Dad Days of Summer: Who is this guy?

While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso takes a vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston will be filling in. He loves war movies, obsesses over his fantasy baseball team and makes a mean stir-fry. You can e-mail him at ajcmomania@gmail.com.

I was going to begin with a joke, but most of the ones I’ve heard recently revolve around either Charlie Sheen or Anthony Weiner, so in the name of good taste, I’ll go forward from here.

Andy and his son Ty.

Andy and his son Ty.

When Theresa asked me to fill in for her for a month, I had to think about it for a while. I wanted to make sure I had the time to honor my commitment, but I also wasn’t sure if I could provide the level of insight and excellence that Theresa shows here on a daily basis.Our personalities are drastically different – she’s a category 5 tornado to my summer breeze – and that will show in our writing styles. So bear with me while I find my voice, and hopefully you’ll enjoy my time here and I can become a part of your great community.

As Theresa mentioned on Friday, I was the sports editor of the Athens Banner-Herald for four years until resigning in 2007 to take over as the primary caregiver of our son Ty, who is now 5. I’ve also covered UGA football and other sports on a freelance basis the past three years for the AJC, where I also write a weekly Q&A called Actual Factual Georgia.

Having the last four years with my son was the best move we could have made as a family. My wife Lori also is a freelance writer for many publications, including the AJC’s Homefinder section and Q&A on the News.

Being at home with Ty has been a challenge at times, but also incredibly rewarding. Not many men have the opportunity to spend most every day with their growing son, and I’m blessed to be able to do that.

I’ll write about the challenges I’ve faced – and continue to find — as a dad in a world of moms, and what we’ve learned as a family. I’ll also pass along any tidbits and info I find in the world of virtual parentdom, otherwise known as the Internet.

Welcome to Momania’s Dad Days of Summer.

Do you know of any dads who put their careers on hold to raise their children? What do you think about that?

If you’re a dad raising his children, share your experiences and leave some words of advice or encouragement for the other guys out there.

- By Andy Johnston, for the Momania blog

36 comments Add your comment

newblogger

June 27th, 2011
8:02 am

Hi Andy! I like to call myself a semi-regular. I don’t always post but I love to read the column every day. My neighbor across the street is a stay-at-home dad. His wife is a lawyer and from what I can tell he does an awesome job at it. He volunteers at school, even going as far as doing civil war presentations (in full uniform) for fifth grade classes all over the county. I see him out and about with his children all the time. It seems to work for their family. His wife is very sweet and so appreciates everything he does. He fits right in with the moms in the neighborhood as well. We just love him! Good for you to be able to do this for your family! I look forward to your “summer breeze” take on things.

newblogger

June 27th, 2011
8:02 am

Hi Andy! I like to call myself a semi-regular. I don’t always post but I love to read the column every day. My neighbor across the street is a stay-at-home dad. His wife is a lawyer and from what I can tell he does an awesome job at it. He volunteers at school, even going as far as doing civil war presentations (in full uniform) for fifth grade classes all over the county. I see him out and about with his children all the time. It seems to work for their family. His wife is very sweet and so appreciates everything he does. He fits right in with the moms in the neighborhood as well. We just love him! Good for you to be able to do this for your family! I look forward to your “summer breeze” take on things.

motherjanegoose

June 27th, 2011
8:45 am

My personality is a tornado, but breezes are welcomed :) and I am excited to see where you take us.

My husband worked midnights ( 25 years ago) while our son was small and it was wonderful. He came home at 7:30 and I left for school.

He has been very involved with both kids. We have them both home now and it is kinda crowded here with apt. and dorm furniture too! They will both be gone in a month, so we are trying to get used to 4 adults living here again.

I love Dads who invest time with their kids….Moms too!

Becky

June 27th, 2011
8:46 am

I don’t know any stay at home Dads, but I think that any person that has a chance to be stay at home parent should embrace it fully..I would think that it is one of the most rewarding jobs that you could ever have..

Andy, sounds like you and Lori have made choices that work for y’all and I think that is wonderful..So looking forward to hearing what others have to offer about this..

Roekest

June 27th, 2011
9:09 am

I wouldn’t say I put my career on hold, I’ve just made the decision to keep it in low gear. Being in TV, your 2 choices are either: full-tilt, workaholic; or small-time station with little work. I chose the later. And while I miss the energy of a real TV station, I enjoy the benefits working at a POS gov’t-run station, like weekends and holidays off. If I were single, I’d go the other route, but being uber-successful in my field isn’t worth missing family time.

www.legendarydads.com

June 27th, 2011
9:29 am

Andy. . . Glad to see you jump in to change the pace a bit. . . change is always welcome. I look forward to reading about your adventures as a dad. I like to say. . “Dads need Dads” to keep it real and gather the “tribe” of dads to support and invest in their kids. Glad to have you Andy.

Jeff

June 27th, 2011
9:43 am

Welcome Andy. I’m fairly regularly on here. There are tons of personalities on here, which you’ll soon find out.

I mentioned last week that a former neighbor of mine was a stay at home dad. He was awesome, but didn’t get much respect from the stay at home moms in the neighborhood, which I found appalling. He was actually asked not to come back to the local park for the advertised “play time” because being a man, he was told he upset the dynamics and comfort level of the other moms. So much for doing things in the best interest of the “children”. He got over it and started doing things with a couple of other stay at home dads, which just goes to show his strength of character.

Lori

June 27th, 2011
10:16 am

Jeff, that’s terrible that your neighbor was rejected by the moms. It shouldn’t matter which parent stays home with the child, the child will benefit from having either one there with them. While neither me or my husband is able to stay home, I certainly appreciate what a fantastic dad he is during the time he is home (nights & weekends). I do know a few families with the stay at home dad, and I don’t see anything wrong with that concept. Every family has to do what’s best for their family, period. No one else should judge just because it’s different from theirs.

Cheer Shepard

June 27th, 2011
10:25 am

Hello, Andy and welcome. I’m Charles Shepard’s dad, I think you worked together at ABH a few years ago. He is married, living in Staunton, VA, now. He and Nicki are training for the Ironman. Let me know if you want to say hello.

Tad Jackson

June 27th, 2011
10:34 am

Andy … help us men! This is the way we’re depicted in TV commercials and in TV shows! Is there hope for us slobs!

Husbands are stupid
Boyfriends are stupid
All men dress badly
Men never shave
Men are lazy
Men are very capable of setting themselves on fire
Men are bad with tools
Men are bad about paying the bills
Men burgle homes in the middle of the day while mothers and their daughters are making sandwiches in the kitchen
Only men grill food if they haven’t already set themselves on fire
Married men are henpecked and they know it and there’s nothing they can do about it
Men are fat
Only men snore
Men deeply dislike their wife’s mother
All men want to do is watch sports activities on TV
Only men have problems with their sex organ performance

Help!

http://www.adixiediary.com

RJ

June 27th, 2011
10:35 am

Welcome Andy! I don’t know of any stay at home dads, but as a former stay at home mom, I can attest to how wonderful it is to be there and watch your child grow everyday. I wish I could afford to do it with the one I’m carrying, but times are different now. I look forward to reading your adventures this summer.

A

June 27th, 2011
10:40 am

Hi there–I post once in a while but do read the blog everyday. I don’t think I’m the only one thinking that a summer breeze will be most welcome around here. I’m sure Theresa is a nice person and everything, but she just comes across as very uptight regarding her kids. So I’m looking forward to reading about different topics that don’t involve stressing about teacher gifts.

LM

June 27th, 2011
10:54 am

Welcome Andy,

Not to knock Theresa, but it will be nice to have a different approach to child raising.

I admire the stay at home dads, they get a lot of grief from other men, and other women act as if a dad can’t possibly be able to care of a child full time. It will fun to hear your perspective.

BlondeHoney

June 27th, 2011
11:19 am

hey Andy welcome to the blog…like so many others, post occasionally and read the blog daily. I too am looking forward to perhaps having more topics to comment on; thanks!

catlady

June 27th, 2011
11:33 am

Andy, welcome! Looking forward to hearing what you are thinking about. Do you get any extra “points” from SAHMs you meet about “being there” for the kids? I have seen dads get put on a pedestal for staying home, but when moms do that it is no big thing. Have you experienced that? I suspect you have seen the other end of it–folks who think you are to be put down because you are at home with your son. It will be interesting to hear from someone who is dealing with what others’ attitudes are. At any rate, welcome aboard (music in the background).

Becky

June 27th, 2011
12:04 pm

@Tad..Never realized some of the things that you posted, but you are right..Something that I alwys wondered and maybe you can help me out..Why is it that on some of the older TV shows, it’s always a Dad that is raising the child(ren)? If the Dad’s aren’t able to do things with or for the children with a Mom around, how can they do this on their own?

Ringo

June 27th, 2011
12:16 pm

This will be refreshing from the neurotic, worried, over protective helicopter parent known as Theresa.

mom2alex&max

June 27th, 2011
12:26 pm

I haven’t met hardly any stay at home dads. The only one I knew, it wasn’t by choice but due to unemployment. He didn’t enjoy it very much.

And catlady you make a good point. I see it all the time with dads getting SO many pats in the back when they do some volunteer thing at school (i.e. story time), but when working moms do it, they get nothing. Why do people thing it is any easier for a working mom to find time to volunteer than for a working dad?

And Becky: I am racking my mind trying to think what shows you are referring to. I can’t think of any where there is a Dad doing it on his own? Last single dad show I remember was in the Blossom TV show…

Tad Jackson

June 27th, 2011
12:38 pm

Becky … hello … I can’t think of the shows you may be suggesting, but I’ll throw a guess in there if you give me a little bit more information. Shows from the 60s or even the 50s maybe? Anyhow, I just hate how dads and men are depicted in TV commercials … we’re all stupid and lazy … but then again in TV commercials it’s always a woman scrubbing a commode! Go figure!

http://www.adixiediary.com

Wayne

June 27th, 2011
1:08 pm

Wasn’t Hannah Montana living with her Dad?

Not that I’ve ever watched that show…

For some reason the older boy (who doesn’t watch it anymore) had a fascination with Hannah.

Tad Jackson

June 27th, 2011
1:19 pm

Or the show “Full House.” I believe the mother had died and the dad and his pals and brother or whatnot had no choice but to raise the girls to the best of their ability. Believe me, it can be successful. Just remember that there are only two things a man can’t do as a dad, and that’s have the baby and breastfeed. That’s it. Nothing else is not outside our capacities … whether we like it or not. I’ll guarantee you I changed more diapers while raising two boys than their mother did.

http://www.adixiediary.com

catlady

June 27th, 2011
1:33 pm

Tad, I agree with you on portrayal of dads on TV. I especially hate shows where the kids are allowed to back talk and smart off and show their poor, deluded, muddled parents the way. I simply turn it off ! I watch shows that show respectful relationships, not abusive ones!

shaggy

June 27th, 2011
1:33 pm

Tad,

For the most part, we men ARE stupid and lazy, except for the guys in the GMC Sierra commercials. These are real men that must have “professional grade” trucks for their daily commute to the office…I dodge them often on GA 400, as they drive like real men and run everyone else that is not going 200mph over. They always have their favorite NASCAR driver’s number on the back window.
Then, there is my best friend, who just the other day got stuck by his belly fat, breraking into MY house sometime around noon. He said he was borrowing the grill brush, because he hit himself in the head with a hammer and was hungry…really hungry.
He forgot to pay his credit card bill, so he had to take all of his hawaii shirts and stretch black socks (all he wears with sandals) back to Walmart. At Walmart, he saw his mother in law and managed to bean her with a ripe plum, from two rows over, as she was riding her scooter thing…serves her right for coming to the house last Thursday, during the playoffs and turning the channel to Judge Judy. He had laid out of work for two straight days, just to catch those games, while kicked back in his recliner.
I reminded him that he should be careful. It was only three weeks ago when his electric shaver caught fire, while he was eating a sandwich that his daughter made special for him. He said he never liked that shaver anyway, but he sure missed eating that sandwich. I invited him on over for some beers, but he said his wife would kill him if he did that, and he was already sleeping on the couch, because she was sick and tired of sleeping next to a chainsaw.
Yep, were all mostly stupid and lazy.

HB

June 27th, 2011
1:34 pm

Becky’s right — the single widower-father has been pretty popular on TV over the years, but back in the day, they usually had a housekeeper around to do the cooking, cleaning, etc, like Aunt Bea. The dads weren’t SAHDs. It was probably a good storyline to work with — strong family man leading a sitcom but with a workplace to go to for more laughs, and with good opportunities for romantic comedy since he could date. In the early-to-mid 60s, I’m not sure a sitcom that focused on a widowed mom working outside the home and dating would have been considered appropriate.

Welcome, Andy!

shaggy

June 27th, 2011
1:39 pm

My Three Sons…….

motherjanegoose

June 27th, 2011
1:43 pm

catlady, I once met a man who was a Kindergarten teacher with a Doctorate. He was one of THE neatest persons I have ever met. Totally confident in his career choice even though most of his friends guffawed ( sp?) all the time. I LOVE men who can teach Kinder…what a wonderful role model for the kids. I have met less than a dozen and would be thrilled to have any of them for my kid’s teachers.

@ Tad, you know I love you BUT in my house…the other thing men cannot do ( specifically my husband) is MULTI TASK. If he is talking on the phone….HE IS TALKING ON THE PHONE.
If he is watching TV…then that is it. I can type here and pet my dog at the same time. While on the phone, I can: unload the dishwasher, fold laundry, clean a toilet, walk the dog, repot flowers, cook dinner, fax a document, put a contract together and a multitude of other things. Maybe is it JUST my husband. Who knows …anyone?

FYI…he is a GREAT DAD!

motherjanegoose

June 27th, 2011
1:47 pm

@ shaggy, in Boston we took the Trolley Tour, as we typically do. We had a funny driver who shared lots of different things we did not know. Several times, people would pull out in front of him.
He’d quickly say, ” Oh, don’t use your turn signal…it is a sign of weakness.” We have adopted it here in Atlanta…you may like it too!

@catlady…WHERE are those shows? HAHA

Wayne

June 27th, 2011
2:15 pm

I’ve read, more than a few times, that men typically are one-tracked, where women tend to be multi-tracked. I see it all the time, so it must be true, right?

My wife commented yesterday on something she saw in a movie (Mr. Popper’s Penguins). She said that only in the movies do you see a divorced Mom and Dad get back together again. Yeah, that doesn’t happen in real life all that often.

Wayne

June 27th, 2011
2:17 pm

BTW: @Shaggy: Love the story! Hung up by his belly fat… oh man… to funny…

MomsRule

June 27th, 2011
2:59 pm

@Wayne – I know two couples that divorced and then got back together.

Becky

June 27th, 2011
3:33 pm

Some of the shows that I’m talking about are fairly old, but here goes..The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, The Rifleman, The Andy Griffin show, as shaggy said, My Three Sons..

I agree with Tad, I was just wondering why they make Dad’s out to look dumb, yet most of the shows about single parent households are Dads..

@Wayne..My ex married two of his exs twice..I work with a guy that is now remarried to his first ex wife..My stepson is living with his ex wife..A nephew (by marriage) is remarried to his ex, after she left him and three children to be with a man that she met on the internet..She made it all the way to the train station (NY), he met her and put her right back on the train to GA. Seems that between the time she left here and got there, he had found out that she was married..So when she came back, the husband met her at the train station, they went home, went thru a divorce and 3 months later, they remarried..Also during this time, he fould out that the youngest child wasn’t his, that she was actually his bosses child..That was 12-13 years ago and they are living “happily” ever after..

Lori

June 27th, 2011
4:39 pm

Seems we’ve gotten a bit off topic, but what the heck. @motherjanegoose, my husband can’t multi-task worth a darn either. He’s always on his computer, and it’s like he’s got ear plugs in, he can’t even listen to anyone. I have to make sure he has stopped typing, has put down his mouse, and is looking directly at me, then I say “Ok, are you listening!!”. He’s a fantastic dad and all, but why is it that when he picks up my son from day care or school, my son NEVER comes home with all his belongings!!! I have to send him a text page with a list of items to be sure to check for, like it shouldn’t be obvious that his son took a coat to school when it’s 30 degrees outside!!!

JATL

June 27th, 2011
5:01 pm

Welcome! I know several SAHDs who are doing a great job. For one -he got laid off soon after his son was born and his wife does pretty well financially and the other decided that he just wanted to be home with the kid(s). His wife is a surgeon, and they wanted one of them home, and he was a logical choice. Our playgroups have always welcomed dads. I hate to hear of a group so stereotypical in its makeup of “silly” SAHMs that they would act in that manner.

Robin

June 27th, 2011
6:08 pm

Welcome Andy! I haven’t posted anything on here in a long time, but wanted to welcome you. I am a summer breeze myself, and am looking forward to reading your perspective this month.

JIMBOB (aka James Robert)

June 27th, 2011
8:50 pm

He’s a remarkably attractive guy, for he has thick head of hair very much like my own. If he can blog, all the better!

Andy Johnston

June 29th, 2011
9:51 am

Thanks for all of the great and interesting comments. I appreciate the the warm welcome I’ve received this week.

Cheer Shepard: Charles was on my staff at the ABH. Great guy and hard worker. I know he’s getting ready for the Tour de France.

Tad Jackson: Great comments on how men are portrayed on TV. I’ve been giving that a lot of thought lately and likely will write about that in another blog.