Looking for an alternative to the Stay-at-home dad label

Looking for an alternative to the Stay-at-home dad label

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Do Stay-at-home Dads (SAHDs) need a title? Anne-Marie Slaughter, over at The Atlantic, argues that dads who are the family's primary caretakers need a word to describe them that makes "male caregiving attractive to men" and makes it "cool."

From The Atlantic:

We need a new vocabulary to describe men who choose to be at home as caregivers all or part of the time. In my last post I linked to Abigail Rine's description of her "feminist housedude," a term that is catchy but unlikely to spread beyond the hipper spots on the West coast. Mr. Mom is obviously out, as is househusband. Stay-at-home dad is neutral but not exactly enticing.

One alternative is the phrase that a number of men are using, calling themselves "work-at-home" dads. Most of them mean that they are working on income-generating projects out of the home while also taking care of kids, but we use work-at-home mothers and work-at-home fathers for any parents who are not actually going into an office, whether they are working for pay or not? Or we could try to ignore gender altogether and call men or women spending time at home caring for children, aging parents, or any other family member needed care full-time or part-time caregivers, while calling anyone who works for pay, whether from home or an office, a full-time or part-time breadwinner.


Caregivers and breadwinners is the right frame of reference for thinking about work-family issues as a whole, as it takes account of both straight and gay men and women in a wide variety of roles. But it feels too abstract—dare I say it, too academic—to be part of everyday conversation. Similarly, work-at-home mothers and work-at-home fathers seems too politically correct and simply does not provide the information that the questioner wants to know, rightly or wrongly, which is whether you work for pay or not. The deeper problem, of course, is that when someone asks you "what do you do," unless you tell them you work for pay they will conclude that you don't actually "do" anything. Caregiving doesn't register as an occupation, no matter how demanding and rewarding it might be. But that's a much bigger conversation for another day.

My point in raising the entire question of a vocabulary to describe men at home is to find a way to make male caregiving attractive to men—indeed to make it cool. Any term that is just a male version of a female term, like househusband instead of housewife, won't do it. It is easier for a woman to be masculine than for a man to be feminine, the gay rights movement notwithstanding. Stay-at-home father does not have that problem, but in a society that prizes dynamism and movement as much as Americans do, any label that starts with "stay" is not going to be cool. Contrast "stay at home" with "go out into the world": which would you prefer?

 

Read more: The Atlantic

See also...

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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.

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