This post was originally written for a fellow FitFluential Ambassador’s blog (here). I wrote it in early January as a FitFluential Friday project she was working on and I’d like to share it with you here. Enjoy.
In all the landmark moments that have happened in my life — from kissing a girl, to graduating college, to buying my first home — becoming a father makes those seem like small stepping stones whose sole purpose was to bring me to this single moment. This one opportunity to take everything that I have learned in my (insert number here) years of life and positively influence this beautiful little girl that my wife and I have been blessed with.
I have always been in shape. Sometimes that shape is a little more round than I would like, but I have typically always been at or within 10-15 pounds of a healthy weight, given my age and height. But something strange triggered when our daughter was born, I felt the need to improve my health and fitness. I guess at the root of this inclination was that I need to be healthier not just for me, but for her. That daddy needs to be around to see his daughter grow and to set a good example of what a healthy lifestyle is like.
My influence is being put to the test and it will help shape the life of a little girl. At who she will see as a male figure in her life growing up. How she will or will not depend on a man as she gets older. As a father, making my daughter feel safe and confident seems like one of the most important things I can do.
In the early months, finding time to squeeze in a few miles was difficult. If I wanted to learn how much of my personal time has to be sacrificed to fill the needs of starting a family, it was made clear early on. Although a mother’s role typically demands more, being a part of the day-to-day routine was important to me. Making sure that mom and baby rested when possible required odd hours of maintaining the household: laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, etc.
But remember that strange feeling I mentioned three paragraphs ago? It was remembering that I
needed to wanted to lead a healthier lifestyle that helped me make the decisions to put on my running shoes and head out the door when possible. It’s also the reason that even with the reduced hours of sleep and fewer miles I was able to become a faster runner after she was born.
I wanted to be a better person for her. I wanted to be a stronger person for her. I wanted to show her through example, what it is like to lead a healthy lifestyle and to place value in fitness. I don’t think I’m one of those parents that will force their children to partake in the activities that I enjoy. I won’t force her to get up at 5 a.m. and run 10 miles before work or school. But at the same time, I don’t want that to be considered strange if that is what she wants to do. I don’t want it to be weird for her to have vegetables at dinner instead of french fries.
Becoming a father changed almost everything about my life. Things that I placed so much emphasis on before, were reevaluated and adjusted to fit the needs of the little one. But the thing is, it’s good. It’s changes that I wanted to make. People have commented that because I have a blog or run lots of miles that I influence others or motivate them to give running another try… but in all honesty, this tiny little beautiful girl has influenced me more, without saying a word, tweet or status update.
Sincerely, an influenced father.