Where do I start?! As of today, my daughter Alyssa is 10 weeks old and she’s amazing! Not only is she beautiful, healthy and strong but she has the gift of having Plant-Based parents. My wife and I decided to raise Alyssa Plant-Based because we made a conscious effort to ask “the important questions” and took the time to find those answers. You can say we made an educated decision! Our daughters growth rate is more than average and she continues to surprise and inspire us everyday with her strong legs (as evident when she kicks and pushes herself across the bed) and her continuously improving sensory/motor skills. In other words, my kid is going to be stronger and smarter than I ever was (don’t we all say that about our kids?)
Since becoming a new father, I’ve transferred to a slower Fire Station and have made some adjustments in my life. The Fire Station I previously worked in was one of the busiest in my county. My goals of becoming an active and productive father was becoming very difficult after long 24 hour shifts with no sleep. I put my pride aside and made a conscious decision to make every effort in becoming a better man for my family. I’ve been faced with animosity from some co-workers and confronted with comments such as “we all have kids, why are you so different?”
I’ll answer why I’m different. One thing I refuse to do is become complacent. I never want to complain about responding to someone’s emergency and I never want my family to feel neglected. As soon as I get home from my shift, I assume daddy responsibilities and make sure my significant other has time for herself. Being a new father isn’t difficult but it requires a lot of attention and redundant physical activity. Balancing being a father, a family man and an athlete, I have to be able to perform. Although I can’t control the 9-1-1 call, I can certainly reduce the call load by transferring to a rural station. In the Fire Department, this is not viewed as an honorable decision, however, my decision to be a better and much more productive father/husband is honorable in itself. I’ve never understood ones decision to remain in an uncertain and/or complacent situation when we can actively change the outcome. I’ve learned that life is all about priorities and I’m now much more capable of seeing what and who my priorities are.
A few adjustments I’ve made in my training schedule are frequency and location. My Crossfit gym is located 2 miles from my home but because I can’t always make the scheduled times, I joined a second Crossfit gym for time convenience. I even purchased kettlebells, battle ropes, a barbell and bumper plates for times I can’t make it to either gym. When I don’t have time for either gym and when we manage to have my mother available for babysitting, my wife and I go to the local park with our equipment to train. Their are often times when I need a break from high intensity training and when we aren’t able to get a babysitter, yet we dismiss any reason not to do any physical activity. During those times we walk with the baby in a sling, stroller or while she sleeps, we do intense training with kettlebells on the balcony of our condominium. No excuses!
As many of you are aware, I LOVE TO COOK PLANT-BASED FOOD! Cooking at home hasn’t changed. In fact, it’s only gotten more creative! I’ve found being a parent has inspired me to utilize vegetables and leafy greens in dishes such as pancakes, snacks and dessert. My inspiration came from Rip’s experience as a parent when his children wouldn’t eat anything that was green for week. I found myself thinking of ways to incorporate many different veggies in my dishes in case my daughter (and future children) develop a temporary fuss. I’d like to share that my wife and I both agree that we will never make Alyssa feel uncomfortable with food. As children, we have all experienced feeling left out. We also know how developing negative associations with food could possibly cause eating disorders. As parents, we will only provide a home full of delicious and nutritious Plant-Based food, a solid foundation of understanding where our food comes from and how diet is related to health and its impact on the environment. Having that foundation, we will never judge or discipline her for any dietary decisions she makes outside of our home as she grows. We are confident she will make the right decisions through the nutrition, confidence and education we provide and instill in her. After all, it took me 25 years to even consider consuming a Plant-Based diet!
To sum it all up, being a new parent while juggling everything else in life isn’t hard at all as long as you understand and are willing to adapt and accept change. Their are definitely many difficult situations but how we respond during those situations speaks mountains about our character.