In this episode we will learn a bit of the story of Steve Roy, a fitness coach specialized in working with dads and helping them find the time and the motivation to change their lives becoming better for themselves, for their family and for their children. He is the single dad of two girls. He is also the founder of the Fit Dad Nation website and community with thousands and thousands of dads from all over the country and from all different backgrounds.
We will learn invaluable lessons from Steve as he shares his experience with his divorce and all the changes it brought to his life at a personal and family life with his daughters. It is beautiful to see parenthood from his perspective after the split.
“When I was married, of course I loved my kids, I loved being with them, but it was almost like I took it for granted, my time with them. A lot of times I would be doing mindless stuff not really paying attention to them, not REALLY connecting with them and so, now, literally, every time I see them it just comes to the front of my mind how precious my time, just a limited time, I just have them for a couple days a week, is with them. I am really, really present with them. I am excited because my relationship with them has grown tremendously because I am sitting with them and I am talking with them. I am listening to them and not just sending them off or playing on my phone or doing something else.”
It is an amazing thing to see how he was able to come from his own struggle after the separation to change his own life for the better and then create a strong and positive community on Fit Dad Nation to help other parents often on a similar emotional situation dealing with a divorce or just dealing with the big and time consuming adventure raising a kid is.
“The way I ended up starting the website was I fell into a deep, dark place for a long while and really let myself go and just felt terrible, I looked terrible. Well, I was just a physical mess, and I was in the fitness business as well so it wasn’t a great thing. I kinda got a wakeup call one day from a good friend of mine and I started to make some changes and I ended up just running with it.”
Time and time again here on Diversity Dad we will learn and re-learn on several different perspectives and ways that spending time with our kids is one of the most important things we can do as parents. Steve’s experience not only taught him how to be strong and improve his own health but also how to be a better parent by spending more time, and quality time, with his children and teaching them valuable lessons while at it. A lesson all of us should regard as a very important one.
“We do a lot of stuff with them. It could be looked at as “hey, you know, we are out spending money on them.” That type of thing, the typical Disney land dad, but what we are actually doing is giving them experiences that they will remember forever. They are not going to remember sitting at the couch and watching cartoons, they are going to remember going out for that hike or you know, the other day we went out and gave some money to some homeless people and talked to some homeless people. Those are the types of things that they are going to remember. And that is what we are trying to do every single weekend.”
We will learn not only from his experience with his divorce but also from his experience dealing with a lot of parents on his daily routine and if he says something that he learned from his experience spending time with those parents we should really listen to what he has to say. The second most important lesson he takes for himself and shares with us comes from the way he sees some parents dealing with their children. His answer was amazing and we do hope you can take that and a lot more from today’s episode just like we did.
“Talk and actually listen to your children. Talk to them, not at them. I see a lot of parents that cross the border of “I am your father, I am your mother, this is what to do, period” and coming over the top and I understand that philosophy and I have to do it at times but I really think about the respect issue and I don’t think a lot of people think about that. I think the bigger picture is giving them the respect that you in turn expect from them.”
We hope that after listening to this episode you feel inspired to change, either in the way you handle your children or on the way you handle your couch and your free time!
“I typically don’t exercise on the weekends unless it is with the girls, we will go for bike rides, hikes, fun type of things. But I don’t actually train on the weekends because I don’t want to take my time away from them.”
“Regardless of what time you have, it is just finding that time that you spend with your kids and Steve does a really good thing incorporating fitness as well as that quality time.”
“I was a very hands on dad. When I was married I did a lot for the girls and as soon as we split I was left with them only on the weekends. I wasn’t with them every day for school and so I had to kind of figure out again the right way to handle all of it. How to talk to them about the divorce, how to handle the emotional side, how to teach them what I needed to teach them on the weekends, they are getting one thing from their mother and something else from me. It has been a challenge to say the least.”
“We decided to handle it as a positive thing (the divorce). When I sat down with my in laws and we had the conversation about “Hey, this is what we are doing.” It was terrible. My ex-wife comes from a very catholic family where divorce is not an option. I mean, that is not even on the radar. So when we talked about it, it was not well received and so there was a lot of negativity. We chose to talk the girls as “hey, listen, this is what we are doing, you are going to have two houses now. Daddy is going to be here, you are going to spend the weekends with him and you will stay here with mommy and we are going to be happier separately. So we really tried to make it positive.”
“If you are going through a divorce or a separation, make it about the kids. I know this is easier said than done because, not as man but just as human beings, we have those emotional things that we want to make sure that we get across to anyone that we are talking to or have feelings for.”
“I work with a lot of single dads and unfortunately a lot of them succumb to anger, hate and the bitterness, and it is so bad for the kids. They will see it, they will hear it. I just refuse to go down that route. It has worked out, I feel like the girls are doing really well because of the way it has been handled.”
“Why would you waste your time sitting on your ass watching television drinking beers when you haven’t seen your kids. And they don’t think about it. A lot of married dads, obviously not all of them, don’t even think about it. “Oh, you know, the kids are fine, they are right here, I see them enough.”. But what is going to happen if that is taken away and you can’t see them.”
“I do think that personal time is very important, regardless of who you are you need your down time, you need to unwind, unplug. And a lot of guys do that through drinking beer and watching the game. I am not saying there is anything wrong with that but I am saying is when you already barely seeing your kids as it is, I just can’t understand why you would want to go off hunting with your buddies or spend all day on a weekend when this is a perfect opportunity to connect with your kids.”
“I just really wanted her to feel better and have more confidence, she just was looking like she was miserable out there, the other kids were running circles around her and I felt bad but she wanted to get better but didn’t know how. We went to the very first game and she ended up scoring the very first goal of the first game. It brought tears to my eyes. I felt so good for her.”
“They need to be kids, they don’t need to be involved in that stuff and they don’t need to hear anything bad about their mother regardless of how I feel about her. That is not something that my father believed in. He was not happy with my mother and let me know all about it. That created some problems. I didn’t like my mother for a long long time until I was probably in my thirties I was still pissed at her. Until I finally realized that it wasn’t her. That is what I am trying to avoid.”
FIT DAD NATION WEBSITE
Twitter – Steve Roy@TheFitDadNation
“Let’s learn together. Let’s grow together. Let’s be dads together. Peace.”