My honest and open account on the changes becoming a dad again has brought to my personal life, my working life, my training and me as a person.
Prior to Sophie Isabelle being born Bec and I had numerous conversations about how we would go about things to ensure we worked as a team. One of the the areas of great importance to me was being able to continue to train towards my goals.
Bec has never swayed in her support for me and does all in her power to ensure I have the freedom to make them happen and whilst we did all the necessary planning and signed up for multiple races, having Sophie has brought both challenges and an abundance of joy to our lives.
Honestly, I thought my time having more kids was done, I told myself that I am over 40 and way too old to be a dad again. I would express to Bec that I do not want to be a 60 year old father to an 18 year old, and she would happily tell me 40 isn't old and I will do as I am told haha. Truthfully I was just scared, I was scared of the commitment and scared of how it would change my life. I had so much flexibility and could do as I please. I would have many well meaning people say things like "you can forget exercising once you have a kid", "there will be no more ironman for you", "you will have no time", "Bec says ok now but once baby here you will do as you are told" etc.
Of course I knew that life would change, but if people in there 50's can have multiple kids, run a home, run a business and find time to exercise and enjoy life then surely I could make it happen.
I wasn’t expecting how it was going to change me and how I thought about things. I knew that the dynamics would change because life wasn’t just going to be about me and Bec anymore. I thought I knew the things that would change and that I knew how it would alter things and when and how I could train. But things changed beyond my expectations.
Some people may read this and think I have no idea what I am in for as its only been one month, and this may be true, but I do have some experience in raising kids and I believe this is helping me navigate parenthood this time around.
What has changed in a month?
A hell of a lot has changed in just one month since Sophie joined us and made us a family, below a list just a few.
My coaching and PT business
Prior to taking the journey with Bec to have Sophie we made some decisions, the biggest was I would be a stay at home dad. The primary reason was I couldn't match Bec's earnings and the time and effort Bec had put into becoming a Dr and Specialist in Rehab Medicine and the opportunities that were coming her way needed to be fostered.
What we did was we decided to put more focus into my coaching and less into the personal training side of the business, I scaled back my face to face appointments to just a handful of clients and went to work attracting clients for triathlon, running, swim coaching, strength and conditioning programs and online coaching. BPM Multisport is growing very nicely and whilst it won't make me rich it is giving me enough to be contributing to the house and allowing me to help others reach their goals.
I have had to be far more structured with my time as I can no longer respond immediately to clients, but every single one of them has been very understanding and worked with me. Prior to Sophie I literally had each and every day planned out around training, the business, clients, Bec and the kids. I love being in control of my schedule, but with sleepless nights that control is gone and now I focus on how I need to be of help to ensure Bec gets sleep, I get sleep, I can train and run the business. So far so good, it seems to be working.
Since Sophie arrived on the 25th January I have averaged 15hrs a week training and on average missed just one session a week. Generally any missed session has been around something going on at home and priorities needing to change.
The vast majority of my training is completed indoors utilising my weights, bike trainer and treadmill (not enough room for an endless pool). I have 3-4 sessions of each discipline but it can vary week to week.
Each week I work with my coach to ensure we put together a plan that prioritises things that Bec and I need to do. Whether it be social things, doctor appointments, family time or even just sleep.
Each day Bec and I formulate a plan for the next day, it is usually based around what we expect to happen with Sophie, which of late is a baby that wants to stay awake at night. What I do is stay up as late as possible usually anywhere between 11pm-1am depending on where we are at with the feeding cycle. Bec will do what she can to get as much sleep prior to 11-1am and I do the same after that. Unless I have coaching commitments at the pool or gym I will usually relieve Bec at about 6am (if not earlier and sometimes later) and send her back to bed for as long as possible.
If Sophie is restful I will do training in my gym or on the bike and treadmill with her beside me. If I need to stop and settle her I will, if feed time comes around I stop and change her so Bec can feed and rest again.
I am grateful that Bec does all she can to help me get my training done, she encourages me to get outside (even when sometimes I have to cancel meet ups with friends) but also does what she can so I am well rested so that I can function too. I can relate with any parents that it's near impossible to function as a human on no sleep let alone do a 2hr turbo session with a 1hr brick run.
I am also grateful to my coach, he provides a plan that is flexible should I need to tweak things as the week progresses, has been a great sounding board in working through challenges s they arise (he has a child himself and one due very soon) and assures me the work we are doing will see me fit and ready for having a crack at Cairns IM in June.
Yes things have changed, yes my training is haphazard some days, yes I have missed sessions or not being able to execute to my perfect standard, yes I have done sessions where even the easiest of days feel hard but I have found a way with Bec to make it happen. Tomorrow things might change but we will figure it out as best we can.
They say a happy wife means a happy life and this is very true. Bec is truly an amazing mum, I really mean that. She has grasped the challenges of being a mother with the same tenacity that has seen her become a truly amazing doctor. Sophie is lucky to have her as a mum. I have seen Bec hold it all together on very little sleep while I buckle under the pressure. My focus for her is to make life as easy as possible. I do what I can to take the pressure off, give her extra sleep in between feeds, put food on the table so she doesn't need to think about it, clean, wash clothes but make sure the little things happen that make her feel human.
If I can provide her with an opportunity to go for a walk for 30mins I do, in fact I encourage her to get out at least once every day (with or without Sophie) so she is seeing more than just our four walls. Even though she is dependant on me to drive her places I encourage her to book appointments, catch ups etc and I play chauffeur and daddy care where needed.
Its not all roses though, I push the wrong button, say the wrong thing which may bring tears (damn hormones) but I honestly try to do the best I can so its easy for her. I used to tease her prior to Sophie arriving that I was dreading her being home for 6 months but I am enjoying the time we have together (I freaking love her so much) and I am nervous about how I will do being a full time stay at home dad raising our daughter when Bec goes back to work. I know we will make it work and I know Bec wishes the roles could be reversed but its 2018 and dads do this all the time so I will just have to man up and do the best job I can.
My Older Kids
Rosie and Alex have just been awesome. They understand things have changed and that currently things are revolving around Sophie. But they have never complained and they work with us to keep it simple.
I promise you Rosie and Alex if you read this that we will be able to do fun things again very soon and that we love how you love your new sister, she already adores you both and Bec and I love you both very very much.
Me, The Coach, The Athlete
I am a big sook, I only have to think of Sophie and I melt. She has brought me so much joy and it's hard to explain but every parent can relate. My heart bursts with love for her and I just didn't think I had any more love to give.
For a long time I have been very selfish in my thinking, it was all about me and my goals. I am sure it frustrated people around, I am sure it frustrated Bec. I cannot help I am so driven to be the best I can be, whether that is as an athlete, coach, husband or father I simply strive every day to be better.
Sophie hasn't changed that drive, she has just made me prioritise what is truly important, she makes me put others first but she drives me on to show her the way in life and how we can live it to the fullest.
I am going to do all in my power to inspire my kids to be the best human beings they can be. I am fortunate that Rosie and Alex are well on their way to being well rounded people with good heads on their shoulders. I will use my previous parenting experience and mistakes to be the best dad I can for Sophie to so that she follows in the footsteps of her brother and sister and becomes an amazing little girl in her own right. No doubt it will be easy for her as she has Bec as her mother, l just hope she isn't too much of a brainiac as she will leave me behind very quickly.
Being a parent isn't easy, kids don't make it easy and I am lucky that there are two of us to care for Sophie. It is easier when both parents work as a team and do what they can to make it work.
Bring on the next few months, the challenges, the late nights, the successes, the learnings and awesome improvements from my athletes and me too.
BPM Multisport was born out of the passion I have for triathlon, not just coach but to educate athletes of all levels to help them achieve their goals to the best of their ability whilst maintaining a balanced, happy and healthy lifestyle.
Every athlete is unique and their individual goals are just that 'individual', therefore I provide programs written and designed specifically based on each athletes needs, time commitment, training level and ‘life’ in general to help them reach that goal. Success is not always overnight some will reach it quickly others will take longer but whatever the pathway I guide them through the journey to becoming best they can be.
All programs are delivered through Training Peaks and each athlete receives a truly personal coaching service dedicated to making you the best possible athlete you can be.