Stay-at-Home Dad 101: My Hourly Work Schedule

Just binge-watching Netflix all day and letting my daughter enjoy “independent play” with her toys at my feet while I scroll through Facebook on my phone and scarf down whatever the vegan equivalent of Totino’s Pizza Rolls is?

Yeah, that’s totally not what I do all day…

Here’s my reality:

6:07 AM – 6:58 AM

Get woken up by both kids after having likely gotten up in the middle of the night to help my daughter back to sleep who is currently teething. Feed and dress both children, while uploading a new video to one of my 3 current YouTube channels.

7:28

Engage both kids in playing with their toys and/or each other while I unload the dishwasher, or quickly take a shower, or even attempt to feed myself.

8:20

Walk my son across the street to where his school bus picks him up, while holding my daughter who is wrapped up in a blanket.

8:21 – 9:15

Practice Johnny Cash songs for one of my upcoming YouTube channels while my daughter plays with her toys.

9:16

Get interrupted when my daughter walks up to me, places her tiny hand on the neck of my guitar, and says, “No.”

9:17

Spend the next 20 minutes getting her to sleep for her morning nap. Shoot new YouTube videos the entire time she’s asleep.

10:40

Take her back downstairs, start uploading another video to another one of my YouTube channels, and play with my daughter.

11:15

Feed my daughter yogurt and oatmeal, which makes a disastrous mess that I have to clean up. Try to eat Ramen noodles while feeding her.

12:03 PM

While uploading another new video, possibly take her out for a ride to go run a tedious errand like picking up bananas from Publix. Let her ride in the kiddie cart which allows her to believe she’s actually steering.

1:07

Arrive home and feed my daughter again. Attempt to give her another nap. If successful, begin shooting more YouTube videos, or write a blog post like the one you’re reading now.

3:00

Answer the phone as my wife calls to check in, while barely keeping my daughter from curiously pressing the “end” button on my phone the whole time.

3:23

Upload a new video while rolling around on the carpet, gently wrestling with my daughter.

4:08

Go outside to meet my son, who just arrived home from school from his bus.

4:09 – 4:23

Force my son to eat something before his blood sugar level causes him to “misbehave.” Feed my daughter again, while I’m at it.

4:24

Welcome my wife home from work, help her prepare dinner or take the kids upstairs to play while she takes care of dinner.

5:17

Attempt to make it through dinner, while serving as referee for the kids who are never interested in eating food during dinner, while I desperately am.

5:43

Entertain the kids while my wife cleans up from dinner, or vice-versa.

6:41

Head upstairs with both kids and tag-team getting them both ready for bed.

8:17

Now that the kids are both asleep, spend quality time with my wife.

9:15

After my wife has fallen asleep, lead her downstairs to get ready for bed. Upload a longer YouTube video that will upload during the night.

10:37

Fall asleep, assuming I’ll be woken up by my daughter in a few hours.

That’s my day.

Now granted, on Tuesdays and Thursdays my daughter is at preschool from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM, but on those days, all I do all day long is make YouTube videos, upload them, and write blog posts.

It’s actually less work when my daughter is with me all day.

I’m not simply staying at home with being a dad. I’m constantly working on my side hustles when I’m not taking care of my daughter.

I can honestly say I didn’t have to work this hard when I still worked full-time in an office.

Yet still, I prefer to do this.

I would choose this even if it were a choice, which it wasn’t.

To be a stay-at-home dad who works from home.

That’s me. And this is what I do.

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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.

How to Make Your Family Car Last Longer: Guest Blog Post from Peter of Voice Boks

Having a car is like having another family member – it may not need as much care as a newborn, but it still requires lots of attention. And unless you want to change cars at the end of each year – most of us can’t even dream about it – you need to put in some time and effort into it. Luckily, you won’t have to spend a fortune on regular car maintenance, but if you come up with a viable and sustainable plan, your car will definitely last longer than it would otherwise. Only with proper care can you make the most of your family car, so here are a couple of ways to improve its lifespan significantly.

Clean it regularly

Car hygiene might not sound like the most important thing in the world and most people don’t even clean their cars as often as they should, but it’s definitely one of the things that will make it run longer. The reason for this is corrosion – a simple chemical process that occurs naturally in a car without us even noticing it.

Corrosion is the biggest threat to any car’s health, particularly when it comes to older models, and a continual exposure to water, dirt and snow will speed things up quite a lot. That’s why washing your car is crucial because it not only minimizes corrosion, but also lets you realize whether certain parts of the car are covered in rust. So, hit the nearest carwash or do it on your own – but don’t forget to include the kids, as well!

No more pedal to the metal

Driving a fast car is every man’s fantasy, but if you’re driving a family car, you probably have other priorities in mind. Going 100 miles an hour sounds like a lot of fun, but not when your kids are screaming in the back seat, scared to death. Therefore, put your racing days behind you and slow down when driving your family – it’s not only a safer, but a smarter way to drive.

Whether you’re stuck in traffic or driving on a highway, it’s your job to be somewhere as soon as possible, especially if you’re late for a parent-teacher conference or a football practice. However, if you’re always pushing your car too hard, you’re putting it under an immense amount of pressure and even the most resilient and trustworthy models, such as the amazing 2004 Honda Element, won’t enjoy this. So, take it easy, don’t rush and keep your kids’ and your car’s safety in mind.

Hot and cold

Proper temperature regulation isn’t at the top of everyone’s priority list when it comes to everyday driving, but it should be, particularly when you’re starting a longer drive or planning a road trip with your family. And since most road trips take place in the summer, driving somewhere with your kids without a working A/C makes absolutely no sense. But, there’s more to it than comfort.

There are two huge problems a faulty A/C can cause – an expensive repair that’s going to make your mechanic several hundreds of dollars richer, or, alternatively, a complete engine meltdown, which is an even worse scenario. People who don’t check and repair their cooling systems from time to time are more susceptible to breakdowns, so try to prevent these problems by avoiding potentially dangerous situations and maintaining your cooling system on a regular basis.

Regular checkup

Speaking of proper maintenance, don’t forget to have your car checked by a professional regularly. Even though you can do some of the simpler things on your own – checking the water level, replacing the oil, making sure there’s enough windshield washer fluid, inflating your tires, etc. – you should definitely find a great mechanic who’ll be in charge of your car’s maintenance. And if you manage to find one with some extra experience in family cars, even better!

Maintaining your car can have a couple of surprising benefits, too – you’ll feel safer knowing there’s nothing wrong, while your kids can be sure daddy’s always going to be there to drive them wherever they need to go. The only problem you may have is a lack of time – if you work all day long and try to spend some quality time with your family during the weekend, you won’t have enough time to take your car to a mechanic. That’s why more and more people contact a reliable mobile mechanic who can come to your home, do the checkup and fix whatever needs to be fixed right in your garage!

Other ideas

Some of the other ways to make sure your car is reaching its full potential include packing less weight in the trunk, parking it in the garage during the winter, driving more smoothly than usual and replacing tires as soon as you notice signs of wearing.

Peter is a parenting and lifestyle writer for Voice Boks magazine. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.

SEO Spotlight: Advertise Your Start-Up Company Here on My Blog for $100 (or I’ll Ghostwrite It for $350)

When you Google the term “daddy blogger”, my website shows up twice in the top 20 you see. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m one of the 20th most popular. More importantly, it means I have good SEO, or search engine optimization.

Are you looking for affordable and relevant ways to get the word out about your new business? You’ve probably realized by now how important it is that your website is SEO friendly; meaning that people are able to easily find your product or service when they type in key words in a search engine; which can easily direct them instead to an online ocean of competition.

You need other websites to link to that have healthy SEO; websites that have been around much longer and are already connected to other larger websites.

The website you are currently visiting is one of those. My SEO is so good that I receive weekly solicitations from start-up companies asking me if they can write a “guest post” on my blog. (I email them the link to this blog post when they do!)

Obviously, people are asking this because I already have want they want: Great SEO!

Imagine the hard way: The thought of having to Google all the other most popular “family friendly” websites, then emailing the author asking permission to do a guest blog post to boost your own SEO, then hope they actually say yes…

Or, there’s me over here.

I’m saying, “Hey, I’ll do it for 100 bucks.”

That’s right. You write a casual article promoting your product or service with a link to your website and include a few relevant photos, and I’ll feature you in my “SEO Spotlight” series.

Not only would you be getting a platform in front of my already established readership base, and not only would I be promoting the post through my social media channels, but perhaps the greatest benefit is that by being linked and promoted by my SEO-healthy website, it gives you an SEO boost as well.

Afterwards, you would pay me $100 through PayPal.

If you would prefer that I write the feature post for your product or service instead, I would charge you $350 total instead; for 350 words.

That’s the going rate. That’s what these other companies have already been paying me.

Primrose Schools Executive Function Skills

Lexus Father and Son Road Trip

Toyota Family Road Trip to the Boonies

XFINITY Entertainment on the Go

Moe’s Meals on the Go

Trail4Runner.com

Chicago Metro Home Inspections

Museum Hack

Superior Honda

Brian Leach

So, are you in? It’s only 100 bucks. You’ve got to have a budget for this kind of thing anyways. Do you really feel like soliciting other bloggers to do this for free? Or paying a higher fee to someone else?

Here’s my email: nickshell1983@hotmail.com

Experienced SEO Freelance Writer for Hire: $1 Per Word (Or for $100, See Your Own Writing Featured on My Site as a Guest Blogger)

If you are considering hiring an experienced and proven freelance writer for your next press release, or would simply like to be featured as a guest blogger on my site, consider my skill set and history.

Begin by clicking on the links below, to get a feel for recent work I have been hired to do for high end brands like Lexus and Primrose Schools; as well as other household names like XFINITY and Moe’s Southwest Grill.

Primrose Schools Executive Function Skills

Lexus Father and Son Road Trip

Toyota Family Road Trip to the Boonies

XFINITY Entertainment on the Go

Moe’s Meals on the Go

I would like to highlight my skill in writing and knack for engaging readers in original compositions, as is demonstrated on both my personal website, FamilyFriendlyDaddyBlog.com, and my previous corporate sponsored blog, The Dadabase on Parents.com. Through these websites combined, I have been able to create content which has allowed me to connect with thousands of readers across the world, garnering over two million hits within the past several years.  I am solely responsible for determining topics of interest, researching for validation, authoring, editing, managing and updating all material on the sites.

If you would like to hire me to write your next press release, based on what other companies have already hired me to do over the past year, this is my rate:

$1 per word; minimum 350 words.

Or, if you simply want to see your own work featured here on my blog, which obviously has healthy SEO, based on the fact I am approached weekly by companies and fellow writers who request to be featured on my platform, as I am currently featured as CreditDonkey’s Best Dad Blog 2017, you can simply hire me for that option as well. Based on what other companies have already hired me to do over the past year, this is my rate:  

$100 per post.

Here are some recent examples of other companies and bloggers who hired me for that option:

Trail4Runner.com

Chicago Metro Home Inspections

Museum Hack

Superior Honda

Brian Leach

Are you ready to get started? Send me an email at nickshell1983@hotmail.com. I look forward to working with you. I will close by sharing some of my resume with you:


Nicholas Shane Shell, B.A.

Freelance Writer on Family Friendly Daddy Blog Since September 2009

  • Create, design, and maintain all website content, consisting of over 2300 individual posts written since the website’s inception.
  • Prepares photo gallery using Fotor to incorporate several photo collages per post.
  • Applies SEO techniques to selectively tag content to increase visibility by Google and carefully crafts titles for posts to drive traffic to site and ultimately increase readership.
  • Website has garnished over 2.1 million hits and currently averages 16,000 hits per month.
  • Invited multiple times to special events sponsored by Lexus and General Motors to feature dozens of vehicles both locally and regionally.
  • On rotation to receive and review vehicles from a “Family Friendly” perspective from a variety of companies, including, Lexus, Toyota, Scion, Fiat, Buick, Chevrolet and Nissan.
  • Invited to serve as the official host for Annie’s Homegrown during a scheduled Google Hangout session.
  • Featured three times on Word Presses’ Freshly Pressed homepage within the span of a year.
  • Sought out and hired on a regular basis for my SEO skills
  • Awarded with Best Dad Blog 2017/Top Parenting Experts by CreditDonkey

www.Parents.com/dadabase created through www.Parents.com

Freelance Blogger, May 2011- June 2014

  • Recruited by chief editor, Michael Kress, of Parents magazine’s website to become the official daddy blogger for Parents.com based on the independent success of personal blog.
  • Developed creative concept, researched, wrote and edited content for each individual (400-word minimum) post while incorporating a minimum of two photos to accent the subject matter.
  • Personally promoted each post using social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • Has had nearly one million hits since inception; averages 13,000 hits per month; most hits in one day: 9,900.
  • Coined the title of the blog The Dadabase.

EDUCATION

Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia

Bachelor of Fine Arts

May 2005

Major: English

Honors:  Dean’s List

TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION

Lipscomb University, Nashville, Tennessee

Certificate of Achievement, December 2012

       Course: Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Learning System

Global English School, Bangkok, Thailand

ESL InstructorJune – July 2003 & June – July 2004

  • Instructed and prepared daily lesson plans covering a variety of subjects for approximately 25 elementary students.

How the New Wonder Woman Movie is a Healthy Example of What Feminism Looks Like

America’s new Wonder Woman movie, featuring Israeli (and Jewish) actress Gal Gadot as the legendary female superhero, is a major win for not only DC Comics, but also… feminism.

I don’t say this tongue-in-cheek, as I am indeed a daddy blogger, but I definitely consider myself a feminist.

If a feminist can be known as a person who shares the common goal to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social rights for women, and to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to such opportunities for men, then please, count me in.

That makes me a feminist.

With that being said, I feel that there are two opposing extreme versions of feminism that I do not identify with.

The first are feminists who seem to treat all men who have any authority as the enemy. For example, I recently heard about a bumper sticker that reads, “KILL ALL YOUR ALPHA MALES”. That version of feminism seems to imply that men are inferior to women, in that all men are ultimately evil, while women are pure goddesses.

And the other kind of feminists I disagree with are the ones who seem to solely depend on their sexuality reach their agenda. I think that often the attempt to represent “women power” ironically ends up coming across as  degrading to women; that a woman can kick butt just as much as a man can, but she is required to depend on her sexiness in order accomplish her goal.

I liken this concept to waitresses at places like Hooters and Twin Peaks. I see that as degrading to women, as it objectifies a woman by reducing her down to her sexuality. To me, that defeats the concept of what feminism is all about. To me, that’s hypocritical.

So if those are the two extremes of feminism I disassociate myself from, what does a healthy version of feminism actually look like?

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.

She is proof a female can be a protagonist in a successful superhero movie (which would typically cater to a more male audience), while demonstrating her intelligence, leadership, strength, skills, compassion, and power; without ever having to depend on her sexuality to accomplish any of this.

Is she a physically attractive woman, according to the general consensus of what modern beauty looks like?

Of course- Gal Gadot is also a model for Gucci. So yes, she is.

But her physical beauty is not the basis of her charm or success; nor does it distract from it.

Wonder Woman, played by Gal Godot, personifies the common goal to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social rights for women, and to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to such opportunities for men.

I could argue that this version of Wonder Woman is like the female version of Chris Evans as Marvel’s Captain America.

Both of these superhero protagonists find their heroic beginning during World War II and experience a similar character arc as they resolve their ability to help defend justice, while also realizing the world is ultimately more corrupt and self-destructive than they realized, before they officially assumed their heroic roles.

If feminism can be understood by a woman doing a job that would traditionally be done by a man, yet that woman’s feminine attributes are positively highlighted instead of exploited…

Then I would say, simply turn to Gal Gadot’s incarnation of Wonder Woman.

-Nick Shell

 

I Will Die as the Most Open-Minded, Teachable Old Man You Know

Nearly 20 years ago, in May 1997, The Wallflowers released the final single from their most famous album, Bringing Down the Horse. That song, “The Difference”, has always intrigued and confused me.

The chorus is simply this:

“The only difference that I see is you are exactly the same as you used to be.”

How can the difference be that nothing has changed?

After two decades of attempting to unpack this riddle, I now believe it to mean this:

The narrator is saying that the other person was known for always evolving as a person. But now after seeing them again, the narrator has observed that person has finally reached a point of being… settled.

And that surprised the narrator. So the only difference he saw after all these years in between was that, finally, the other person remained the same since the last time he saw him.

Perhaps, there is some assumed irony in a possible role reversal: Now, the narrator has evolved as time had passed, yet the other person had not.

I feel this way about the high school version of myself. I went to school with the same 183 people for 13 years, yet I’ve been out of school for nearly 18 years.

The people I grew up with have a memory of what I was like back in the 1990s, yet there is a good chance the 2017 version of me is much different; for better or worse.

While it is very important to reach a point of stability in life, I feel it’s just as important to find ways to positively evolve despite that comfort zone.

The day I stop evolving as a human being is the day I stop being relevant. So always expect me to be in some kind of new transition that I am sorting out. Always expect a constant character arc with me. If you don’t see me going through some kind of new phase of change and growth and maturity, that’s when you should be worried about me.

It’s fundamentally important to me to be relevant, because I interpret being relevant as being alive. I feel connected to the world when I can share my current personal evolution with anyone in my society who will listen.

I suppose I will always need, and find, an audience. It’s not that I crave attention- it’s that I crave intellectual exchange and the personal growth that comes from it.

A trait of emotional intelligence is that a person embraces change instead of fears it- and is always learning, instead of thinking they already know everything.

Granted, I am not the epitome of the adage, “Don’t be so open-minded that your brains fall out.” Obviously I do not personally adopt any new ideas that are inconsistent with my moral code. Yet at the same time, I have no desire to judge other people when their personal beliefs don’t match mine. (That’s another sign of emotional intelligence.)

There’s a stereotype about men in particular, that as we get old, we get set in our ways; close-minded to new ideas. But I want the entire world to know now, that will never be me.

No, it’s not my destiny. No, I won’t ultimately became the very person I fear.

Here’s what sets me apart from me for that stubborn old man:

I find my identity in exploring new ideas. I find strength in seeing life in ways I hadn’t before. This is what has always worked for me.

So for me to become set in my ways, it’s heresy against my values.

If there’s going to be any irony with this concept, it’s that I am close-minded to being close-minded.

I will die as the most open-minded, teachable old man you know.