Advice for the New 'Mr. Mom'

Thank you!

Advice for the New 'Mr. Mom'

image for Advice for the New

Image: – – Macho Spouse

 

Winegar_2.jpgFor guys, staying at home with the kids can be unchartered territory. I think every stay at home dad approaches his role differently, and he conducts a lot of discovery learning to figure out what works best for him and his family. For this reason, I comprised a list of key points to advise fathers who are stepping into the role of "Mr. Mom." Although every family is different, I have to imagine seasoned stay at home dads will find my list relevant and in the ballpark of what to expect. If someone had given me a list like this nine years ago, it would have been helpful. Feel free to share your experiences and add some points that I didn't include to this discussion:


  1. “Your” pre-fatherhood daily activities have now completely changed.  This should come as no surprise.  A huge part of your time will now be devoted to parenting.  You will have to shuffle things around and make your child's needs a top priority.

  2. Packing for a trip is much more complex.  Before, you and your wife could pack a small overnight bag.  Now, when you go away for a quick weekend trip, your vehicle looks like you packed to move across country.  And, forget the "manly" bags. If your 3 year old princess has a pink sparkly bag, guess who is carrying it?

  3. It's always a good Idea to have a plan (making a list before heading to the grocery store, saving coupons on items you always buy, buying things on sale, etc.), but don't be surprised if your plans don't hold!  For instance, those Avent bottles your wife received at the baby shower because research showed they are easiest on your baby's digestive system – forget it.  Your baby doesn't want that kind.  Even with the best thought out plans, there will be times you have to become creative and learn to do things differently.

  4. Be patient and flexible!  Kids learn at different rates.  For instance, your little girl may like carrots at lunch, but by dinner, decide she hates carrots.  Your kids may beg you for a certain toy only to play with it for a few minutes and then never pick it up again.  And, kids will constantly test their boundaries to gauge your reaction and see what you will allow them to get away with.  When your daughter looks up at you with her pretty blue eyes, tilts her head to the side, and says “please Daddy?” you may have an urge to give her anything in the world.  My advice...just be patient.  Kids learn to interact and communicate from the time they are first born.

  5. Be prepared to eat your words.  I don't know how many times in my pre-fatherhood stage I thought “I'll never do that when I have a child."  Oops.  Then reality set in, and I began to say, “who cares what others think."  An example of this is when I was teaching my daughter to potty train in Germany.  We lived "on the economy," so almost every day I took her to the park on-post so she could play and interact with other American military families.  When we went out, I took her portable training potty with us in case she needed to go right away.  I didn't have to pull it out often, but when I did, I always got stares…even when being discreet by placing it behind a tree.  But, I didn't care.  My daughter potty trained very quickly with few accidents.  By the way, add this to your weekend trip with the other bags!

  6. Paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork!  Some paperwork you might be able to do before the birth of your child, like planning a new tentative budget, looking into increasing life insurance, and even trading in your convertible for something more practical!  Other types of forms to fill out will come later once your child is born.  A priority should be health insurance for your child and then eventually, reliable part-time child care to allow you some “me” time.

  7. Speaking of "me time," once your child is born your days will be heavily devoted to parenting, make sure you remember to give yourself "me time."  Find a childcare center you trust, family, or friends to watch your child so you have an opportunity to get away and just relax, unwind, or plan an activity for yourself (working out).  It's also important to plan social interaction with other adults, so you can talk about things that are of interest to you and not just think about Dora the Explorer or Spongebob.

  8. In being prepared, be sure to add to your list a nice camera that can capture moments you and your wife will treasure forever.

  9. Finally, enjoy this life and make the most of your time!  Praise God for what he has blessed you with!!

About the author: Max Winegar is a male military spouse and stay at home dad to a nine year old girl and three year old boy. Max has been married to an Army officer for nearly 13 years and has recently started his own FaceBook page, "Freedom and Fatherhood."

See also...

image for Contractor vs Employee

Contractor vs Employee

employee-contractor-300x270.jpgSo, you have a job offer and the employer offers you employment as either an independent contractor or an employee. You figure that since your wife is in the military, you don't need the insurance and your paycheck will be bigger without all that withholding taken out.

Life as a 1099'er

Ready to take that 1099? Not so fast. You might be in for a big shock at the end of the year. Here is a list of some of the hits you'll take.

• All the income taxes for each taxing entity will be due every quarter after your first year in business. A total of 90 percent must be paid by April 15 of the following year or there will be a penalty.

• You will have to pay the entire Social Security tax. That amounts to 15.3 percent on your first $113,700 and 2.9 percent over that amount. Employees get half that amount paid by their employer automatically. However, as a self-employed individual, you may deduct the half that an employer would have contributed.

• Independent contractors are not covered by non-discrimination laws, wage and hour protection, unemployment insurance, or pension and benefit protections that “real” employees receive.

• If you drive or run other equipment for the business that pays you, you won't be covered by the employer's insurance policy. Guess who that leaves?

What Makes an Employee

The basic issue in deciding whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor is the business's control over the work of the person. This sounds like a simple matter, but courts constantly are deluged with arguments about this issue.

If you're told when to come to work; if you don't provide your own equipment or supplies; and if you are paid in set increments such as hours or piecework, you are an employee, period. If they train you, you are an employee. The courts have made clear that just because the employer doesn't decide to use control, doesn't mean you are then an independent contractor. The crux of the matter is whether they have the right to do so. Read the IRS publication about the issue of contractors vs employees.

Making the Right Decision

Before you make any decisions, take some time to investigate and consider which category works best for you and your family. If you are leaning toward becoming an independent contractor, make sure you're prepared to save enough to cover your tax expenses and any additional costs like liability insurance.

Consider incorporating as a LLC to protect yourself and give you additional tax protection. It's a good idea to get the help of a paralegal, lawyer and tax specialist.

If you are considering becoming self-employed, be certain to read the IRS Bulletin Understanding Employment Taxes. This is a simple document that explains what the requirements are in everyday language.

This post was sponsored by the School of Firearms Technology from the Sonoran Desert Institute.

image for Wars within the War

Wars within the War

img-roland-220x130.pngDuring this time of war, in addition to the regular attacks on our troops by enemy forces, there have also been other types of attacks. These "green on blue" attacks are "friendly" forces killing our troops. In 2011, there were 35 instances. In 2012 so far, there have been 51. These things get quite a bit of media coverage due to the loss of life as a direct result.

Something that concerns me just as much, if not more than "green on blue" attacks, is the threat that wears the same uniform as my wife. Sexual harassment and assault are a big problem within the military. Men and women are victimized by their comrades. As a Army civilian employee, I have to attend the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program, along with the Soldiers. It is saddening to hear the stories of those that have been attacked by people they trusted with their lives.

For the rest of the story



 

Comments


Got something to say? Sign up or login to participate in the conversation.