Stay-at-Home Dad 101: Tommy John Lounge Jogger Pants are Now My Official “Work Pants” (Includes Jingle I Wrote!)

DISCLOSURE LANGUAGE

Tommy John partnered with bloggers such as myself for this program. I received one free product of my choosing, for my time and creativity. I was not told what to purchase nor what to say about any product mentioned in these posts. Tommy John believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Tommy John’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

Now that we got that fun part out of the way, I get to talk about what I am calling my new official “work pants”, as a stay-at-home dad who works from home.

If you can imagine, since becoming a stay-at-home dad exactly 3 months ago today, I haven’t gotten out of the house much. I’m constantly taking care of my 21 month-old daughter all day, as well as my 7 year-old son, when he’s not at school.

I feel that I really put the “stay-at-home” in stay-at-home dad.

With that being said, it’s still important to me that I don’t look or feel like a slob; even if the only people who see me all day are my wife and kids.

So when Tommy John reached out to me and offered an item from their online catalog, I immediately thought, “I would love some new work pants!”

By browsing their Loungewear section, I ended up choosing their Lounge Jogger pants.

Once I received them in the mail this week, my preconceived ideas about these pants were true:

They are perfect for me as a stay-at-home dad!

The immediate thing I noticed is how comfortable they are. I feel like I’m really getting away with something, somehow. It’s I’m like wearing pants but I don’t feel like I’m actually wearing them.

I have to question, “Am I pulling a Donald Duck right now? Did I remember to put on a shirt only to  neglect actually put on pants today?”

Then I look down and see that no, I am indeed wearing pants: Tommy John Lounge Jogger pants, to be exact.

The next thing I really like about these pants is how they are just tight enough around the ankles, so that the bottom of my pants don’t drag on the floor.

And the pockets- ah, the pockets… perfectly in place where I need them.

I never know when I’m going to need to pick up a Cheerio my daughter dropped or her Peppa the Pig doll when she needs me to hold it for her.

After experiencing the Tommy John Lounge Pants, I just can’t imagine how any man would not love them.

But for me specifically as a stay-at-home dad, I am now spoiled, and don’t want to wear anything else for pants. I guess that would be my only complaint!

I have enjoyed my new work pants so much that I took it upon myself to write a jingle for Tommy John lounge pants and shoot my own commercial.  That way, when potential consumers search “Tommy John Lounge Pants“, they get to see me perform my awesome song! (Featured at the top of this post.)

Along the way, my kids apparently enjoyed hearing me write and practice the jingle, so we ended up even shooting a “kids’ version” of the song as well. My 21 month-old daughter is responsible for most of the dance moves for the jingle. (Featured below.)

It is plain to see, these Tommy John Lounge Pants have really enhanced my week!

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Dear Jack: We’ve Been Snowed in for a Week Now, Technically

7 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

It’s now been a week since you’ve been to school. This is like Christmas vacation again, but with snow… and without all the presents.

A week ago we were informed that your school was going to be closed due to the chance of a blizzard the next day on Friday. Knowing you were also going to be off from school the following Monday for Martin Luther King Day, I mentioned to Mommy at dinner:

“Let me throw a crazy idea at you…”

She stopped me, as she had instantly read my mind:

I took you and your sister to Alabama so we could stay at Nonna and Papa’s house for a 4 day weekend, while Mommy stayed back in Tennessee to get caught up on work.

You and your sister got plenty of quality time with your grandparents; meanwhile, I got a little bit more caught up on one of my most coveted commodities: Sleep!

It was so rewarding to just head upstairs and sleep for 2 or 3 hours, knowing you and your sister were being taken care of.

And it turns out, it didn’t actually snow while we were gone.

But sure enough, on Tuesday, when you were supposed to go back to school, that’s when the mini blizzard actually arrived.

Our family has been snowed since then.

Hopefully, the roads will be cleared up enough for you to return to school tomorrow, which is Friday. At that point, it will have been a solid week without you going to school. Even then, you will just be there for one day and then it’s the weekend again.

You and I did get a couple chances to enjoy the snow outside, while Mommy stayed inside with your sister. But even then, the temperature has remained around 9 degrees most of this week, so we couldn’t stay outside all that long.

What an interesting week.

Love,

Daddy

Stay-at-Home Dad 101: I Don’t Miss Feeling Pressured to Drive to Work in the Snow and Ice

The picture collage you see here is one that I felt compelled to make nearly three years ago. My family had already been snowed in two days, and it was soon to be the third.

Despite living just a mile from the main road, my actual home was located down a slope in the dead end of the neighborhood: the cul-de-sac.

It was obvious to me that if I simply backed out of my garage, my vehicle would get stuck in the snow and ice, as my vehicle was not a 4×4 and therefore couldn’t make it out.

Still, I went through the motions of proving how dedicated I was to coming to work:

I started up my car, backed out of the garage, tried to make it up the hill, slid down the hill backwards, then quickly got stuck trying to simply make it out of my own cul-de-sac. And now, my already old and worn-out vehicle would have to remain out in harsh weather, which only increased the chances of another vehicle accidentally sliding into it, or the battery dying from the freezing temperatures.

To further cover my bases, I took a photo of my stuck vehicle, as well as one of my shoe; as I was standing on my street, which had an inch-thick sheet of ice under the snow. I also did my best to show the angle of the slope on my street where my vehicle got stuck.

Minutes later, I had put together the photo collage and emailed it to all interested parties, to provide community-wide evidence that I was not simply unmotivated to leave my family and the snow.

I had already been working for the company for over 7 years at this point and I was a supervisor for most of that time; yet I felt that providing picture proof was a nearly necessary move. Otherwise, people who lived only a few miles from the office could try to say, “Well I made it into today… are you just afraid to drive in the snow and ice?”

The least of my worries was that I was having to accept the fact I was using vacation days to be stuck at stay home; even though I wanted to be at work. This was problematic in that every summer, our family always spends a week out in California to visit my wife’s side of the family: I was cutting in to my reserve of days for that trip.

I imagine that feeling pressured to drive to work under dangerous weather conditions is a normal part of American culture, especially in the South; where we are understandably not equipped with the snow plows our towns need when it snows sporadically during the winter.

But you know what? I am now a stay-at-home dad who works from home now. Not my problem anymore.

The only one pressuring me to leave the house is my 7 year-old son who is eager to play in the snow. I think I can handle that.

Why I Chose to Cover Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”…. Yes, I Sing and Play Guitar.

When I moved to Nashville on September 11, 2005, it was because I wanted a chance at a career in music; writing songs, singing, and playing guitar.

The problem was, I had earned my college degree in English and was naturally thousands of dollars in debt. Therefore, I accidentally got a full-time job in HR; where I ended up working over a decade of my life.

Obviously, along the way, I found the love of my life, got married, had two kids, and moved to the suburbs.

But my love for doing music never stopped. It was just on hiatus.

Then when my office branch got shut down this past October, forcing me to become a stay-at-home dad, I had to find creative ways to exercise my mind while caring for my young daughter.

Fortunately, she didn’t mind playing on the floor while I played my guitar.

Just the week before I lost my job, I had taken a couple of days off work and met up with a new friend, out in Los Angeles. He also sings and plays guitar. As a souvenir from Nashville, I brought him a very Johnny Cash themed t-shirt.

That stuck in my mind.

So I figured, why not play a Johnny Cash song and put it on YouTube? And that happens to be the video featured at the top of this blog post.

I think part of the strange appeal of “Folsom Prison Blues” is that it’s told from the perspective of a convicted murderer who openly admits he committed the crime, despite his mother’s proactive warnings from the time he was even too young to understand he apparently was predestined for a life of crime.

The song challenges the listener to have compassion on the kind of person most people easily ignore.

As time allows, I definitely plan to record more songs on this new YouTube channel, Nick Shell Music; which is actually my 3rd YouTube channel. Eventually, I plan to release some new original songs of mine.

If nothing else, I am simply doing this for me. Just because I enjoy it.

Maybe you will too.

Dear Jack: Monster Jam Triple Threat Series 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee

7 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Last weekend you and I made our annual pilgrimage to the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for the Monster Jam truck show: Triple Threat Series. Mommy and I were planning on bringing your sister, but at the last minute we decided it might be best not to take her out in the cold weather.

While I would have been happy had our whole family attended Monster Jam, I have to say: I really enjoyed the monster truck show, just the two of us; father and son.

I feel you were definitely able to appreciate the competition and the action more, knowing that you had all my attention to yourself. So much of my time these days is occupied by caring for your baby sister; therefore, I truly appreciate getting to spend time with you alone.

And the Monster Jam event was the perfect way to do just that.

We saw the monster trucks do tricks during the freestyle event, which inevitably led to some of them flipping over. I filmed the process of how they get flipped back over, to share on my YouTube channel.

I was so caught up in the trucks flying through the air, meanwhile you were actually keeping up with the score. Just like last year, you were cheering for Zombie, with its arms sticking out.

I’ve been taking you faithfully each year to Monster Jam since you were 3 years old. It’s simply become a family tradition at this point.

And it’s so… American.

When you are an adult and look back on your childhood, I believe you will think of our trips to go see Monster Jam as some of the best times.

You’ve been playing with your toy Monster Jam trucks for 4 years now. It’s funny because even your sister is learning how to play with them.

Maybe next year she’ll be able to come along.

But as for this year, it was meant to just be you and me.

Love,

Daddy

Stay-at-Home Dad 101: I Actually Get Less Sleep, Less Exercise, and Less Time to Relax; Compared to When I Worked a “Real Job” in an Office

I am definitely not complaining. I love being a stay-at-home dad who works on the side as a freelance writer and YouTuber. This is who I am now.

My kids are amazing. My heart melts every time I see them. I am one lucky dad!

Just look at them… ah!

But I will say, if I’m allowed to be honest (?)… back when I worked in the office doing a “real job”, I undeniably got more rest, more time to myself, and even more time to exercise.

As a stay-at-home dad who works from home, I am “on” from the moment the first child wakes up (around 6:15 AM) until the moment I get the last of my YouTube videos shot for the day (around 10:30 PM). Not to mention, it is also my role to get up with our daughter in the middle of the night when she suddenly wakes up; I’m the one who gets her back to sleep, if she’ll go back to sleep.

And all throughout the day I’m racing to get work done, during any break I get, like when my daughter falls asleep for a 90 minute naps; which is how I’m typing this now).

Compare that to when I worked in HR in an office, which was a nearly hour-long drive from my house. Even though I was the one dropping off both kids at their separate day cares, it still gave me close to an hour to work, then an hour from work, to myself.

I could sit in a car for nearly two hours a day and listen to music as I commuted. I had time to be by myself and think.

Plus, I had two 10 minute breaks in addition to an hour lunch break each day.

There was even an abandoned closet in the back of the building where it was an unspoken rule that you could take a nap there during your lunch break; which I regularly did, sleeping on the floor, using a jacket as my pillow.

Additionally, I used the park next to my office as my gym, where it was easy to get an all natural work-out.

Yeah, I don’t have those advantages now. I’m working on blog posts, YouTube videos, or household chores during every free moment I get. And I can’t just take a 20 month-old little girl outside in the extreme temperature, to get exercise for myself.

It’s always a constant race to get work done before my daughter wakes up. (I’m currently about 12 minutes away from that happening now…)

So you can imagine, I find it a foreign concept when I read a comment like this on one of my videos:

“You are a good stay at home dad. My husband would just be napping or watching the TV. I know what my husband’s DNA is, the lazy gene ha ha ha ha ha. Love your videos…”

I love having the privilege of staying at home with my kids while my wife sacrifices by being the one to work full-time; bringing in the majority of our income, as well as insurance and benefits.

But I won’t deny, just like with any job, mine has got its downsides.

Every once in a while, I reluctantly give myself a break, and will take a nap while my daughter is asleep. I’ve done that about 3 times since I began a stay-at-home dad nearly 3 months ago.

But then I wake up and realize how much work I have to catch up on!

Oh… yep… speaking of… She just woke up.

Stay-at-Home Dad 101: I Am Now Officially an Overweight Vegan (176 pounds, 5’ 9”, Age 36, Medium Frame)

I am fundamentally opposed to New Year’s Resolutions. I have always said that if a person is truly ready to make a change in their life, then why wait for some arbitrary date on a calendar?

So for me, the first day of the rest of my life was not January 1st, but instead, it happens to be January 8th.

Last night after I took my shower and put on my size large t-shirt, I couldn’t help but notice how tight it felt. So I did something I rarely do: I weighed myself on the scale.

It took me a moment to accept my reality: I now weigh around 176 pounds. The most I’ve ever weighed was 178 pounds, and that was when I was in my late 20s and still eating meat, eggs, and dairy.

The lowest I’ve ever weighed since high school was 153 pounds; easily fitting into size 31 pants. Check out this video I made just 2 and a half years ago in May 2015, to see me in the ideal weight range for my height:

But there was a subtle change that began just a couple of months later, once my wife got pregnant with our now 20 month-old daughter back in July 2015. As my wife began eating more during the pregnancy, so did I… and I never stopped!

For over two years now, I have been slowly and steadily gaining weight; yet remaining faithful to my diet consisting of only vegetables, fruit, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. That means no meat, no eggs, no dairy.

In two months from now, it will be 5 whole years that I’ve been a vegan.

This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned this “vegan weight gain”. I first brought it up in September, a month before I became a stay-at-home dad, in my first Dad Bod post.

What’s interesting, as my wife recently pointed out, is I’m actually eating one less meal a day now that I work from home and take care of our kids. Back when I worked at the office, I always had a huge bowl of oatmeal; full of protein and saturated fat, thanks to the nuts and unsweetened cocoa I put in it.

But now that I’m constantly caring for a 20 month-old daughter all day long, plus a 7 year-old son before and after school, plus writing and shooting videos whenever I get a chance, I just don’t have much time to eat… until we all eat dinner as family each night; which is apparently when I make up for any lack of calories.

I am convinced that my strategy to get back to my ideal weight is to aggressively eliminate empty or unnecessary calories; especially during dinner, which is my biggest meal. It’s important to me that I don’t go hungry, but instead, that I stop eating once I get enough food. I need to do a better job of telling the two apart.

Just imagine the irony of an overweight vegan. Imagine all those well-meaning, yet concerned people telling me over the years, “Well, just make sure you get enough protein…”

Uh, yeah, that’s clearly not a problem for me.

And in case anyone is skeptical that I am indeed overweight, perhaps because I don’t “look” overweight, just check out the height and weight chart. For my height of 5’ 9” and having a medium frame, I officially became overweight once I crossed 170 pounds. That was about 6 pounds ago.

What’s my motivation to get back into that ideal weight range where I was back in May 2015? It’s not about self-esteem. My confidence is not effected by my weight gain.

Instead, it’s important to my identity that I have control over my own body. In the same way I refuse to let other people control my emotions, I now must refuse to let my overeating habits effect my weight.

No kidding: As I was putting this blog post together, my daughter who was sitting on my lap, looked up at the picture below of my belly, and in all sincerity asked, “Baby?”

I am an overweight vegan. We do exist, yes. But I do plan to change that.