May 17, 2016

I am the King of Rest, But That's Not a Good Thing

A solid sleep schedule is something that I gave up a long time ago.

As soon as we gave birth to our first son, I pretty much gave up on my health and well being to focus on his.  For years I had been working at a job where I didn't have a set shift.  The only constant were my days off, but my schedule would change from day to day.  There were times that I would work at 3:00 in the morning and others where I would work at 3:00 in the afternoon.  With a newborn and a wife that works we decided that we needed consistency.  We couldn't go week to week with an unknown schedule and try to juggle childcare around it.

I approached my bosses about me working the early morning shift.

I began working steadily at 2:00 in the morning shortly thereafter. The idea being that I would be home around 11:00 to take our son from our nanny who would be there in the morning while my wife went to work.  The timing worked great and our son wouldn't be stuck being raised by other people.  The only problem was I was tired ALL THE TIME.  My first son was not a very good sleeper so getting him to take naps when I got home didn't always happen.  That left me exhausted and miserable.

I thought at first that the early morning shifts would allow me to spend time with my family in the evenings, and they did... until 9:00 when I had to force myself to go to bed.  Once in bed, I would usually toss and turn and fall asleep seemingly right before my alarm went off at 1:00.  I'd drag myself out of bed and spend the next eight hours at work in a semi-conscious state.  I'm not going to lie, there were a lot of times that I fell asleep at work and in some pretty bad places.

I remember one time I was sent to the river to capture beauty shots for our live television show.  I can honestly say that I set the camera up and fell asleep for the next two hours.  I would have my equipment all rigged up so that nobody could steal it without waking me up.  All of us who worked the morning shift had our little hacks that got us through the day.

Two years after our son was born, we had another kid and sleep was basically something that I would do when I died.  I was able to manage OK with my first, but with two I was falling asleep everywhere.  Afternoons with two kids at home meant me falling asleep on the floor with them playing around me.  I was really of no use them.  I would take them to the park and the same thing would happen.  Something had to give.

Falling asleep at the park was probably not the safest thing

That's when I became a stay at home dad.

It's been a lot better since that decision, but if you have kids you seem to get tired all the time regardless of how much sleep you got the night before.  I swear nowadays I could sleep for 24 hours, but be physically and emotionally exhausted after spending even an hour with my kids.  I don't know what they do to our bodies, but they seem to drain the life out of us.  Now I get catnaps wherever I can.

It could be before my son's football game

Or between innings
The one thing I have learned in the past 11 years of being a parent is that if you have the chance to get some zzz's DO IT. My in-laws are great at this sort of thing and learned this years ago. They have an amazing ability to be having a conversation and two minutes later be sound asleep. I'm afraid to ride in a car with them as I never know if they are going to doze off at a red light. Movies, shows, roller coasters... you name it, they have slept there. I am well on my to doing this as well.

The worst thing about all of this is that the kids have started to pick up some bad habits too. We have never really been that strict about bedtimes especially as they get older. What used to be 9:00 has turned into whenever, as long as they are in bed at some point. They do need to know that healthy sleep is a lifestyle choice. Much like a healthy diet and exercise are important, so too are good sleeping habits. Everything in their lives are powered by sleep. Those meltdowns they have... go away with a good nights sleep. Illnesses... a little rest is sometimes the best cure. Feeling stressed... take a nap (ha!)

All good sleep starts with a good PLACE to sleep. While all these little naps you're taking at the park or the ball fields are fine, in the long run you need to focus on good bedtime routine and that starts at your mattress. Restonic wants you to know that they are in the business supporting the dreams of the people that sleep on their mattresses. Every Restonic mattress is handmade with better quality materials and greater attention to detail than their competitors.

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DISCLOSURE: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Restonic for this promotion.  All opinions are my own unless my wife tells me otherwise.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


May 3, 2016

Mother's Day Shopping Made Easy

Mother's Day is always one of those days that seem to jump up on you.  It's the same time every year, but you always seem to forget about it until the last second.  I think it has to do with the fact that you think it can't be May already because Christmas seemed like just yesterday.

I've been pretty good in the past with getting my wife something that she would enjoy.  I usually make her a photo album of the previous year and write a poem around it, trying the best I can to match the photos with the words. It's not always easy, and the pressure starts to mount as Mother's Day fast approaches.  Some years I wait until the last possible day to finish it and I end up paying a ridiculous fee to have the whole thing expedited.

This year I got it done early... or so I think.  The book has yet to arrive and as Mother's Day gets nearer I will start to sweat it out.  I wish there was a way that I could order it online and then pick it up on my own later that day.  But alas, creativity takes a while.

I am a big fan of online shopping, but I also don't like waiting for things to arrive.  Sometimes I will keep refreshing a web page to see if my items have shipped.  And then when they are shipped, I refresh the page again to see the item's progress.  It's so annoying.  Two whole days for something that I really wanted that instant?  It might as well be a lifetime.  I wonder where my kids get their impatience from.

I know that I am not alone in waiting until that last minute.  According to my own personal polls, 93% of all men wait until the morning of Mother's Day to get their wives and mothers a gift.  Have you ever seen the card aisle at the drug store on the morning of Mother's Day?  It's a bunch of sad looking men trying to figure out how to make "Get Well Soon" cards sound like they were meant for Mother's Day.

But I found out that there IS another option! Enter Sears and their "Buy Online, Pick Up in Store" option.

My wife is a hard working woman who travels often.  She has a carry-on suitcase that she uses, but it's just big enough that sometimes it's NOT a carry-on, so she needs a slightly smaller suitcase so she doesn't have to check anything at the airport.  When you are constantly flying to a different city for a meeting, the last thing you want to be doing is waiting at baggage claim for you luggage to arrive, or worse have the airline lose your bag and you have to go to a meeting in your yoga pants.

I logged on to to see if they had what I was looking for and fortunately they did.  I had a few different stores that I could choose from.  Being from New Jersey, every town has it's own mall.  You can't go more than 10 miles without finding a Sears around here.  I picked the store that had the suitcase in stock and when I checked out I chose the In Store Pickup option. I went out to run some errands and waited for Sears to text me to let me know that the item was ready.  When it was, I headed to the store and logged into their mobile app.

I pulled into my own VIP parking spot and let Sears know through the app that I was outside waiting and the clock was ticking.  Within two minutes a man walked outside with my wife's new suitcase and I was on my way.  It's a perfect service when you have the kids in tow and the last thing you want to do is interrupt their 53rd viewing of some stupid YouTube video to walk inside a store.  This couldn't be easier.  And bonus for you, if you use the service between May 3rd and May 7th, you are automatically entered to win a $5000 Sears gift card.  That is a lot of luggage.

Find a great gift for your wife or mom this year at  They have gifts for all types of moms:
  • The Fashionable Mom: Apparel, footwear, accessories, beauty and fragrances
  • The Outdoor Mom: Patio decor & furniture, lawn & garden equipment, bikes, swimwear, sandals, luggage, digital cameras and camping gear
  • The Fitness-Focused Mom: Activewear, fitness equipment, headphones, juicer/small kitchen appliances.
  • Master Chef Mom: Kemore appliances, cookware, plateware, cutlery and more
  • The Techie Mom: Smart technology, tablets, cameras, TV’s and more.
It's nice to be done shopping now and not have to wait for something to arrive in the mail.  The pressure is off now... I just hope my wife likes her gift.

DISCLOSURE:  I have partnered with Life of Dad and Sears for this promotion.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?