Stay-at-Home Dad 101: How I Take a Shower While Caring for My 20 Month Old Daughter

I’ve now been a stay-at-home dad for 2 and a half months. It’s safe to say it’s taken me this long to figure out the logistics of how to take a shower each morning, while occupying my young daughter somehow during the process.

It also took this long for my daughter herself to become accustomed to the routine of me taking a shower while she entertains herself.

We’re finally at the point where she and I mutually recognize that my shower is part of our daily routine, and I can see now that she finds comfort in that predictable routine.

Here’s how it works:

First, I make sure she has a snack that won’t make too much of a mess. The easy go-to is a small cup full of pretzels. My German-Dutch daughter loves pretzels for breakfast!

So once I’m in the shower, she spends the first half of it munching on her snack while she patiently faces me; seeing me through a small opening in the shower curtain. That way she knows I’m right there.

I’ll throw her a line every once in a while: “Hi Baby, I see you. Daddy’s in the shower but I can still see you…”

By the time she’s done with her pretzels, she takes it upon herself to find Mommy’s make up bag in the drawer. So far, my daughter has yet to utterly destroy anything, or at least noticeably apply any lipstick.

Once I’m almost ready to get out of the shower, I announce that to her, “Okay Baby, Daddy needs his towel. Can you help Daddy?”

She then prides herself in the responsibility of handing me my towel; then I dry off behind the closed shower curtain, before making my way to my awesome Captain America sweater or whatever my wardrobe will be that day.

And that’s how it’s done.

I am Zest-fully clean!

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Dear Holly: Your “Ashes, Ashes”, Peppa the Pig Christmas

1 year, 8 months.

Dear Holly,

It is my job to remind you what Christmas 2017 was like, since you likely won’t remember. For one, you were quite proud of the Peppa the Pig sneakers Nonna got for you.

Since Christmas, you have insisted on wearing them inside our home; even for your naps in your crib. As I wrap you up in your blanket before I lay you down, I have to wrap the blanket around your shoes. But this is what you want.

You also took a liking to the nursery rhyme, Ring Around the Rosie. Much of your fascination for the song and dance is that now you are beginning to repeat certain words, you like to say, “ashes, ashes” while holding hands with anyone who will sing with you; as you know that is the key phrase that allows you to immediately stumble to the ground and laugh.

Therefore, you have a habit of inserting “ashes, ashes” pretty much right after the opening line, “Ring around the rosie…”

Since coming back from Nonna and Papa’s during those 5 days for Christmas break, I have helping you play with all your new toys.

It’s not uncommon for you to suddenly smile at me, stand up, reach out for my hands, and then wait for me, as if to say, “Daddy, aren’t you going to start singing the song?”

The moment I do, you’re ready for your favorite part… ashes, ashes.

I should point out that you’re not simply just falling down in a carefully calculated, casual way.

No, instead, you act like you just slipped on a sheet of ice and then tumble and roll on your side, and lay still for a moment; as if you’re waiting for someone to say, “Oh no, Holly fell down! Holly, are you okay?”

But there you are, smiling up at your audience, so far not realizing that no one else ever takes the fall in Ring Around the Rosie as seriously as you do.

Love,

Daddy

Love,

Daddy

Stay-at-Home Dad 101: Why “Mr. Mom” and Even “Stay-at-Home Dad” are Not Be the Best Titles for What I Actually Do

A few years back, it started becoming more common knowledge that anyone who still used the phrase “Mr. Mom” to refer to a “stay-at-home dad” was revealing they themselves were out of touch with modern times.

I feel that I am the epitome of the modern American dad: I have always been extremely involved in not only my kids’ lives, but extremely active in domestic life. There is no irony in a dad doing the dishes, cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming the floors, getting the kids ready for school, and taking them to the park on the weekend while his wife is out buying groceries.

In fact, I would argue that a dad who is not that heavily involved in domestic duties would be a dad who doesn’t have a healthy marriage. Yes. That’s how important it is these days.

I have been saying for years now, that in our modern American culture, a man can not be a good husband unless he is a also good father. And by good husband, I mean he is extremely involved as a domestic helpmate, in addition to being faithful and loving to his wife. Good husband and good father in inseparable terms.

But in addition to “Mr. Mom” being an outdated and irrelevant term, I feel the same is happening with “stay-at-home dad” as well. Here’s why:

I am actually working to make money (with my side hustles) alongside also working to save money (by staying home with the kids).

All of my free time is spent generating income for my family.

I don’t binge-watch Netflix. I don’t take naps. I don’t scroll Facebook on my phone.

Instead, whenever I am not responsible for catering to the physical or emotional needs of another member of my family, I am either working as a freelance writer or producing YouTube videos.

(At this point in time, most people still don’t realize how much money YouTubers can make if they do it right… but I have figured out the formula, after years of practice.)

So in addition to it not being ironic to share the domestic duties, I am also spending any free time working from home. And this includes after everyone else has gone to sleep (including my wife) and in the middle of the night when I have to wake up to get our daughter back to sleep.

Does this make me special? I would think not.

I would have to imagine it is quite normal for the modern dad who stays at home with his kids to also have some kind of side hustle going on.

It’s all about having a hobby that makes my family money, not one that costs us money. I submit this is normal.

Since I make supplemental income from this blog and my YouTube channels, it’s this simple:

If I’m not working, I’m not making money.

It technically costs me money to not be working, as every new blog post and every new video I publish increases my SEO and subscribership, and therefore, my income.

Undeniably, it’s important to my identity that I’m providing income for my family in some way, in addition to taking care of the kids; while my wife, who has a master’s degree, is out making the big bucks.

So yeah, “stay-at-home dad” doesn’t quite cut it. Maybe it’s more like “stay-at-home dad who works from home”.

Stay-at-Home Dad 101: I am Running an Unlicensed Before-and-After School Program in My Home

My wife typically leaves the house for work around 6:00 AM. If I’m lucky, my kids will both sleep in until 7 o’clock. Usually, I’m not lucky.

Usually, one child will wake the other around 6:20, which means I’m taking care of two young children for the next 2 hours, as my 7 year-old son’s bus doesn’t arrive until 8:22.

It’s a solid 30 minutes just to get them dressed and fed, which leaves another hour and a half to let them play, but while trying to keep them from getting themselves into trouble.

Over the past 2 months that I’ve been a stay-at-home dad (who also works from home as a freelance writer and YouTuber), I’ve learned the art of getting household chores done while they are entertaining each other.

For example, I’ve learned I can effortlessly unload the dishwasher while they have their post-breakfast picnic on the living room floor. I am also constantly uploading YouTube videos for my 3 channels, on my laptop which sits on top of my daughter’s plastic school desk.

Their post-breakfast picnic immediately transitions into an intense indoor recess, where the main attraction is for my 7 year-old son to run as fast as he can past my year and a half old daughter while she stands up and cheers as he runs straight toward her, but only grazesthe sleeve of her shirt, without knocking her down.

So far, injuries. I feel pretty good about that.

The next event is for my son to run as fast as he can while my daughter lays down on the blanket, and then he jumps over her and her bowl of cereal, without his feet touching either his sister or her bran flakes.

This activity also amazingly currently holds a 100% injury-free record.

For the 45 minutes in which they are both home after my son gets off the bus and before my wife gets home from work, I typically just take my kids upstairs in the playroom while they casually play with toys and watch me try to beat my high score on Mario Kart Wii.

Hey, it’s better than the before school part of my daddy day care, right?

I’m pretty sure the state of Tennessee would deny me a license to run a day care like this from my home. It’s probably for the best.

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 7th Birthday

7 years old today!

Dear Jack,

It was still completely dark outside this morning when you walked into the bedroom and quietly asked me, “Daddy, can I open some of my birthday presents now?”

As your sister munched on a waffle, you preceded to unwrap your gifts from Mommy and me; all of which were explicitly Pokemon-themed.

This marks your first birthday in which stuffed animals nor Lego blocks were part of the excitement. No way. You’re seven now. This is serious stuff:

Everything is Pokemon!

Out of all the money spent on your birthday gifts, you appeared most excited and proud of the Pokemon binder we got you to hold all your cards. That was less than 10 dollars well spent!

You even asked me, “Daddy, how did you and Mommy get my name on the folder?”

I didn’t spell out how simple a concept it actually was; that the binder and the sheets only cost a few bucks each from WalMart and that Mommy simply printed off the Pikachu picture and then typed “Jack’s Pokemon Cards” from our printer.

As you spouted off a constant news reel for the rest of the morning about all the Pokemon cards you now have, I heard you say you were “organizing all the Pokemon cards according to how they evolve” and that you now have around 400 cards.

Mommy and I visited you for lunch today at school, just a few hours later. You told us that you had already traded some of the cards you got this morning for your birthday from us.

And I guess that’s the whole point- it’s fun to trade them, even just hours after getting new ones!

We are so proud to have you as our son. You are one intelligent and creative boy. Out of all the little boys in the whole entire world, we’d pick you every single time.

Happy Birthday, Jack.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 2nd Birthday

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 3rd Birthday

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 4th Birthday

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 5th Birthday

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 6th Birthday

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

 

My Son’s New Prime Time Toys’ Adventure Force Light Command Motorized Blaster

Lucky is the son of a daddy blogger… that’s all I’ve got to say! My son Jack knew that the weekend Papa was coming up would be an especially big deal, because that would be when he got to open “the surprise” I got in the mail for him. Companies send me products to feature here on my blog, knowing that many people read what I write.

Still a little over a month until his 7th birthday, and still nearly 3 months until Christmas, Jack got to open a present for the special event of simply showing other kids and parents what it’s like to play with a certain toy.

Obviously, Jack was very excited to see that the mysterious gift was none other than an Adventure Force Light Command Motorized Blaster. It can shoot 20 darts in 20 seconds up to 80 feet!

The super-powerful blaster with light-up action is one of only 25 toys featured on Walmart’s annual Top Rated by Kids toys list.

So we took it out to the front yard to test it out. He and Papa (my dad) took turns trying to hit me while I zoomed by on the skateboard. Sometimes I would get hit by a whole row of darts as I sped by, while other times the rhythm of the darts was just right, to wear every single one of them missed me; like the way action heroes can run through a spray of bullets and never get shot.

Jack then decided to try out the range of his Adventure Force Light Command Motorized Blaster. He enjoyed pulled the trigger and seeing out how far across the cul-de-sac he could shoot the darts.

I noticed that by default, he was making sort of an Easter egg hunt out of finding the darts after he shot them. He was very protective of those darts.

So I guess now, my son has the coolest dart gun in our entire neighborhood.

I can easily see him as a teenager, shooting paintball guns with his friends, like I did when I was in high school.

But until there are paintball guns, he can practice with his Adventure Force Light Command Motorized Blaster.