. Connect via MyFitness Pal: quintessentildad
  3. Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email via the contact page to receive the content direct to your inbox
  4. Get in touch with me directly so we can share your story and inspire ourselves other dads to achieve our health goals

#dadbodtodadrig

dadBod to dadRig Initiative

dadBod to dadRig Initiative

New Years Shitalution

It’s that time of year again when we reflect on the past year and relish the opportunity to hit the reset button so we can wake up on the 1st of January with a whole new lease on life, ready to tackle life’s many challenges and resolve our personal shortfalls (again).

It’s a chance to say Salada Biscuit (Australian for ‘see you later’) and thanks for all the fish, or chicken, or aardvark, or whatever other innocent animal we can blame for instigating a global pandemic.

We are all guilty of setting ourselves entirely achievable goals for the new year only to experience a disappointing fail before we’ve even finished gorging ourselves on the Christmas lunch scraps. Our big dreams and aspirations shat and pissed on as a result of hefty self-sabotage. A big ol’ fuck you to yourself for even thinking you could improve yourself. Life still exists on the other side of the holiday break remember, ya numpty.

Now what?

Enter the dadBod to dadRig Initiative.

What is this rig bullshit, I hear you ask?

Well, I’m glad you asked. Basically, since becoming a father I have gained weight at an alarming rate and amount a number of factors I believe this is because the moment we become a dad, we loose the element of selfishness that actually works to preserve our health. With no sign of self-confidence on the horizon (I can just hear my wife’s sigh as I write this since I have made this claim on numerous other occasions) I’m ready for a change and I know you are too, dads.

Obviously, new year resolutions are bullshit and they don’t work. New Years Shitalutions. The dadBod to dadRig Initiative is my attempt to inspire meaningful and sustainable change and provide virtual support to other dads who are keen to drop some kilos and represent a mean, lean DadRig. Ultimately, this is about improving our mental and physical health which are intrinsically connected elements of our being and should be more of a focus for dads in general. If our mental and physical wellbeing is not maintained, the detrimental impacts propagate through every aspect of our lives and our kids are clever enough to notice.

None of this New Years Shitalution rubbish. Get after it!

How will it work?

The DadBod to DadRig Initiative is completely free and is aimed squarely at providing dads with support, motivation, encouragement and education to assist with crushing individual health goals. The initiative will consist of:

  1. Series of blog posts, information and motivation to keep us focused on achieving goals distributed on a regular basis. Some of the topics that will be covered as part of the series include:
    • Alcohol and its effects on weight-loss
    • Benefits of exercise for mental wellbeing
    • Healthy recipes and workout plans
    • Practical tips for getting your workouts in – balancing family and work
    • Sharing apps, books and resources which may assist with achieving health goals
  2. Virtual accountability and support provided by yours truly and other dads working towards their health goals. Share your goals, successes and failures with the DadRig team so we can all learn and improve. Instagram, MyFitness Pal and this blog will be the mediums for our virtual community.
  3. I will share my personal progress as I work to lose a total of 16kg, build self-confidence and shift my focus from this weight-loss goal to performance goals via a fortnightly blog post (to coincide with my metric measurements)

Get Involved

The best part about getting involved is the zero cost element. You can easily get involved by connecting via one or all of the avenues below:

  1. Connect via Instagram: @quintessentialdadau
  2. Connect via MyFitness Pal: quintessentildad
  3. Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email via the contact page to receive the content direct to your inbox
  4. Get in touch with me directly so we can share your story and inspire ourselves other dads to achieve our health goals

Alright, legends. Now that we are virtually connected it’s time to make this happen. I’ll be sharing an initial weigh-in, photos and a bit of a spiel about my goals and why I have set them for myself this Monday 4th January, then fortnightly after that. Blog posts will be published on a weekly basis so be sure to sign up so you don’t miss any.

Please do get in touch and share your story so we can support each other in transforming our dadBods to dadRigs both physically, and mentally.

#dadbodtodadrig


For other great dad-related content, head over to Feedspot and checkout the Top 100 Father Blog list: https://blog.feedspot.com/father_blogs/

Epic Study Fail

Epic Study Fail

University studies are difficult.

When I first began studying externally I completely underestimated the time, effort and commitment required for success. I foolishly enrolled for four subjects in my first semester of University and completed exactly zero subjects.

Sue me, I was excited.

Whilst working full time – 12 hour days, living in a half renovated house and learning the ropes as a new parent with our first born child at the tender age of 5 months old, I bit off way more than I could chew in my decision to study. Once I understood the sheer workload involved in this undertaking, I immediately dropped 2 subjects. Then, just prior to the census date, I dropped another.

I struggled through half of the semester with one subject, but I was on the back foot. I was getting further and further behind and became extremely stressed as I struggled to understand the content. I was also too proud to seek the help I clearly needed.

Epic Fail

Eventually, it all became too much for me and I decided to drop my one remaining subject after the census date and was slogged with a fail grade (and a substantial bill for my troubles).

Attempting to start with four subjects was a sure sign that my confidence was severely misplaced. But don’t worry, that confidence was beaten right out of me.

I had no intentions of studying that semester with the intention of letting life settle down a bit before I attempted to study again. Unfortunately, my lack of understanding about the enrolment system meant I had inadvertently enrolled myself in another subject so I was completely oblivious to the second fail grade my rogue enrolment was accumulating on my behalf as I went about my business. Epic fail.

My goal of completing study to improve my career prospects and cater for the needs of my family is completely reasonable, however at times it can be seemingly impossible to achieve. The implicit assumption with time is that we will have more of it in the future and everything will be easier. As if all of the things that currently consume our time will disappear and we will be left to achieve our ambitions in peace.

I have since realised there is rarely an ideal time for anything in life. The solution is simply to suck it up, manage your time as best you can and get shit done.

Kids make fantastic study buddies and will help make your sessions productive and fun

Get to Work

Since failing two subjects and the resultant crushing blow to my ego and my wallet, I have reevaluated the way I go about my studies and have now successfully completed 3 subjects. It hasn’t been without its challenges and the ever-present vibe of stress that lingers in my day-to-day life however my goal is now in reach.

Here are some practical tips for success in line with our new mantra as working parents and students:

  1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew – you still need to fit in time with the family, work, exercise and some form of social life so make sure you choose your subjects accordingly. Reviewing the course content will help inform your decisions.
  2. Communicate with your better half – this is of utmost importance. Study will take some of your time and sacrifices will need to be made. Agree suitable times for study and everything else with your partner so the expectations are clear. Things will inevitably change but it is important that the time commitments are recognised. Your relationship will thank you for it.
  3. Plan your study time wisely – I have made the mistake of trying to study at the infamous ‘witching hour’ when the kids are most out of control. It doesn’t work for me or my wife. Avoid studying during this time at all cost!
  4. Make the most of your study time – this basically means avoid procrastinating. I am personally hopeless that this. For example, in the past I have chosen to make the most of my study time by starting my music production career or by conducting in-depth research into the many facets of rearing poultry. unfortunately this had nothing to do with the engineering content I was supposed to be studying. My tip for avoiding procrastination is to simply start. Commit to 5 minutes of study and generally you will find this is all that is required to continue on.
  5. Expect imperfection – although I believe it is always important to strive for the best, the reality is that this is not always practical. Don’t beat yourself up over it, just do the best you can with what you have and be proud of yourself for the hard work you are putting in. Always think back to the reason you decided to study and make that your driver rather than crushing every aspect of your studies. This will help to ease the pressure and allow greater focus and in turn, better results.

Please get in touch if you have a similar story to share or if you can provide some study tips. I’d love to hear from you.

Remember, Quintessential Dad is a community for sharing experiences and knowledge so we can become better blokes!

The Most Terrifying thing Parents Endure

The Most Terrifying thing Parents Endure

Going to a public toilet with your child.

Warning: this post contains high concentrations of toilet humour.

You know how it goes. You’re in the middle of Woolies and your little one complains of a full bladder. ‘Awesome. Perfect timing’ you think to yourself.

So you stop mid-way through the weekly grocery shop, abandon the half-full trolley and hustle to the Parent Room so your kid can do their business. While you’re waiting for them nature calls and you also get the sudden urge to go. “Shit“.

You’d hold it if you could, but the urge is too strong.

I’m not sure why, but being trapped in a toilet cubicle with your child seems to spark a curiosity within them which would rival that of Einstein. Innocent, relentless, unfiltered questioning ensues:

“Are you doing a poo, Daddy?”

“Can I see it?”

“Shhh”

*Child attempts to open the cubicle door*

“Don’t do that! Close the door!” Says Dad in a panicked whisper yell.

“Was that a fart?”

“Shhhh”

“Are you doing another poo, Daddy?”

“No more now, Daddy will be finished shortly” again, communicated in a panicked whisper yell.

“Why do you have so much hair, Daddy? Why is your face red?”

“My legs are sore, can I sit down? I’m hungry. It smells in here. Can we go to the playground? I love dancing. Can I have a present?”

It is at this point you find your forehead coated with a generous helping of nervous sweat. You finish what you were doing and hastily get ready to leave.

Frazzled, you open the cubicle door. Low and behold, there is a welcoming party of other parents waiting for you to exit, each sporting polite smirks of quiet content and empathy. They heard everything and they know exactly what you’ve just been through. They can laugh, because they’ve been there before. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it any less embarrassing for you.

I just hope it doesn’t smell too bad in there for the next occupant!

How to Holiday with Kids

How to Holiday with Kids

Sometimes it feels like my kids will do everything in their power to ruin our relaxing family getaway. As if their evil little sub-conscious is aware that the adults need time to recharge and they get a kick out of seeing us stressed.

Take our most recent holiday for example. Our youngest girl cut her first tooth the day before we left and our normally perfect little angel temporarily morphed into the spawn of Satan himself.

Our eldest little girl also decided that no matter what she received, it wasn’t enough for her. The whinging was relentless.

The pair of them have a supernatural sisterly bond which allows them to cause as much disruption to their parents’ plans as possible. They work together to ensure that whilst one is content the other is wreaking havoc. Occasionally, when they get bored with the status quo attention seeking they will begin to work together, ensuring none of us are enjoying the experience.

Although this does seem a bit extreme, fellow parents will understand. Kids can be shits.

Fortunately, we did learn some ways to make the most of our time away so everyone in the family could enjoy it. Unfortunately we learnt most of our lessons on the penultimate day of our holiday. Nonetheless, if we ever decide it would be fun to holiday together as a family again, this is what we will do:

Ignore the Clock

You are on holidays after all. Relax. Unwind. Recharge.

If you’re a great bloke you’ll let the cheese and kisses sleep-in while you get the kids ready since she’s been up with them all night while you’ve been obliviously cutting trees down with your snore-saw.

Don’t get too worried about adhering to plans because the little units will make it hard to do anything on time.

Our favourite day (and last day) was the one that began with breakfast at lunch time. We had a loose plan of kid friendly activities without any time constraints and it worked well. We all had a lot of fun.

Food

One of our biggest issues was the time it took us to get ready to leave the hotel room each morning for breakfast. Every day we were all tired due to teething issues (get it?) and didn’t wake up until fairly late in the day. Adults need caffeine and kids need food in their mouth the instant they wake up otherwise everyone ends up hangry.

We were completely unprepared for this (my fault for not wanting to do groceries while we were on holidays) but having a bit of food in stock is critical – even if you mostly plan on eating out like we did as there were limited facilities in our room.

One thing you can generally rely on is tea and coffee facilities available in your accommodation for the caffeine fix, however I certainly won’t be drinking a beverage comprised of the coffee flavoured dirt often supplied in hotel accommodation #coffeesnob. So it’s struggle street until we can get to the nearest caffeine dispensary outlet.

Wear Them Out

The last night of our four night holiday was by far the best any of us had slept the whole time. We were all completely spent from swimming in the pool and a cycling a four wheel bike around all afternoon.

On second thoughts, this activity wore us out more than the kids

My advice for this would be to keep the kids doing the physically exhausting activities while you drink beer and provide general encouragement.

Distractions

Keeping the younglings entertained when you want to spend some time chatting to your beautiful wife is tricky, but worthwhile if you can pull it off. I know it goes against the parenting code but we occasionally allowed our eldest daughter to watch a movie on the iPad while we ate our meals. The youngest daughter was happy chewing on a teething rusk.

I know, I know. Not great, but it worked for us. There are other substitutes such as books or toys that may suffice to keep the children occupied long enough for you to enjoy your meal and have one of those rare adult conversations about things that aren’t related to the kids, like you used to have before you had kids.

Leave Without Them

If all else fails you have no choice but to leave without the kids. Of course I mean before you set off on your next holiday, not leave them and go home from your current holiday.

Seriously though, parent’s do benefit from some time without the kids even if only for a date night or even to spend a few hours at home together.

It’s not always possible but take those opportunities when you can. Your relationship will be better for it.


So when you see other parents stressed on their relaxing getaway, be sure to give them an empathetic smile in acknowledgment of the struggles you share. We are in this together.

Embracing time with the family

I think it’s also important to embrace the time away with the kids. As a working Dad, I find that I don’t get much opportunity to truly bond with my girls due to the business of day-to-day life. So I genuinely enjoy the holiday period for that reason. It is a chance to slow down and really appreciate the little family you have created and the joy that comes with that.

Enjoy the next holiday and make the most of the time you get to spend with the kids.