There are more great dads out there than sitcom TV would let you believe. Good men who work hard, make sacrifices, and show up every day for their families. But there are a few dudes who are asking for a kick in the shins.
Kids make everything more complicated. I get it. One kid will change your life forever. Each kid after that is just another variable in the chaos equation of fatherhood. There are four munchkins at my house giving us a run for our money.
What drives me bonkers is dads who blame their kids for their dad bod.
“I don’t want take away from time with my kids.”
On the surface this might sound noble, but dig down an inch and it’s really a punk excuse because you’re actually shifting blame for your flabby butt to your kids.
Not to mention the self-righteous undertone implying that by making time in my schedule to workout, I am somehow stealing time from my children.
Stop using your kids as an excuse
When dads use this lame excuse what they really mean is:
“I don’t want to workout, but I feel guilty about not exercising, so I’m going to dysfunctionally shift the blame onto my kids so that when I die prematurely due to decades of neglecting my personal health, my kids can use some of the life insurance money I left them to pay for therapy where they can ask a psychiatrist why their fat dad died so young and what, if anything, they could’ve done differently”.
Nice job. What a tool.
When you exercise, you’re not sacrificing time with your kids. You are making an incremental investment where you will statistically live longer to see your kids graduate, get married, build a family of their own, and be a cool grandpa who plays on the floor with his grandkids instead of a fat or frail crusty dude they visit on holidays and can’t stand.
A real man won’t blame his kids for his dad bod
Stop robbing your children
Besides blaming your kids for your clogged arteries, not investing in your fitness robs your children in other ways:
- Years with you. If you don’t take care of yourself physically, you physically won’t be there a lot sooner than you planned. Regular exercise extends your life by 4 years. Your kids deserve to have you around beyond their 20s.
- Years without you. When you do kick the bucket someday, I hope that you want your children to live for many years beyond you. By setting a bad example for health and activity, your kids are more likely to follow suit and not live as long.
- Fun. If you get easily winded or injured playing with your kids, you’re stealing countless hours of quality and quantity play time. Think about when you stopped picking up your kids because they got too heavy. Or when your kids got bigger, faster, and stronger than you. How old were they?
Redefine the dad bod with your kids
Juggling work, kids, chores, sleep, meals, school, and every other aspect of parenting is hard. That’s why you are the adult. You can handle it.
You don’t have to choose between your family and your fitness.
If you really are “so busy” that you can’t make it to the gym a couple times a week, or even if you can, involve your kids in your fitness pursuits.
Go outside. Take them to the park. Go on a hike. Do body-weight exercises and stretches together.
Kids are statistically getting fatter. Do you know who’s fault that is?
That’s right. Parents.
Not video games. Not TV. Not smartphones.
You and me.
Your kids eat what you eat and they do what you do. If you don’t have an active lifestyle and eat right, they won’t either.
If you don’t make fitness a priority and take care of your personal health, you can’t be surprised when your kids don’t.
So take care of yourself. Do it for the kids.
What is your favorite activity to do with your kids? What does being a “fit dad” look like to you?