Becoming Parents, Staying Fit, & Family Life With My Wife | Marisa Pohlman | Better Man Podcast Ep. 015

Becoming Parents, Staying Fit, & Family Life With My Wife | Marisa Pohlman | Better Man Podcast Ep. 015

Today I’m excited to bring my favorite person on the planet onto my podcast – my wife, Marisa Pohlman – to talk about the changes we went through becoming parents, how we stay fit, and the challenges we face in family life.

If you’re wondering, Marisa is a PT (Physical Therapist) with a doctorate in physical therapy. She’s also an Orthopedic Certified Specialist (OCS), putting her in the top 5 – 10% of PTs in the country who are also an OCS. 

One surprising fact about her is that she doesn’t love yoga and rarely practices it. Shocker, I know! Yet, she’s as much an athlete as I am. Marisa’s a former college soccer player and has been physically active her entire life. Her depth of knowledge about everything related to the human body informed many of the videos I made about yoga poses for different body types. 

Since having Declan, our lives went through a tectonic shift. It made us reevaluate our priorities, daily activities, and eating and work habits.That inherently brought new challenges we had to tackle in our relationship to build a healthy role model for Declan to look up to. And so far, I’d say we’re crushing it!

In this episode, we’re discussing the importance of honesty, empathy and trust in the relationship, the importance of equal parenting, why men need to take care of their mental health, and so much more. 

The Better Man Podcast is an exploration of our health and well-being outside of our physical fitness, exploring and redefining what it means to be better as a man; being the best version of ourselves we can be, while adopting a more comprehensive understanding of our total health and wellness. I hope it inspires you to be better!

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Watch a Clip From Episode 015

Becoming Parents, Staying Fit, & Family Life With My Wife, Marisa Pohlman | Better Man Podcast Ep 15

Key Takeaways with Marisa Pohlman

  • You have a picture of what having a child looks like, but how does that compare to reality? Find out how having Declan changed our life, our values, the way I work, & my daily activities.
  • Our top lessons from two and a half years of marriage.
  • How Marisa’s eating habits improved after we met. And on the flip side, how my cooking evolved after I met her.
  • Weight gain is insidious. Find out how Marisa realized that she gained weight and tweaked her approach to shed those additional pounds.
  • The best relationships are built on trust and empathy. Learn what we did to be more present with each other.
  • Your child should see you function as a family unit. Learn the importance of equal parenting and open communication.
  • Different upbringing leads to different styles of parenting. Find out how that influences how we’re navigating parenthood.
  • Staying fit and healthy while raising a child is challenging. Learn the importance of planning family meals.
  • Learn Marisa’s three-step routine during pregnancy that made her more capable of taking on the day’s challenges.
  • Find out how my habits changed after becoming a dad. Learn my method on how to stick to yours.

Marisa Pohlman Notable Quotes

  • I think living with someone who works out consistently makes you also feel like ‌you need to work out consistently.” – Marisa Pohlman
  • When I was at a really low point postpartum, I was like, ‘you need to go work out.’ And I did. And then I felt immediately better after getting out of the house, doing a workout, knowing that I accomplished something for that day.” – Marisa Pohlman
  • Having a child is definitely stressful. It’s also very rewarding, like at the end of the day when we know we’ve provided him with love and all these things that he needs to grow as a human.” – Marisa Pohlman
  • I think people are becoming more aware of men’s emotional health, not only physical health. But I don’t think we’ve crossed that bridge where men feel comfortable expressing their feelings or emotions about things.” – Marisa Pohlman
  • A big piece of my core is that I want things to be as equal as they can be. Meaning, just because I am a female and I was able to bear the child and give birth to the child, does it mean that I also have to do all the things for the child?” – Marisa Pohlman
  • I think that even if logically or intellectually, we’ve read something or we now understand, oh, emotions are important, we’re still drawing from the ingrained emotionally rooted experience that we learn as a child that says, okay, you need to cover this up, or you need to like wall this off.” – Dean Pohlman
  • It’s actually a great idea to break down things into month-long trials. If you think about something like, I’m going to do this forever; then you won’t do it once. But if you can do things for just one month at a time, two weeks at a time, or even one week at a time, and then stick to it for that shorter period, it makes it a lot easier. And then, at the end of the month, you can decide whether to keep it going.” – Dean Pohlman
Episode 015: Becoming Parents, Staying Fit, & Family Life | Marisa Pohlman – Transcript

Dean Pohlman: Hello, it’s Dean. Welcome to the Man Flow Yoga podcast, if it’s your first time joining us. So, today’s episode is a little bit different. I thought that I would bring my wife on, and we could have a discussion, first off, so you could get to know her. And through that, hopefully, getting to know me a little bit better. But we do get a lot of questions about you, wifey, so I think people will want to hear from you. But then also, I want to kind of give people an inside look at what it’s like to live with me and maybe some of what doesn’t come across on social media.

Can you remember the last time that we looked into each other’s eyes like this? I can’t. So, if you’re not watching the video version, we only have one microphone. I couldn’t figure out the second set-up so we are sharing one microphone, kind of like a duet from the 1960s, I would say. So, you’ll get that. Anyways, welcome to Man Flow Yoga podcast, Marisa. I’m so glad we could get you on here.

Marisa Pohlman: Yeah. Happy to be here.

Dean Pohlman: She’s not accustomed to video or audio, so this is new for her. So, you’re going to see us leaning in and out of the microphone. Anyways, so, Marisa, you are a PT, DPT, OCS. Can you tell people what that all stands for and what that means in terms of your education and your profession?

Marisa Pohlman: All right. So, PT, physical therapist. And then I have my doctorate of physical therapy, so four years undergrad, three years PT school. And after graduating, I studied a little bit more and took the Orthopedic Certified Specialist exam in 2019.

Dean Pohlman: Cool. And having an OCS is a rather prestigious thing. I mean, how many PTs actually have an OCS?

Marisa Pohlman: All specialties, in general, I think are around 5% to 10% of the PT population.

Dean Pohlman: Got it. Thank you. All right. So, do you do yoga at all? And if not, I think this is an interesting question to me or I think a lot of people because I think everyone thinks that Marisa is like this yoga princess. So, do you do yoga? And if not, what do you like doing for fitness?

Marisa Pohlman: I do not do yoga. It’s fairly slow for me, and I like to be moving more. I typically am doing Pilates on the Megaformer, but right now, I’m not doing anything because I fractured my foot.

Dean Pohlman: And before that, you are an athlete as well, like me.

Marisa Pohlman: Yes. I played soccer in college, did not do yoga during that time either.

Dean Pohlman: Got it. So, doesn’t hate yoga, doesn’t love yoga. But overall, when it comes to physical fitness into the human body, you’re pretty smart. That’s what you do on a daily basis. I remember that I hurt my knee probably within the first year that we met and I was scheduling appointments with a physical therapist because I don’t know what I thought. I thought you did something. I thought you were in training still somehow or something. I was like, “No, I’m going to go see like a real physical therapist.” And then eventually, I was like, “Wait, why am I paying money to go see you?” But also, you might not treat me if I asked you. You sometimes don’t give free treatment to family.

Marisa Pohlman: It’s not that I don’t give free treatment. I just want to do my work at work. I don’t want to come home and continue to do the same work.

Dean Pohlman: Truth. Okay, that was unfair. All right. So, anyways, because of your background in physical therapy, you have helped out a lot with creating Man Flow Yoga content, so.

Marisa Pohlman: I don’t know about a lot, but.

Dean Pohlman: Okay. But some of the help. Can you talk about some of the help? Like, I’ve come to you before and I’ve asked, “Hey, Marisa, what would you do if, let’s say, I’m making a yoga video for people who have the typical L4-L5 issues or L5-S1 or–” did I say that, right? Yes, I did, okay. So, typical low back problems, basically too much rounding, or you have like a herniated disk. So, I’ve come to you with questions like that, and you’ve provided tips. So, can you talk about that at all?

Marisa Pohlman: Yes. You have come to me for advice on certain things. It’s hard as a PT to give exact exercises for yoga specifically. Like, I don’t know exactly what’s going on. So, PT where all we do big evaluation to actually figure out what’s going on in the body. So, it’s not like a general program will fix everyone. So, I think you and I have a hard time sometimes when it comes to that because you want five exercises that are going to cure low back pain when not– I mean, could be the case, but also might not be the case depending on what they have going on.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I think the big difference is your goal is to get the exact specific cause of what’s happening and then to be able to give the exercises or the treatment that is going to get you from X amount of pain to the least amount of pain as quickly as possible, whereas with yoga or with my programs, I can make pretty good assumptions about what’s happening and I can ask one or two questions and guide you in the right program or work out a series of exercises. Generally, it’s going to help in those situations, but it might not be as quick as if you were to go see a physical therapist or so.

Marisa Pohlman: I don’t even know if it’s that much. I think your programs do a good job of low back pain exercises, or do you have leg pain, maybe sciatica-type symptoms? Like, these are good exercises for that. I think it’s a good general program for each area that you guys have. Your population is probably more able-bodied than the population that I get. So, we focus on a lot of smaller movements and smaller muscles.

Dean Pohlman: I’ve also noticed there’s a big difference between level of motivation with people who are out finding an online yoga program versus people who are coming in because, oh, worker’s comp is paying for it, or like, I get eight visits, and then I’m just here and I don’t have to go to work, so I’m doing this instead, so.

Marisa Pohlman: Yeah, I haven’t seen a lot of worker’s comp in the setting that I am in, a lot of Medicare patients at the clinic I used to be at. And the issue there was more, they just wanted to keep coming in because they thought of it as a personal training session instead of therapy. But yes, in general, I would say if someone’s looking online specifically for a workout program, they’re going to do it as opposed to someone who’s being forced to come to PT.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I know we’ve had some conversation. Well, obviously, you text me about your work frustrations so people who don’t want to do their exercise or they’re not doing their exercise at home or they’re coming in, they’re like, I don’t want to do any exercises. Let’s just do bodywork. Or can I just have a massage? Or they come in with this idea that you’re a personal trainer or you’re a massage therapist. And I would be very frustrated in your position because you’re like, I went to school for a lot of years and I did a bunch of studying. I’m not here to count reps for you.

Marisa Pohlman: Yeah, that’s the one. I definitely do not count anyone’s reps. Do not ask me to count your reps, ever. Just like Dean doesn’t count reps. We’re in the same headspace there.

Dean Pohlman: I just can’t count reps. If you’ve ever done one of my workouts, you’ll know what I mean. Let’s see here. So, true or false, you lost 5 to 10 pounds after you moved in with me.

Marisa Pohlman: True.

Dean Pohlman: Why was that?

Marisa Pohlman: It wasn’t that I wasn’t being active. I was holding that end up, but I was eating very poorly. So, when I moved in with Dean, I started eating what Dean was eating, and that was basically stir fry meat and veggies all the time. No different, he just puts meat and veggies into a pot and then seasons it differently every night. And that’s a different meal.

Dean Pohlman: That was how I used to make meals. Since then, I think my cooking has improved and become more varied and not always incredibly healthy.

Marisa Pohlman: Yeah, but who asked you to do that?

Dean Pohlman: I mean, it wasn’t so much you asked me. So, when we first met and we first started living together, well, shortly, whenever that was, it wasn’t that long. When we first started living together and…

Marisa Pohlman: We’ve known each other for like a year.

Dean Pohlman: Almost, yes.

Marisa Pohlman: No, we had known each other.

Dean Pohlman: It was like nine months. We knew each other for nine months.

Marisa Pohlman: We met in May of 2014.

Dean Pohlman: Oh, okay.

Marisa Pohlman: And it was September of 2015.

Dean Pohlman: Okay, but six months after we started dating, right. Okay, so anyways, when we moved in together, she had a bunch of habits that I was at the time that was much different than I am now. And I would just kind of come home and look at what she was doing and I’d be like, “Why are you watching TV?” Or like, “Why are there cookies in here?” And eventually, she won. Like, eventually, I just gave up. And then I came over to the dark side. And now, I do most of her habits with her, and they have become our habits, so. Some.

Marisa Pohlman: Some of the habits. I mean, I think I was so active when I was younger, like playing soccer. I don’t know how many hours a day, all day, every day. I could eat whatever I wanted. I could do whatever I wanted. And I maintained the same shape for the most part.

And then I think after PT school when I met you, I was still trying to continue the same habits and didn’t even realize how much weight I had put on until I lost it by eating the same things as you. As far as you like having the same “bad” habits, yes and no. I mean, do you eat dessert every now and again? Yeah. Do I tend to have desserts more than you? 100%.

Dean Pohlman: She needs her ice cream.

Marisa Pohlman: I do love ice cream, but I am trying not to do that daily. But yeah, I think he’s evolved. His recipes have evolved.

Dean Pohlman: His recipes for life, not just for food.

Marisa Pohlman: Yeah, it’s not just meat and veggies in the skillet anymore. This year, like as of 2022, you’ve actually been trying to cook different things each week, where we used to just eat the same things all the time. You don’t really eat as many treats as I do, so.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah, maybe we can circle back to some of the things we’re trying to do new for 2022. So, do you think Man Flow Yoga can be helpful for women, too? I think a big question is, it’s called Man Flow Yoga, is it for men? But obviously, when I was just doing classes and workshops and I was only getting four or five people, Marisa would come, and we would really need her in there because she would add 20% to the total class size. So, she’s done most of my group or in-person things. But anyways, Man Flow Yoga for women. Yes? No? Anything that would prevent it from being as helpful?

Marisa Pohlman: I think it’s great for women. If I do yoga on a rare occasion, obviously, there’s a little bit of bias as you’re my husband. But I would do ask you like, tell me, walk me through a routine. I don’t…

Dean Pohlman: Did I introduce you as my wife, by the way? I don’t know if I did. I think I just said, this is Marisa.

Marisa Pohlman: I don’t know. I was really nervous at the beginning.

Dean Pohlman: This is my wife.

Marisa Pohlman: I was nervous at the beginning so I can’t remember. But now, I lost my train of thought.

Dean Pohlman: It’s okay.

Marisa Pohlman: What did you– oh, for women, oh, that’s right. If I’m going to do yoga, it’s something that Dean tells me to do. Like he makes a plan or a routine for me, and I do that when my patients are asking for yoga, male or female. I direct them to Man Flow Yoga. There’s just so much versatility on the website, so it doesn’t matter if you want something a little bit simpler, not as hard, you have your beginner stuff. I love that it’s nonspiritual.

Dean Pohlman: Should we talk about the class that we went to when I brought you to a class that involved howling?

Marisa Pohlman: Yeah, go ahead. You can talk.

Dean Pohlman: You can do it. People know you from me all the time.

Marisa Pohlman: We went to– can I say the name of it?

Dean Pohlman: Just don’t.

Marisa Pohlman: Okay. We went to a yoga studio in Austin, downtown, and I think it was probably like maybe I’d been to a handful of yoga classes before that in person, and we start doing the poses, and then all of a sudden, she’s like, okay, now, roar like a lion or whatever other animals she said. And I was just in shock. And there’s nothing, I mean, if it’s for you, great. It’s just not for me. And I was just so thrown off that. I was like, what is this person taking me to right now? At this point, I don’t think we were actually dating, I think we were just hanging out and I was like, What am I doing? Like why am I here right now?

That being said, the people that really enjoyed it seemed to be having a great time. Just not for me. When I’m working out, I want it to be serious, I want to get my work done, and then I want to move on with my day. And I don’t know if that’s part of college soccer or what, but yeah, I just remember being like, holy crap. Like, people actually do these things, and that’s great for them, but again, not for me.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I can relate. All right. So, I want to ask questions about– so, also part of this, I want to give people kind of like an inside look at things that…

Marisa Pohlman: Well, I didn’t finish.

Dean Pohlman: Oh, you didn’t finish.

Marisa Pohlman: Yeah.

Dean Pohlman: I’m so rude. Sorry.

Marisa Pohlman: Only other thing I wanted to say about women in Man Flow Yoga and just Man Flow Yoga in general, I always appreciate the aspect of it as being an athletic type of yoga where I’m actually going to probably sweat by holding the poses for an extended period of time or working into some of those harder poses and then continuing not backing off once you’ve reached like, oh, I’m about to fatigue in some classes, I feel like they back off. I’m like, okay, now let’s go into child’s pose. It’s like, okay, we just did Warrior. Now we’re going to go into Airplane. Like, I don’t know if that’s the right order, but those kinds of things. So, if I’m going to do it, I want to feel like I’m working out and I feel like Man Flow Yoga does a great job of that.

Dean Pohlman: Thanks, wife.

Marisa Pohlman: Not plugging you either, just saying.

Dean Pohlman: Marisa doesn’t know how to be dishonest, by the way. So, I’m pretty sure she’s being honest right now. So, I’m asking basically questions about myself. I’m asking you to tell people about me, about some things that they might not know about me, that I just don’t put on social media or that I thought might be interesting. So, I wanted to start by asking, what are some of my most annoying habits?

Marisa Pohlman: Well, first one that comes to mind is his morning routine, it drives me insane. And I’m sure most of you guys probably have a morning routine.

Dean Pohlman: Just to provide some context here, Marisa and I had our son in June of 2020. And if you have a child, I’m talking about a child, not something other than a child.

Marisa Pohlman: A toddler.

Dean Pohlman: Yes, our toddler. And the definition of free time has completely changed since then. And obviously, our mornings are incredibly filled, like before we could just get up and do whatever. But anyways, point is, we have a son back in June 2020, and that has changed a lot of things for us. So, continue.

Marisa Pohlman: Yeah. So, since having Declan, Dean has been very rigid about his morning routine, like it’s very much…

Dean Pohlman: Just the food part.

Marisa Pohlman: Not flexible. I think we have a hard time with mornings because I’m very much a– okay, let me make sure Declan gets fed. Let me make sure Declan gets this. And okay, is the food ready? Is Dean going to be able to eat? That’s my mindset. And Dean’s like, well, if I’m not eating, no one’s eating.

So, it’s difficult to manage at times, but his morning routine of like waking up before he– well, if Declan is crying, sometimes, maybe he’ll just let him keep crying. And he’s like, I’m going to drink this 40 ounces of water first before I do anything else. And to me, that’s really frustrating because I’m the opposite. And I would be like, okay, I’m going to just grab Declan, then I’m going to drink my water, and then we’ll move on. So, that’s one thing that you do. And then, yeah, you make breakfast and you make a smoothie and you make coffee.

I know these all sound like normal day-to-day things, as I’m saying them out loud, but the amount of time that it takes is a lot. And all the while, I am taking care of Declan. And he likes to say, like, “Oh, I’m making breakfast, and that’s for everyone.” I’m like, yeah, but it’s also for you, right? Like, you’re getting to eat. So, I think that’s been the most frustrating thing to me in the past year that I can think of quickly.

Dean Pohlman: And we’ll be delving into that in our non-existent, possibly future marriage counseling sessions. All right. So, we’re both in therapy, by the way. We both have found incredible amounts of benefit from it. So, this is a podcast about full well-being, not just physical. So, I thought I’d touch on that. Anyways, what are some ways that I have significantly changed since we first met and first started dating? It’s been like eight years, so.

Marisa Pohlman: I would say, I mean, initially you were hard to trust. But I don’t have any issues with that. We definitely had to work through that for a good year or so. But I think your ability to empathize has improved. Dean was someone who I honestly had probably never seen cry, like, legitimately cry. Not like, oh, there’s like one tear from watching a Sarah McLachlan dog video or something like that. I know, not that you need to cry in order to have a healthy relationship, but I feel like a healthy relationship with yourself, you probably should be able to cry. But yeah, I don’t think I’d seen him cry until Mom passed, like a full-on cry. That’s all right. So, yeah. And that took, I don’t know, she passed away four years ago. So, that was at least four or five years into knowing each other.

And then I think all the time like being spent together, especially in the past two years because of the pandemic, things that I need from you as far as recognizing, when I’m like really stressed out and I need you to step in or things that would make me happy. Like this year, you surprise me with all my friends for my birthday. That’s like something you never would have done for me before. So, I think your ability to recognize my wants and needs has also improved. So, being able to read that body language definitely still needs some work. I obviously need work as well, but I don’t think those are things you would have done eight years ago.

Dean Pohlman: Oh, good.

Marisa Pohlman: He also never called his mom and dad, like hardly ever. Sorry, Brad and Julie. When I first met him, it was maybe like a once a week, once every other week kind of thing where he would talk to his parents in-depth. And for me, that was really weird because I talk to my mom every single day. When she was here, we talked on the phone. Whether it was like I was really busy, at least she had a text for me and I had a text from her.

Same with my sister, like talk to them regularly. My dad, like every couple of days or so, but I was at least touching base with them multiple times. And that was something that you did not do with your family. And now, I feel like you definitely make a conscious effort to call them, talk to them, include them in your life, which I hope they appreciate.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I hope so. And we’ll come back to that later because we definitely just grew up in different families and adjusting to that and our different values was– and continues to be something that we continue to like, I wouldn’t say it’s an issue, I just say it’s just something that takes extra time and extra conversations to navigate.

What’s one way that my work habits have changed? Because when we first met, I worked every day, Saturday, Sunday, just kind of like constantly. So, how has that changed over the years? I think this is important to cover.

Marisa Pohlman: Yeah. So, like you said, you work all the time, like even when it was the weekend, even if we were on a trip. Like that one year, we took a trip every month out of the year. Sounds very privileged, I don’t mean it to say it that way. We definitely saved money to be able to do those things.

Dean Pohlman: We did it on the cheap.

Marisa Pohlman: Yeah. We went to places where we had friends and stuff like that. But anyways, you would even work on trips like that all the time. He was on social media all the time, you guys, all the time. Like, I thought I was on it a whole lot. I mean, obviously, part of that was growing his business, getting that presence on social media. You were always on social media. That’s changed drastically. He actually is on it less, way less. And I feel like that’s really helped with his mental health. I mean, you guys say some really horrible stuff, and he is a human being, and I…

Dean Pohlman: If you’re listening to this podcast, you probably aren’t among those people, but yeah, I think a lot of people who don’t really care that much just say whatever comes to mind without understanding any of the context or they don’t even think about it, they’re just like, meh, blah, blah, blah. And it’s like word vomit on a– but yeah, and I can take it personally. Or I used to a lot harder than I do now.

Marisa Pohlman: Yeah, like you said, probably not you guys, but a lot of social media warriors like to think of Dean as just like this physique or this like body that they want and make inappropriate or just rude comments or comments where they’re instead of looking– he makes this incredibly long post that took a lot of thought, this is why I want you to do this pose or this is why runners should focus on these things or whatever example it is, they notice that his shirt is off or something else instead of actually reading the content. So. it devalues what he’s doing. Sorry, I’m probably getting too into it.

So, those things make him upset. It’s not just– yes, it’s nice to get comments that you look nice or handsome, whatever other words everyone has used, but yeah, I think, yes. And then so he would get trapped in this cycle of like wanting to respond, people are just getting mad at people for not recognizing all the hard work that he’s put into Man Flow Yoga and his business. But yeah, did I answer the question?

Dean Pohlman: Yes.

Marisa Pohlman: And now he can’t work as much anyways because we have a child, so there’s that.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I don’t know when it was exactly, but there was definitely a time when I realized that I would just get upset over something and I would be at home, but I wouldn’t really be present. Like I would just be there, and you’d be talking to me and you could tell I just wasn’t in the conversation, I was just thinking of something that somebody had said and how it was making me upset and I was just thinking of how I can respond to it.

And I’m not bringing this up because I don’t want to talk about my experience that so much as bring awareness to other people’s experiences that even though I’m on social media and I have my X amount of followers and you might think that someone who has a big social media account doesn’t get upset about things, but I probably go through the same frustrations that other people go to when they have stress from social media. So, I go through that stress as well.

And I’ve kind of revised how I use my platform. Like I don’t want to use my platform to bring attention to stress that I’m experiencing on there like I was before, but I do and did experience stress from social media, so yeah. All right, let’s see here. Am I a good dad? Am I a good husband? Let’s ask that question. It’s on there. It’s on the list of questions. You can see it if you look.

Marisa Pohlman: Is Dean a good husband and dad? Hey, man, I feel like I just have to say yes. I mean, even if I wanted to say no, just kidding. I think Dean and I have had to do a lot of work. I think, before Declan, it was easy for the most part. I feel like we didn’t– did we have arguments? Of course. Were there things we didn’t agree on? Of course. But without a child, it seemed so much easier to move past.

So, yes, good husband. We’ve only been married for two and a half years, most of that being during a pandemic. So, we made it so far. I feel like that’s a good sign. Father? Absolutely. Equality is a big part of me. A big piece of my core is that I want things to be as equal as they can be. Meaning like just because I am a female and I was able to bear the child and give birth to the child, does it mean that I also have to do all the things for the child?

So, I was very upfront with Dean about that before we had Declan, like, hey, when he gets out of here, you’re going to be doing stuff too. You don’t just get to go do whatever you want all the time. That’s not how I am. I don’t want that. I am going to put this in quotes and I don’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I don’t want a traditional marriage and partnership with a child this way, where you get to go do things you want, but I have to stay back with Declan.

And so, I feel like I kind of pounded that in so that he understood. It was hard at first you think with breastfeeding because that just takes so much of mom, any mom. So, it was hard to like find that equalness there. And because Declan was a little tyrant, he didn’t want to take the bottle for probably three or four months. So, yeah, I think we’re still working on finding that, like where it feels like a good rhythm, I think for the most part.

For the past six to eight months, I feel like it’s been pretty solid. I feel like he has his routine. We have our routine. Now that I have stopped breastfeeding, yay for me, 18 months. Now that part is over, it’s a lot easier for us to switch roles, like, okay, you sleep in today, and then I’ll sleep in tomorrow. We’re like, you go do this and I’ll go do that.

Dean Pohlman: Yes, the sleeping, we literally just figured out the trading in sleeping and thing, like last month. So, I have been very excited to sleep into like, like today, I slept until 7:30. It was wonderful.

Marisa Pohlman: Yes. Hard to do when you’re breastfeeding, though. It’s difficult.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah, that’s why we both got up. That’s why I wouldn’t trade off then.

Marisa Pohlman: But yeah, for the most part, Dean wants to be in Declan’s life, like he wants to be present. He’s not on his phone for the most part when he’s with him. He actively gets him, and yeah.

Dean Pohlman: Cool. So, as long as we’re on the subject, we’re talking about marriage. And though we’re not like, I wouldn’t say we’re experts in any way in anything, I do want to touch on the fact that we just came from different backgrounds, like not bad, not good, just different values. Different things were emphasized more.

In my family, I came from a background where your job was very important and your professional goals are really important. I have a really successful dad. I have a really successful mom. And that’s just something that was emphasized.

And you also came from that background where education was really important. And getting a job was really important, but your home life was just a lot different. So, we’ve had to just work. Like, I remember when we first started living together and I said, “I’m going to go to the grocery store,” and you’re like, “Oh, I’ll come too.” And I was like, “Why? It takes one person to go to the grocery store. Why are you coming with me? We can split up and we can do more things and get more done.” And you’re like, “No, we’re going together.”

Marisa Pohlman: Yeah. Dean is definitely a divide and conquer. There are definitely times for that. It’s not that I need to go to the grocery store with him every single time that he goes and I feel like this probably and you’re probably bringing it up because we’re more aware of it right now because we have a child and you’re still very much like divide and conquer. And I’m like, well, yes, but Declan should also see us working as a family unit, which is something that I grew up with, like spending a lot of quality time with your family.

I enjoy doing things together more so than doing them on my own. And there are certain things I need to do on my own. It’s not saying that I can’t do anything on my own, but yeah, I think that’s one of them, one of the different things about our families, yeah.

Dean Pohlman: Okay. So, despite that, we both do, well, at least my entire life has had a fitness focus. Your dad is a runner, and he works out a lot. You obviously have a fitness background. I guess, what do we do around the house? Or what do we do to encourage a healthy lifestyle?

Marisa Pohlman: I feel like honestly, a lot, it’s pressure. Maybe not the answer you’re looking for, but Dean can work out on his own without someone on top of him telling him what to do or like going to a class or whatever it is. He has his squat rack here at home, obviously, and he just does his workouts. I don’t tell him to do his workouts, he just does them. I think that puts a little bit of pressure on me. I feel like some external pressure that’s like, okay, well, Dean did his workout today. Like, what are you going to do? Because he’s going to ask you, like what you did, or like maybe ask you specifically like what you did to work out. But like he will bring up, if it’s like a week, and I’m like, oh, my back is starting to hurt, then he’s going to say like, “Well, have you exercised this week?”

So, it’s always in the back of my mind that he’s probably going to ask me something about my working out if I haven’t been keeping up with it. But yeah, I think for me, I’m the opposite. I enjoy more of the class atmosphere, which has been almost non-existent because of the pandemic, only gone when it hasn’t been surging. I like competing.

So, I think for me, like being in person, even if I don’t know the person next to me, competing with them, I’m going to hold this plank longer than them or whatever that is, but you’re very good at self-motivating yourself to like, okay, I got 30 seconds last time, I’m going to get 35 seconds today. But yeah, I think living with someone who works out consistently makes you also feel like you need to work out consistently. I think that answers that. Dean still does most of the cooking. I’ll do once or twice a week, and it’s usually like a more involved meal that takes a little bit longer, but yeah, we still follow Dean’s diet for the most part.

Dean Pohlman: Yes, but that diet has evolved significantly. It used to be just veggies and meat, as you said. And now, we eat lots of carbs, too. Well, that was also because I realized that I was wasting away slowly because I wasn’t eating carbs. We have pasta, marinara sauce, ground meat. We have tacos with lots of fresh veggies. We make burgers. What are some of our other dishes? Why am I biking out? Yeah, we have a hash with sweet potatoes. What else? Oh, yeah, we have steak on the board right now. I realized that I can start making steaks because I have a grill, so that’s cool. Yeah, we started making more intensive recipes.

But one thing that we’ve done this year that we’re starting to do more of, I don’t know about your household, but one of our biggest, and we found out that this is like a really big stress point in some other houses at least, is like just what are you going to eat for dinner? With kids, in particular, yeah, because you don’t know what they’re going to eat if they’re actually going to eat it. Sometimes they’ll eat it, and then another night, they’ll be like, I hate this. What are you giving me? This is for him. I’d throw this at you.

So, something we started doing is just writing out the meals in advance and then making sure that we get all the groceries that we need ahead of time. Before that, we were just scrambling to put together a meal, and that was really stressful. That was honestly one of the most stressful parts of my day was it’d be like 1 o’clock or 2 o’clock, and I’d be trying to finish up work stuff and I’d be thinking, oh my God, what am I going to make for dinner? And that was just a really stressful part. So, planning in advance, we’re hoping that that’s going to help. But what are some other new things that we’re trying for 2022? And I’ll give it back to you for that.

Marisa Pohlman: As a couple? As a family?

Dean Pohlman: Sure.

Marisa Pohlman: What are we doing? And then I know the– well, that’s for me. That’s why I said is that, so for myself, I have never worn makeup. I just never got into it.

Dean Pohlman: She doesn’t need it. She really doesn’t.

Marisa Pohlman: Probably not true. But I just never got into it, I just was like, why would I spend 25 minutes putting stuff on my face? I just don’t want to do it. It’s also very expensive, I hear. But yeah, I just started– so with Declan, my hormones have changed. And I felt like I was just getting weird breakouts, and it was really bothering me, a lot of that also because postpartum and Dean let sink into– not let me, but he didn’t try to tell me I was doing something wrong to my body, but I kind of sunk until some of those bad dietings.

Dean Pohlman: Did you want me to say, hey, Marisa, you need to be healthier while you are nursing our child? Because I didn’t think that was the right move.

Marisa Pohlman: No, I didn’t. But I let myself then, I let myself get into those habits again. So, obviously, stress and then eating poorly, and so, hormones changing, all that, had some acne stuff come up, and so, I decided to do a nighttime face routine. So, like three steps, yeah, so that’s something I’m doing. What else am I doing? Oh, because I fractured my foot, I decided it was time to start taking a vitamin D supplement just in case. I mean, although I did get my complete blood count a month ago, and vitamin D was fine, I was like a little bit more can always help.

And then I’m really bad about not drinking water, specifically like if I don’t do it first thing in the morning, then I do a terrible job of drinking water throughout the rest of the day. So, I find that if I have that first glass of water in the morning, my body is just like ready to take on more almost. So, I don’t forget to continue to drink water throughout the day.

Dean Pohlman: And has there been anything that’s been helpful in particular for helping you stick with habits, something that I might have done for you when you were first taking supplements for pregnancy?

Marisa Pohlman: Well, it actually goes back before that. When I was studying for my OCS exam, I told myself I wanted to study two hours every day. And Dean actually bought a chart, like a sticker chart, essentially. And he wrote, these are my goals, one of them being to study two hours. And each day that I did that, I got to take a sticker and put it on the chart, just like we were in elementary school, but it actually really kept me…

Dean Pohlman: Motivated, accountable.

Marisa Pohlman: Accountable, yeah, for completing that. So, same thing when I was pregnant, I absolutely hate swallowing pills. I had a really decent-sized prenatal vitamin that I was supposed to be taking. The same thing there, we made a little chart for each month. It wasn’t a sticker, but I got to put an X through it once I completed that day. And then same thing now, I have a calendar where I am just X’ing off, okay, I did all those three things today. I get to check that off.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. So, that method is helpful. We’ve discussed some of these, but what are some of our shared goals or some things that we’re, I guess, working towards as a family, as a couple?

Marisa Pohlman: We would like to move into a bigger house. But I am reluctant to move to the burbs, I am from the burbs. I am going to hold out as long as I possibly can to not move to the suburbs. Not that there’s anything wrong with the suburbs, I just like being in the city, being close to everything. Yeah, we got really lucky with the house that we have now, but we’re definitely outgrowing it. And if we decide to have another child, we will outgrow it, so.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah, so we’re in Austin. By the way, if you don’t know where I am, we’re in Austin. And the real estate market here is offensively expensive. Like approaching San Francisco, price is expensive. Probably not that bad, but it’s pretty expensive to the point that you have to be a top 5% earner in order to have a home here.

So, we have a three-bedroom, one-story. This is my office. If you’re watching the video, this is my office/guest bedroom at times. We have a blowup mattress. That’s very nice. But we have to creep through the house in order to get to the master bedroom at night, we have to put the water on at a low setting so it doesn’t wake up Declan. We have to do all these things to make sure that we don’t wake up Declan because he’s just…

Marisa Pohlman: It was built in the 40s. It was remodeled, but it was built in the 40s. So, it’s very loud.

Dean Pohlman: But anyways, for the same cost of this house, we could easily get a two-story or even a three-story house in a nice Midwestern town like Cleveland, for example, where I grew up. We’re probably not moving back there because of the complete lack of sun, but what we could get there compared to what we’re getting here is just– anyway, really different. So, yeah, shared goal. Getting a house. What else? We haven’t had this conversation yet this year, so.

Marisa Pohlman: I mean, eventually, we plan to have another kid. No, I am not pregnant. No, we don’t plan on it anytime soon. And that’s our business anyways. But eventually, yes, we would like to have. Dean wants three. I’m happy with two. So, we’ll see how that goes.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. If we get the second time, if the second one’s a girl, probably Marisa’s calling it quits. But if it’s a boy, then Marisa will probably try one more time, and then we’ll have three boys. All right, so I have some other questions that I normally ask people, so I’ll ask you these too. So, what is one practice that has just helped you, and something that other people might not value as much that has just helped your overall health, happiness, wellness that you like to do on a regular basis? Your eyes are like deer in headlights right now. So, it’s like one thing that you do for yourself that other people might not think is as helpful, but you have just found really helpful.

Marisa Pohlman: I don’t do a lot for myself these days. I feel like it’s just hard to answer right now because of my foot. Like, normally, it would be like I’m going to work out. When I was like at a really low point postpartum, you’re like, you need to go work out. And so, I did. And then I felt like immediately better after getting out of the house, doing a workout, knowing that I accomplish something for that day. With my foot, just kind of, like, I don’t have that outlet.

Dean Pohlman: You’ve been organized.

Marisa Pohlman: I’ve been organizing the house, yeah, but that’s not like a long term. I think my long-term thing is that I need that time for fitness. For me, it’s not every day. Not even for Dean, it’s not really every day. I mean, you probably do something active every day, but I just need three or four times a week where I’m getting out of the house, getting away from you, getting away from Declan, and just enjoying the workout and the competition. Not that anyone else is competing with me in the class, but yeah.

I mean, other than writing my goals, like, I’m very visual, so I need to see them. If I didn’t write, like, take your vitamin D supplement or wash your face at night, I probably wouldn’t do it. So, having that visual cue of like, oh, yeah, I need to do that today. So, for me, that, but that’s like just my goals for January. It’ll change in February when I hopefully get out of the boot and can start living my life normally again.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. So, just in case someone else is listening and they’re like, well, I only have goals for January 2, it’s actually a really good idea to break down things into just month-long trials. If you think about something like, I’m going to do this forever, then you won’t do it once. And if you’re like, oh my God, I have to quit it now. It’s just not going to work out.

But if you can do things for just one month at a time or two weeks at a time or even one week at a time, and then stick to it for that shorter period of time, it makes it a lot easier. And then, at the end of the month, you can like, hey, this is good, I’ll keep it going. But anyways, you’re doing fine. You’re doing fine, honey. You’re doing great. It is actually true. Okay, so your next question is, what is the most stressful part of your day-to-day life?

Marisa Pohlman: I want to say having a child is definitely the most stressful, just anything that involves him. And I will be that cliche, though, and say that it’s also very rewarding, like at the end of the day, when we know we’ve provided him with love and all these things that he needs to grow as a human, but yeah, I think depending on Declan’s mood, just how he feels is kind of how it comes off of us as well. So, like, if he’s crying a lot, we’re like, get out of my way, like don’t talk to me today. I need some space. If he’s not crying as much, then I feel like it’s a lot smoother.

Yeah, I’ve been back at work for seven months now, initially was just going in twice a week, and then virtually three days a week, which was really nice because I didn’t have to go anywhere, less stressed about driving to work, coming from work. Now, I just started going in all five days a week again. So, I feel like that change in schedule is stressful because, like in the mornings where I have to go early, it puts a lot on you to get Declan ready.

And then the nights where I work late, you have to get everything running like dinner while also watching him. So, I think, just generally managing a household, things that I never had to think about until having Declan. Like you said before, with dinner, we could just make dinner and we would both eat it. It didn’t matter what it was. You and I are not picky eaters, but Declan is. So, it’s like, well, crap, what are we going to make tonight? We can have pasta again. But yeah, I think work is a big stressor for me though, too. Aside from just having a cohesive family unit, work is a big stressor for me.

Dean Pohlman: Okay. And then last question is something I ask everybody, but what do you think is– and I don’t know, you answer this best you can or don’t answer it at all. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing men and their well-being right now? You can use me as an example if you want.

Marisa Pohlman: Biggest challenge facing men. I feel like part of this you’re doing for mental health. I feel like that’s a big piece. I think people are becoming more aware of men’s emotional health, not only just physical health, just their mental well-being, but I don’t think we’ve crossed that bridge where men feel comfortable expressing their feelings or emotions about things. Yeah, I mean, just the stereotypes that go with males, in general, like don’t cry, be tough, and all of those things. I mean, I’m not a man, so I’m not really sure, but that would be my assumption as part of it, yeah.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I agree with you. I think that’s huge. And I think that even if logically or intellectually, we’ve read something or we now understand, oh, emotions are important, we’re still drawing from the ingrained emotionally rooted experience that we learn as a child that says, okay, you need to cover this up or you need to like wall this off, or things that we just don’t have. It’s harder to access because it’s not just like, oh, you’ve changed my opinion, and now, I will start behaving differently. It’s way deeper than that, so. Okay, well, I think that’s all the– do you have anything else you want to add or anything else you want to talk about?

Marisa Pohlman: I don’t think so.

Dean Pohlman: She said, no, I don’t think so. You can do it. It’s all right.

Marisa Pohlman: No, I don’t think so.

Dean Pohlman: Okay, great. All right, guys, well, thanks for joining me for this special podcast. Watch the video version if you didn’t. I’ll put notes. I’ll put a put a link somewhere here where you can watch that if it’s not immediately findable, but I hope you enjoyed this show. If you have other questions that you’d like to ask us that you would be comfortable asking if knowing that my mother was going to be listening to the show, then maybe send me an email and maybe we can do a follow-up episode and talk about other stuff, but thanks for listening. Marisa, where can people go to find out more about what you do and follow your secret 2-million-follower Instagram account?

Marisa Pohlman: Please don’t. You don’t need to follow me.

Dean Pohlman: They don’t need to follow you. Don’t follow Marisa. Okay, all right, guys, thanks for watching. I hope that was helpful. I hope you enjoyed it. Yeah, I’ll see you guys on the next episode. Bye-bye.

Marisa Pohlman: Sorry, I’m kind of awkward. Bye.

Dean Pohlman: Bye.


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3 thoughts on “Becoming Parents, Staying Fit, & Family Life With My Wife | Marisa Pohlman | Better Man Podcast Ep. 015”

  1. This is amazing. As a parent, we all need to balance our life, work, fitness, and spend time with kids. Thanks for sharing.

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