Been thinking lately about parenting and what I perceive as parent’s selfish priorities. As I may have stated before, I don’t feel it is the right thing to do to stick your kids in daycare or with a nannie or sitter if it is not absolutely necessary. Many parents do not want to be with the kids all day or may feel that their career or money is more important and I feel that the children suffer because of this. Parents that do so are selfish and have their priorities backwards.
I am adding to this list some things that parents do that I feel show their upside down priorities.
The first thing that bothers me is when some parents put their kids into some sort of extra curricular program, not to have the children do something that they love to do but in order to: get free time from the kids, be able to brag to their friends about how great their children are, feel better about themselves by living vicariously through their kids. Don’t get me wrong, if the kids want to do the activity then go for it. It is great for kids to be able to do activities that they want to do. But, when parents force their kids to do something–and continue to do so after it is blatantly obvious that the child doesn’t like it–they are only hurting the child in order to gain something for themselves. Really bothers me when I see a child in baseball, for example, who really doesn’t want to be there yet ends up there year after year while never getting any better. The parents, meanwhile, are not even there watching.
Another thing that bugs me about parents and their priorities is that they will drop everything that the child knows in order to chase their career or lifestyle. Relocating to another state for their career or just to be able to live in better weather or whatever the case may be is sometimes selfish, especially when it takes children away from all of their family and friends. Of course, as they say, children will be able to make more friends– but they only have one family. I am not talking about situations where the parents have no choice such as a military member etc…But when a parent chases their career for more money or prestige while hurting the child in the process, I feel it is very selfish. I have seen examples of this and, sure, the children will survive and will probably become happy with their new lives. Children are resilient and will adjust to many negative things which doesn’t make them right. However, it will be later in life when they truly realize the importance of family and the time with them that was lost.
Lack of participation in their kid’s lives. This is huge. Monstrous! Whether it is the lack of interest and knowledge of their child’s life, lack of play or talking with child, lack of affection and love, or any other lack of participation in kids’ lives, this will affect them the rest of their lives. And, they will always remember it.
The last thing bugging me about parents and their selfishness is the fact that they set a bad example for their kids with their selfish and irresponsible behavior at home. This behavior can be smoking, drinking, drug use, spousal abuse, constant arguing with spouse, laziness, lack of ambition, law breaking, bad health habits, letting them watch r rated movies at a young age, using obscenities excessively etc…..all while ignoring their kids. When parents behave in this way they are perpetuating this behavior down to the next generation who will eventually do the same. Whether or not the children witness the behavior or not, it is selfish and irresponsible.
The term “The apple never falls far from the tree” was coined for a reason.
This is a note that Emma left for Melissa yesterday. She was in her room yesterday and was quiet for awhile. Now, I know what she was doing. How cute is this? It is very touching to see how thoughtful she is and how much she loves her Mommy. The last 18 months has not only been rough on me but also on Emma. She has written more little notes and pictures like these to let Melissa know how much she loves her. With her Mommy traveling a lot(an understatement to say the least) during this time, Ema has acted out on occasion with Melissa. My personal feeling is that she is as frustrated as me with her Mom being out of town and that is why she has acted out more. Then, when she is alone, Emma thinks about how much she loves Melissa and misses her when she isn’t here and decides to write her feelings down.
It is times like these that are like a swift slap in the face about what is really important. It is a reminder to slow down on life and business, etc…. and pay attention to what is truly important. Our kids are only young once. How many people do you know that wish they could go back and spend more time with their kids? There is no other love that I have experienced as that of the love of my daughter. There are no do overs in life and it is extremely important to pay attention to our children.
Emma has gotten into using Apple’s Facetime Videochat which she uses to call her cousins and friends. It is awesome for her to be able to do this without needing a computer and I absolutely recommend it–you need an Apple Ipad, Iphone or Mac to use it though.
Last night Emma was playing with Melissa’s Ipad and Iphone and recorded herself on video and then sent it to Melissa’s friend! Being that the phone is Melissa’s work phone it is a good thing that Emma didn’t send it to anyone else!
I think these videos are great because they show Emma in her own element without us being involved at all. Our cute 7 year old!!
I have been saying this for years. Glad to see that it is finally being addressed in the media.
Losing a source of income stings, but it may not hurt your finances as much as you think
By Daniel Bortz
Before Lance Somerfeld’s son was born in July 2008, he was working as a sixth-grade teacher at a high-need public school in the Bronx, earning a salary of roughly $45,000. He left his career to be a stay-at-home dad, wanting to be involved in his boy’s early milestones—milestones Somerfeld’s own father missed while he worked a full-time job throughout Somerfeld’s childhood.
The decision to become a stay-at-home dad also made sense financially. “For a quality day care or a nanny, it would have cost us about my take-home salary,” Somerfeld says. “Why would I pay someone else to take care of my child when I can do it for the same cost?” His wife’s job as a corporate actuary also served as a financial cushion.
Somerfeld is among a growing number of men who leave the workforce to raise their children while their spouses continue working—a group that more than doubled from 2000 to 2010, to 176,000, according to U.S. census data. While stay-at-home dads are becoming more common, women are still the archetype, with about 5 million American moms staying home to take care of the kids.
As it was with the Somerfelds, the decision for a spouse to become a stay-at-home parent largely reflects today’s steep costs of childcare. According to a census report released earlier this month, in families where children are younger than 15 and the mother is employed, average childcare costs have increased by 70 percent since 1985—jumping from $84 to $143 per week. In fact, in 36 states, the average annual cost of having a kid in daycare exceeds in-state college tuition, according to Child Care Aware of America, an information resource for parents and childcare providers.
Small savings add up. Melissa Stanton, author of “The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide: Field-Tested Strategies for Staying Smart, Sane, and Connected While Caring for Your Kids,” says many people underestimate the financial contribution of a stay-at-home parent. “Earning an income and taking care of the kids are of closer value than people think,” says Stanton. “Even though the stay-at-home parent isn’t bringing money home, there is still financial value to what a stay-at-home parent does.”
Converting to a single-income family—despite the loss of earnings—can put a household in a lower tax bracket. For example, married couples who will file their 2013 taxes jointly and have a household income of $17,851 to $72,500 will be in the 15 percent tax bracket, while those with a household income anywhere from $72,501 to $146,400 will fall into the 25 percent tax bracket.
Dianna Scofield of Meridian, Idaho, was always a savvy consumer, but becoming a stay-at-home parent for her first son in 2006 gave her more time to practice frugal living habits. She started cooking almost all of the family’s meals. She also began making foods that take longer to prepare but are less-expensive than purchasing at a grocery store, such as cooking with dried beans instead of canned beans. She even bakes their bread; it doesn’t take long, she says, but points out one needs to watch dough as it rises. Preparing more at-home meals reduced the family’s food budget, which is the third-largest expense for the average American household, according to a 2011 estimate by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The tendency among stay-at-home parents to eat out less can also save money. Seth Leibowitz, a stay-at-home parent in Westchester, N.Y., says he socks away an extra $50 that he used to spend on lunch while working.
Staying home to take care of the kids can also put money formerly spent on work clothes or dry cleaning to better use. When Somerfeld was working, he would spend $8.50 on suits and $4 on pants at the dry cleaner. Now, he says his typical “stay-at-home dad outfit” is a shirt and a pair of jeans.
He also saves the $5 he used to spend on the subway for his commute to work. A $5 commute may seem paltry to many consumers, as the average American’s journey to work takes 25.5 minutes each way, according to a recent report by the Census Bureau. But commuters in San Francisco, New York City and Washington, D.C.—the metro areas with the highest mean travel time—especially feel the pinch. Factor in today’s high gas prices (AAA estimates the national average is $3.51 per gallon), and the journey to the office doesn’t have a number of workers excited to start their day.
Had to share this–written by my sister Mary! So nice!!!
Mary Manzo Cypser
I’m back with my Dr Phil advice to thank your in laws.
As I said before I am the odd ball of the bunch.
To my sister- in -law Melissa. Thank you for encouraging my brother Ken, giving him that extra nudge to find us. I wish that it had come sooner, realizing all that we missed. You are an awesome wife and mother to Emma, you realize that in this day and age along with working Dads/Ken, mothers must also provide food, clothing and shelter for their children. Though it may seem painful to be separated from Emma, take comfort in the fact that you are also working for her well being. You always seem to keep in mind that these separations are always temporary and when you are away from work you make a conscience effort to truly be away from distractions. By this I mean that you take advantage of nights, weekends and days off as ways to spend quality not just quantity time with Emma, remembering to stay present, be affectionate and really listen to what she has to say. Everything is put aside that is meaningless in life to make it all about her and you never try to compensate your absence by spoiling her or buying her love. Through your hard work you are setting an example for Emma. Take pride in being her role model because you are a good one. She is so fortunate to have such dedicated parents. XOXO
The other night, while Melissa was out of town for work, Emma came in our room at 1am and woke me up saying, “Daddy I puked in my bed.”
Well, I made sure that we changed her pajamas and cleaned her face etc. and got her comfy in my bed. I got the blankets off her bed and got a big bowl in our room just in case she has more-the stomach flu going around is pretty nasty. It wasn’t long and she said she was going to be sick again. I brought her in the bathroom but she didn’t want to go by the toilet. She stood by the sink a while then I had her sit on my lap while I rubbed her back. She got sick again and I stood by giving her encouragement to get the bad stuff out while rubbing her back.
When she was finished we got situated in my bed and turned the TV on and watched cartoons and kids shows. A cool thing was that an old show she used to watch when she was 2, Johnnie and the Sprites, was on at 2am.
She eventually threw up 5 times in total during the next few hours. This stay at home dad was pushed to my queasy limits as she was really emptying out into that bowl! Just thinking about it makes me queasy now as the smell…..ugh.
Anyway, she took the whole thing like a champ. She didn’t cry which surprised me considering the powerful heaves she was having as well as trying to catch her breath. It was not a good feeling for me to be so helpless while my daughter was sick. What an awful feeling. I was wishing that it was me and not her each time she threw up. She drank some Sprite and we talked a lot about how she was really puking- she likes saying this word instead of throwing up- a lot. I played on the iPad until she finally fell asleep at 5 am. I was wired and fell asleep at 7am after calling her in sick from school.
The next day we took it easy. She woke up at 10am and didn’t eat anything but a piece of toast the whole day. Se drank some sprite and refused the Gatorade I gave her. She was afraid of throwing up more although she didn’t anymore. Se took it easy which is a rarity. She satay end on the couch and watched TV and played wii with me.
Emma was definitely a trooper through this ordeal and in the days afterward had lots of stories to tell about how she puked everything out and that it was good to get all the bad stuff out. Se also told Melissa about how she thought the beefaroni she ate was the cause because she saw it in the bowl when she puked…lol. As for me, this stay at home dad prefers not to really think about it.
Last night we went to a birthday party for Emma’s cousin Anthony’s 1st birthday. It was a fun time at a place called KidsTown. The place is essentially an indoor playground that also has a bunch of themed rooms with toys all over the place and seating areas for grownups. We had the place to ourselves which is nice too.
Of course the grownups all congregated in the area designated for food while the kids went off and ran around and played. It was great to be able to socialize without being interrupted all the time and it was nice to relax. Definitely a great place to have a kids party.
Emma loves being with her cousin Lindsey and they had fun running all over the place and eating from the seemingly endless candy table. Seeing her interacting with all the other kids of different ages demonstrated just how much of a big girl she is becoming. It is kind of sad that she is growing up so fast. I know that this stay at home dad will be in a world of change when his little girl is all grown up.
Which reminds me of the other day when she was acting lovable and snuggling with and hugging me while Melissa was out of town. I asked her, as I always do, if she will always give me kisses and hugs, even when she is 15 years old. She always says that she will. Time will tell. I will be sure to remind her of her promise!
There was a younger girl at the party too, probably 3 or 4, that followed Emma around and I could tell that Emma enjoyed it a lot. This got me to thinking about how I regret that Emma doesn’t have a little sister – or brother. We definitely tried to make it happen but it wasn’t meant to be i guess. Every so often I went to the play area and watched Emma playing and I could see that she enjoyed being the leader of this little girl and her brother. It was so cute to watch and I really enjoyed watching my little girl acting the part of a big sister.
This got me to reflecting on the challenges, that I have documented on this site as well as the rewards of being a stay at home dad . During times like last night while watching my cutie pie and feeling such a sense of love and pride in her, I am grateful for the opportunity of the last 7(almost) years!
For the last year or so I have taken my eye off the ball of what is really important.
It is a very subtle thing, the ability to take attention off what is truly important even when you think that you are not doing so. There are numerous factors that have made this happen and I blame only myself. Melissa and I have made some questionable decisions over the years but things have been very good for us–at least everyone around us would think so.
I have always said that time flies, even when I was a young 19 year old I often looked back and thought “Where did the time go?” This feeling is always reinforced when a pet, friend or loved one dies. It is at that time that we always seem to say that we will make more time to see others or do things we have meant to do. For me, these things are miniscule compared to what I am thinking about now.
It has been easy for me to become distracted with the home businesses that I have been working hard at and with my devotion to remain healthy and fit for–in the long run– Emma. Add to this the fact that Melissa is now traveling quite a lot(I can’t elaborate more than this but remember that a great career and great money come at a price, often a huge price..We need to ask ourselves if this price is worth it.) and the resulting stress and anxiety that has come with it and I have been someone with a mind that does not quit lately. Many thoughts have swirled in my mind and this has resulted in my not being able to do things that require more thinking, focus and brain power. Insomnia, something that used to be completely foreign to me has now been a drain on some nights. Of course exercising and dodgeball have taken the edge off somewhat but the fact remains that I have been failing as a Dad to Emma. Sure, I have devoted most everything for her and spend lots of time with her etc… but I have failed where I thought I never would, educationally.
When I was a kid, up until high school, good grades and learning were quite easy for me.
Not to brag but I got excellent grades without even trying. Oh, I remember those years getting the Most Outstanding Boy of the Class award every year…. Well, even though I have been helping Emma to learn–at least I thought I was doing a good job–it has come to our attention that she is having problems with math. This baffles me too because math was such a breeze for me….
I have been trying to put more emphasis on her now, putting the computer, Ipad and phone away when we are together and have been met with some resistance on Emma’s part. She gets extremely frustrated when she can’t do something and we end up in a tug of war trying to get her to learn without me blowing my top. This is extremely frustrating for her and I. When I tell her we will take a break she gets even more upset because she wants to figure the problem out so bad. Anyway, I know that parents go through this stuff every day. I just never thought we would have such issues. Eventually we will get to the solution at which time she gets so happy and proud–while I am mentally exhausted and drained! How do teachers do it? And, anyone who says that staying home with kids is easier than going to work is, in my mind, insane!
Anyway, with all of this has come my neglect with this blog. I have many blog posts drafted but not completed, mainly because I feel too exhausted to focus on actually writing the whole posts out. I am like a little dog that won’t sit still!!!
It is time for me to concentrate on what is truly important now even if it means cutting back on some other things.
Emma is only a kid once and I don’t want to look back years from now and think that I dropped the ball or took my hands off the wheel.
So, in conclusion, I have been going through some very challenging times lately and have neglected some things. I have decided that I am back in the driver’s seat now and this blog will ramp up production again!
Here is an awesome video clip from the movie “Courageous” that is relevant to what I’ve been talking about.
It has been a busy time. With Melissa’s new work schedule and getting my home businesses going I have slacked a bit on this blog. Well, that is about to change. I am in the process of updating old posts that I hadn’t finished. They are posted by date so there are some being entered from the last couple years and will be entered by their original post date.
As for Melissa’s job changes, that is addressed in other posts. It has drastically altered things as described in those posts.
The home businesses that I have been working on have taken up some time as I have been increasing as my earnings have been growing. It is very exciting to be able to actually make money from home as a Stay At Home Dad!
I do, however have some concerns about the seeming lack of support from some family and friends regarding supporting my home businesses. I would never expect anyone to use or purchase anything that I was providing if it meant that it would cause them a big inconvenience or more money than they are already be spending. I know times are tough for people. However, when I am able to provide goods and/or services that they are already using at the same or less prices then I feel that it is a no brainer for them to want to support my business. I have a feeling there is more to it than meets the eye. I think that some people have other agendas as far as helping a friend or family member. Who knows. I know that Melissa and I would even pay more for something if it meant helping a friend or family member to grow their business.
Here is an analogy that makes sense of what I am saying. Say I owned a gas station and there was another gas station across the street from me with the same price, as it is now some of my friends and family are going to the station across the street to get their gas instead of coming to mine. Now, how would that make you feel? Add to this the fact that we have helped some of these people in the past–and would gladly do it again in the future.
I am truly grateful for those friends, friends of friends, family, etc…that have become customers of mine. You all know who you are.
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