Dads and Fatherhood
The YMCA Adventure Guides Father-Daughter Sweetheart Ball was not on my radar until a good friend of mine told me how he takes his daughters each year. I thought, "Cool! You and your girls are really excited about this thing, huh?" When my wife started getting emails about the event, there was no controlling her excitement. She was even talking about renting a car for the night!
In case you didn't know (like me), a daddy-daughter dance allows dad an opportunity to set an example and standard for how his daughter should be treated on a date. It is also an opportunity for dad to build that special bond with his daughter and make special memories.
Okay, based on the description above, I tossed the whole daddy-daughter dance thing out the window because my daughter and dating don't even go together in a sentence. And I can build that special bond with my daughter at the creek - FISHING!
But I thought about the whole thing (I do a lot of thinking) and with my "try-almost-anything-once" attitude, I went all in.
That's right! I went to my first daddy-daughter dance AND I LOVED IT!
If we string Webster Dictionary's definitions of "active," "duty," and "dad" together we get "active dad dutifully taking care of his child(ren).
All too often I find myself watching dads who are disengaged with their children. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that there may be extenuating circumstances that I cannot see. The Dad may be tired, just come off a long shift of work, not feeling good, or just plain needs a break. I can understand that and I've been there too. By the same token we still need to be active in the rearing of our kids. Taking the time to be the example of how to interact with the world. We need to put the cell phones down, stop checking Facebook or emails. I'll also take into account the physical limitations placed on folks too. We may not be as flexible in movement as we once were, but we can still try.
For 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:
As a male military spouse and Stay-At-Home-Dad (SAHD), learning to properly care for my daughter's hair has been a challenging and rewarding experience.
Doing my hair is simple. I've been cutting my own hair since my Air Force Academy days. I don't waste time worrying about my hair style anymore, I just shave it all off. I cut as low as my shears will allow me to and then I use my Norelco face shaver to shave the sides and back of my head. My haircuts are free and done in 15 minutes, but I could not imagine being able to perfect doing my daughter's hair in the same amount of time.
The big question for me used to be, "How do I do this?" How do I quickly do my daughter's hair in a way that looks nice and still allows me to get her to school on time?
In the 13 years my wife and I have been married, my wife has also been in the Army. We have moved a total of eight times. As I post this topic, we are in the process of moving again. Our next stop will be Fort Knox, Kentucky. We are excited about this new location and have heard many good things about Fort Knox. But, we will certainly miss the friends we have made here at Fort Hood. As with any PCS (Permanent Change of Station), we currently have movers packing all our items. Moving is always interesting when dealing with the movers, and this time is no exception. Before I begin talking about our current PCS, however, I need to tell you all about a few previous moves. I would also love to hear your stories...the good, bad, and ugly.
I get these "google alerts" every day, which are basically just articles and posts from around the web related to certain keywords I want to monitor. "SAHD" and "Stay-At-Home-Dad" are keywords I monitor and I have been getting a great deal of posts.
Much of the stuff that I'm seeing regarding SAHD is still in the "novelty" range, or the "Awww, that's cute" range. I also check out websites that give the spouse's perspective - you know, the women who live with these dudes. These sites are way more interesting to me than the talk about the latest television show depicting SAHDs.
Anyway, I haven't seen much about the health of SAHDs. In all of my monitors and in all of the web surfing I've done on the topic of SAHDs, I have not come across any health-related posts. I found that very interesting.
Now that I'm a SAHD (Stay-At-Home-Dad), I'm taking the time to reflect on my journey by doing a little writing. As a male military spouse of a female active duty US Air Force officer, my approach to this "SAHD Life" is with the same basic question I have for making it through just about all of my experiences - "How do I do this?" I hope my attempts to share my answers to this question help at least one person out there.
Here's a post from my blog about The Power of Being Present in a child's life. This power is shared by moms and dads and it has been very helpful for me to remember this fact, especially when I can't see my efforts as a male military spouse and SAHD amounting to much.
(I like that Newsweek cover and the idea that it is time to rethink what it means to be masculine. However, I don't agree with all points in the original article. At Macho Spouse, here is part of our effort to help people rethink masculinity.)
Judging from a lot of online discussions that I have read, it appears that there is still a novelty effect when it comes to dads staying home and being the primary caregiver for the kid(s) and taking care of the house. At the same time, I am seeing more Stay-At-Home-Dads (like myself) becoming more of a presence online.
Introduction to Marine to SAHD Blog, laying out where I have been what experiences I have.
My name is Andrew “Fergie” Ferguson; I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 2007 and did four years of active duty in Hawaii. In those four years I deployed twice, once to Iraq and Afghanistan. I was injured during those four years on multiple occasions and still am injured and receiving help from the Veterans Affairs.
If I asked a group of people that ranged in age if they would like to play a game of “PIG” or “HORSE” outside (and I had a basketball in my hand), how many would know what I was talking about? You might be surprised that some children might ask, “You want us to make pig or horse noises as we shoot hoops?” Some of you may laugh, but this was an honest question from some of the neighborhood children that come over to play with my kids.
Through my studies in education and working with students in classrooms, technology certainly brings a new perspective to learning. Students not only have the ability to research topics instantly through the use of the internet, but they can also talk to other students in different countries, take virtual field trips to museums that are in other cities, and write or edit papers quickly.
We know that many our visitors here at Macho Spouse are dads - some working and some stay-at-home-dads - who are looking for answers to the question "How do I do this?" We are constantly looking for resources to help all male military spouses and we are happy to share a great online resource for dads.
Help is available for male military spouse dads at the National At-Home Dad Network. All dads can learn from this online resource that provides support, education and advocacy for fathers who are the primary caregivers of their children.
How my wife and I met. A little about our life and how I started my own business!
My name is Josh Vittetoe. I am 27 years old and have been married to my wonderful wife Jennifer Vittetoe who is 24 for almost 7 years. We have two boys who are Jack (6 months) and Tannar (5 years). We are currently stationed at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, Nevada.
My wife has been in the Air Force for 3 years and is a Senior Airman. She is deploying in a coulpe weeks for the first time.
As I stated in my introduction, I couldn't have been more wrong in my life about being bored. With twins everything is times two, sounds simple right? Not exactly. I STRONGLY suggest to anyone who has twins to create a simple set of rules and follow them. For example, here are the rules I created for me and my girls:
Rule #1: Do NOT try to feed them at the same time or you will stress out your rotator cuff. I did.
Carpe Diem is the Latin term for seize the day. I've seen on social media, and the news, some folks complaining about the “would've/could've” aspect of their life. Far too often people talk about things they wish they could have or should have done. Being married to the military, I find myself slipping into that trap more and more often because my wife's Navy career can keep me from pursuing certain passions.
Not too long ago, a Facebook friend and fellow military spouse posted how much she missed living in the U.S. We had a three year overseas assignment several years ago, and so I could relate to this post. I remember missing “home” too.
Personally, our family had the opportunity to live in Germany for three years. We visited many wonderful countries and I would not trade that opportunity for anything, but we also missed Texas, our friends and family. Since we had a house on the economy, many times I would take our daughter to places like “The Kids Zone” (think “Chuck E. Cheese”) and we enrolled her in activities on post, such as ballet and soccer. One of the biggest opportunities living overseas offered to us was for our daughter to enroll in German Kindergarten at age three. She had a great time and quickly picked up the language (but even with proactive efforts and good intentions, maintaining those skills in the US is very difficult).
Whatever your Winter Holiday tradition, now is the time when many cultures have historically livened up the dark days of winter (in the Northern Hemisphere) with celebrations of community, charity, and gift-giving*. Going into debt, however, should not be a part of your tradition.
How much should you spend on Christmas?
I'm big on using percentages when budgeting. Except for the really, really poor or really, really rich, it makes sense to me that if Martha gets paid 50% more than George, then Martha can spend 50% more than George. That generally goes for housing, cars, or Christmas presents. In other words, don't try to “keep up with the Joneses,” especially if you get paid less than the Joneses. That's the idea behind the 60% Budget: keep regular, monthly expenses down to 60% of your gross income, so you can save 10% each towards retirement, long-term savings, and short-term savings; the last 10% is 'fun money' for Starbucks, beer, wine, pizza, McDonald's, toys, etc. Ideally throughout the year you've saved up enough in your short-term savings to pay for Christmas, even after you've paid for oil changes, shoes for the kids, and a trip to the beach over the summer.
Tom Cruise took a great deal of heat a number of months back for suggesting that wrapping his film Oblivion was like returning from Afghanistan. And oh, did the howling begin in earnest. And while I know that he was trying to suggest that filming an action epic was physically demanding and mentally taxing, you just knew he picked the wrong metaphor to characterize his challenges.
(This is NOT Tom Cruise)
But there are at least one or two Cruise movies that you've enjoyed over the years, so you let it slide just this once, because you know it will never happen again. I ask that same level of charity and indulgence here…
This article is a piece of information that has helped me capture milestones for my loved one who is always at work. I know that it can be difficult so I hope this helps someone down the line.
I know that it has been awhile since I have written anything regarding Twin life but here is why. MILESTONES! The girls are almost one and a half years old now and the milestones have been piling up. From saying their first words to walking and the list continues to grow each day. As a stay at home dad and the love of my life working during the day it is expected that she will miss things in person. This can be depressing for our loved ones but I have found that the smartphone is my best friend when it comes to this. I take pictures and videos constantly so she does not feel like she is missing everything. As male military spouses we have to understand that we are that small percent as our wives are in the military community. We miss out on special time with our wives because they work, and they miss out on milestones and this can be daunting for some. We can use our smartphones for good and show them that we do care and we understand the sacrifices they make. I hope this helps any dad out there having trouble showing their wife that they do love them and understand. This has helped me with my twin girls and my marriage; I just hope it helps someone else out there.
We know many of us use smartphones for several hours through the day for either work, study or play. mrdad.com recently had a blog post about a smartphone study.
Many a parent has turned to a smartphone or tablet during a restaurant outing with children. How does this mobile device use affect parent-child interactions?
I recently came across an article that really made me stop and think "Could this really happen?" then it became "Oh Wait... They are talking about a Family like mine."
The Article I am talking about is a post from MrDad.com answering a a Veterns question "My husband and I both have disabilities. He is blind and I suffer from a traumatic brain injury I received serving in Iraq. I'm pregnant and we're due in about a month. We were both so excited, but a friend told us that there's a chance we could lose custody of the baby because we both have disabilities. Now, instead of looking forward to becoming parents, we're both in a panic. Is that true? If so, what can we do?"
By John Aldrich, AVP, Military Relations at American Military University
Movember, the grass roots movement to raise awareness about men's health issues is nearly complete, and for those of you who are growing a mustache to show support for the cause, I salute you. For those who didn't participate or weren't aware of Movember, there is always next November.
Just like the mustaches of the Men of Movember, male military spouses come in all shapes and sizes. Some are stay-at-home dads, some run businesses from home, and others balance careers outside the home and taking care of the family.