Last week I wrote about imposter syndrome. The feeling of inadequacy and having self-doubt even through success in business. This whole new parent thing really has been a trip. This week I want to write about daddy blues. As we prepared to be parents this was often something I sort of glossed over and mistakenly assumed wouldn’t really impact me. Chelsea is a planner and she was able to take twelve weeks off from work. Once the baby was born I really thought the summer would look and feel like a warm and fuzzy vacation. Again, many of my veteran parents will probably read this and chuckle. Together Chelsea and I experienced very high-highs and very low-lows over the summer.
As I traveled into parenthood with a full head of steam my mental health was not something I really considered. Truthfully being a father was something I welcomed and cherish. However, I found myself facing things that I had never experienced before and I’m not talking about blow-outs, sleepless nights or spit-up. Without really noticing I found myself withdrawing socially, some days I was completely unmotivated to do anything productive and I would often get very stressed out and frustrated for no apparent reason.
Chelsea is truly amazing and she deserves so much praise for her work as a great mom. Our bond has continued to strengthen throughout the year and she always picks me up when I fall. The truth is without her, this whole 605 thing starts to crumble. As we made our way through the summer we found ourselves on a weekend morning going to Pasley Park for a fun run/walk for a local non-profit. The plan was for Chelsea to walk a mile or so with Violet and I would run a 5k. We’d get some facetime with the running community and Violet has always loved being an outside baby. On this morning I was reminded that we really do have some great coaches on staff here at the shop.
I gave my girls a quick kiss and headed out for my run. As I returned the girls were finishing up at about the same time. To my surprise Chelsea was walking with another new mom. It was Coach Jacqui Meadors. Coach had her baby boy Shuler about a month after us. She had her girls and the baby in tow and made it all look so easy. She and Chelsea had shared in a great conversation during the walk and it was such a fun experience to socialize post run.
For me this experience was like a heavy fog burning off in the morning sun. Everything began to fall into place. The realization that work/life balance can be attainable and that you can socialize as a new parent and it is okay to share your feelings with your loved one. It all seemed so simple, but it was so hard to get to that point. Not long after that we arranged a coffee visit with Coach and called it a first date for the babies. This was right before Chelsea was due back at work and it may have been some of Jacqui’s best coaching work in her career. While most of the dialog was probably between Chelsea and Coach, I think me just being present in the moment made a significant impact on my outlook.
Do not take your mental health for granted. Especially as life takes its many twists and turns. Surround yourself with good people and always talk with your loved ones about how you feel and if necessary seek out a medical professional. I’m tremendously thankful for our running community. We are in business for the first word (running), but we are successful for the second word (community).
You never know when or why you might need a great coach! I’ve written about my personal experiences working with Coach Jacqui on here before as she helped guide me to a marathon personal record and has a wealth of knowledge regarding the sport. Tonight at 6:05pm Coach will be taking center stage at our group chat. I hope to see many of you down here for the “Ask Me Anything” style chat.
Greg Koch is the Co-Owner and General Manager of 605 Running Company and Co-Produces the Sioux Falls Skedaddle Half Marathon. He serves on the Board of Directors for Downtown Sioux Falls, the 605 Race Crew and the Sioux Falls Area Running Club. When Greg isn’t with his family or working he enjoys being outside biking, kayaking, golfing or playing church softball.
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