Can you provide a quick intro on yourself?
My name is Matt Duthie from Lake Havasu, Arizona and currently I work as a firefighter/paramedic. It can be a pretty physically demanding job. I also suffer from some PTSD, alcoholism, anxiety and depression from my time in the Marine Corps. To combat this I utilize physical fitness. This will be my 14th year sober this year. I am a father to a 24 month old daughter and a husband to a 911 dispatcher. My wife’s work schedule is crazy with a lot of mandatory overtime so the majority of the time it’s usually just my daughter and I.
When you were growing up, how did your parents balance work and parenting?
My parents did a great job caring for my sister and I. They both worked but weekends were full of soccer and desert racing. One thing that we didn’t do while growing up was eating dinner together at the dining room table. We all utilized TV trays and ate in front of the TV. It is something I’m changing with my daughter. Every night we eat at the dinner table between 6-630.
Parents often neglect themselves and their own mental and physical health to always put their kids first, how do you overcome this?
This is probably something that I work on the most. We are our children’s biggest role models early on. My family has never had a focus on fitness. In order to be the best father I can be to my daughter I have recognized that I need to manage my own mental and physical health.
My time in the gym is what has worked to maintain my sobriety, it is also one of the most effective treatments I have found for my mental health issues as well. To ensure that I make this time happen for myself I try to include my daughter in my workouts. We are either playing together between sets or she is right in the middle of what I am doing.
Some of my favorite things to do together is pushing/pulling sleds. For one, it's great for conditioning with no impact on the joints. Two, she absolutely loves to join in and either push the sled with me or ride on the sled. At 24 months old gym days are not always easy but I absolutely treasure my time with her. I also hope that making workouts such an important part of our lives will lead her to maintain her health as she grows up and moves on to whatever she wants to be as an adult.
What values do you try to instill in your daughter to help her grow up strong?
Currently we are still working on simple things since she is only 24 months. What I want to instill in her is the value that physical fitness can provide to her mental health as much as physical health. I hope she learns to value integrity as much as I value it. Empathy because it is a value that allows to understand others. Determination because goals are great but working through set backs is how we achieve them.
If you had to give advice to parents trying to balance their own needs with being a parent, what would it be?
It is always easier said than done but give your children the best version of yourself. In order to do that you have to take care of yourself as well. I’m not saying put your children on the back burner but find a way to include them in some of your needs. They are always watching us. So set the example on how to take care of yourself.
What did you think of What is the Way? by Katrin and Annie?
What is the Way? is one of our favorites before nap time! I love that it’s a story about a girl working through difficulties to accomplish her goal. It’s something that I dearly want my daughter to learn, setbacks happen but you can’t let them stop you. I also think it’s awesome that it is written by two of the most influential athletes who know that great things take determination.