To my friends and fellow parents…
About 6 years ago, I did what I thought was impossible. With the help of an endorsement and personal trainer, I transformed my body from a 210 lb hot mess, into a 170 lb,
5 % body fat lean machine. I looked great, and was really proud of what I had accomplished. It was a journey to say the least.
Let’s jump ahead to where I am in my life now. I’m 37, married to the love of my life for almost 8 years (together for 15) and the very proud father of 2 beautiful kids. Benny is now 3, and Avie is 6 months. They are the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me.
Here’s where reality sets in…. The past little while has been somewhat challenging in regards to sleep, energy, mental capacity, and overall well being. Both Karlie and I are truly doing our best to remain positive and optimistic with every single aspect of our life. Some days are easier than others, but overall, we’re blessed and very happy to not only be parents, but a great team who live in a beautiful safe neighborhood surrounded by some of the best people I’ve ever known. Our kids play outside in our fenced in yard, we have bonfires at night, and enjoy cold beers on our comfy patio. Life is good. However, what I’m slowly beginning to realize is that I am not who I used to be. For every parent out there who has raised children and endured countless sleepless nights, fighting off colds, constantly cleaning the path of destruction and Paw Patrol toys, and of course, doing our best to laugh, play and be the role models we know our kids will cherish for a lifetime, simply is not always as easy as one might imagine.
Last night when I got home after work, I looked around the house, and observed the following:
– the kitchen was littered with toys, stickers, and crayons that find their way into my boots on an almost daily basis
– my superhero of a wife( who’s fighting a cold) was making dinner while wearing our baby girl who decided to scream the entire time
– our little boy wandered into the kitchen crying as he had just sneezed for the 76th time that hour, complete with slime dripping down his face
Instead of being able to kick off my shoes, eat a peaceful dinner and then head to bed, I had to shovel some soup into my talk hole, clean up, get Benny into the tub and then shower myself so I could head out the door to host my weekly Open Mic event until 2am. When I left the house, I felt very guilty as poor Karlie who had slept roughly 2.5 hours in the past 2 days, was left with a crying baby and a 3 year old who demands we watch another episode of Clifford on my iPhone. Overall, it was not a pleasant way for me to leave the house, but there’s bills to pay and the show must go on.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, because I know that MANY of you have either gone through this exact same thing in one form or another, you’re going through it right now, or you’re preparing yourself for the adventure of a lifetime, and trust me… it’s an adventure. I’m writing this to thank you. I’m thanking you because I know that you’ve been through all of this and somehow, you’ve survived. To think that Karlie and I are alone in all of this is simply not true. Every one of my friends, family and loved ones who are parents have been through this time of absolute insanity, confusion, insomnia, and more importantly, blissful and beautiful period of growth. I know that even at times where I’m feeling so sorry for myself that I can’t bare to look in the mirror, that many of the people who I love the most have been through this exact same time in their life. You are the support we need, and you don’t even know it.
Am I that lean and mean, well rested, happy go lucky party animal that I was? Do I have time and energy to go the gym twice a day like I once did? Do I experience uninterrupted sleep 7 nights a week (or one) ? The answer… is no.
Do I have love handles? Do I have dark circles around my eyes? Do I do my best to eat really well and take care of myself as best as I can right now? Do I drink a beer as soon as I possibly can when I get home? Do I do my best to leave my day at the door, and make a funny face when my son runs at me as I enter the house? Does my beautiful wife have it 10,000 times harder than me because in reality, my escape is heading to my cushy radio job each day? You bet.
Life isn’t what it was. I can’t function on 1 hour sleep as I could 15 years ago, I can’t play in 2-3 bands at a time, or one for that matter, and I can’t be as creative as I’d like to all the time because there are little humans that need my time more than the pedals and keyboards waiting for me in my jam room that doesn’t get used more than an hour a week. We can’t do dinner dates as often, sleep in until 2pm, or go see our friends bands when they’re in town like we used to. It’s just not possible….. right now.
That’s right… these moments are fleeting. It won’t always be like this. in fact, as hard as it is to believe, one day we will long for these times again. Our kids will become teenagers who’d rather go out with friends instead of wanting me to be Captain America, while he pretends to be Venom. One day my daughter will get married and have a family of her own, and Karlie and I will long to have our kids want to hang out in our beds as we read them stories and drink “spicy water.” All of this will change one day. It also means that one day, I will be able to focus on my cardio, make a new album, travel to Coachella, or better yet… take a family vacation because our kids will truly love and appreciate our time together. We will sleep again for 8 hours at a time, and everything will make sense once again.
But for now, life is really a blur. It’s crazy, it’s hilarious, it’s heart breaking, and it can be quite beautiful at times too. We’re stressed out a lot, but we’re also very grateful for this life we live. For whatever reason, these angels decided to allow us to raise them, and we’re really excited for whatever the future has in store for us all. I guess I needed to see it in black and white, and to say thank you to all of you who have run this race before us, or with us. We know we’re not alone and you have inspired us to be the absolute best parents and people we possibly can. It’s not easy, but it’s the choice we made when we decided to have a family. It was the best decision we’ve ever made, and we’ll always be rich because of it. Our priorities shift, we make strange choices from time to time, and can’t do all of the things that we want to, but again… it’s only for right now. Things are changing every single day, and the future is bright. I’ll pretend that’s why I wear my sunglasses for 16 hours each day.
We’ll get there. We’ll be okay. We’ll lose a few pounds, get our energy back and do great things in this life… but right now, we’ve got other things to do, and that’s just fine.
Love to you all…. you know who you are, and you’re not alone.
Matt, Karlie, Benjamin and Aveline.