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Man-to-Man videos share life experiences and meaningful military family advice, one male military spouse to another.
We believe there is a life lesson in every one of these videos. It is Macho Spouse's mission to try and record and post as many interviews from male military spouses, military family counselors, and active-duty female military members as possible. If you, or someone you know, has a story or experience to share, please email Macho Spouse to learn how you can get involved.
(Retired, divorced, National Guard and Reserve are always welcome to participate.)
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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:
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.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious battle injury we wanted to know more about, so we found Dr. Nicholas Lind, Co-Owner of Post Trauma Resources (Columbia, SC). In this multi-part series, Dr. Lind defines PTSD, explains the symptoms, shares how and when to seek help, and offers insight into living with someone who struggles with PTS symptoms. This video offers advice on how a spouse can start the process of helping a loved-one who may be experiencing post traumatic stress symptoms.
The 2nd Macho Spouse PTSD video, Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is now live! Dr. Nicholas Lind, Co-Owner of Post Trauma Resources (Columbia, SC), discusses typical PTSD symptoms while offering some advice on how best to start an initial conversation with a loved-one who may have PTSD.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious battle injury we wanted to know more about, so we found Dr. Nicholas Lind, Co-Owner of Post Trauma Resources (Columbia, SC). In this multi-part series, Dr. Lind defines PTSD, explains the symptoms, shares how and when to seek help, and offers insight into living with someone who struggles with PTSD symptoms. This second video discusses typical PTSD symptoms while offering some advice on how best to start an initial conversation with a loved-one who may have PTSD.
The third segment of a multi-part series examining the importance of communication within the military family. This video shares some advice on the importance of communicating BEFORE and DURING a deployment. Yes, talking about what you both want to talk about before a deployment begins is one of the most important conversations a military couple can have.
A resource that is worth checking out is SpouseLink.org. Â Their media team describes SpouseLink.org as a "free website linking military spouses together through supportive, informative, and inspiring content." Â That sounded interesting enough, so we decided to take their website for a little test-drive. Â What we found is a clean, easy-to-navigate site that's full of solid information thatÂ includes Â posts Â ranging Â from Â spouse Â careers Â and Â financial Â advice Â to Â parenting Â and Â Military Â transitions. Â SpouseLink.org is actually a product of AAFMAA (American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association), a non-profit membership association supporting our military community with insurance, financial planning, and survivor assistance for widows and widowers. Â Guys, you will notice that their spouse content is a little "feminine heavy." Â No worries, we're teaming up with them to help share some of our stuff from this website. Â So they are well aware that male spouses exist!
Tim shares some unique advice on how he and his wife handle re-integration after a deployment. Tim's well thought out plan and his ability to articulate it, makes this video a Macho Spouse favorite! (Run Time: 11:28...long, but worth it)
The 2012 Military Spouse of the Year, Jeremy Hilton is an Air Force male military spouse and advocate for military families and dependents impacted by illness or disability. In this Man-to-Man video, Jeremy shares some great advice and life lessons. Male military spouses of all age ranges and experience will find some useful information in this interview. (Length: :07:12)
Learning the support role as a male military spouse was very, VERY difficult for me. When I look back, I point to my pride and immaturity as major factors in my slow learning and acceptance of the role.
I changed over time, but time did not change me. I had to continuously choose to "fall back" and develop this as a way of thinking. That's not an easy thing to do when you're an aggressive, no-nonsense dude like me. Faith in Christ is what changed my mind and changed me, allowing me see that love requires that I demonstrate what it is to be my wife's support in a sacrificial manner.
Here is something for Valentine's Day - a re-post of one of my blog entries about demonstrating my love and support for my wife after a difficult week.
Bill Keller is an Air Force male military spouse married to Major General Suzanne Vautrinot. Between Bill and his spouse, they have over 50 years of military life experience and have lived all over the world. We broke or cardinal rule of never divulging a spouse's rank because Bill has had unique opportunities to meet and communicate with many different types of military families that many of us may never have.
Guys (and gals), this man has real military marriage experience. Listen to some of his insight and learn what it takes to make a happy, healthy marriage in this crazy lifestyle.
Tim Blake is an Army male military spouse with over 14 years experience as a stay-at-home-dad who has successfully guided his family through multiple deployments. Tim also writes for Military Spouse and his own blog, Army Dad (armyspouseami.blogspot.com). In this video, Tim shares some of what he has learned over the years about surviving a deployment.
This is an oldie, but a goodie video highlighting the impressive work being done at MSCCN (Military Spouse Corporate Career Network) and CASY (Corporate America Supports You). It's a little long, but we think this is a must-see video for any male military spouse in need of career support. Deb Kloeppel, CEO MSCCN, explains why her organization is male military spouse friendly and offers an opportunity for us guys to create and sit on male spouse specific career advisrory committee at MSCCN.
Interview from: Cory Livingston, Foday Kanu, Jason Bergman, Jeremy Hilton, Chris Pape, and Deb Kloeppel
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.
Where has the time gone? It seems like yesterday I became a stay-at-home-dad (SAHD) and was asking for help and opinions on everything. I have to say “thank you” to everyone who helped me with this big transition. And speaking of transitions, this one is complete...I am now a SAHD and proud of it! I can now rock a puke-stained jacket, diaper bags, and car seats with pink bows on them with no problem. My days of being a Marine are in the past, I will always love the Corps, but now I have a greater love...my girls.
March 25th 2014, the day I sent Dana off on a seven-month deployment, was a low point in my life. I vividly remember the emptiness and sorrow in my heart as I watched her walk down the jetway, away from her family…away from me. I also remember how incredibly difficult it was to maintain composure while giving a TV interview just as Dana walked out of sight, it was all I could do to hold back tears. I struggled to hold myself together long enough to walk back to my car before breaking down in tears. Many of us have been to this dark, empty place before; it's definitely a low point for many military marriages.
I write about military financial independence, but Im getting a lot of e-mail about navigating the drawdown and starting a bridge career. Im also hearing from Reserve and National Guard servicemembers about balancing their military careers with their civilian employers. Veterans (and military spouses) know that their transition to a civilian career will be like transferring to a duty station in a foreign country. Theyll spend lots of time explaining their military skills and achievements to civilians and translating their military culture into a foreign language.
Then theres the challenge of competing with hundreds of other potential employees who are also reporting for duty at these companies. The drawdown is adding several hundred thousand more veterans to the usual crowd of people who are already leaving the military, and this exodus will continue until at least 2017.
Over the last three years the U.S. Department of Labor and the Veterans Administration have rolled out a number of initiatives. By now youve seen at least a half-dozen programs for translating your military career into a civilian resume, or creating your elevator pitch, or finding your ideal company. Theres plenty of advice on Linkedin about researching your company, tapping into the right networks, and handling interviews. There are many government and non-profit programs to guide you through the transition process,
Those programs are helping veterans and spouses figure out what employers want and showing them how to navigate the job search. Wouldnt it be nice if someone taught the employers about you? Wouldnt it be a huge relief to meet hiring managers who already understands who you are and what you can do? Wouldnt it be great to work for a company that actually wants to hire military veterans?
Last week I interviewed a group of people who have started doing just that. Theyve spent months building the programs and the infrastructure, and theyve already educated a number of companies on military veterans & spouses. They held their first hiring conference two weeks ago, and now theyre coming to a base near you.
The interview was arranged by USAAs staff. (Thanks, Jamia & Pete!) I talked with Geoff Grant, their Program Director of Supplier Diversity. (Hes also an Army veteran.) We were joined in the call by Jennifer Giering, the Director of Business and State Engagement at Hiring Our Heroes. We also talked with Bryan Goettel, the Chamber of Commerce Founda
“Don't hit it right. Don't hit it right. Take a deep breath…relax…that's it…listen to the birds cheerfully chirping, sounds of a distant lawnmower, a breeze gently moving leaves around the treetops…nice, smooth swing. No need to kill this ball…just hit it off the tee. AND DON'T HIT IT RIGHT!”
As I stand on the 14th tee box at the L'auberge Casino Resort golf course, I look down at my dirty, dinged-up golf ball and realize I'm griping my old 3-wood way too tight. I had to take a step back, re-focus my brain. How did I get to this moment? Well, I guess I had USAA to thank since they're the ones who helped my wife and I get out of town for a much needed break. But how did I get here, here on the 14th tee box with only one ball left in my bag? Was it my braggadocios attitude on hole two where I thought it would be fun to tee off over the water? (lost one ball) How about the long, beautiful par four, fifth fairway where I pulled two balls into the creek. And then again on hole six, another two into that same damn creek! (Come on L'auberge, why are all the water hazards to the left of these fairways!?) The par four seventh? Yep, another ball in the water, again to the left. And then we had gorgeous hole number nine, a fairway so picturesque it belongs on the cover of Golf Digest, where I surprisingly didn't hit the ball left into the water, I hit them to my right…into the water. (2 balls)
Since I've been married, one of the best summers I've had was when my wife was deployed. Sounds crazy and maybe a little insensitive to my wife...but it's true!
First of all, don't get me wrong -- holding down the home front during the deployment was one of the hardest things I've been through. But without the structure of my wife's workweek I was able to spend the summer exploring the great outdoors with our 2 boys. We went on one camping trip after another, any day of the week. A couple times I didn't even bother unpacking the truck when we got home. I just did some laundry, re-packed the cooler, and after a day or two at home we headed back out to another National Park.
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.
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).
We were looking around and found this advice at Mr.Dad.com and thought we would shar with you. It certainly is a career field that is, parden the pun, very mobile.
Let's face it, the best career involving four wheels and an engine block is a race car driver or a big shot engineer. But if you don't have Speed Racer driving skills or a Henry Ford brain, plenty of unique and fun automotive careers are still abound. You just have to know what you're looking for.
The following article was written for us by Ann Rayne, we found it very informative and full of solid advice.
When your loved one is away, it can be hard getting used to taking care of everything at home on your own. However, in some cases, their homecoming can be just as stressful as their absence.
Of course you want to help them enjoy their time off as much as possible, but sometimes, especially if you have little ones that require a lot of attention, there's no avoiding the stress of responsibilities that come with being home. You can get overwhelmed trying to find the balance between making their return home relaxing and incorporating them back into the daily routine. Also, they can get overwhelmed trying to take on their share while transitioning back into home life.
HuffingtonPost.com interviewed Sgt. First Class Kent Phyfe and his family to talk about the stress of homecoming. He said that while coming home is great, his wife doesn't deny that reintegrating him back into family life "is one of the hardest parts about being a military couple." He explained that the spouse at home has to be the mother and the father, taking over all the roles in the house. It can be difficult to release the duties at the drop of a hat to another person. While it's an issue that sounds trivial to those that don't experience it, it actually quite straining on a couple.
Civilian male military spouses should know about [[EXLINK_20]] because it is a pretty influential organization that advocates for military officers and their families. Take a look at this description from MOAA's website:
MOAA is the nation's largest and most influential association of military officers. We are a powerful force speaking for a strong national defense and representing the interests of military officers and their families at every stage of their careers.
[These aren't real questions that avid readers have sent in, yearning for my sage advice. I'm just paraphrasing some discussions I've had about money with family, friends, and co-workers]
I just changed jobs. Should I leave my 401(k) with my old employer, or roll it over to my new employer's 401(k) plan?
You shouldn't do either. You should rollover your old 401(k) into an IRA with low-cost mutual funds, like Vanguard. There are 2 main problems with 401(k) accounts in general:
First, the investment choices they offer are usually going to be fairly limited. They might not even have index funds. Opening an IRA with someone like Vanguard, Charles Schwab, or Fidelity gives you access to just about all of the mutual funds each company offers. It's like comparing a state-run grocery store in the Soviet Union to a well-stocked Wal-Mart in the United States.
Rob Aeschbach is a male military spouse who spent 12 years as an active duty Marine before becoming a Navy spouse. Since then he has been a stay-at-home-dad for more than 10 years, served in the Marine Corps Reserve until his recent retirement, and started a personal finance blog.
Macho Money Investing 101 is a video series based on the fundamentals of investing. These videos will discuss many different types of investment accounts, some basic investment philosophies, and offer advice on how to find the right financial planner to fit your needs. Investing is a risk we take to build financial wealth, and even though the level of risk varies from one military family and investment to another, there will always be an opportunity to lose money. Anyone remember 2008? So before we begin investing our hard-earned cash, we really should have our basic life needs covered just in case something goes wrong. In this video, Certified Financial Planners, Scott Halliwell and JJ Montanaro, discuss what anyone's first steps to investing should look like. Wrestling with the idea of cutting money from your budget to build a savings account? Below is some great advice from both JJ and Scott on why it's important to have some cash readily available in a savings account.
OK, so you've taken the advice from our last video, "Before We Invest," and built-up a cash savings account. Great. But now that money is looking pretty good in savings, why risk any of it playing the stock market? Having something is better than having nothing...right? When it comes to planning for retirement, not exactly. In this video, Scott and JJ (Certified Financial Planners with USAA) share some great insight on why it's important to start an investment account, what we should consider before beginning, and why it's not a good idea to simply start throwing money at random stocks.
Macho Money Investing 101 is a video series based on the fundamentals of investing. These videos will discuss many different types of investment accounts, some basic investment philosophies, and offer advice on how to find the right financial planner to fit your needs.
Wait, you're a stay at home dad? How'd you get on base?" said the hairstylist at the exchange when I responded to her question on what I did for the Air Force. This happens a lot when you're a military husband. You'll get salutes from the gate guards, military discounts that only apply to active duty personnel, and maybe if you're really lucky, the start of a chewing out over haircut and shave regulations by a senior enlisted person. Why? Because our wives make up a small part of the force.
First, turn off the news! As a spouse, naturally, you worry. The media certainly does not help you out. Occasionally, I would watch the news or see internet headlines that just “grab you” to make you read. But, this really is a balancing act. If you have the news on all day, you will end up making yourself sick!
The Phonetic Alphabet is used by the military as a way to share letters over audio communication without confusion.
Why Learn? So you don't look like a complete moron improvising your own "phonetic alphabet" in front of people who actually know the real thing. (Speaking from personal experience. - Chris)
Okay, so I'm teaching my 7-year-old daughter how to tell time and move around the clock with ease. She starts counting hours on her fingers to answer some of the worksheet problems and she counts, "...10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15..." I'm thinking she's way ahead of the game, if her school uses military time.
Probably, most clocks you've seen only go up to 12 hours. The military uses a 24-hour clock and it's probably a good idea to get to know it.
So you know when happy hour is. It's also best to be on the same time as your wife. This will save you from many, many arguments.
The following article on PTSD was written by American Military University faculty member, Craig Gilman.
June is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) states that “PTSD affects about 7.7 million American adults, but it can occur at any age, including childhood. Women are more likely to develop PTSD than men, and there is some evidence that susceptibility to the disorder may run in families.”
Male spouses should note that statistics indicate their female spouses are more likely to develop PTSD than men. All parents should realize that children are susceptible, as well. Visit the NIMH PTSD site for a comprehensive overview of the causes, symptoms, treatments and tips for living with PTSD. If you suspect a loved one might suffer from PTSD, professional diagnosis and counseling should be strongly pursued.
2013 Military Spouse of the Year candidate, Patrick Donaldson sits down with Macho Spouse to share his story and offer some relationship advice to young military families. Patrick is an Australian native who is happily married to an active duty Navy sailor. Patt's career as a professional chef was cut short due to a back injury, but that hasn't stopped him from spending long hours volunteering for Operation Paws for Homes, the Children's Tumor Foundation, and Macho Spouse. We think by the end of this video, you will feel the same way about Patt as we do...he's just a cool guy to be around.
Check out the December 2012 Military Service Employment Journal from MSCCN.
Career Advice: PCS Job Search Tips - An employment search can be very daunting, especially in a new area. Here are four tips that really helped me find a position
after our last PCS.
Ask The Experts: Sometimes there are issues with your
job search. You feel like you are spinning your wheels and not really going anywhere – and you wonder why and how you can change it. Below are some questions we have had asked in the last few months that we felt would be helpful to everyone in their job search. We are here to
help should you need any further information or assistance!
'Tis the season to start your job search? Try filling your stockings with cash by landing that dream job going into the New Year. “What do you want for Christmas this year?” If you are answering this age old question with “Dear Santa, I want a new job!” Give yourself an early
gift, just make a visit to MSCCN and CASY for an early present of no-cost employment readiness, on the job training, direct connect, and one-on-one job placement services.
Check out the November 2012 Military Service Employment Journal from MSCCN.
Career Advice: Do you look at yourself as a business? If you want a successful business, you first have to have a business plan. The same rules apply to a career plan you should apply to your "Professional Self".
Portable Careers: Tired of Changing Careers? Try just moving it! What is the definition of a portable career? A portable career is a career in which you are not bound to stay in one location. It's a career that allows you the freedom to decide where you want to live, be it a new city, a new state, or a new country! It's a job that goes and grows with you.
As a military spouse, you are not guaranteed to be in the same place for a long time. Duty calls, not just for the service member, but for the entire family. The spouse is the one that needs to be able to hold it all together and keep things running right.
Once you get a job, you dread the day that you have to walk into your boss's office and explain to him that orders have come in for your entire family, because that's the way it is. Your children have to say goodbye to their schools, friends, teachers, and you have to say goodbye to your friends, co-workers, and job. But why say goodbye? Wouldn't it be better to say “Out of the office, will be back in a week”?
Our recent interview with Everett Lopez revealed some of the difficulties associated with being a man in the predominately female community of military spouses.
This Friday, Macho Spouse Chris Pape will represent male military spouses at the 7th annual Military Spouse Symposium hosted by our friends at the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA). Chris will be one of the featured speakers at the event to talk about the support network for male military spouses we have here at Macho Spouse.
Military spouses, service members and veterans are invited to attend the 2013 MOAA Military Spouse Symposium “Keeping a Career on the Move,” hosted by the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA).