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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Stay-at-Home Dad 101: No, I Totally Don’t Miss Being around Other Adults All Day Long… In Fact, I Enjoy It a Little Too Much!

In looking out for me, my kind and thoughtful wife expressed some concern for my social well-being when my entire office was abruptly shut down back in October. She wondered if I might suffer from culture shock; after I had worked at the same place for over a decade and now I would suddenly be removed from constant adult interaction on a daily basis.

She suggested I might need to find a stay-at-home parents’ group so that I could get out of the house and socialize with people I have some things in common.

Here’s the thing: It’s been two months doing this stay-at-home dad thing, and not once have I ever missed being around other adults all day long. In fact, that’s one of my favorite parts about my new job!

I do not miss being interrupted from doing work to be asked any of the following annoying questions on a daily basis, and then having to respond to them while forcing myself to smile and act nice:

“How was your weekend?”

“Do you have a minute?”

“You’re quiet this morning, is everything okay?”

“What are you eating? That looks good!”

“Got any big plans for this weekend?”

I was just there to get work done. I didn’t need a friend. I wasn’t lonely. I didn’t need to be entertained with conversation or learn about someone’s thoughts about life, before I had my coffee… or after I had my coffee.

It was important to me and my identity that I was perceived as approachable, helpful, and a good communicator. So I successfully disguised the fact I am not actually an extrovert, but instead, an outgoing introvert.

I’ve heard the difference between introverts and extraverts explained this way:

If an extrovert is someone who feels energized by being around other people all day and but then feels drained when they are alone again, an introvert is someone who feels drained after being around people all day and then has to “recharge” in solitude afterwards.

Yeah, the 2nd description, that’s totally me. I love to interact with other people… just not while I’m being paid to get work done all day!

But now I don’t have to worry about any of that anymore. I no longer have to act like a supervisor who works in an office.

The culture shock that I am actually experiencing is a good one.

Now the only people I see on a daily basis are the members of my own family- and occasionally, some of the nice employees at the Publix just a mile from the house; which is about as far as I travel through the week anymore.

The ultimate irony is that I truly consider myself a people person. In the total of over a decade that my wife and I have been together, she is definitely used to us being out in public, and me making seemingly random yet relevant conversations with complete strangers.

But I think the difference is that in an office, I was forced all day long to be social, which distracted me from the work; which was the reason I was paid to be there.

As a stay-at-home dad though, I no longer have to anticipate that at any second of the day, I might be interrupted from my work by another adult seeking confirmation in their identity or escape from boredom.

My work now is to care for an awesome 7 year-old boy before and after school, and an adorable little girl all day long. And then when she’s asleep, I work on my freelance writing jobs and YouTube videos; which is how I’m financially supporting my family now through a growing amount of supplemental income.

Granted, I’m working from the time I wake up at 6:00 AM until the time I collapse around 10:30 PM; if I’m lucky enough that my daughter doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night.

But I love it. This is great. I was totally able to do the whole “work in an office” thing. I did that for over a decade. Now I have confirmation though:

I was meant to be a stay-at-home dad who works from home as a freelancer. My time has arrived to accept and embrace my new identity.

Dear Holly: Do You Realize We Have Different Sized Feet?

1 year, 7 months.

Dear Holly,

Throughout the day with you at the house, it is necessary for me to at least straighten up the house as we go along; from each activity you choose. This past week, you have been entertaining yourself in the meantime by taking it upon yourself to go get my shoes from the closet, carefully put them on, then walk around the kitchen in them.

And it’s not something you did just one time. Instead, this has now become a daily routine.

The moment you see me cleaning up the table after you had a messy breakfast consisting of yogurt and oatmeal, which you insist on feeding yourself with no help from Daddy, you quietly retreat to my shoes.

It’s funny because 10 minutes or so can pass, and the whole time, without me giving you confirmation of what you’re doing, I will look over the counter and catch you meticulously working to put my shoes on.

Once you’ve got them both on, you then make your way over to me, with such a cute little smile on your face.

I’m not sure you realize that we have such different sized feet- and therefore, that my shoes are ridiculously over-sized on you.

You figure that our whole family should just be able to share each other’s shoes; even though you have the tiniest feet in the house and I have the biggest.

It’s great that you are able to find such intriguing entertainment in wearing my shoes. I have to admit- you’re pretty easy to entertain.

Sure, you like your dolls and their baby stroller, but it’s like Daddy’s shoes are just as much fun!

You make my job as a stay-at-dad pretty easy. Not only can I get a little bit of housework done, but I also get free entertainment as well!

Love,

Daddy

3 Non-Romantic Reasons I Love My Wife

On the surface, it’s easy to see why I chose to spend the rest of my life with the woman I married over 9 years ago. She’s universally beautiful, she’s unselfishly kind, and she’s humble yet confident in herself.

I am a lucky man. I have the ability of knowing in all confidence, I made the right decision.

Not only did I choose the right person to marry, but I made the right decision that fateful night of October 5, 2006, when I spotted her in a crowded room full of hundreds of people and decided to take a chance: I walked up to her and attempted to woo her with my interesting stories, my charming, yet off-beat personality, and my average looks.

It worked.

Now here we are in our mid-30s, having been married nearly a decade, and having produced two blue-eyed, Dutch-looking children despite our DNA.

So while I could easily write 841 words on the romantic aspects of how much I love my wife, I’m instead going to take a different direction. What about the non-romantic reasons I love her?

What about the reasons that would be symbolized not by a heart emoji, but instead, by a house or a stack of money, or by a clock or even a skull?

If for no other reason than to challenge myself as a writer, I now present to you 3 non-romantic reasons I love my wife.

  1. We make a good business team.

I feel like this isn’t emphasized when a couple becomes engaged, but marriage is a business, and it needs to be ran that way. The longer we are married, the better we become at running our family’s business.

During our first year of marriage, before kids, we were able to pay for my wife to go get her Master’s Degree, without going into further debt. That investment paid off, as my wife has since then, consistently made considerably more money than I have all these years. My wife also handles our family’s weekly budget.

On my end, I have been faithfully building my experience as a writer (thanks to this blog) since 2009, and as a YouTuber for the past 3 years. Now at present day, we are seeing the possibility that my “side hustles” (as a blogger, ghostwriter, SEO expert, social media influencer, and YouTuber) are starting to pay off. I actually speculate that by January 2019, our monthly mortgage payment will be covered from my YouTube earnings alone.

My wife is the detailed accountant and investor. I am the creative entrepreneur. Together, we run a family business.

            2. We make a good parenting team.

In the same way we are counterparts as co-business owners, we function the same way as parents. My wife is the nurturer, the schedule keeper, the travel planner, the head chef, and the laundry engineer.

Meanwhile, I am the disciplinarian, the head of communication, the chauffeur, the before-and-after school program director, and the “wake up at any hour of the night to get our daughter back to sleep” technician.

We are not great at doing each other’s roles. Instead, we embrace our individual parenting strengths as part of our own identities. We’ve got a good system. And we’ve got good kids.

Whereas I see marriage as a business, I see parenting as a talent management agency. We have two young recruits who we are responsible for molding into respectable and independent adults, preparing them for the real world.

        3. I want to be around her even during the predictable, seemingly uneventful, non-                          Facebook-status-worthy moments of life.

For me, it all comes back to the famous line in our wedding vows: for better or for worse.

Yeah, I’m totally cool with slowly aging alongside my wife for the next 40 years as we live happily ever after, until ultimately one of us finally dies first, leaving the other person with the insurance money- and unimaginable sadness.

But what about the in-between of better or worse? Not everyday can be a Michael Bublé song. Many days are more like Huey Lewis, when he sang, “Yes, it’s true, I’m so happy to be stuck with you.”

I love my wife for the moments in our life together that are just normal and forgettable; the B-roll footage that no one would care about watching if our lives were a reality TV show on TLC, called Our Crazy Vegetarian Life. Being grateful for your spouse through all the filler moments, which honestly, make up most of our time on this planet, is what real love is all about.

So maybe I’ve failed to hold true to the title of this article. Maybe there really is something romantic about building a life together, running it like a business, creating and raising mini-me’s, and choosing to love a person until the day you die, even if most of those days don’t have fireworks and champagne.

Maybe there’s something undeniably romantic about the unromantic parts of loving the person you married.

If so, consider me a hopeless romantic.

Photo credit: Mohamad Alaw.

About the Author:

I am an accidental stay-at-home vegan daddy blogger based in Spring Hill, Tennessee. I have no spare time, but by default, my hobbies include playing guitar, singing, songwriting, mountain biking, skateboarding, running, and going on road trips across America with my family in vehicles that Toyota and Lexus provide for free because it’s smart advertising for them.

Additionally, I enjoy making videos for both of my YouTube channels: Nick Shell, which is a mentorship program for younger men who are psychologically dealing with going bald, and Family Friendly Daddy Blog, which celebrates and explores ethnic diversity based on DNA test results.

Dear Jack: You’ve Discovered the Ability to Make Fake Pokemon Cards… And Trade Them on the Bus! (Oops.)

7 years.

Dear Jack,

A couple of weeks ago when we were visiting family in Alabama, you disappeared with your Uncle Andrew and made your way to the printer. When you returned, you came back with new and extremely rare Pokemon cards.

They were so rare that it turns out you are the only boy in the world to own them. That’s because you and your uncle created them on the computer.

What was so phenomenal about the cards was the amount of damage they did to the other characters. Instead of 120 damage, they did 999,999.

Yeah, that’s not normal.

Uncle Andrew also creatively made a Jack-Man card for you as well, based on the character from our YouTube series.

I didn’t think much about what you’d actually do with these cards once you got back to school. I never thought of the importance of proactively warning you to not actually trade these counterfeit cards, as opposed to simply to showing them to your friends for a laugh.

Therefore, the next day as I met you at the bus stop in neighborhood, you met me with great excitement:

“Daddy, look at this cool new card I got today on the bus! Look how much damage it does!”

I casually asked you in response, “Oh, which card did you trade to get it?”

Your response was completely unguarded:

“I gave him one of the cards I made with Uncle Andrew.”

Needless to say, after I explained why you weren’t actually supposed to trade the fake cards as part of a legitimate trade, you then volunteered to give your friend on the bus one of your better real cards the next day.

All is well. It was a good life lesson learned.

Plus, it’s a little bit hilarious. I didn’t let you know that, though.

Love,

Daddy

 

Dear Holly: Your Brother Feeds You Yogurt Better Than I Can

1 year, 6 months.

Dear Holly,

While I am extremely grateful we are past the days of preparing and cleaning bottles of milk for you, I will admit: It’s not one of my favorite things, to feed you yogurt.

At least twice a day, you’ll walk over to the fridge, pull on the door, and speak in your language what would translate as, “I want yogurt, Daddy.”

That’s when I respond with a face palm and, “Ah man, really?”

By the time I am finished feeding you, you have a fu manchu of Trader Joe’s yogurt, which seamlessly blends in to your runny nose.

You also love for me to prepare you organic instant oatmeal twice a day as well, to accompany your yogurt.

After I clean you up, the stains on both of our clothes consists of a mysterious mix of “Is it yogurt, mucus, or oatmeal?”

It makes me think of the DNA test I did this summer, but instead of ethnicity, we would be testing the stains on your clothes:

43% yogurt

27% oatmeal

10% mucus

Fortunately though, we stumbled into a wonderful discovery:

Not only does your brother love to feed you the yogurt, but he’s much better at it than I am. You respond better to him. You think it’s more fun to eat the yogurt when he feeds you.

And somehow, none of the yogurt seems to make its way to either of your clothes.

If it were up to me, I’d always have your brother feed you yogurt. He enjoys doing it, too.

It makes me wonder what else your brother could do more efficiently than me. I recognize the special relationship the two of you have- and I respect it.

So even though I didn’t immediately think it was a smart idea to let your brother feed you yogurt while wearing one of his brand-new shirts, the two of you quickly proved me wrong.

Love,

Daddy

 

 

Dear Holly: Your All-Business Approach to Having Nonna Take Care of You

1 year, 6 months.

Dear Holly,

Last weekend I took you and your brother to Alabama to spend time with Nonna and Papa, which gave Mommy a chance to get caught up on work back in Tennessee. I was there with you, of course, but I couldn’t help but notice you chose to rely on Nonna for your needs instead of me.

Whenever you got hungry or felt you needed a diaper change, you simply took it upon yourself to walk over to your travel bag, pull out what you needed, then make your way across the room to Nonna.

With no words necessary, you simply looked up at her without even a smile on your face; but with a diaper in one hand and a fruit pouch in another. It was simply implied:

“Alright, Nonna. You’re the head matriarch figure in this room so I guess I’m supposed to bring this stuff to you. Let’s go ahead and get to work then.”

It’s slightly fascinating to me that you’re wired to having the most mothering person in the room take care of your physical needs. Whenever it’s just you and me at our house, you obviously solely depend on me for these things. You know good and well I am more than qualified to serve you.

But apparently, I become the 2nd most qualified person for the job if Nonna is in the room.

Obviously, you’re not old enough to comprehend that Nonna is actually my Mommy.

That doesn’t matter. You just know you’re better off having her open your bag of organic cheddar crackers instead of me.

Or maybe, this is your way of giving your Daddy a break. Maybe you’re just that intuitive; to realize that Daddy wouldn’t mind being off-duty every once in a while…

Nah. 

You know me too well. I’m always on the clock for you.

Love,

Daddy