Author Topic: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?  (Read 6248 times)

beekeeper

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FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« on: February 26, 2019, 12:50:25 AM »
My parents are retired. They wake up each day and decide how many cups of tea to drink in bed before getting up for the day, whether to read a book or walk over to visit a friend, what to plan with friends in the evenings, what long vacations to arrange, whether to start a new creative project or not, and so on. They are very happy and content.

FIRE seems to be about enjoying this lifestyle from a younger age. How does that work when you have kids though? How old do they have to be before parents could live a FIRE lifestyle with any semblance to a traditional retirement? Is it once they start school, or once they are teenagers, or once they are grown up?

I am asking this in the context of how we would choose a target date to FIRE. I don't feel the attraction to FIRE at the moment because work is not an especially demanding dimension of my life compared with kids. I am wondering if other people have felt this way in the past and at what point that changed and FIRE started to represent leisure?

Malkynn

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2019, 04:35:57 AM »
First, FIRE really isn't about any generalizable goals other than to not do work that you don't enjoy any longer than you have to.

Beyond that, everyone's FIRE goals are personal and different.

Also, other than the morning routine, I don't see why you couldn't do all of the things you mentioned that your parents do once your kids are off to school?

I mean, sure, if you enjoy your job and don't mind staying in it while your kids are in school, and if you really don't have anything else you would rather do with your daytime hours, then sure, why not keep working?

Otherwise, I don't really get why having kids would make someone stay in a job that they don't need, just because having kids makes leisure time less leisurely??

Cranky

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2019, 05:07:03 AM »
When my parents retired, they were a million times busier than when they just went to work every day! For retirement isn't necessarily about laying around the house.

Plus, some people want to retire and spend more time with their kids. I, personally, very much enjoyed being home with my kids.

beekeeper

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2019, 05:44:57 AM »
I don't see why you couldn't do all of the things you mentioned that your parents do once your kids are off to school?

This is partly what I am asking. My kids have not started school yet. Maybe the answer is that once they do then FIRE would create a lot of leisure time. I don't have the experience to know yet!

Hula Hoop

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2019, 05:54:23 AM »
I think once your kids are at school, it gets a lot easier to have leisure time.  My kids are now 7 and 10 - I still work full time but things are a lot easier in a lot of ways when I am home with them on weekends.  They can entertain themselves to some extent and I don't need to watch them all the time to make sure they don't swallow small objects. 

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2019, 06:41:18 AM »
Iím trying to have a kid now but my plan is to FIRE when the kid is 5. I think it would be great to be fully present before and after school, have time for myself while the kid is at school and then be able to plan extended holidays and trips because I wouldnít be confined to a work schedule. MMM achieved FIRE before he had his kid. Iíd donít see FIRE as incompatible with children, nor the need to replicate the traditional retirements of people in their 60-70s but at a younger age.

mtnman125

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2019, 02:57:45 PM »
We're not FIRE yet, but I'm planning to pull the plug when my daughter starts Kindergarten (wife will move to part time).  For us, this comes with a relocation to LCOL, so only possible once daycare expense is gone.

Ideally, it would give us the time to exercise, run errands, etc while kiddo is at school, so we can spend weekends doing fun family stuff.  Our weekends now are just too busy to really enjoy.

We also have family in the new location, so it would be reasonable for just my wife and I to take a trip for a few days while daughter stays with family.

Laura Ingalls

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2019, 07:47:35 PM »
DH and I are both semi-retired and have two teenagers in public school.  The school calendar is still a big limitation.  My one experience leaving a kid home by himself overnight didnít go so good.

I like life now and enjoy lots of free time and a low stress paid employment situation.  I am looking forward to a schedule of my own choosing. 

beekeeper

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2019, 06:27:56 AM »
The school calendar is still a big limitation.

Thank you for pointing this out. I suppose that once the kids have started school we will have much more time but we will still be constrained for most of the year when it comes to travel. So best to focus on hobbies that can be enjoyed locally for a few hours at a time.

Jon Bon

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2019, 06:45:13 AM »
Not as much as you think.

Kids can always miss a few days for a long weekend in grade school. Plus if you care about their education its pretty easy to keep them at the head of the class and a few days does not set them back at all. Second they have like a million days off. Teacher in service, 2 weeks for xmas and a week for spring  break. So yeah you cant jet off in a moments notice but its not a huge deal to miss school. What does become an issue and only if you let it is the damn little league arms race. Travel sports, obligations every weekend, long seasons, special trainers, teams, coaches etc.

My oldest is in kindergarten and the youngest is in preschool so we are close to fire with kids.

beekeeper

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2019, 07:19:05 AM »
Kids can always miss a few days for a long weekend in grade school.

I don't think that it is so relaxed here in Switzerland. I'm told that kids have a limit of four half-days off school per year and that this is strictly enforced from the first grade. I am happy that they take school seriously but this will be a pretty major constraint for us. Even taking Christmas Eve off to travel would take up half our annual quota...

Catbert

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2019, 11:34:26 AM »
I'll answer with the punch line to an old joke about "when life begins."  The answer to both is, when the kids move out and the dog dies.

Goldielocks

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2019, 01:48:15 PM »
I FIRED / Semi FIRED 2 years ago.
Kids were aged 14 and 16 at the time.

I find that during the school year, I have a couple of days a week that look a lot like my retired (but active volunteer) parents.  During summer, it definitely looks like retirement with hiking on weekdays, and lots of home repair / errands/ upkeep on weekdays, my evenings and weekends are free for fun stuff, relaxing, MMM forums, etc.

One big difference (FIRE with kids) is that kids want to buy things and have experiences, and have sudden expenses.   I , as a parent, budget from my FIRE budget for some of these things, but then the unexpected , or truly "extra discretionary" happens -- I paid for extra driving lessons for my daughter as she kept failing her drive test / exam.  That was nearly $800.  My son's ski trip was unexpected and the other two large expenses / activities (sailing, summer camp) planned this year my son still wants to do.   I intentionally do not insure a second car, with my FIRE budget, but with two kids driving now, I am starting to re-consider it. DD wants contacts and would like help paying for them (I pay for glasses now).   DS may need extra tutoring or help.

I, the parent, then WANT to spend more money on my kids.

So I then start to accept the occasionally extra work contract, for spending money, here and there... am looking at hosting an exchange student (for pay), that sort of thing.

I will say that FIRE with kids is very busy, but a huge difference is the gain of Saturday and your weeknights for family time / relaxing.   I am not cleaning the house, grocery shopping, going to the dentist or bank appointments on these days anymore. 

Hula Hoop

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2019, 03:18:39 AM »
Kids can always miss a few days for a long weekend in grade school.

I don't think that it is so relaxed here in Switzerland. I'm told that kids have a limit of four half-days off school per year and that this is strictly enforced from the first grade. I am happy that they take school seriously but this will be a pretty major constraint for us. Even taking Christmas Eve off to travel would take up half our annual quota...

That's a shame.  Here in Italy, so far, our kids' teachers have been pretty relaxed about them missing school to visit family overseas.  The teachers say 'they'll learn a lot travelling overseas and it will also be good for their English".  The kids have each missed around 2 weeks of school each December since they've been in school and their teachers just gave them homework to make up the class time.  They are both good students, which probably makes a difference. They're in grades 2 and 5.

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2019, 09:22:35 AM »
The best aspect of FIRE with young kids is having the freedom to have one SAHP (stay at home parent) without losing out on anything.  Other than that, both parents being home is probably not a giant leap in happiness, unless both just hate their work.  I kept working after FI because I get to travel with my work and that's what I'd be doing anyways, only now it's not just paid for but I'm getting paid for it so I can travel even more once we are empty-nesters.  In fact, my FI number went up a little bit because I'm pretty much now only going to fly business (get the points upgrade on full fare economy) for long haul flights. Getting older sucks, time becomes even more valuable!

Cassie

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2019, 09:36:49 AM »
When the kids are gone:))  As teens you have to make sure they don't fall in with the wrong crowd, etc.  When kids are teens it's less physically exhausting but more mentally exhausting.

historienne

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2019, 09:39:17 AM »
I think this depends on your own personalities.  We have met our financial goal for my husband to retire (I really enjoy my work and intend to keep doing it indefinitely).  However, we have two young kids, one still in daycare.  My husband is not actually interested in being a full time SAHP, and we do not have enough money to pay for childcare without his salary.  At this point, he intends to keep working at least three more years, when both of our kids will be in public school full time.  We'll re-evaluate at that point, but he may keep working part time so that we can keep affording things like summer camp.  He's a great father who would love to spend an extra 10-20 hours/week with our kids...but not 45. 

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2019, 11:54:33 AM »
I think this depends on your own personalities.  We have met our financial goal for my husband to retire (I really enjoy my work and intend to keep doing it indefinitely).  However, we have two young kids, one still in daycare.  My husband is not actually interested in being a full time SAHP, and we do not have enough money to pay for childcare without his salary.  At this point, he intends to keep working at least three more years, when both of our kids will be in public school full time.  We'll re-evaluate at that point, but he may keep working part time so that we can keep affording things like summer camp.  He's a great father who would love to spend an extra 10-20 hours/week with our kids...but not 45.

Geez, women spend 45 hours with their kids (and more) all the time, but for men itís such a big sacrifice that someone would choose to not be there during those precious years of learning, when they could, cause their own kids just arenít as engaging. And this is a good dad (which Iím not doubting). The bar for men is so low.

Jon Bon

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2019, 12:09:13 PM »
I think this depends on your own personalities.  We have met our financial goal for my husband to retire (I really enjoy my work and intend to keep doing it indefinitely).  However, we have two young kids, one still in daycare.  My husband is not actually interested in being a full time SAHP, and we do not have enough money to pay for childcare without his salary.  At this point, he intends to keep working at least three more years, when both of our kids will be in public school full time.  We'll re-evaluate at that point, but he may keep working part time so that we can keep affording things like summer camp.  He's a great father who would love to spend an extra 10-20 hours/week with our kids...but not 45.

Geez, women spend 45 hours with their kids (and more) all the time, but for men itís such a big sacrifice that someone would choose to not be there during those precious years of learning, when they could, cause their own kids just arenít as engaging. And this is a good dad (which Iím not doubting). The bar for men is so low.

LOL it totally is. So funny and true story.

My spouse shows up with the kids and if everything is less than perfect she will get 'looks' from people. I show up with the kids by myself late, hair askew, in dirty clothes and all fighting with each other and people are like wow such a good dad.  This happens pretty regularly.  I get credit for the regular shit you are just suppose to do.

But yeah if you are not willing to be a SAHP with your kids at some point (because hey,  life happens) you should think long and hard about having them. Last I checked 45 hours is just over 2 days, what do you guys do for the other 5 days? Because sign me up for that!


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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2019, 01:49:47 PM »
I don't see why you couldn't do all of the things you mentioned that your parents do once your kids are off to school?

This is partly what I am asking. My kids have not started school yet. Maybe the answer is that once they do then FIRE would create a lot of leisure time. I don't have the experience to know yet!

We have four kids, age 7, 5, 3, and 6 months. I am counting down the days until the youngest is in school :)

Just kidding. We obviously love kids, otherwise we wouldn't have four of them (we're done now, btw), but they get significantly easier when they are school-age. Our 5- and 7-year-old require much less supervision and correction that the 3-year-old. I won't likely be in a position to FIRE in the next 5 years, but I can imagine that one could live a pretty flexible lifestyle once the kids are away for 8 hours, 5 days a week.

historienne

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2019, 02:42:57 PM »
Geez, women spend 45 hours with their kids (and more) all the time, but for men itís such a big sacrifice that someone would choose to not be there during those precious years of learning, when they could, cause their own kids just arenít as engaging. And this is a good dad (which Iím not doubting). The bar for men is so low.

If you read the rest of what I wrote, you'll note that I plan to continue working indefinitely.  Of the two of us, my husband is the one who wants to spend more time with our kids.  That's true in terms of longterm career planning, and it's also true on a day to day basis; he does more than 50% of the hands-on parenting. 

But yeah if you are not willing to be a SAHP with your kids at some point (because hey,  life happens) you should think long and hard about having them. Last I checked 45 hours is just over 2 days, what do you guys do for the other 5 days? Because sign me up for that!
Please also read my post again.  I said that he doesn't want to spend 45 *extra* hours with our kids.  We are with our kids basically all the time except the 45 hours a week that we are at work and they are at daycare.  We see our kids quite a bit.  Neither of us want to be around our kids 24 hours/day.  The suggestion that people who don't want to be SAHPs shouldn't have kids is insulting and profoundly ignorant.

We're both introverts who wouldn't thrive as a full time stay-at-home-parents.  We could do it, and we would if necessary.  But it's not necessary, so we don't, because we don't feel an unhealthy obligation to martyr ourselves to live up to someone else's notion of what good parenting is. 

I'm confident that we're both great parents.  Part of what makes us good parents is having the emotional intelligence to recognize what works for the individual mix of personalities in our family.  In our case, that means sending our kids to a high-quality daycare, where they are happy and thriving.

I've got nothing against parents (of either gender) who choose to stay at home full time with their kids.  I trust that they are making the best choice for their family, and that they are in a better position to know what works for their family than any external observer.  I would ask that you extend me and my family the same courtesy.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2019, 02:52:19 PM by historienne »

Case

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2019, 02:48:05 PM »
My parents are retired. They wake up each day and decide how many cups of tea to drink in bed before getting up for the day, whether to read a book or walk over to visit a friend, what to plan with friends in the evenings, what long vacations to arrange, whether to start a new creative project or not, and so on. They are very happy and content.

FIRE seems to be about enjoying this lifestyle from a younger age. How does that work when you have kids though? How old do they have to be before parents could live a FIRE lifestyle with any semblance to a traditional retirement? Is it once they start school, or once they are teenagers, or once they are grown up?

I am asking this in the context of how we would choose a target date to FIRE. I don't feel the attraction to FIRE at the moment because work is not an especially demanding dimension of my life compared with kids. I am wondering if other people have felt this way in the past and at what point that changed and FIRE started to represent leisure?

In almost all situations, a life with children has a lot more additional responsibility than life without them.  At the same time, you gain the bond of having a child, and all that. 

You can certainly have plenty of leisure if you FIRE with children.  But if you will never have as much leisure as if you didn't have leisure... at least until the kids are grown up (and don't require lifelong care).

Different people put different amounts of time/effort into raising children.  For some people, it is like having another full time job.  For other people, it is not that much effort (for example, may you have a spouse or nanny that cares for the children while you do less).  There are all sorts of possibilities in life.  However, unless you don't participate as much in raising/caring for the child, you simply wont have nearly as much free time.

arebelspy

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2019, 09:24:04 PM »
My parents are retired. They wake up each day and decide how many cups of tea to drink in bed before getting up for the day, whether to read a book or walk over to visit a friend, what to plan with friends in the evenings, what long vacations to arrange, whether to start a new creative project or not, and so on. They are very happy and content.

FIRE seems to be about enjoying this lifestyle from a younger age. How does that work when you have kids though? How old do they have to be before parents could live a FIRE lifestyle with any semblance to a traditional retirement? Is it once they start school, or once they are teenagers, or once they are grown up?

I am asking this in the context of how we would choose a target date to FIRE. I don't feel the attraction to FIRE at the moment because work is not an especially demanding dimension of my life compared with kids. I am wondering if other people have felt this way in the past and at what point that changed and FIRE started to represent leisure?

I don't even understand the question or it's relevance, or how it helps you, or what you intend to learn from this, or... anything about it.

Presumably you've decided to have kids either way, whether you're FIREing or not.

So it's a moot point what a FIRE'd life without them might look like, for you.

You have two options:
1) FIRE, with kids. Even if it doesn't look like "retirement" because there's a lot of childcare involved, which is a lot of work, or
2) Keep working.

FIRE with kids will feel like retirement with kids, because you aren't going to a job every day. Yes, you'll still have the kids, and all that entails. That is true whether you FIRE or not.

I'm 33. I've been FIRE'd for 3 1/2 years. I have a three year old and a one year old. My FIRE'd life doesn't look the same as someone who is 33 and FIRE'd and has no kids. Not even close.

But I made the choice to have kids, so why would I compare what my FIRE'd life looks like to theirs, or to someone who's 50+ and done with the kid-rearing phase, or whatever?

We specifically chose to wait to have kids until after FIRE, so we could both be there. It's a lot of work, and now our three year old attends a creative preschool three hours a day (9am-noon) on weekdays. And it's still a lot of work.

But we'd still prefer it to them being in childcare all day, and us working full time jobs, for sure.

Does it feel like the FIRE'd life of people without kids? Of course not. But as I started this post, I don't even understand why you'd ask about that comparison.

We wanted kids. And even though our FIRE'd life doesn't look like the childfree one, if done with the relevant comparison (to someone with two kids not yet FIRE'd), does it feel better than going to work every day? Totally! We'll never get back the years we sold for money, and we'd never get these years of our kids' lives back. That's important to us, and I just don't see how comparing to older retired folks is relevant at all.

(FWIW, having kids is hard. I tip my hat to SAHMs or SAHDs who do it on their own. I really struggle with childcare. My wife is amazing, and I really try to do my best.)
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Hula Hoop

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2019, 02:24:05 AM »
I think this depends on your own personalities.  We have met our financial goal for my husband to retire (I really enjoy my work and intend to keep doing it indefinitely).  However, we have two young kids, one still in daycare.  My husband is not actually interested in being a full time SAHP, and we do not have enough money to pay for childcare without his salary.  At this point, he intends to keep working at least three more years, when both of our kids will be in public school full time.  We'll re-evaluate at that point, but he may keep working part time so that we can keep affording things like summer camp.  He's a great father who would love to spend an extra 10-20 hours/week with our kids...but not 45.

Geez, women spend 45 hours with their kids (and more) all the time, but for men itís such a big sacrifice that someone would choose to not be there during those precious years of learning, when they could, cause their own kids just arenít as engaging. And this is a good dad (which Iím not doubting). The bar for men is so low.

I agree that the bar for dads is often way lower that the one for mothers.  However, this is not a gender issue.  I'm a mom and can't imagine being a full time SAH mother to young kids or home schooling older kids.  I love spending time with my kids but 24/7 childcare to little kids would be really tough.  My hat is off to SAH parents of young kids.

MrThatsdifferent - from what I understand you don't have kids - sorry to be blunt but I think this is one of those things you can only understand once you are a parent.

beekeeper

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2019, 03:17:40 AM »
I don't even understand the question or it's relevance, or how it helps you, or what you intend to learn from this, or... anything about it.

The question is about how to choose a FIRE target date. I would like to understand the pros and cons of FIRE at different phases of life e.g. with babies, with preschoolers, with teenagers, with empty nest, etc. This will help me to think about when I should plan to FIRE myself.

Today I don't feel the urge to FIRE and I am wondering when this situation is likely to change. Maybe when the kids start school, for example. I don't know the answer yet but it is helpful to read about other people's experiences.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #25 on: March 01, 2019, 03:18:02 AM »
I think this depends on your own personalities.  We have met our financial goal for my husband to retire (I really enjoy my work and intend to keep doing it indefinitely).  However, we have two young kids, one still in daycare.  My husband is not actually interested in being a full time SAHP, and we do not have enough money to pay for childcare without his salary.  At this point, he intends to keep working at least three more years, when both of our kids will be in public school full time.  We'll re-evaluate at that point, but he may keep working part time so that we can keep affording things like summer camp.  He's a great father who would love to spend an extra 10-20 hours/week with our kids...but not 45.

Geez, women spend 45 hours with their kids (and more) all the time, but for men itís such a big sacrifice that someone would choose to not be there during those precious years of learning, when they could, cause their own kids just arenít as engaging. And this is a good dad (which Iím not doubting). The bar for men is so low.

I agree that the bar for dads is often way lower that the one for mothers.  However, this is not a gender issue.  I'm a mom and can't imagine being a full time SAH mother to young kids or home schooling older kids.  I love spending time with my kids but 24/7 childcare to little kids would be really tough.  My hat is off to SAH parents of young kids.

MrThatsdifferent - from what I understand you don't have kids - sorry to be blunt but I think this is one of those things you can only understand once you are a parent.

Ahh geez Hula Hoop, yes, I forgot that only people with children can have any opinion about children, no matter what their experience has been with children. Unfortunately for you Iím entitled to whatever opinion I want to have, you have the option of giving it whatever value you deem necessary, but if you donít mind internet stranger, Iím not letting you control my thoughts or sharing them to this forum. Cheers.

Malkynn

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #26 on: March 01, 2019, 04:51:58 AM »
I don't even understand the question or it's relevance, or how it helps you, or what you intend to learn from this, or... anything about it.

The question is about how to choose a FIRE target date. I would like to understand the pros and cons of FIRE at different phases of life e.g. with babies, with preschoolers, with teenagers, with empty nest, etc. This will help me to think about when I should plan to FIRE myself.

Today I don't feel the urge to FIRE and I am wondering when this situation is likely to change. Maybe when the kids start school, for example. I don't know the answer yet but it is helpful to read about other people's experiences.

I think the point he's trying to make is the same point that I tried to make, that although having kids changes the dynamic of retirement, it really doesn't have that much impact on whether or not you should leave your job once you've reached your retirement savings goals.

Yeah, you don't get to live like a 65 year old retiree if you have young kids, but you do get to live like MMM if you want to and that's the whole point.

Figure out what you would ideally want to do with your days and do that. If that's continuing to work, then cool. If it isn't, then do something else.

The whole point of FIRE is that you can choose what your life looks like from a work perspective. How it looks from a child perspective is a whole other issue. I know some late 60s retirees who are now again raising kids because they got custody of their grandkids.

Does it seriously affect their leisure time? Of course.
Does it have any bearing on their status as retired? Not at all.

The leisure that you are envying actually has more to do with not having kids in the house than with not having a job. Jobs can be changed, done from home, worked part time, etc, etc. There are countless ways to sit in bed in the morning having coffee and contemplating what to do with the day.

Having kids??
Yeah, job or no job, you're getting up 7 days a week.

So yeah, your kids are going to cramp your leisure-retirement dreams, but that isn't tremendously related to the question of when you should finish at your current job...

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #27 on: March 01, 2019, 08:21:16 AM »
I don't even understand the question or it's relevance, or how it helps you, or what you intend to learn from this, or... anything about it.

The question is about how to choose a FIRE target date. I would like to understand the pros and cons of FIRE at different phases of life e.g. with babies, with preschoolers, with teenagers, with empty nest, etc. This will help me to think about when I should plan to FIRE myself.

Today I don't feel the urge to FIRE and I am wondering when this situation is likely to change. Maybe when the kids start school, for example. I don't know the answer yet but it is helpful to read about other people's experiences.

Gotcha.

That clarification helps, thanks.

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Today I don't feel the urge to FIRE

Okay, so... why would you?

Financial independence is so you have the option to live whatever life you want, without worrying about making money. If that is a life where you go to work every day, more power to you. If that's a life where you are home with kids, cool. You get to make that decision.

We can't tell you "Hey, you should FIRE when your youngest kid hit 8.756, because it's much easier at that point." because it all depends on you and your kids. What you like, what they are like, etc.

Essentially, this:
Figure out what you would ideally want to do with your days and do that.

My point was: You have the kids now. Presumably you aren't getting rid of them. So that's a done decision. So the question in the title/OP of "when does it feel like retirement" and comparing it to an older person's retirement isn't relevant.

Your personal relevant question is "Given the parameters in place in my life, how do I want to spend my days?"

When money doesn't matter, what do you want to do with your time? If work didn't pay you, would you still go in every day?

No need to compare with other alternate timelines. In this one, how do you want to spend your days?

:)
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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #28 on: March 01, 2019, 01:05:23 PM »
Iím a bit confused as well as the goal of FIRE is to retire from work, not your children. I guess if you equate FIRE to no other responsibilities to anyone or anything but myself then sure, lump being parents into that, but I donít define FIRE as that. My plan (if it all works) will be one year of family leave (not really FIRE but kinda) and then probably 4 more years of working to get to full FIRE so that would be when the kid is 4-5. I wish I could be FIREd the whole time as Iíd like to be around the early years as much as possible. If only I had discovered (and believed in) FIRE earlier in life. Oh well...

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #29 on: March 04, 2019, 09:58:30 PM »
OP, I can sympathize and emphasize with your question. I have a four year old and an almost two year old, and I while I'm retired, it is almost always far from leisure. I think the question you are asking is would I want to be a stay at home parent, retired or not, and the answer may very well be no.

As to when it gets better, I can't answer directly, but I imagine it does when your children are of school age. We have had our oldest in close to full day child care on and off as possible, and it is dramatically better to only have to deal with one of them at a time at least.

You may also be making a false dichotomy. How are your finances? If you retired could you afford full or part time help: a nanny, au pair, baby sitter, etc?
That might give you the best of both worlds, it would have to be factored into your retirement budget.

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #30 on: March 05, 2019, 01:43:17 AM »
My kids are 7 and 10 and I find, even at these ages, that staying home with them and certain activities that I enjoy are tough to do.  So we tend to get out of the house as much as possible on weekends and do kid friendly things that I wouldn't necessarily choose if I were on my own.  I imagine that if I FIREd without kids I'd probably spend a lot of time decompressing - reading, watching Netflix, going on long bike rides, going to museums.  With kids, it's hard to, for example, stay home all day reading or go to an art museum.  Bike riding is scary as the I'm constantly worried that crazy drivers will run into one of the kids.  Of course, if I were FIREd I could probably do these things while they are at school.

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #31 on: March 05, 2019, 07:05:04 AM »
You may also be making a false dichotomy. How are your finances? If you retired could you afford full or part time help: a nanny, au pair, baby sitter, etc?
That might give you the best of both worlds, it would have to be factored into your retirement budget.

This is an astute observation. Yes, if we were FIRE and had a nanny or au pair, then our lives might look a lot like traditional retirement. This possibility didn't even occur to me because childcare is so strongly linked with work in my imagination. Thank you for pointing this out!

Now it seems to me that if we did want to live a lifestyle similar to a traditional retirement we could do that today by relocating to a lower-cost location where we could afford childcare on a retired budget. I imagine that we will stick where we are and FIRE some time when the kids are older but I now see this framed as a choice we can consciously make.

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #32 on: March 05, 2019, 07:09:10 AM »
The school calendar is still a big limitation.

Thank you for pointing this out. I suppose that once the kids have started school we will have much more time but we will still be constrained for most of the year when it comes to travel. So best to focus on hobbies that can be enjoyed locally for a few hours at a time.

My wife and I have talked at length about homeschooling partially because of this reason.

Especially due to the flexibility if we are actually FIRE (if I FIRE at 40, oldest will be ~10). It seems this combination could be really great for a meaningful interaction with kids. 

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #33 on: March 05, 2019, 07:51:09 AM »
I think the question you are asking is would I want to be a stay at home parent, retired or not, and the answer may very well be no.

For me the answer certainly is no.

We have our three year old go to preschool 3 hours a day (9-noon M-F), and my wife takes them quite a bit, so while I do a lot of childcare, it's not full time, with two of them. I'd 100% rather go back to work than do that (I liked my job quite a bit!).

The wife would much rather be a SAHM than go back to work. She loves being home and playing with the kids.

These are things that may be hard to know before FIRE. (We didn't even have our first kid until after FIRE, so no way to know. I always thought I'd want to be SAH, until I tried it.)

The idea of planning for an au pair or other help (especially during pre-school years) and putting that in your FIRE budget is a good one.
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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #34 on: March 05, 2019, 07:52:11 AM »
I think it is a mistake to equate FIRE with traditional retirement, if you have kids.

What would traditional retirement look like if a 65 year old adopted a toddler? That's what your FIRE will look like.  It's being a SAHP without the stress of "do we have enough income".

FIRE doesn't mean leisure time if you have the responsibility of raising children. It does mean much more flexibility about what you and the kids can do all day.

Me, personally, I am more concerned with remaining FI. I'm not interested in the RE aspect.

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #35 on: March 05, 2019, 09:06:17 AM »
I enjoyed being a SAHM until the youngest was in school all day and then I was very glad to rejoin the world:)).   Some people find they hate it. We are all different. Once my kids were 3 I sent them to nursery school which was 3 days a week for 2 hours. They loved it.

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #36 on: March 05, 2019, 10:33:37 AM »
I enjoyed being a SAHM until the youngest was in school all day and then I was very glad to rejoin the world:)).   Some people find they hate it. We are all different. Once my kids were 3 I sent them to nursery school which was 3 days a week for 2 hours. They loved it.

Yep, SAH parenting all depends on the parent. My wife did it for 5 years and loved it. She now works half-time to get health insurance benefits, and while she enjoys her work, she misses being home with the 3-year-old and 6-month-old. Me? I used to be jealous of my wife when I was working full-time and she was home with just one child. Now that we have 4 kids, I'd much rather be working than staying home with them 5 days a week. Too much chaos for me. I love my kids, but weekends and evenings are plenty :)

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #37 on: March 05, 2019, 11:12:17 AM »
I love my kid, but someone else put it really nicely above. We are both introverts and so need quiet time to ourselves to recharge. With my 4.5 year-old there is no such thing as time when she isn’t talking. My 1.5 year-old would love desperately to talk and babbles a lot, and in the interim wants mummy mummy mummy mummy!!!! It is exhausting.

If we were both FIRE then it would be a long weekend, made even better when school starts and we will get some quiet time just the two of us. If just one of us quit, that person would probably go looney toons.

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #38 on: March 05, 2019, 11:57:33 AM »
I think the question you are asking is would I want to be a stay at home parent, retired or not, and the answer may very well be no.

For me the answer certainly is no.

We have our three year old go to preschool 3 hours a day (9-noon M-F), and my wife takes them quite a bit, so while I do a lot of childcare, it's not full time, with two of them. I'd 100% rather go back to work than do that (I liked my job quite a bit!).

The wife would much rather be a SAHM than go back to work. She loves being home and playing with the kids.

Both my husband and I feel like you...hence, we've opted to continue working until our kids are both in elementary school. 

Staying at home full time with kids is great for some people, but it's also a lot of work.  There's no shame (or shouldn't be) in deciding that it's not your ideal life.

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #39 on: March 05, 2019, 12:48:43 PM »
I think the question you are asking is would I want to be a stay at home parent, retired or not, and the answer may very well be no.

For me the answer certainly is no.

We have our three year old go to preschool 3 hours a day (9-noon M-F), and my wife takes them quite a bit, so while I do a lot of childcare, it's not full time, with two of them. I'd 100% rather go back to work than do that (I liked my job quite a bit!).

The wife would much rather be a SAHM than go back to work. She loves being home and playing with the kids.

Both my husband and I feel like you...hence, we've opted to continue working until our kids are both in elementary school. 

Staying at home full time with kids is great for some people, but it's also a lot of work.  There's no shame (or shouldn't be) in deciding that it's not your ideal life.

Agreed.

But again, doesn't mean you have to work, unless money is a limiting factor.

Wherever your kids are now, while you both are at work, they could still be. Doesn't mean you have to be at work.

I think it is a mistake to equate FIRE with traditional retirement, if you have kids.

What would traditional retirement look like if a 65 year old adopted a toddler? That's what your FIRE will look like.

Hah. Good point.

Quote
It's being a SAHP without the stress of "do we have enough income"

To this point, two quotes from my Evernote Good Quotes folder:
"Money doesn't solve all your problems, but it does solve all your money problems."
"Money makes life easier, it doesn't make life better."
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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #40 on: March 05, 2019, 01:34:12 PM »
I'm in a similar situation to ARS. Both my husband and I are FIREd. We have a 3 y.o. and a 10 month-old. For [reasons], I do the bulk of the childcare. And, yeah, I do feel more like a SAHM than a globe-trotting single FIREe because, well, I'm a mom who stays home.

Currently, I prefer this to working full-time with two kids in childcare. Why?
1) I worked full-time with one kid in childcare, and it was way harder. No sleeping in if the baby slept in. Long commute, made longer, by a detour to a good daycare. PUMPING (OMG, don't get me started on pumping). Being on my Blackberry from 5-7pm (the hours I saw my kid while he was awake.
2) I like momming. Hitting up children's museums, going on hikes, watching my 3 y.o. turn himself upside-down to be an exclamation mark. It's good stuff. We may choose part-time preschool at some point, but I really like how things are right now.
3) I have mental/emotional bandwidth for my hobbies (writing mostly), which I didn't have with my job.
4) I got to move back to the West Coast rather than staying in GA, which I really didn't like.

FTR, I never thought I would want to be a SAHM. But it 's really something you can't know if you don't try it. So, totally a personal decision based on your job, your feelings toward childcare, your feelings about the other limitations a job puts on your life.

To your question, do I feel retired? I don't use that word because I'm 31. But, yeah, I do. I'm relaxed. I'm in control of my time (with some limitations regarding nap times :) ). My brain is free to roam wherever the hell it pleases during the day rather than being forced ruminate on the inanities of being management in a large organization. I don't sit in pointless meetings. I don't waste hours a day in my car. In fact, I very rarely spend time wishing I was somewhere else.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2019, 01:48:34 PM by wordnerd »

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #41 on: March 05, 2019, 01:54:28 PM »
I think the question you are asking is would I want to be a stay at home parent, retired or not, and the answer may very well be no.

For me the answer certainly is no.

We have our three year old go to preschool 3 hours a day (9-noon M-F), and my wife takes them quite a bit, so while I do a lot of childcare, it's not full time, with two of them. I'd 100% rather go back to work than do that (I liked my job quite a bit!).

The wife would much rather be a SAHM than go back to work. She loves being home and playing with the kids.

Both my husband and I feel like you...hence, we've opted to continue working until our kids are both in elementary school. 

Staying at home full time with kids is great for some people, but it's also a lot of work.  There's no shame (or shouldn't be) in deciding that it's not your ideal life.

All of these thoughts remind me of what I was thinking when I was heavily debating having children.  I kept trying to think of ways to minimize the actual amount of time I was going to spend being a parent, and maximize the amount of time on things like hiking, traveling, relaxing, exercising, etc...  In the end, I ended up thinking to myself, "you know, if you're panicking so much at the loss of your freedoms, and trying to find ways to bend the 'rules' so that you can have children and still have all those freedoms, maybe you're not the best candidate for being a parent".  If you FIRE, and then use money to put your child in daycare all day, or get an au pair (per @arebelspy comment), is choosing to be a parent a good choice?  I'm not condemning, or stating the answer; rather, I'm stating it's a conversation worth having within the FIRE community, as well as personally (and with your partner).

This thread has made me think about that all again.  I imagine there is a different answer for everyone.

The main things you can't (or rather shouldn't) do with children are abandon them for long lengths of time (maybe >1-2 weeks?).  For me, this nixes the possibility of significant travel, or backpacking trips.  These have been things I really don't want to give up.  But, most other things are feasible once the child goes to school.  Of course, you will always have far less free time if you have children.  But then again, as Arebelspy pointed out, you can use money to hire people to handle the work for you.  And you do gain chunks of that time back as the child grows up, though no real freedom until college.

It's a fuzzy line between right and wrong, and money acts as the vehicle to enable.  And of course, it's a grey area; it could be argued that parents with more going on in their life can be better parents to some degree (but obviously there is a point where it becomes malproductive.  Cue the classic cases of parents that pay more attention to their job than their children).  And some activities can be enhanced with a child... and some activities are made miserable with a child.

I spent a lot of brain power trying to 'hack' the prospect of parenthood and adventure in mid-life... ultimately deciding it wasn't fair to the child and that it ultimately meant I didn't want children in the same way other parents did.  But, there are some aspects of parenthood I still find appealing.  It's an interesting topic, for sure.  And one that tends to illicit emotionally intense arguments.

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #42 on: March 05, 2019, 01:59:44 PM »
I think the question you are asking is would I want to be a stay at home parent, retired or not, and the answer may very well be no.

For me the answer certainly is no.

We have our three year old go to preschool 3 hours a day (9-noon M-F), and my wife takes them quite a bit, so while I do a lot of childcare, it's not full time, with two of them. I'd 100% rather go back to work than do that (I liked my job quite a bit!).

The wife would much rather be a SAHM than go back to work. She loves being home and playing with the kids.

Both my husband and I feel like you...hence, we've opted to continue working until our kids are both in elementary school. 

Staying at home full time with kids is great for some people, but it's also a lot of work.  There's no shame (or shouldn't be) in deciding that it's not your ideal life.

All of these thoughts remind me of what I was thinking when I was heavily debating having children.  I kept trying to think of ways to minimize the actual amount of time I was going to spend being a parent, and maximize the amount of time on things like hiking, traveling, relaxing, exercising, etc...  In the end, I ended up thinking to myself, "you know, if you're panicking so much at the loss of your freedoms, and trying to find ways to bend the 'rules' so that you can have children and still have all those freedoms, maybe you're not the best candidate for being a parent".  If you FIRE, and then use money to put your child in daycare all day, or get an au pair (per @arebelspy comment), is choosing to be a parent a good choice?  I'm not condemning, or stating the answer; rather, I'm stating it's a conversation worth having within the FIRE community, as well as personally (and with your partner).

This thread has made me think about that all again.  I imagine there is a different answer for everyone.

The main things you can't (or rather shouldn't) do with children are abandon them for long lengths of time (maybe >1-2 weeks?).  For me, this nixes the possibility of significant travel, or backpacking trips.  These have been things I really don't want to give up.  But, most other things are feasible once the child goes to school.  Of course, you will always have far less free time if you have children.  But then again, as Arebelspy pointed out, you can use money to hire people to handle the work for you.  And you do gain chunks of that time back as the child grows up, though no real freedom until college.

It's a fuzzy line between right and wrong, and money acts as the vehicle to enable.  And of course, it's a grey area; it could be argued that parents with more going on in their life can be better parents to some degree (but obviously there is a point where it becomes malproductive.  Cue the classic cases of parents that pay more attention to their job than their children).  And some activities can be enhanced with a child... and some activities are made miserable with a child.

I spent a lot of brain power trying to 'hack' the prospect of parenthood and adventure in mid-life... ultimately deciding it wasn't fair to the child and that it ultimately meant I didn't want children in the same way other parents did.  But, there are some aspects of parenthood I still find appealing.  It's an interesting topic, for sure.  And one that tends to illicit emotionally intense arguments.

I think the final sentence of the post you quoted is relevant. I bolded it.

I don't see why a parent who is FIRE'd when their kids are young and sends them to daycare for a break is any worse of a parent than one who is working and sends them to daycare, or a parent who opts for public schooling over homeschooling even if they're qualified to teach the kid at home.

If you love your child and do your best for them, that's good enough for me. Even if that means you need a break from them sometimes.

:)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #43 on: March 05, 2019, 04:26:31 PM »
Most  SAHPs I know send their kids to preschool of some kind once the kid is 2.5 or so if finances permit.  Maybe not full-time, but at least a few mornings a week.  Yes, it's good for the kids, but they're also pretty open that it's to give themselves a break.  I think the parent who enjoys being a SAHP for ALL 40-45 hours of the week they would otherwise be working is extremely rare.  I really don't see the point of knocking any parent who says they need a bit of alone/adult time during the week to recharge away from their kids.  It's totally normal and I suspect historically something that most mothers would have had by virtue of living near parents or other extended family.

And yeah, if you haven't had a baby or been substantially responsible for raising someone else's baby in the first few years of life, I do think it's reasonable to say you probably don't really understand the work that's involved.  Having a kid that young requires you to be "on" the entire time they are awake.  Everything you do for yourself that your probably take for granted (getting dressed, using the bathroom, making a sandwich and eating it), you have to do for them or help them to do.  They have limited vocabulary and ability to communicate with you.  Kids are extremely rewarding but they are waaaaaaay more work than I think most non-parents really appreciate.

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #44 on: March 05, 2019, 05:13:09 PM »
Preschool is good for kids and parents.  Most kids look forward to it.  Now sending your kids to full time daycare if you are home seems odd to me.  But everyone gets to make their own decisions.

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #45 on: March 06, 2019, 06:11:41 AM »
And yeah, if you haven't had a baby or been substantially responsible for raising someone else's baby in the first few years of life, I do think it's reasonable to say you probably don't really understand the work that's involved.  Having a kid that young requires you to be "on" the entire time they are awake.  Everything you do for yourself that your probably take for granted (getting dressed, using the bathroom, making a sandwich and eating it), you have to do for them or help them to do.  They have limited vocabulary and ability to communicate with you.  Kids are extremely rewarding but they are waaaaaaay more work than I think most non-parents really appreciate.

Yes, this.  Before having kids myself, I thought I knew all about raising them due to the fact that I have a much younger sibling who I was largely responsible for as a teen and also tons of past babysitting experience.  Little did I know!

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #46 on: March 06, 2019, 09:15:50 AM »
I love my kid, but someone else put it really nicely above. We are both introverts and so need quiet time to ourselves to recharge. With my 4.5 year-old there is no such thing as time when she isnít talking. My 1.5 year-old would love desperately to talk and babbles a lot, and in the interim wants mummy mummy mummy mummy!!!! It is exhausting.

If we were both FIRE then it would be a long weekend, made even better when school starts and we will get some quiet time just the two of us. If just one of us quit, that person would probably go looney toons.
Even with other partner, or paid care, 1.5 year olds are exhausting, no matter what.   

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #47 on: March 06, 2019, 01:34:54 PM »
In the end, I ended up thinking to myself, "you know, if you're panicking so much at the loss of your freedoms, and trying to find ways to bend the 'rules' so that you can have children and still have all those freedoms, maybe you're not the best candidate for being a parent".  If you FIRE, and then use money to put your child in daycare all day, or get an au pair (per @arebelspy comment), is choosing to be a parent a good choice?  I'm not condemning, or stating the answer; rather, I'm stating it's a conversation worth having within the FIRE community, as well as personally (and with your partner).

...

It's a fuzzy line between right and wrong, and money acts as the vehicle to enable.  And of course, it's a grey area; it could be argued that parents with more going on in their life can be better parents to some degree (but obviously there is a point where it becomes malproductive.  Cue the classic cases of parents that pay more attention to their job than their children).  And some activities can be enhanced with a child... and some activities are made miserable with a child.

There are two basic reasons not to have kids: it will make you less happy, and you wouldn't be a good parent.  I will stand as evidence that's entirely possible for kids to make you happier, even if you don't want to be a stay at home parent.  I love my kids a lot!  They provide boundless joy!  They definitely contribute positively to my wellbeing!  They are definitely worth the sacrifices of free time and sleep. Obviously there are people who are happiest not having kids at all. There are also people who are happiest having kids, but also having a good chunk of time each week away from them.

So to the other possibility, that it's bad for kids to be born to a parent who doesn't want to stay at home full time.  Luckily, there are loads of studies showing that high quality daycare settings are neutral-to-good for kids.  This shouldn't be remotely surprising.  The model of full-time care by a parent in the nuclear family home is actually pretty unusual as a way to organize childrearing, if we look across historical and cultural contexts.  Most cultures have relied heavily on non-parental figures to do a good chunk of the work of childrearing.  This takes a wide variety of forms, including shared childrearing among mothers with similarly aged children, childrearing by grandparents, and often significant labor from older siblings (sometimes starting at what are, to contemporary US sensibilities, shockingly young ages). 

Kids need strong attachments to consistent caregivers.  That is entirely compatible with spending 40-45 hours/week in a high-quality daycare, or with a nanny or babysitter.  My kids have strong and secure attachments to both me and my husband, and they also spend lots of time with other loving and competent adults.  They have good lives.  Not perfect, but the imperfections are in no way a result of the fact that they are in daycare. 

Look, I have to admit that it's pretty enraging to have someone tell me that they think I'm "not the best candidate for being a parent."  You are suggesting that I'm harming the people I care most about in this world, based on some pretty uninformed assumptions. 

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #48 on: March 06, 2019, 02:40:01 PM »
I’m impressed with your restraint in your response, @historienne

Malkynn

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Re: FIRE with kids: when does it start to feel like retirement?
« Reply #49 on: March 06, 2019, 03:00:26 PM »
Iím impressed with your restraint in your response, @historienne

Me too!

Maybe some people are much better parents overall if their kids are in daycare for the day?

Not everyone is good at coping with toddlers for long, uninterrupted hours. I know I wouldn't be. There are no medals for making parenting harder.

I've found some parent friends who handled the small child years with ease, really struggled with the teen years because it's a totally different skill set. I've also seen some parents who really struggled with the baby and toddler years find their groove at around age 6 when their kid got more independent. I've also seen some wooooonderful, loving childhood parents who breezed through toddler, childhood and teen years become estranged from their adult children over conflicts with their children in law. Parenting provides a rich and luxurious lifelong tapestry of opportunities to struggle.

I've also had A LOT of mothers of young children openly talk to me about thoughts of suicide, despite seeming totally satisfied with their decision to have kids and even contemplating having more.
Let's not forget that researchers have described parenting as so traumatic that it's been demonstrated to be worse for your mental health than the death of a spouse...ouch.

So yeah, if someone picks daycare over day drinking, then good on them!

Besides, plenty of deeply dedicated parents fuck their children up right proper, and some of the best people I know had suboptimal parenting situations, so lets not presume that vigorous dedication is some kind of predictor of success.

Someone might not be great with toddlers, force themselves to be a stay at home parent despite suffering from it because they feel guilty otherwise, and then fuck up their child far worse because their kid is constantly exposed to their parent in a less ideal mental state. They might have been a rockstar parent every evening if they had some kid-free, work-free time during the day to bolster their mental state.
Maybe? It's certainly possible.

But hey, isn't feeling guilty allllll the time what parenting is all about?
At least that's how it seems to me from my child free vantage point.

Either way, I respect parenting enough not to judge.