It’s a bird! It’s a plane!
He’s a coach, a great father and husband, a wonderful employee and the most popular guy in the neighborhood! The guy with the great house and nice car! Okay fine. It’s Superdad. The prick.
We all know THAT guy. He’s always in a good mood and it’s probably because he’s the luckiest guy to ever walk the planet. He’s got a great car, house, job, wife and kids. He always has extra time for little projects around the house, and somehow he still has energy to coach the soccer team. What the hell is this guy on? It must be drugs. No one is that happy and has THAT much energy.
Well, that might not be exactly right.
Imagine you’ve cleaned your living room. It’s spotless. You decide to keep it that way this time and commit yourself to tidy up every night before bed and clean and dust once a week. It takes a few minutes to maintain the cleanliness. On the flip side of that, though, if you clean it and let it sit until it’s horrifying to imagine a stranger coming into your house you’ll put it off. Knowing that the room will now take hours to return to its former glory you prioritize against it.
The mind is like a machine. If it’s overloaded for too long it will shut down and do nothing, but when a machine is running smoothly it’s easier to keep it going that to shut it down and start it back up. The more you do, the more you’ll feel like doing. So be active. Do the things you have to do and you’ll have surprisingly more time to do things that you want. Just always be in maintenance mode. But, you HAVE to be organized in your activity. If you’re running around spending 5 minutes on this project and 30 minutes on that one you’ll never get them done.
Think of your problems and projects as enemies. Let’s say there are five of them and they’re circling you. The fight is about to begin.
The first one that moves you knock out cold. Now there are only four. The odds are getting better. You go after another one, bolstered by your previous success. He doesn’t go down as quick, and you take a few blows from the back during the scuffle but he eventually falls. 3 left. You push one away and he stumbles. Another one falls to your next blow and there’s only one left facing you. He’s the biggest one of them, but he has your full attention for now. You know there’s another waiting in the wings, trying to gather the strength to come after you again, but for now your odds look good.
Attack your problems in the same way. If you tried to take on five people all at once without any focus they would overwhelm you and beat you senseless. Your problems are the same way. You need a plan. You need to pick them off one at a time and improve your odds. Superdad knows this. Start to reorganize and prioritize your life.
Want to know how?
Family is Superdad’s first priority. First above neighbors, friends, bosses, co-workers, teachers. FIRST. They do not get let down because you’re too busy. If it’s something they need you GET IT DONE. No questions or excuses. No bullshit.
For everything else prioritize what problems demand your attention first. An oil change and cleaning the garage can wait. If the roof is leaking that takes priority. Getting the Xerox machine fixed is important, but missing that meeting can cost you your job. There are certain things that we must do and things that can wait. The goal here is to get the important stuff done first because, of course, prevention is the best medicine
What about me time?
You have an addiction. You are addicted to helping others, work, sports, TV, reading, lawn care, car care, shopping, drinking, drugs, gambling, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, yard sales, thrift shops, research, or any number of a million other activities. And recognizing the problem is the first step toward healing. The second is to stop doing it.
If your addiction is physical, get help. Now. Gambling, drinking and drugs are all serious problems. People won’t frown on you for getting help, but they’ll think you’re a real piece of shit for letting your life fall apart and destroying your family.
If you’re addicted to TV, social media, games, or anything along that vein just stop. You’re not a child. You think somehow that stuff is improving your quality of life? You’re dead wrong. This is your intervention. Put it away. As your life becomes more fulfilling and successful you’ll wonder why you ever wasted time on that stuff.
You also have to understand that your excuses are bullshit. Own up to your responsibilities and your mistakes. That’s what leaders do, and that’s what men do. No one ever said you have to be perfect, but you have to be willing to admit and accept your faults in order to overcome them.
The idea is to get things done that need doing. Organize your life and before long you’ll be looking less like the man you are now and more like the superdad you plan to be.
Even super heroes need sleep
We all know seven to nine hours of sleep daily is the optimum amount. Any less and you’re too tired to function correctly, any more and you’re risking the very same problems that sleeping too little causes and the problems go far beyond grogginess and fatigue. If you don’t sleep enough now your body will eventually make sure you do. And I suspect your bed is far more comfortable than a coffin.
The average American works 40-45 years, and that number is gradually increasing for many as it gets harder to pay for those golden years. It’s safe to assume that 40-45 years is enough time to consider sleep deprivation long-term and it can result in a litany of problems.
Heart disease, insulin resistance, and obesity are the big three issues. Americans work more hours for more years than many of the world’s developed country and you have a large, blubbery body of evidence to back this up. If diabetes for a large portion of your adult life, and dying on a reinforced hospital gurney when you’re heart explodes trying to keep blood going to all parts of your 450 lbs body, sounds appealing to you then you can stop reading here. For everyone else, let’s talk about how to avoid a plus-sized coffin at an early age.
It’s a myth that sleep debt can be paid up over the weekend. Your body governs when you sleep by increasing your melatonin production at certain times of day and decreasing that production as your waking hours approach. By sleeping in on the weekends and not getting enough sleep during the week you’re destroying your sleep cycle, making it harder to fall asleep and decreasing you quality of sleep.
How do you fix it?
You want a set sleep schedule and go to bed at approximately the same time every day waking at around the same time each morning. This will reset your circadian rhythm and get your body used to sleeping at a certain time. The results being that you’ll fall asleep better and get a better quality of sleep. This is really the only way to repay a sleep debt over the long-term, and it’s just all around healthier.
By cutting yourself off from work at a certain time of night and getting yourself in the right frame of mind for sleep at a normal time, and waking at a normal time you can make your weekends more productive. You could get a healthy meal and get some work done around the house or even run into the office briefly to finish up that last bit of whatever project you’re on. And you’ll still have the same amount of weekend time left over because you didn’t waste it all in bed. You’ll feel better, get things accomplished more efficiently and live longer (which, by the way, is the absolute BEST way to make sure you have time to get things done).
Cutting your extra hours on the weekend and making sure you’re getting enough sleep during the week will begin lowering your stress levels almost immediately, and make it easier to fall asleep quicker. You’ll get better quality of sleep, feel better, be more focused and more efficient at getting things done which will give you more time in the long run.
You won’t be so aggravated by daily distractions and will be more personable. You’ll be up working on the weekends before the other dads have gotten their first cup of coffee. You’ll have more time with your family and be in better health leading to a longer, more productive life. Who’s starting to look like Superdad now?
How does Superdad deal with stress?
Men have a lot hanging over our heads and a heavy burden to bear. Maybe you’re worrying over a late house payment, or a leaky pipe, how to afford to send your kids to private school because the public education system is complete shit or any number of other problems that keep you up at night. We strive to be there for our wives and children, our mothers, father, brothers, sisters and neighbors. The problem is sometimes it’s too much and we reach a breaking point.
Is there a way to balance raising a family and being a good husband, son, brother and friend without going crazy? Sure there is, but there will be hiccups along the way. No one can ever stay calm all the time, but there are things you can do to make sure that your the zen master of dad anger and keep yourself in check
When you got married was it your hope to have a person to follow you around and constantly remind you that you don’t have enough time and you’re always fucking up? ME TOO! No. No one wanted that. Where do wives get the idea that this is their job description? The fact is that women worry over EVERYTHING all the time, and don’t understand why men don’t. Men have the unique ability to shut the world around them off and focus solely on what they are doing to the exclusion of their other responsibilities.
To women this seems like we are simply ignoring what they should be worrying about and their response is to remind you that you’re an idiot. So how do you manage to keep from throwing the refrigerator in the driveway in a fit of fury? The first thing you need to do is remove yourself from the situation. When you feel your anger bubbling to the surface you need to leave. Don’t just walk out, but say “Give me just a minute I need to get some air. We’ll talk when I come in.” Give it about 10 minutes.
Once you’ve calmed down and think you can explain to yourself calmly go back inside and do that. It does no good to try to explain something to someone when you’re angry.
Kids are masters and finding your last nerve and poking it with a stick. But before you whip the belt off and start in like a jockey in the Kentucky Derby let’s at least try to keep our heads.
If they’re very young (2-7) the best approach might be to explain that it’s making you mad and give them something else to do. Kids are easily distracted which works in your favor. You need to monitor the situation from time to time and make sure they are not returning to the path that would lead to you eventually losing your mind. Do this BEFORE you lose your cool because explaining things to a 4-year-old is frustrating enough with a level head.
Anything older than that tell them to stop and to go do something else. Now. Do it calmly but firmly. Or if you can move into another area without endangering the children or yourself do so until they move on to another activity.
Do what helps
Some people may picture a quiet mountain stream and take a few deep breaths to calm themselves. Other people may need to go outside and smash watermelons with a sledge hammer. Whatever your process; find it and use it. You will be shocked at how much less you’ll have to keep yourself in check if you practice doing it for a while. You’ll be able to accomplish so much more in the time it would have taken you to have a full blown melt down.
So you want to be a hero?
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. When we’re children our heroes are beings with super powers fighting for the good of humanity with their larger than life presence. They’re indestructible and strong and we want to be like them. As we grow we find real-world role models to follow. We learn their stories and realize that the superheroes we used to love exist, just not in the way they’re portrayed on paper.
You see how your father has defied odds that you couldn’t imagine and emerged on the other side stronger than ever before. You learn stories that showcase an inner strength and realize that your superhero’s strength is only a shadow of it. Finally you begin to model your life after the examples shown by your role models.
Being a hero is not what your comic books and Saturday morning cartoons showed you. It’s not newspapers touting your greatness or people celebrating when you show up to put right what is wrong. It’s about trying, and about accepting the most bitter of disappointments. It’s about failing and having the strength to go on in spite of it; about being better than your last failure.
Eventually every man who would like to consider himself someone else’s hero has to face the fact that he’s not a hero. He has to take a long look in the mirror and ask if he would view himself as a hero – knowing all his own faults – and the answer is almost always “No”. So how can you expect to be a hero to your children, your wife, your neighbors if you can’t be a hero to yourself?
Superdad knows his enemy.
Batman, Superman, Captain America, whoever; it never takes them long to figure out which super villain is wreaking havoc on the world. They know who their enemies are and they’re ready to go to war with them. You can imagine anyone in the world is your enemy. It can be your boss, that jackass, Bob, from the office, your neighbor that always complains about your grass, it could even be your wife. But, here’s the thing: they’re just imaginary enemies. They may dislike you, they may even want to hurt you in some way, but they’re not actively trying to destroy your entire life. Unless they’re psychotic and then, my friend, you have a problem I cannot help you with.
The real enemy lies deeper. It’s you. You’re the only person with absolute authority to devastate your life. Others can hurt you, they might even slow down your progress, but they can’t destroy your life unless you give them the power to do so. Every day, however, you make decisions that could easily impact your life for years to come.
As Superdad you must know yourself and admit your faults, examine your strengths and learn how to defeat your own self-destructive habits. Everyone has them, but not many are willing to admit them to themselves. To be a hero you have to admit it. What would happen to Superman if he was in denial about Krptonite weakening his powers? What’s your Kryptonite? No one else has to know, but you do.
Superdad has a burning desire
Your heroes from your childhood wanted to do good for humanity’s sake. Your desire should be more precise than that. Whether it’s a desire to learn 10 languages, build your own business, travel the world, or keep the garage clean. It needs to be the reason you make your decisions the way you do. You need a goal to move towards and constantly be putting one foot in front of the other in that direction.
Think of it like a skyscraper on a distant on the distant horizon. You know you have to keep it in your sight to be able to move in the right direction, but there will be obstacles. There won’t be a straight line to the skyscraper, but if you can see it you know which way to walk. No two people reach it on the same path. Get to your tower on high in your own way.
Superdad is strong
I don’t remember any heroes that carried their inhalers and had to stop to find their contact lenses in the middle of a fight. None of them ever complained about a hernia after pulling a door off the hinges. You don’t have to be able to knock down buildings with a single punch to be strong. Physical strength may be something you strive for, but it’s strength of character and strength of will that makes a hero.
The very best comics and cartoons always had some great turmoil that nearly defeated the hero. But, at the last second the hero stood up, powered by some inner strength that could never be quantified and fought harder than ever to save the day. You have to search deep down and decide how, in the face of life’s greatest challenges, you would move forward. Then you have to do it.
Things in life may seem unbearably hard, but you have little eyes watching you at all times. Your kids are watching your every move. They’ll see you at your low points, and when you’re suffering. Your job as Superdad is to make sure they see you pushing past the pain and winning.
Superdad can see the future
This is a very underrated super power. If Batman could have seen the future, he could have stopped the Joker before he caused any havoc. Two-face may never have been created. If you could see into the future what could you have avoided in your life?
Here’s the end-all, be-all of being Superdad. You need to take time to refine the vision you have of who you want to be. You need to be able to see every aspect of it and give it some serious thought. Make sure that what you think you want is really what you want. Once you’ve painted the picture of exactly what and who you want to be hold that picture in your mind. That is your hero.
Matthew McConauhey said something in 2014 that has stuck with me. He said his hero is always himself 10 years from now. There’s no way to obtain that. Every day 10 years from now is still 10 years from now. Every day your hero will change in some minute way. And that’s fine, because you’ll always be pursuing that version of yourself. Becoming a superdad.
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