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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: cloudsail on September 14, 2015, 06:35:02 PM

Title: Seriously considering the SAHM thing (Update - 2 years later)
Post by: cloudsail on September 14, 2015, 06:35:02 PM
For the first time in my life, I'm seriously considering becoming a SAHM.

I'm 30, DH is 32, we have a 5-yr-old boy and a 2.5-year-old girl.

We live in the Bay Area and both work in tech. I make $130,000, DH makes significantly more than that (but not double). Our three biggest monthly expenses are mortgage, childcare and estimated taxes. Nanny and taxes account for more than half of my take-home pay.

Our son is autistic, and trying to juggle all his therapies and appointments while working full time has been difficult since the day he was diagnosed. However we've managed to do it, and he has continued to improve. But recent changes in his personality and behavior that probably have to do with starting kindergarten is making us more and more concerned, and it's beginning to feel like he may require more attention that I am able to give him. I worry that holding down a job is coming at the cost of his development.

I'm not a particularly career-minded person. I don't hate my job, but I don't really like it either. DH on the other hand is very career-driven, to the exclusion of almost everything else.

And this is what is holding me back.

DH is very devoted to me and to our children, but he really isn't a family guy. He just doesn't derive the same sort of satisfaction from being a father that he does from climbing the corporate ladder. I've been trying for the past five years to push him toward being a better parent and I've recently come to realize that it just isn't going to happen. He is not domestic or handy, does not have any hobbies beyond sports, and is probably one of those people who would be miserable in ER. He does enjoy taking the children on outings on the weekends, but that's about it.

Right now our nanny does most of the chores during the weekdays, and I think it's safe to assume that if I didn't work, I would be doing all of it. I might be able to get a little help from DH during the weekends, but probably should not count on it.

I really don't want to become the type of family where the mom does all the housework and childcare and the dad just brings home the bacon. I've always been very against this kind of family model, and I'm pretty sure that if I were to quit my job, this is what we will be.

But then again, this is pretty much what we are now, except the nanny is doing all the housework. I take care of all the logistics of running a household - the taxes, the finances, the medical claims, my son's school, insurance, rentals, etc.  Anything that specifically requires my husband (like calling in to rollover his old 401k's) needs a lot of nagging and generally takes months to get done. So a part of me feels like I should just come to terms with it and try to arrive at the best scenario for us and our children. I'm also starting to feel overwhelmed, as my job is getting more demanding and I also seem to have increasingly pressing demands at home.

DH has started to bring up the SAHM option more and more. I fear that he is at least partly motivated by wanting to get me off his case about not helping with the children.

The thought of not having a manager and a team expecting results from me is pretty tantalizing. I would very much like to not feel like I'm being torn in two all the time.

In terms of finances, this would obviously have an impact on our FIRE plans, but probably not too badly. We have a sizable stash and if we weren't living in the Bay Area we would be FI or very close already. Unfortunately because of DH's career moving isn't an option right now.

What do you all think?  Any SAHM's that can chime in?
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: wordnerd on September 14, 2015, 06:56:24 PM
Not a SAHM, but it sounds like it makes sense for your situation. You sound overwhelmed. You don't love your job. It sounds like it would be helpful for your son. The finances don't seem to be a big concern (a lot of your pay is already going to taxes and the nanny, and your husband isn't interested in ER).

I think you should be prepared that being a SAHM could be more challenging in a lot of ways than working, since it'll be new to you and you have a child with special needs. But, I think you know that.

If wanting to avoid traditional gender roles is the only thing holding you back, I'd let it go. There are a lot of ways you can model gender equality for your kids, and I know some kickass feminist SAHMs. Just do what's right for you and your family.

Best of luck to you.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Argyle on September 14, 2015, 07:07:36 PM
I'm going to be forthright.  I think in your situation it makes sense for you to stay home.  As you say, your husband's choices have effectively already divided up the household responsibilities by gender.  Your staying home doesn't alter that.  What it does is that it keeps you from having your own personal income and stash.  That, however, is a significat effect, and furthermore it is an effect of a situation you haven't wholly chosen — that your husband has stepped back from the majority of domestic and child responsibilities.  Because of his stepping back, you're what they call now the childcare "leader," and your being the only one willing to take that on shouldn't come with a financial penalty.  I know this sounds unromantic and will undoubtedly call firepower down upon my head, but I'd get a post-nup (a post-nuptial agreement) in place before you took the step of quitting.  I know no one plans to get divorced, but if it should happen, you'd want protection against poverty.  Especially with an autistic child who will need more expensive care than normal.  I know that child support "should" take care of that, if the worst were to happen, but I'm sure we can all name situations where it didn't work out like that.

I was the breadwinner in our marriage and my husband chose to stay at home to take care of our child.  I gladly offered him a pre-nup because I was the larger earner and I wanted to make sure that, if at some point we were both angry and disaffected, he wouldn't lose out because of his choice.  I would hope your husband would want to see that you were protected too. 

Those are my thoughts.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: GizmoTX on September 14, 2015, 07:41:03 PM
We were DINKs for 25 years when I finally became pregnant & delivered our only child. DH was the CEO of a NYSE computer company & by that time I was successful in computer sales after being a systems analyst & running my own software house. For all of our married life, we cooked many of our meals together at home but for the previous 15 years had some cleaning help since we were FI. We agreed that I would be a SAHM rather than have a nanny, & we kept the weekly cleaning so I could focus on childcare. DH was actively involved with DS & me on weekends & evenings. I ran the household finances & still do, 22 years later.  It worked for us. I am so glad I was there for all of DS' events. We're both retired now but have plenty of activities & interests.

In a community property state, i.e. CA & TX, it is assumed that income is jointly earned regardless of the source. DH & I never were concerned who earned more than the other, & we each assumed that role at some point in our lives.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on September 14, 2015, 07:54:18 PM
I can't tell you if being a SAHP is right or wrong for you and your family. It works for us for my wife to stay home but we aren't you.

You should make the decision that you believe is best for your children. Choosing the path you think is worse for your family based on politics would be immoral.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Krnten on September 14, 2015, 08:00:45 PM
I'd be abut worried honestly.  I get that your household will run more smoothly with you at home full time, but I don't like the reasons you're doing it- DH's lack of willingness to be involved.  Of course he wants a SAHM- his life will be a lot easier without you trying to make him do things he doesn't want to do.  But will you be happier in that role full time?  Or do you think you might become resentful?

Someone (was it here?) suggested writing an official job description together when one partner becomes a SAHP.  With quarterly reviews and everything.  So it's clear who's responsible for what, and that you get the time off you'll need. 

And if I were in your shoes and made the jump, I'd still have a house cleaner and a regular babysitter at least once a week for a few hours. 
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: okits on September 14, 2015, 08:06:03 PM
What do you all think?  Any SAHM's that can chime in?

I think your spouse sounds like he would be happy running his life heavily using the services of a nanny, housekeeper, personal assistant/accountant.  Those things do not have to fall entirely on you just because he isn't interested in doing any of them.  Forget the "cheaper to in-source argument" for a moment and ask yourself if the situation you described (SAHM and husband sole-earner) is the life you want for yourself and your family. 

Can the ways your husband being "very devoted" to you and your children be translated into efforts that get him more involved?  Is the devotion primarily financial (in which case, why not spend some of that financial devotion to making life run a little easier?)

What sticks out is your son needing more parental involvement.  I think that is an inarguable reason for more attention to him and less to work.  Assuming you are the one who will give that attention, can you get a flexible work arrangement, reduced hours, part-time job, or sabbatical?

(I guess I am echoing what Krnten said.  Are you quitting your job mainly because your husband wants you to do almost everything, except earn income?  If so, is that what you want?)
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: muckety_muck on September 14, 2015, 08:07:59 PM
While it may affect your FIRE plans, it may bring you an amazing feeling of freedom that can't be purchased or saved for, at this stage of life. You are in a very busy season with a 5 and 2 yr old. Your son has special needs, that quite honestly you might be the only one who can fulfill those needs. IF you have the option and desire (which it sounds like you do) - make that leap. Run the numbers. Make some sacrifices (cancel cable, eat out once a week instead of 4, etc).

Shop consignment sales for kids stuff, shop the sales for groceries, use your bike, etc. Be sure to have a monthly date night to keep your sanity. Good luck with your decision!
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Krnten on September 14, 2015, 08:14:37 PM
I will also add that I have gotten the exact same pressure from my husband since our kid was born two years ago and I feel for you and what you're wrestling with now.  The most I can give is that I've gone part time.  I enjoy working and am not willing to give that up entirely.  We are not MMM at all in this respect.  We outsource childcare and housekeeping.  DH is also not domestic or handy or a cook.  He does do evening childcare when he gets home but I'm also careful to go away sometimes for weekends so he can keep his skills up. 

It would make me horribly resentful if I were a full time SAHM just because my DH doesn't like doing household stuff. 
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: ltt on September 14, 2015, 08:52:10 PM
SAHM here, 4 children total (2 with special needs--one has autism).  Could you please tell us where your son falls on the spectrum.  Are his behaviors more mild, or are they more severe?  Does he have language?  Does he currently require the majority of your time when he is home from school?

I left the work force many years ago, never (as of yet) to return, with no plans to.  We're traditional, and it has worked out really well over the years.  Eventually the majority of our son's therapies were done in-school, so we weren't running to appointments.  But again, we don't know where your son is on the spectrum or what types of therapies he attends.

My guess is that your husband is building his career for the betterment of the family--nothing wrong with that.   

Do you have the option of going part-time or working from home? Would it be worth it to you or not?

Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Noodle on September 14, 2015, 09:23:07 PM
When these "life decision" posts come up, I have occasionally made the comment that while it may seem you are signing up for a whole different life, most choices can be undone. In this case particularly, I might consider the "try it for a year" option. While having you at home could be the solution to a lot of problems, there are some possibly worrying dynamics here (not the idea of modeling a traditional home scenario--I wouldn't worry about that since these days kids have all kinds of models in their friends and family--but between you and your husband). If your husband shows you appreciation and gratitude for your contributions (as I hope you do his) and doesn't take you for granted, great. If not, then that's not a great dynamic to be modeling for the kids either. And a year might resolve enough of your son's acute issues as he settles into school that you could re-evaluate. With a special needs kid and a toddler, I think I would also put some of the household resources into help--cleaning or part-time child care...you say you're near FIRE anyway, and your husband has no interest in retiring so there will be income coming in for the foreseeable future...so the FI part is pretty much taken care of anyway, right?
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: meandmyfamily on September 14, 2015, 09:47:30 PM
I am a SAHM to 4 kids.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  Time goes by so quickly.  I also agree that you could give it a year and then reassess.  It will be a big change but I would bet it will be a positive thing overall.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: KCM5 on September 15, 2015, 09:02:47 AM
I'd try finding flexible part time work and keep some of the childcare. Does your job lend itself to this?

I think what is interesting is that you say you don't want to have the traditional stay a home wife with working husband life, but you married a man that, while maybe not explicitly wanting this, doesn't give you a lot of options outside of this.

Also, trying it for a bit and then reassessing, depending on how your son is doing is a great plan.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: FLBiker on September 15, 2015, 09:29:44 AM
It would make me horribly resentful if I were a full time SAHM just because my DH doesn't like doing household stuff.

This seems to be worth thinking about.  To me (I work, wife currently SAHM) it's less being a SAHP that is good / bad and more the context in which it happens.  We've got a 5 month old, and my wife is going to SAH until she's ~ 20 months.  My wife was very concerned beforehand that she wouldn't feel good -- like she'd feel that she wasn't contributing enough or whatever.  I think it's worked out really well, though.

At the same time (at the risk of horn tooting) I think I'm pretty supportive.  My orientation to our money hasn't changed (in terms of it being ours and trusting her spending) and I do a bunch of babycare stuff: evening / weekend childcare, washing / boiling bottles / pump components, washing diapers, etc.  Most importantly (I think) I really try to come home w/out expectations re: dinner being ready, laundry being done, etc.  Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't.  For us, this works, but I like all the advise about making expectations explicit beforehand.

When we left the hospital, one of the nurses told me: "Remember dad, for now it's the baby's watch, the baby's calendar and the baby's wallet."  That's been helpful to remember when my expectations get out of whack (especially the wallet part).
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: pk_aeryn on September 15, 2015, 09:44:27 AM
What will your earning ability be in your industry if you take a few years off?  Will you be behind in experience in new things and have difficulty finding a new job?

Can you afford a nanny without your salary?  With a special needs child, trying to do all the housework, cooking and childcare will probably be too much and make you even more disappointed in your husband.

I worry about you, that if you want to split from your husband when you're tired of him prioritizing work over you and your children, that you won't be able to financially.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: catccc on September 15, 2015, 10:06:52 AM
If you decided to do this, I think it is very important for you and your partner to understand expectations.  I was a SAHM for a little over a year, and then DH and I switched, and he's been at home for most of the time since then.  (after our 2nd was born we were both home half time for maybe 6 months, and more recently he has taken seasonal full time work, and we've utilized a day care in order for him to do that.)

Anyway, my point is, being a SAHM is a lot of work and getting all those chores done could be challenging.  Most of my SAHM mom friends would agree, and none of them has a special needs child.  I do think that if your child needs you more and your presence will aid his development, then stay at home.  But make sure your husband knows what will and wont get done.  Even the basic household management can be hard to do with a 2.5 year old around.   Your nanny can handle it because she selected that profession because she is good at it.  I'm not saying you won't, I'm just saying not everyone can, and that's okay.  I get way more done at home when I'm with the kids, DH, not so much.  We are different people and I have a lot more energy than he does, and I'm just more organized and able to prioritize tasks. I also out earn him by about 3x, so obviously I should be the one going to work.  (That first year was a fluke, I hated my job at the time, so being a SAHM was an enticing option that we decided to take.)

We basically ignore gender roles in our family.  Everyone does what they can for the family based on their strengths and our situation at the time.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: AlwaysLearningToSave on September 15, 2015, 10:07:53 AM

I really don't want to become the type of family where the mom does all the housework and childcare and the dad just brings home the bacon. I've always been very against this kind of family model, and I'm pretty sure that if I were to quit my job, this is what we will be.


My wife was a stay-at-home mom for the first year after our baby was born.  She is back to work part time now.  Our child also has special needs, so I have something of an understanding of the stress that causes a family.  You know your child's needs best and it is often easier for you to do it yourself than try to ensure special needs are met by others.

I, too, was somewhat concerned about gender roles and what my SAHM wife would be modeling for our daughter.  But the more I think about it, the more I think peoples' concerns about that are overblown.  The stay-at-home-parent decision for us was completely economic.  I have greater earning power than her, so I worked and she stayed home.  If earning potential were reversed, I would be at home.  I know a handful of couples where the wife works and husband stays home with the kids. 

To me the danger comes when the stay-at-home parent does not participate in management of the household and is therefore susceptible to learned dependence and an unhealthy power differential.  But you have a lot of control in that.  Don't let the power dynamic of your relationship change.  Just because DH brings home the bacon doesn't mean you don't have a say.  Manage your household like a business and treat it like your job.  Get up in the morning with your husband and kick butt all day until he comes home.  Ensure that you and your husband are both actively involved in family decisions (to the extent he will participate).  Perhaps stay open to a side-gig that brings in money.  Impress upon your children the importance of being able to provide for themselves even if someday they choose to be a SAHP. 

It seems like SAHM could be a good choice for you your family.  I bet you will find you can be significantly more frugal as a SAHM. 
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Axecleaver on September 15, 2015, 10:24:09 AM
The situation is much more complex than a typical SAHM scenario because of your child with autism. You feel pulled in too many directions at once. Depending on where he is on the spectrum, he likely has needs that could consume every minute of every day, plus you have another child you don't want to feel ignored, plus a full time job. No wonder you want to simplify your life!

You also need to schedule time for yourself and your marriage in there, somewhere. I think the biggest danger for folks in this situation is prioritizing your time without losing your own identity. It's very easy for the higher functioning child to feel ignored because her brother needs more help, and nothing could make you feel worse than having to choose between your children. Many marriages with high caregiver needs experience trouble - and it sounds like you're a bit annoyed at the lack of support you're getting.

Would it help to bring in a third party (priest, marriage counselor) to help you talk through this with your husband? I sense that this problem will put a lot of pressure on your marriage and lead to resentment if this isn't handled well. Your husband may be worried about this, too. Good luck OP!
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: cloudsail on September 15, 2015, 11:26:59 AM
Thanks so much for all the thoughtful responses.  This is what I love about this forum, nowhere else on the internet can I expect to find such a group of intelligent and rational strangers.

To the ones concerned that I'm going to be resentful: I'm actually already resentful :P  I've recently come to realize how negative I'm becoming and feel like I need a mindset change, so I'm actively working towards that now. My previous mode of operations has been to push and push at my husband to help out in areas that I felt I couldn't handle on my own, like putting both kids to bed on weeknights. And I've tried lots of different methods (it's been five years since the birth of our son, after all), but none of them have really worked. It's not like he disagrees that he should be more involved in the home, he just..... can't do it. His work consumes him. He's completely unable to multitask in this way.

So I've decided to look on the bright side. He doesn't usually work on the weekends, and is always up for taking the children on outings. When we're on vacation he never checks email. He's obsessed with making a lot of money but it's not so that he can drink or party or buy expensive things. He honestly just wants a better life for our family. While I disagree with how he seems to be equating wads of money with happiness, it could be a lot worse.

I'm trying to work out ways now where we can still function without his help. We mostly do anyway, just some things can be tricky with two small kids, and previously my solution has been to nag at my husband to pitch in. Now I think I've got things figured out such that if he comes home at 9pm it doesn't really disrupt our lives. It's mostly working, but of course it puts a bigger burden on me.

About the part-time/work from home thing: I do already work from home about half the time. I live in the peninsula and my job is in the city, so commute one way is over an hour (by train and bus). But working from home basically just means locking myself into a room with my laptop or going to the library. I can't get work done and hang out with the children at same time. The advantage is it saves me the commute and I'm available to take my kids to doctor's appointments or my son to speech therapy, etc. I did look into part-time work shortly after the birth of my daughter and again when I was laid off last year, but most paid too little to really be worth my time (in terms of $/hr). The majority were entry-level "trial" positions with the goal to move to full time. This isn't my situation and the ones I applied to felt I was over-qualified and not a fit. I also looked into contracting work, but that's basically just full time work in short spurts. There's no way I would have time to look after the children while I'm working on a project. So I went with the next best thing and found a job with a very flexible WFH policy.

About looking out for myself in case of the worst: I'm not too concerned about this, mostly because DH is woefully ignorant about finances and to this day isn't entirely clear about how much money we have and where it all lives. It's not like I haven't tried to tell him, it just all goes in one ear and straight out the other. If I were to walk out tomorrow he would have little clue how to access the vast majority of our money. The other aspects of his life that don't have to do with work would also come to grinding halt. I'm also pretty confident about being able to provide for myself and the kids if necessary. Unless the tech industry suffers a horrible crash, in which case we'd all be out of jobs anyway. My earning power may not be high, but even low salaries in our line of work are very generous.

About traditional family models: My dislike actually has nothing to do with politics or feminism or anything ideological. It's just because I feel that in this kind of family it's too easy for the woman's contributions to get ignored or be downplayed. I don't want to work my ass off and then for my husband to think that I'm having an easy time because I don't have to go to work. This would be disastrous for our marriage. This is why 5 years ago I would never have considered quitting my job. But 5 years of effort haven't entirely been in vain. I'm reasonably certain that my husband now is aware of the amount of work that goes into childcare and household maintenance, that he wouldn't brush off my contributions as a SAHM. Of course I can't be entirely certain of this, but I do like the one-year trial suggestions. It's quite true that if things don't work out, I can always find another job.

About my son's special needs: He's relatively high-functioning and has some language. His expressive and receptive speech are very delayed. No major sensory issues and he doesn't need OT. We haven't had severe behavior issues until very recently. He tends to play by himself when at home and not need our attention. This is actually not good, as we want him to engage with us and not live in his own little world.

About why I married DH in the first place :D We met when we were teenagers and got married straight out of college. I was very young and didn't think things through (this is why they say "young and foolish"). All things considered, it could've been a lot worse.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on September 15, 2015, 11:34:07 AM
About traditional family models: My dislike actually has nothing to do with politics or feminism or anything ideological. It's just because I feel that in this kind of family it's too easy for the woman's contributions to get ignored or be downplayed. I don't want to work my ass off and then for my husband to think that I'm having an easy time because I don't have to go to work. This would be disastrous for our marriage. This is why 5 years ago I would never have considered quitting my job. But 5 years of effort haven't entirely been in vain. I'm reasonably certain that my husband now is aware of the amount of work that goes into childcare and household maintenance, that he wouldn't brush off my contributions as a SAHM. Of course I can't be entirely certain of this, but I do like the one-year trial suggestions. It's quite true that if things don't work out, I can always find another job.

Sounds like a very valid concern based on your other posts in this thread.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Blonde Lawyer on September 15, 2015, 11:42:37 AM
"About my son's special needs: He's relatively high-functioning and has some language. His expressive and receptive speech are very delayed. No major sensory issues and he doesn't need OT. We haven't had severe behavior issues until very recently. He tends to play by himself when at home and not need our attention. This is actually not good, as we want him to engage with us and not live in his own little world."

I volunteer for a health agency that services a lot of families with children with special needs.  One thing I would advise is to meet with the professionals and specialists before you make your decision to see what would be best for your son's future development.  For example, you mention that you want him interacting with people and not just living in his own world.  There are some families that decide to home school their special needs kids.  They find it greatly reduces the child's behavioral issues.  However, the child never learns how to function outside the home and will be very dependent on the family for life.  Other kids the parents decide to "make" them work through the issues they present with in school.  The kids have a rougher time with day to day life but eventually learn some very important life skills and become more independent.  Maybe they will be able to live in a supervised group living situation as an adult while the former child probably couldn't handle that.  I'm speaking entirely in generalities and don't know the specifics of your child's situation.  My takeaway is to just talk with the "experts" about long term goals and what is best for your child long term and short term.  Mom at home all the time might be better or it might be worse.  Maybe there is middle ground like he stays in school but you are SAH so you can drive to more appointments.  Just things to consider.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: cloudsail on September 15, 2015, 11:51:33 AM
"About my son's special needs: He's relatively high-functioning and has some language. His expressive and receptive speech are very delayed. No major sensory issues and he doesn't need OT. We haven't had severe behavior issues until very recently. He tends to play by himself when at home and not need our attention. This is actually not good, as we want him to engage with us and not live in his own little world."

I volunteer for a health agency that services a lot of families with children with special needs.  One thing I would advise is to meet with the professionals and specialists before you make your decision to see what would be best for your son's future development.  For example, you mention that you want him interacting with people and not just living in his own world.  There are some families that decide to home school their special needs kids.  They find it greatly reduces the child's behavioral issues.  However, the child never learns how to function outside the home and will be very dependent on the family for life.  Other kids the parents decide to "make" them work through the issues they present with in school.  The kids have a rougher time with day to day life but eventually learn some very important life skills and become more independent.  Maybe they will be able to live in a supervised group living situation as an adult while the former child probably couldn't handle that.  I'm speaking entirely in generalities and don't know the specifics of your child's situation.  My takeaway is to just talk with the "experts" about long term goals and what is best for your child long term and short term.  Mom at home all the time might be better or it might be worse.  Maybe there is middle ground like he stays in school but you are SAH so you can drive to more appointments.  Just things to consider.

I don't intend to home school him, at least not right now. Our school district has a decent special needs program, and I really like his current teacher. If I was SAH I would volunteer more at his school so I have opportunities to observe how he is in the classroom, and also be able to do things like social groups and in-home therapies that I just am not able to make time for right now. He gets ABA and speech, but the rest of the time home from school if I'm working he's just left to his own devices. (Our nanny is an older lady, and watching the children + housework is all she knows how to do.)
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: cloudsail on September 15, 2015, 12:01:01 PM
Also, this isn't a plan I would implement, say, tomorrow.  I do believe in seeing things through (and not burning bridges) and we're at a critical point in our product release cycle right now.  I would also like to vest some of my options in January, and I'm super close to 40 points in Social Security.  Meanwhile I'm trying to fit in volunteer opportunities at my son's school, and hoping that he'll get past the initial adjustment period.  So if I do take the plunge it'll be about 4 to 5 months down the road.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: 1967mama on September 15, 2015, 12:04:22 PM
I left my career in 1991 with the birth of my first child. We had a large family so I am still actually at home. I have zero regrets about staying home to raise our children. I feel that I contribute greatly to the family financially through frugality. I like to think of us as pulling in the same direction for the good of the family rather than a "what did I do" vs "what did you do" mentality. I have felt privileged to be a SAHM and have very close relationships with all of my children (some of whom are adults now). Good luck with your decision and keep us posted!
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Spork on September 15, 2015, 12:18:55 PM
What do you all think?  Any SAHM's that can chime in?

First off, not a parent... or a woman... so ignore me if needed.

Reading your situation, it really sounds like SAHM is what you actually want.  If it's fulfilling and makes you happy, there's nothing at all wrong with that.

I really don't want to become the type of family where the mom does all the housework and childcare and the dad just brings home the bacon. I've always been very against this kind of family model, and I'm pretty sure that if I were to quit my job, this is what we will be.

Is it possible that the Leave It To Beaver idea that "this is the only way things can happen" is what you don't like, but not the actual model when everyone has a choice and you chose SAHM?  To me, that's actually what's potentially offensive.  I don't see anything wrong with the model -- as long as both sides agree that is what they want to do.  (I was also raised by June Cleaver, during the time of June Cleaver ... and it wasn't an awful place to be as a kid.  And I'm pretty sure Mom actually enjoyed it most of the time.)
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: CanuckExpat on September 15, 2015, 12:20:40 PM
Nobody has mentioned this, but what about the possibility of you becoming a SAHM and keeping the nanny?

Your son gets the extra attention and get out of the job you don't like.
You have a nanny so you aren't stuck doing all the child rearing and household chores and becoming resentful.
Your husband has extra motivation to keep earning as much money as possible if that is as important to him as you say it is.

A win-win-win situation? Just thinking outside the box people...
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: justajane on September 15, 2015, 12:33:04 PM
Nobody has mentioned this, but what about the possibility of you becoming a SAHM and keeping the nanny?

Your son gets the extra attention and get out of the job you don't like.
You have a nanny so you aren't stuck doing all the child rearing and household chores and becoming resentful.
Your husband has extra motivation to keep earning as much money as possible if that is as important to him as you say it is.

A win-win-win situation? Just thinking outside the box people...

Maybe not the full-time nanny you have currently, but I would still have some part-time care. I am a mostly SAHM, and my toddler still goes to a Parent's Day Out program. Just because you stay home doesn't mean you can't use childcare. That's somewhat anathema around here, but I don't know why. And your husband's income is high enough for you to be able to afford it. I also know a SAHM who has a mother's helper to come in the early evenings, since her husband works 60-80 hours a week. That way she can help with one child's homework while the other two are entertained by the helper. In our house, this is done by my husband, but he works a strictly 40 hour a week job.

You do have my sympathies, though. I can't imagine if my husband wouldn't be willing to do his share of the bedtime routine and other tasks. Just because one spouse stays at home and the other works, doesn't mean that the one who works outside the home is entirely let off the hook. At least I don't think that's how it should be.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: LizzyBee on September 15, 2015, 01:01:17 PM
Such a tough decision! I'll share my two cents based on my situation.

I know you say you are already resentful, but it could get worse once you become a SAHM. My husband and I split childcare and household chores pretty evenly, according to our strengths. He is actually much better getting on the floor with our son and playing than I am so I tend to do more of the cooking to compensate. However, we just had our second so I'm on maternity leave, and I am doing almost 90% of the indoor home maintenance, and also taking care of a newborn and toddler. I find myself being super resentful that he isn't helping out at as much in the home and he also doesn't pick up after himself. Now, this is coming from a situation where he comes home, plays with the kids, mows the lawn, does laundry, etc., it's just slightly off balance right now. It seems as if me staying home and getting stuff done during the day is actually encouraging him to do less, which could happen with your husband. Couple that with me being home and getting more annoyed with the messes around the house than i would if I were working most of the day and that is where the resentment comes in.

That being said, I do think it makes sense for you to SAH. I just wanted to offer my experience staying home for you to consider. I also agree with the other posters about keeping a nanny or a house cleaner for a day or two a week so that you don't get overburdened with 100% of the household and childcare duties. Make sure to discuss and agree with your husband first or he may resent you for not bringing any money to the household and also not being able to do it all at home.

Another aspect to consider is staying home may lead you to crave and need more support from your husband. You will be caring for your kids and home, almost alone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Balancing work and home is hard, but it provides a break from the two. 

One more thing, if you really are on the fence, you may consider waiting another month or two. Starting school is very stressful for any child, let alone one with special needs. He may really thrive in his situation once his teachers and special providers get to know him better as the year progresses.

Good luck to you! Let us know what you decide.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: mm1970 on September 15, 2015, 01:16:10 PM
When these "life decision" posts come up, I have occasionally made the comment that while it may seem you are signing up for a whole different life, most choices can be undone. In this case particularly, I might consider the "try it for a year" option. While having you at home could be the solution to a lot of problems, there are some possibly worrying dynamics here (not the idea of modeling a traditional home scenario--I wouldn't worry about that since these days kids have all kinds of models in their friends and family--but between you and your husband). If your husband shows you appreciation and gratitude for your contributions (as I hope you do his) and doesn't take you for granted, great. If not, then that's not a great dynamic to be modeling for the kids either. And a year might resolve enough of your son's acute issues as he settles into school that you could re-evaluate. With a special needs kid and a toddler, I think I would also put some of the household resources into help--cleaning or part-time child care...you say you're near FIRE anyway, and your husband has no interest in retiring so there will be income coming in for the foreseeable future...so the FI part is pretty much taken care of anyway, right?
Pretty much this nails it.  You can always change your mind.

I'm not a fan of the traditional model - I work and I prefer it that way.  But I feel overwhelmed a lot.  And if I had your situation?  I'd definitely strongly consider SAHM'ing it for my own sanity.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: little_brown_dog on September 15, 2015, 04:12:23 PM
Two huge red flags:

1 – hubby is not a family oriented guy

2 – you are “strongly against” the most common division of labor found in families with a sahp – the one where the sahp does the majority of domestic duties

honestly, while it sounds great to spend more time with the kids and not have to deal with work, i think these two things will ultimately be major stumbling blocks. i agree with a previous poster - you already sound like you sort of resent your husband prioritizing career over family and this will probably only get worse once you are forced to take on more house work which essentially comes with the territory of being the domestically assigned spouse. unless your husband makes enough to maintain a housekeeper as well so you don't need to do a lot of cleaning, this might not work out. what about a part time work schedule? would that be feasible?

i should also mention that in my experience, families with a sahp who only focuses on parenting and outsources most other domestic duties and hobbies tend to struggle with boredom/depression, aka: "housewives syndrome". most of the truly successful and happy sahps seem to have 2 things: 1) spouses who really support and value their contributions and the sahp model, and 2) their own domestic interests and hobbies outside of the kids. for these families its more about having a sahp as part of the lifestyle they prefer, as opposed to a decision made primarily for parenting purposes.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Gray Matter on September 15, 2015, 04:26:24 PM
I so get your situation (wish I didn't!).  I have three kids, two of them with some special needs (learning disabilities, neurodevelopmental disorder).  Three dogs.  Old high-upkeep house.  I always wanted (and was clear about this!) a partnership that shared everything equally--financial responsibilities, child care, house and yard work, etc.  I think it's possible to have an equal partnership when you have domains, but it comes with its own challenges, and more importantly, it's not what I wanted.  I wanted us both working, both responsible for the kids, home, etc.

But DH has a job that requires travel, lots and lots of international travel (sometimes weeks on end).  And no matter what I've done, or what I've said, or how hard I've tried to get him to understand how this impacts me and the kids, how much I've told him this isn't what we agreed to, it isn't what I want, it falls on deaf ears.  (He claims to understand and promises he'll manage his travel, but we both know that's not possible in his line of work--he would need to find a different job and that never seems to happen).

So, I spent years and years seething with resentment and the injustice of it all (during 2/3s of our marriage, I was also outearning him substantially, so it felt really unfair, because I was doing more of EVERYTHING).  DH is wonderful in so many ways, and he actually is really engaged in housework and childcare when he's home (but not at all when he's not).  But I am always the "default" parent, and the one who has to manage everything, and keep track of everything, and step in and make sure everything gets done while he comes and goes, and quite frankly, it's exhausting.  So a number of months ago, I decided to give up trying to change him (doh!) and do whatever I needed to do in order to make the rest of my life fit and do make sure the kids are thriving and that we're all happy.

Now, I wouldn't say I've succeeded in that, as I left my demanding job to take another demanding job, but I have gone down to 80% time and I'm clear that if this isn't working, it's on me to make further changes.  And honestly, there is much less friction in our marriage as a consequence.  At the end of the day, he contributes enough, even if it's not in the ways I thought he would.  The way I look at it, his high-paying demanding job and his insistence on keeping it frees me up to make whatever decisions I need to to make things work for our family (and he is supportive of this).

So...for you, I like the idea of a one-year trial (my next move to reduce stress is to try to arrange a lower-level and even more part-time position, and barring that, leave my job for a one-year "sabbatical," which wouldn't technically be a sabbatical because it would require my quitting my job with no expectation of being rehired).  But I'm not ready to make a decision to permanently leave the workforce and have SAHM be my new primary identity, though that very well could end up happening--I just feel like I would need to keep a foot in both worlds for awhile (psychologically) in order to gain comfort that I could handle being a SAHM and that it wouldn't change the dynamics in our marriage in a negative way.

I would also be clear with your DH that you are pausing your career in order take on the job of ensuring your DS's special needs are attended to, and I would retain the right to hire a housekeeper, part-time child care, etc.  If you resent being responsible for all the household stuff, 24/7, one option is to get DH to step up (which doesn't really seem like an option) and another option is for you to oursource some of it until things feel balanced to you.  There are things more important than RE and keeping marriages intact and meeting our kids' needs are two of those things.

Good luck with this--this is hard stuff and you're not the only one going through this.

Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Thegoblinchief on September 15, 2015, 07:03:55 PM
Being a guy who's a SAHP it's hard to comment on the gender stereotypes, division of labor, etc. It strikes no chords with me. I stay home - managing the home is (of course) my job.

A book that may (or may not) help you work through the mental aspects is "Radical Homemakers". It's a post second-wave feminism book.

On the job/logistics side, does your employer offer a leave of absence or sabbatical? Your situation screams (at minimum) "gap year".

http://livingafi.com/2015/08/04/taking-a-gap-year/
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: 1967mama on September 15, 2015, 07:31:03 PM
I stay home - managing the home is (of course) my job.

+1

This is the way I feel too. Once my husband comes home from work, we pretty much divide up the labor for the rest of the evening. I work as hard as I can while he is working also, and then we share the load when we are at home together. I'm not sitting home eating bonbons and reading the forums watching soap operas all day <wink>.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: daymare on September 15, 2015, 08:00:13 PM
What I'm getting from your posts is that your son's special needs are necessitating a lot of time/work on the part of your household, which is hard to balance with both of you working.  And that because your husband is unwilling to take on that work himself, it is falling on you, and as such you are especially stressed dealing with your job and caring for your children, and so you are wondering if removing the job will make life better for you and your family.  You don't talk much about having a strong desire to spend more time with the kids, or what activities you're envisioning doing with them that you can't while working.  It sounds less like you would find the role of SAHM fulfilling, and more that you're trying to do the best you can given the constraints of your husband not doing more with the kids.  I don't think that means it's not a valid option to consider, but I think there is a lot you'll want to think through and discuss with your husband beforehand.

1) As Argyle mentioned, an extended period of time without employment and income of your own will likely put you in a worse position autonomy-wise, than if you were employed and earned money.  So I think it would be important to have some amount, say 50K, in a savings account in just your name.  Just in case you need it to get on your feet if anything happens with your husband.  The two of you should discuss this - I'm sure he'll want to make you comfortable about leaving your job.

2) As you say, you already somewhat resent your husband because his refusal to do household and childcare work means it falls on your shoulders.  I think you're right to worry that once you're no longer bringing in income, and childcare because fully your job, you will continue to feel unsupported by your husband, and that your contribution to the household will be undervalued.  Perhaps you can figure out what you need in order to not feel unappreciated - is it words of affirmation from your husband about what a great mother you are, is it him taking on the childcare fully a few times a week in the evening (so he doesn't forget how much work it is), is it having part-time paid childcare so you can devote time to your hobbies, interests, community, friends?

3) As some other posters reminded, your decision to work doesn't have to be all-or-nothing, or permanent.  It sounds like what you want is breathing room, not necessarily to spend vastly more time with your kids than you do now.  In that case, consider a sabbatical, or working part-time, or as a contractor on specific projects.  And consider what other jobs you might enjoy that are in fields more suited for a flexible schedule.  Or decide to quit and re-evaluate in a specific amount of time (ie, 6 months or 1 year) and go from there.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: MayDay on September 16, 2015, 05:54:20 AM
I read about half the replies, I'll go back and read the rest shortly.

My son, almost 8, has high functioning ASD.  I stay at home.  Former engineer. 

It sucks sometimes to be doing 100% of the household work, which, lets face it, is mostly menial.  Cleaning a toilet does not thrill me.  Cooking all the food gets really old.  Etc.  But, my kid(s) (we also have a younger daughter) get a lot more time and attention than if I worked, and I didn't love my job, and now that they are in full day school I actually get a lot of leisure time.

The feminist in me is angry I ended up staying home and keeping house while my H works (although he is involved, he works full time so most of it rightly falls on me).  The realist in me knows that two full time working parents is HARD and I am super glad I can have this awesome privileged life where I stay at home and eat bon-bons. 

My youngest transitioned to K this year and it was hard.  And she is neurotypical!  So I get it.  One thing to consider might be if you can take off some time (either 12 weeks of FMLA, or a LOA, or just quit and you can always find another job in 6 months or a year).  It doesn't have to be forever.  It also might be able to be part time- definitely ask for that!  That is what I really want- PT so I can get some mental stimulation, but still have plenty of time off to deal with doctors and therapy and snow days. 
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: cloudsail on September 16, 2015, 10:10:43 AM

Gray Matter, thanks for the commiseration :). It really does help sometimes to know the I'm not alone.  And you have three kids!  I feel like two is my limit.  I have no clue how you do it with three.  (And dogs!)

The mindset change that you described is exactly what I'm trying to achieve right now.  Stop trying to change my husband.  Find ways to make things work for all of us.  And I need to do this before I actually quit my job, or I will just end up resentful and bitter like some posters fear.

Good luck to you too!
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: FatCat on September 16, 2015, 10:24:20 AM
A lot of the problems with the traditional 'man goes to work, woman is SAHM' dynamic had to do with the SAHP being fully dependent upon the working parent for all their money. The SAHMs I know have only high school diplomas and very low skill sets in anything other than homemaking. The husbands have college degrees and are relatively high income earners. If the SAHM tried to get a job at this point she would be making minimum wage because she doesn't have any real work history, so she's feels like she's stuck with putting up with her husband's crap if she doesn't want to be broke. This doesn't seem like an appealing position to be in to say the least. However, it sounds like you don't have to worry about ending up in this position at all because you have already proven you are capable of getting a good job so you aren't absolutely reliant on your husband for income. You always have the option to go back to work if things don't work out. It helps the dynamic tremendously. A lot of the issues you might have with the "traditional family model" probably won't apply to your own family.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: cloudsail on September 16, 2015, 10:39:03 AM
I had 20 weeks maternity leave with both of my babies, so I actually have a decent idea of what it's like to stay home with the kids.  And both of those times we did not yet have the full time nanny.  Of course, a finite time off is very different from quitting altogether.

I work in mobile app development, so I wouldn't lack in mental stimulation should I so desire.  I can always work on my own pet project, and hey, I might even make some money.  In the periods of time when I wasn't working, I liked to attend hackathons for fun and to network.  The option to continue to do so purely for fun is definitely something I would bring up with my husband.

We get 24 hours per month of respite care provided by the government, that we have to use (or we lose the Medi-Cal).  I'm currently using it to supplement the nanny's salary.  It is only for my son, so if we want them to watch my daughter too we have to pay $13/hr.  But I can also imagine getting them to come, say, during my daughter's nap time and entertain my son so I can get some time to myself.

I'm still not entirely sure that I want to do this, but it's not a decision I have to make right at this moment.  I really do like the company I work for and most of the people there.  I have confidence in its future (hence wanting to vest the options).  But at a startup everyone has a lot of responsibilities and is expected to take on many roles.  Days like yesterday when I was up at 12am trying to get something to work that I've been stuck on for two days (I did finally get it working), I think "God I wish I could just go to bed!"
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Argyle on September 16, 2015, 10:47:01 AM
I think one danger is that it may look as if it will be easy to get back into the workforce later, but it may not be.  There have been a number of studies  on this problem — women typically think they have a better chance of regaining their careers than they do.  Leslie Bennett's book The Feminine Mistake addresses this problem.  And here are some statistics from Sheryl Sandberg:

"Women who take time out of the workforce,” she warns, “pay a big career penalty. Only 74 percent of professional women will rejoin the workforce in any capacity, and only 40 percent will return to full-time jobs. Those who do rejoin will often see their earnings decrease dramatically.”  And "Even minor career breaks have dire economic consequences. Over a lifetime, women lose 18 percent of their earning power by leaving the workforce for only two years. A 2011 Harvard study revealed that female MBAs who took “a job interruption equivalent to 18 months” earned 41 percent less than male MBAs."  (This last from the Nation article below.)

From the Jezebel article: ""Opting out," heralded as revolutionary only a decade ago, looks downright foolish in retrospect. First, because quitting your job to take care of the kids because you wanna relies on two completely unreliable entities — a high-earning spouse and the economy — in order to be anything but a risky venture at best, and a spectacular failure at worst. If, say, the money earning spouse dies or runs away with a 19-year-old French au pair, the opter is forced to replace the earnings or pursue spousal alimony, thus remaining dependent on the earning spouse. The one with the money isn't similarly screwed by losing the opting out spouse; they can simply use the money they're continuing to earn to hire a person to perform many of the duties that the stay-at-home spouse performed. (Sure, a nanny isn't the same as a mom, but plenty of kids who had nannies grow up to refrain from pleasuring themselves in their neighbors' gardens or serial killing; it's much easier to raise children with the aid of the nanny than it is to live comfortably without the aid of income.)"

Jezebel: http://jezebel.com/quitting-your-job-to-be-a-full-time-mom-is-probably-a-b-1054423380

From The Nation: http://www.thenation.com/article/confessions-stay-home-mom/

This is why I advise the post-nup — to preserve your power to support yourself should the worst happen.  Quitting your job is a gamble, for sure.  I know women who have done it and everything has gone great: they found taking care of their children invaluable, they found non-career avocations that became really important to them, their husbands were fully cooperative and engaged, their children grew up and did well, and they have enviable lives.  Sadly, I also know some couples were the arrangement went badly.  In one case the husband became disabled and the wife now now cannot find a job above menial-level wages and they're in a bad financial struggle.  In another, the husband took off, hired an expensive lawyer to avoid most child support, and left the wife to look after a difficult child with, again, a very low-level income because she couldn't get a job at the old level.

You're considering this path because it seems to make sense financially, but my reading is that your heart isn't totally in it.  (You can guess that mine wouldn't be either — I wasn't cut out to be a stay-at-home mom without my own income.)  And part of this seems to be your effort to work around your husband's limitations.  I wonder if some marriage counseling wouldn't be a good choice.  I would hope your husband would be open to trying to solve some of the problems you're having in making things work, even if he's unrelenting on the career front. If he's not open to working with you to solve the problems, that's a danger — and one that maybe giving up your income will increase rather than otherwise.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Sibley on September 16, 2015, 11:02:31 AM
OP, you say you feel resentment towards your husband. From what you describe, I completely understand. I'd feel the same way if I were in your place. But that resentment will, over time, damage your relationship with him. One way or another you need to work through that.

A curiosity question - how was your husband raised? What did his parent's relationship and role division look like? You may find that he's doing exactly what his father did.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: CanuckExpat on September 16, 2015, 11:05:42 AM
I think one danger is that it may look as if it will be easy to get back into the workforce later, but it may not be...
...
Over a lifetime, women lose 18 percent of their earning power by leaving the workforce for only two years. A 2011 Harvard study revealed that female MBAs who took “a job interruption equivalent to 18 months” earned 41 percent less than male MBAs." 
...

I agree with you that there might be a lot of problems with the opting out model if you attempt to later rejoin the workforce in your original capacity (and for some others there may not be). However, is that a problem in the OPs case or for someone else pursuing FIRE?

OP said "impact on our FIRE plans, but probably not too badly".

Once you have sufficient FU money, a lot of those concerns seem to go away don't they?
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: RetiredAt63 on September 16, 2015, 01:07:02 PM
OP, I know someone who could have written this post many years ago (she had twins instead of a child with needs, and then a third baby).  She had an interesting, responsible well-paying job and her husband had a job that was a major career, with the time demands and amazingly good salary to go with it.  Her husband was not a "family guy" type.  She went with a full time live-in nanny until all the kids were in school, and then day-time nanny for several more years.  She figured it worked out well, everyone got looked after, no-one was too stressed.  Because the nanny fed the kids their dinner when they were little she actually got to eat dinner with her husband most evenings (about 2-3 hours after the kids ate).  Now the kids are all grown up, well-rounded adults, and she and her husband are still happy together and enjoying their retirement.

From the financial viewpoint, a good chunk of her child-care costs were tax-deductible, she had a good salary and a solid work history with all the promotions and raises that entails, and a good pension and other retirement savings.  And, more important, she didn't resent her husband for dumping all the work on her.  And yes, she still had most of the family organizing to do, but the grunt-work was looked after.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Stockmom on September 16, 2015, 01:25:04 PM
I am a SAHM, 2 kids, high-earning, work-a-ton husband.  From what I've seen, having one parent stay home just makes life so much easier on the whole family.  I enjoy it AND it's tedious.  I do have an appreciative and helpful husband though.  He would love to be the stay at home parent and I wish I had the same earning power so we could make that a reality for him. But, I think in your case trying to get beyond resentment and just deal with your husband as he is is preferable for everyone.

As far as not liking the traditional SAHM family model, I hear what you're saying, but I also think that you're the one undervaluing a stay at home parent's contribution.  I think a good model for all children is to have two parents that value the domestic work, regardless of who's staying home to do it.  My kids would never think of me as the weak or marginalized one in the family.  Probably because neither myself, nor my husband, sees me that way.

I would strongly recommend finding SAHM neighbors to befriend so you get much-needed social interaction and you have other people to confide in.  I think moms need mom friends, and I also think female friendships get even more important as you age.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Stockmom on September 16, 2015, 02:02:23 PM
Also, we have friends who have an autistic son (one of 3 children).  My husband was discussing retiring with the husband and he said, "I don't just have my own retirement to think about, I need to plan for [autistic son's name] retirement."  That could be why your husband feels so much pressure to earn.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: TealBlue on September 16, 2015, 03:44:25 PM
Best of luck with your decision :)  I am not a SAHM, but I am so glad you are thinking through all the different elements of this decision and it sounds like you are getting some great advice. 

I will tell you that we made a household change about a year ago so that my husband went back to school while working full time.   I struggle still with the whole resentment thing since I am now doing 95% of the household work and 75% of the child rearing.  Like others have mentioned, I certainly think that if you make this decision a plan needs to be in place on exactly what each others roles will be.  I know that at first my resentment turned into a pretty serious nagging anger at my husband that wouldn't go away.  Every time he sat on the couch watching TV while I did the dishes or walked by something that needed to be fixed to go golf or whatever I would really be fuming mad and over a year or so it was really affecting us.  After we discussed expectations it got quite a bit better.  Best of luck :)
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Cassie on September 16, 2015, 05:15:32 PM
My kids are long grown but I was a SAHP until my youngest went to f.t. kindergarten.  WE had 3 kids. I then went to college & then into my professional career. My hubby did the outside work & home maintenance but never anything inside or helping with the kids. Eventually I gave up trying to change him.  LIfe went much smoother with me at home.  My life was actually easier. I never doubt that I paid a financial price for staying home for a significant amount of time but I don't regret it one bit. My hubby never put the kids to bed, played with them, etc.  I think he now regrets it but I have no regrets.  I think you should do what feels right to you.  Hugs:))
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: couponvan on September 16, 2015, 10:49:01 PM
I'm kind of surprised not more people have suggested you try to go PT. I am very similar to Gray Matter except I currently work less than she does and I was PT after my second and then a SAHM for 5-6 years after my 3rd.  I went back to work PT when my 3rd was in Kindergarten.

Here's why I work....  1) 401k ($18,000 me, $4,500 employer) 2) A bit of identity besides "mom" (priceless), 3) HSA account ($5,600), 4) Dependent Care Spending Account ($5,000), 5) FIRE house (a second house we can retire to paid off in 6 years when our youngest goes to school), 6) My neighbor's husband up and left her for a nurse in another state, cutting off her income and cleaning out the accounts.  She lived in our basement for awhile and I gave her gift cards to the grocery store because her ex literally took everything at it takes a long time to get wages garnished....

All the items 1, 3 and 4 are pre-tax and protected from AMT.  Item 5) has pre-tax interest, but is almost paid off after 4 years ($25K left).  Item 6 was a total wake up call.

Every dollar I earn in excess of  what I can put in pre-tax is taxed highly because of my husband's earnings.  It's almost not worth it to work more than that (I only see 1/2 of every dollar), so I'm really trying to cut some of my PT hours now as my salary has gone up.  I work the minimum for health benefits (my company is significantly cheaper than his company). Also, with most of the childcare DCS account I hire my mom to watch the kids - then she goes and puts the money I pay her in the kids' education IRAs as her gift to them. Win win.

I will tell you that a gap in employment is hard to explain, and you lose some skills and credibility.  It's taken me 4 years to feel extra confident, and I know I am underpaid for my level. Honestly, most recruiters never even think to ask whether you work full time or part time.  If they don't ask, I don't tell.  You'll keep your name in the game at work, and can still be available to your children.

Each of my kids has different challenges, and they need me.  However, I also didn't want to be postponing retirement to 65.  My goal is 54 or 55.  Every year I work and save that $28,0000 of pretax is a year we should be able to retire earlier with a paid off FIRE house.

Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Gray Matter on September 17, 2015, 05:30:34 AM
Couponvan is right about part-time professional work being as good on a resume as full-time work (I've never had anyone--recruiter, HR, hiring manager--ask me if it was full- or part-time, either).  It can be hard to manage part-time work, though.  The company has to value you and also value balance and not try to get full-time work out of you.  Years ago, I read some research that showed that women with part-time jobs were actually more stressed out than SAHM or women who worked full-time.  I don't remember the details, but the suspected reason is that they take on the expectations of both worlds and constantly feel like they're falling short, so it's REALLY important to manage your and everyone else's expectations if you go that route.  For example, taking on 100% of the childcare and household management while working part-time isn't realistic in your situation (in my opinion). 

Like Couponvan, I essentially work for retirement savings and college savings for the kids (his benefits are cheaper).  By the time you take out those, plus taxes and childcare, I contribute about $10 an hour to our monthly budget--not significant in the here and now, but the additional savings shortens our time to FIRE and being employed is insurance in case something happens to DH.  We're in pretty good shape if he dies (life insurance, social security) or becomes disabled, but if he walks out on me...

I'd forgotten about that possibility in my recent calculations and considering a "sabbatical" (that may be permanent)--this thread caused me to do some scenario planning yesterday.  What would I do if I weren't working and DH hit a midlife crisis and decided he wanted a different life and a different wife?  With only half our assets, and no guarantee I could earn more than 30-40K if I tried to re-enter the workforce, our life would be significantly different.  We'd have to sell the house (which I'm fine with) and leave the neighborhood (which I'm not fine with) and I'm not sure we could keep the dogs (which I'm also not fine with--would break my and the kids hearts).  So I've got some additional thinking to do about how much risk I'm willing to assume (I don't think DH will leave me, but I don't think anyone ever does).

Some people are very comfortable approaching life with a "I'll work it out" philosophy, which I can see the value of.  There are so many variables, and you can't predict the circumstances, so a resilient, optimistic, and flexible approach is smart.  But I'm not one of those people.  I need to have a plan (even as I admit things never go according to plan) and a backup plan and a backup plan to the backup plan.  So what kind of person are you?  Are you confident that you'll sort it out if something happens to DH or he leaves you?  Or do you want to know what you would do if that happens and do what you can to mitigate risk?  If it's the latter, I recommend doing some scenario planning and making sure you're comfortable with the outcomes before making any big moves.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: cloudsail on September 17, 2015, 12:23:58 PM
If it's the latter, I recommend doing some scenario planning and making sure you're comfortable with the outcomes before making any big moves.

Good luck!

I think I'm about half and half, and it depends on the situation.

The way I look at it is like this.  The longer I'm out of the workforce, the harder it will be for me to find a job.  I'm reasonably certain that under five years I would be able to return to the workforce in some capacity, and in my area of work even the lowest paying job would be around 80k.  At least at the very beginning, I would probably move in with my parents for the childcare (in such a situation they would probably even insist on it), thus eliminating housing and childcare costs.  (My parents right now are in their mid 50s, retired and financially stable.)  If our marriage disintegrates further down the road, by that time our stash should have grown such that even half of it would provide enough passive income to support me and the children.  I also have enough skills that I can probably bring in some income (outside of coding, I'm also fluent in Mandarin Chinese, and have been hit up for translation and teaching roles in the past, which I've turned down due to lack of time).

As I mentioned before, DH has no clue about anything related to our finances and this definitely isn't going to change if I stop working.  I have all his accounts and remember his passwords better than he does.  I know every purchase that he makes, while he doesn't know and doesn't care to know about mine, though this is, of course, based on the fact that I never make large purchases without telling him.  In a divorce I think I'm in a much better position to screw him over than the other way around.  This kind of highlights an aspect of my husband's personality, his incredibly romantic and idealistic view of marriage.  He doesn't ever entertain the idea that we might not be together one day.  This is why it would be very difficult to get him to accept the idea of something like a post-nup.

I actually put some really concentrated effort into figuring out the whole part-time thing when I was laid off last year.  The results of that search don't really make me want to pursue that route (pay, benefits if any, etc.).  Also, as Gray Matter mentioned, there's no way I would be able to do it without outside childcare, and with Bay Area childcare prices there's a good chance I wouldn't even break even.  If I want to keep up my professional skills, writing my own app and publishing it to the app store looks just as good to employers (provided the app doesn't suck, of course :).

I think I want to run some more numbers to figure out exactly how much me not working would affect our savings amount each month, as this directly impacts the growth rate of our stash.  Right now I have a broad picture but I should get into more details, including things like transportation savings and increased activity costs.  I should also load up our taxes from previous years.  I know that we wouldn't have to pay the additional estimated tax anymore, but I also seem to recall that with just my husband's salary and his current rate of withholding, we would get a small refund. 
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: cloudsail on September 17, 2015, 12:34:53 PM
A curiosity question - how was your husband raised? What did his parent's relationship and role division look like? You may find that he's doing exactly what his father did.

This probably does play a big part, my in-laws were very much the traditional family model.  But the difference is my MIL doesn't speak English and doesn't know how to drive, so by default my FIL had to be heavily involved in things like household management and kids activities and school.  Even driving to the grocery store.  I don't think I've ever seen my MIL go 100 feet out of the house without her husband (in North America, in her own country she can go everywhere on her own).  But I don't think my husband sees this, and just sees that his mom did all the cooking and housework, etc.  He also doesn't realize that his dad's willingness to take charge of these things is what enabled his mom to not have to learn English or to drive, otherwise she would have eventually been forced to learn those things out of sheer necessity.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: mm1970 on September 17, 2015, 01:25:21 PM
Couponvan is right about part-time professional work being as good on a resume as full-time work (I've never had anyone--recruiter, HR, hiring manager--ask me if it was full- or part-time, either).  It can be hard to manage part-time work, though.  The company has to value you and also value balance and not try to get full-time work out of you.  Years ago, I read some research that showed that women with part-time jobs were actually more stressed out than SAHM or women who worked full-time.  I don't remember the details, but the suspected reason is that they take on the expectations of both worlds and constantly feel like they're falling short, so it's REALLY important to manage your and everyone else's expectations if you go that route.  For example, taking on 100% of the childcare and household management while working part-time isn't realistic in your situation (in my opinion). 

I think a lot of this is personality and work type related. I had a friend who said this to me once.  I found though that part time was better for me.  I was much more relaxed.  And of course my company pushed me to work full time or get more done, but I said no.

And because I was good at my job, they dealt with it.  I'm full time now but I honestly don't think I get more done, I just get paid more.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: mm1970 on September 17, 2015, 01:33:22 PM
I so get your situation (wish I didn't!).  I have three kids, two of them with some special needs (learning disabilities, neurodevelopmental disorder).  Three dogs.  Old high-upkeep house.  I always wanted (and was clear about this!) a partnership that shared everything equally--financial responsibilities, child care, house and yard work, etc.  I think it's possible to have an equal partnership when you have domains, but it comes with its own challenges, and more importantly, it's not what I wanted.  I wanted us both working, both responsible for the kids, home, etc.

But DH has a job that requires travel, lots and lots of international travel (sometimes weeks on end).  And no matter what I've done, or what I've said, or how hard I've tried to get him to understand how this impacts me and the kids, how much I've told him this isn't what we agreed to, it isn't what I want, it falls on deaf ears.  (He claims to understand and promises he'll manage his travel, but we both know that's not possible in his line of work--he would need to find a different job and that never seems to happen).

So, I spent years and years seething with resentment and the injustice of it all (during 2/3s of our marriage, I was also outearning him substantially, so it felt really unfair, because I was doing more of EVERYTHING).  DH is wonderful in so many ways, and he actually is really engaged in housework and childcare when he's home (but not at all when he's not).  But I am always the "default" parent, and the one who has to manage everything, and keep track of everything, and step in and make sure everything gets done while he comes and goes, and quite frankly, it's exhausting.  So a number of months ago, I decided to give up trying to change him (doh!) and do whatever I needed to do in order to make the rest of my life fit and do make sure the kids are thriving and that we're all happy.

Now, I wouldn't say I've succeeded in that, as I left my demanding job to take another demanding job, but I have gone down to 80% time and I'm clear that if this isn't working, it's on me to make further changes.  And honestly, there is much less friction in our marriage as a consequence.  At the end of the day, he contributes enough, even if it's not in the ways I thought he would.  The way I look at it, his high-paying demanding job and his insistence on keeping it frees me up to make whatever decisions I need to to make things work for our family (and he is supportive of this).

So...for you, I like the idea of a one-year trial (my next move to reduce stress is to try to arrange a lower-level and even more part-time position, and barring that, leave my job for a one-year "sabbatical," which wouldn't technically be a sabbatical because it would require my quitting my job with no expectation of being rehired).  But I'm not ready to make a decision to permanently leave the workforce and have SAHM be my new primary identity, though that very well could end up happening--I just feel like I would need to keep a foot in both worlds for awhile (psychologically) in order to gain comfort that I could handle being a SAHM and that it wouldn't change the dynamics in our marriage in a negative way.

I would also be clear with your DH that you are pausing your career in order take on the job of ensuring your DS's special needs are attended to, and I would retain the right to hire a housekeeper, part-time child care, etc.  If you resent being responsible for all the household stuff, 24/7, one option is to get DH to step up (which doesn't really seem like an option) and another option is for you to oursource some of it until things feel balanced to you.  There are things more important than RE and keeping marriages intact and meeting our kids' needs are two of those things.

Good luck with this--this is hard stuff and you're not the only one going through this.
I have struggled with this too, wanting to keep my career going, but having to admit that my company wasn't doing well, nor was it rewarding me for what I was accomplishing.

Having a second surprise baby at 42 didn't help either, but I found my boss to be understanding - mostly because he only cared about what I accomplished.  Then I got a new boss, who only cared about playing the game and being at the office from 7 am to 7 pm.

My husband has a job that, at times, involves quite a bit of travel.  It's been a very light year, but some years it's not.  When our second son was born, he traveled 2-3 times in the first six weeks.  Then at six weeks, he and his mom (who had been visiting for 2 weeks) left on the same day, leaving me alone with a baby and a 6 year old.  It was awful.  What he told me when he got back from that 5 day trip was that the Government lead told him on Thursday night "we may need you to stay the weekend, depending on how the install goes".  My husband said "sorry, can't do it, I have a new baby at home and my wife will kill me".  She got pissed and called his boss and told him that he needed to hire more "young and unencumbered people".  Well, lady, my (at the time), 44 year old husband can get shit done a LOT faster than some young kid, and eff you.

Anyway, husband knows which side of the bread is buttered, so he came home.

Still, that means that ... I do most of the doctor's appts.  I often take the sick days, because kids get sick when he's traveling.  I end up having to be at the house for workmen sometimes when he's too busy.  I'm the one on the PTA board.  You know?  His company gives him a raise, a bonus, and a HUGE 401k match every single year.  AND he makes close to 50% more than I do.  He's got the big income, it's better for us if he works more (plus he's paid by the hour, as an engineer, WTF?)  I've had a hard time with this over the years, but honestly not getting a raise in 4 years, and being thrown here and there at work, has made it easier.

I no longer feel the need to work late and on weekends to make up for missed time.  When I'm asked to go on international travel, I kind of shrug.  I mean, I can, but why would I, really?
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Spork on September 18, 2015, 08:55:58 AM
I'll throw one more thing in there for the folks that are sitting down and doing the math to sort out if they can do it on a single salary...

Quite a few years ago (probably 16 or so) my wife was going through some particularly icky bad crap at work.  We were double income/no kids and ... while we were saving a bit, we were not hitting the immense levels of saving we should have been hitting.  But we sat down and did the math... refinanced a loan... sorted out where we could spend less.   I was a little nervous at the time, but I will tell you:  That 50% cut in our family income was probably the biggest raise we ever had.  It really made us aware of spending and savings.  There were some years after we worked stuff out we hit 80% savings rates.  (It makes you wonder where we were flushing all that money before.)
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: MrsPete on September 18, 2015, 05:32:48 PM
I don't know ... I think I could argue either side of this coin: 

On the one hand, I don't get the idea of being against the traditional family model.  I don't see it as a negative thing, nor do I see it as strongly positive.  However, I am against the idea of one spouse "holding all the cards" or having all the power -- and that can happen when one spouse earns all the money.  We're both in traditional jobs for our genders, and my husband earns about double what I do ... but we really do feel "equal".  My benefits from work outweigh his, and my frugality saves much more than he would on his own.  In particular, when the kids were young and needed day care, my kid-friendly schedule saved us not only money but stress; we never had to piece together summer care like so many of my friends.  We are very different, but we complement one another's strengths and weaknesses.  At this point, I think you feel unequal in your marriage -- as if you are the workhorse -- no, a beast of burden.  I suspect you're not so against the traditional dad-earns-mom-keeps-house so much as the inequality that can stem from that situation. 

I'm concerned that you don't seem entirely satisfied with your marriage and your husband, which means it'd be a risky choice to leave a well-paying job.  On the other hand, while both my husband and I LOVED having young children ... those weren't the years when he and I were at our personal best in our marriage.  Young kids are an awful lot of work, physical work, and we were tired all the time.  He and I have been better with school aged kids; that is, once the kids were more able to take care of their own needs and the family dynamic shifted a bit, he and I sort of "found each other again" and are rock solid.  Is this typical, or is this a situation unique to our family?  I don't know, but based upon my own experience, I'd say these might be the years when you simply accept that you aren't each other's #1 priority -- be sure you stay connected, of course, but don't be disappointed that his focus is often elsewhere.  We came back together very naturally when those tough always-busy-with-the-toddlers years were over, and a lot of my friends did too. 

As for him not being solidly involved with the kids, it sounds like he isn't going to join in with the no-fun chores.  He simply isn't going to help with washing clothes, taking the kids to the dentist, etc.  And that leaves you with a choice:  You can argue with him, fuss and complain, make him miserable and yourself miserable ... and he will still not do it.  Or you can accept that this is YOUR family dynamic and search for ways to appreciate what he does bring to the family.  Yes, seriously.  You can rant and rail about fairness, but once you're IN the marriage, those are the choices.  You can change yourself, or you can choose to walk  out of the situation, but you cannot change other people.  I think you have an inkling of this already, given that you commented that yes, you'd be resentful, but you're resentful now too! 

I needed to work -- more so when I was younger than now.  No, I'm not talking about money.  My father abandoned our family when I was 11, leaving my mom to raise five kids with only a high school diploma and a couple years clerical experience.  She says today that she loved being at home with us, but those good years were not "worth" the miserable years that followed -- of course, I'm talking about the 1970s.  She was one of the women caught up in the first big wave of divorce.  She married "old school",  thinking that you put up with each other's crap forever, no matter what ... and she was genuinely blind-sided by the divorce.  Today women should be a bit smarter about such things and should never allow themselves to be put in such a position.  Anyway, though I have a good marriage, and at 25+ years, I'm not a bit worried about divorce, I have an emotional need to have MY MONEY.  Inside I still have a bit of that teenager who had nothing and was always worried about money. 

Another poster made a very good comment:  The choice you make today is not the choice you must maintain forever.  I suggest you and your husband make a choice for today ... and then agree to reevaluate every year and decide if it's still the right choice.  Your lives will change radically as your children grow up, and what's appropriate today may no longer be a good fit tomorrow.  We have "an appointment" with each other every New Year Day and on our anniversary (which falls in summer) to go over our financial situation and to evaluate our life situation:  Do we need to make any big changes here or there?  It's easy to let things slide by and slide by -- setting a date for discussion and implementation of changes can be a good idea. 
     
And I'll end with a safety note:  If you do downsize to a one-paycheck family, look over your disability and life insurance.  When you put all your financial eggs in one basket, you need to be sure that basket is secure.  Also, do your best to keep your fingers in the work world ... it's never wise to put yourself in a position that you couldn't return to work, if you wanted or needed to do so.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Argyle on September 18, 2015, 06:05:43 PM
A lot of commenters are saying variants of "Since he's being inflexible, go ahead and stay home and decide to be agreeable about it."  But I hear you being uneasy about it, and I'm voting with you on that.  I imagine that the reasons you're uneasy are that you specifically didn't want to be cornered into being the non-salaried, stay-at-home-parent, both because you were hoping that both genders would contribute to domestic life and because you're uneasy about the powerlessness of the situation.  Correct me if I'm wrong.  I see the problem here as his implacability: he's effectively saying "I insist on getting exactly what I want, which leaves you no choice but to get something you didn't really want."  If you both freely chose that you'd be a SAHM, that's a different situation.  But you're contemplating doing it as a response to — as a compensation for — his withdrawal from sharing the domestic load.  That just doesn't sit well with me.  And saying "Well, choose to like it" doesn't really seem like a good solution.  I worry that his inflexibility will continue to be a problem.  Does he seem to understand the difficulty of your position at all?  I'm not sure why so many people are giving him a free pass — maybe I've misunderstood something — or do we just think, "Oh, men, they get to opt out of sharing the load if they want to, 'cause who's going to stop them?"  What do you think, OP?
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Cassie on September 19, 2015, 05:08:55 PM
I don't think woman are giving him a free pass but I think many people who have been in that situation realize you can't make someone do what they don't want to do no matter how much you nag, etc. If someone is very stubborn it won't work. So then you have 2 choices-keeping working f.t. & doing everything or quit working & do everything.  Of course this is assuming you want to stay married.  Working p.t. might be a good solution if the OP can do that in her career field & provided that child care does not eat up all the income she makes.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Gray Matter on September 20, 2015, 06:43:31 AM
I don't think woman are giving him a free pass but I think many people who have been in that situation realize you can't make someone do what they don't want to do no matter how much you nag, etc. If someone is very stubborn it won't work. So then you have 2 choices-keeping working f.t. & doing everything or quit working & do everything.  Of course this is assuming you want to stay married.  Working p.t. might be a good solution if the OP can do that in her career field & provided that child care does not eat up all the income she makes.

That was the basis of my comments.  You can only bang your head against the same wall so long before you need to look for other solutions.  Doesn't mean it's "fair" or "just," but it is reality for some of us.  And if you want to preserve an otherwise-good marriage, sometimes you have to focus only on the things you can control (which, as some of us have found, is not our husbands!).  If my DH was so stubborn and insistent on getting his own way in every aspect of our marriage, I don't think I'd be trying so hard to preserve it, but it's just his work-related travel that is a bone of contention between us.

Interestingly, sometimes backing off gives them room to think.  After years and years of doing everything I could think of to get my husband to stop traveling, I finally gave up a year or so ago, because I was tired of the marital strife and my resentment and his defensiveness.  And now, just yesterday, he brought it up and asked, "When I'm gone, is the problem that you have to do more, or that many of the things that I normally do go undone, or is it that you're responsible?"  Part of me was like, really, after all the talking I've done, you don't know the answer to that?  But a much larger part of me was just happy that he's seeking understanding, when before he would immediately shut down and was always on the defensive.

I don't think he's even capable of understanding what it's like to be the default parent and never be able to set down that responsibility, that the best you can hope for is to share the load when your partner is home, but at least he is trying to understand what's so hard for me.  And, I still have no expectation of change from him, because if my thought process went something like, "Finally!  He gets it!  Now surely he will make changes and travel less, because how could he not if he truly understands what it's like for me and the kids?" then we'd be right back where we started.

So you give up changing the spouse because it's not possible, and trying was doing more harm than good, and sometimes as an unexpected benefit, they will actually do more of what you were trying to get them to do when you stop pushing so hard, but it's best to have no expectation of that or else you haven't really given up, but have just changed your tactic.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: TN_Steve on September 20, 2015, 09:27:35 AM
Cloudsail,

You sound much like we were: met as teens, married right out of college, two careers that require 60+ hour weeks from the nanny, one spouse not at all interested/able in cutting back to do much with kids, the other spouse (the lower earner) being the household finance chief....

Although we didn't have autistic son, we had three boys in 3.5 years, with neither parent able to be around much--not even reliably on the weekends (especially when I was traveling).  Ended up with me leaving law to be SAHD for 15 years, while DW did the traditional surgical specialist parent role.  No one thought it would work given our personalities, but it went quite well.

We were, however, on the same page and communicated about it at the outset and throughout the years.  I join the consensus of the responses on that--get DH on board entirely even if a document signed by both of you is required to do so.

Also agree that you need to think about reentry to the work force, just in case.  I, in my arrogance, didn't.  I figured that I'd only be out until youngest started Kindergarten, and that my resume would be sufficient.  Got lucky because I was asked to teach at a local law school "half time."  It was a very undemanding time suck, and I arranged childcare for the little bit I needed each week.  Probably ran at a loss (save for 403b contributions), but turned out to be beneficial after we moved states and I went job hunting after being out for 15 years.  Thus, if true "part-time" wouldn't work, look into adjunct position or something similar just to keep the appearance of being fresh.

As at least one other person noted, the diminution in income may look huge, but there are substantial offsetting savings--especially given the marginal tax rate that you face on your first dollar earned.  (DW made a lot, so I was really forked on that.)

As for the traditional gender role issue, so what?  That should not impact an individual couple's choice.  The SAHP role has stuck around because in some/many (?) situations, it works well.

Good luck with your analysis of this.


Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Jakejake on September 20, 2015, 10:08:14 AM
I would prioritize my kids' needs over excess income. I was a SAHM when my daughter was 0-4 years old, and I consider myself a pretty strong feminist who doesn't buy into gender roles (former army sgt). For me, getting back in the workforce was something I had to fight against - people who had worked with me offered me jobs out of the blue, the first one I took was "only for a few months" supposedly temporary, which dragged out to a year, and then turned into a permanent offer which I took.

Being able to spend the extra 8 hours a day doing things that created memories with me (vs. with a nanny) is something that made our relationship stronger, and allowed me to pass on my values to her, in a way that being with a nanny would not have done. It's not that I focused every minute of every day with her, I still had housework and chores to do, but every day did have quality time. If I had a special needs child, I feel like that would be even more important, and would be more important to me than the extra paycheck (assuming the missing check wouldn't hurl us into poverty). I just don't see how I could work full time, spend an appropriate amount of time with a special needs child at night while making dinner and unwinding from work, and then turn around and also spend a suitable amount of time with the other child so they don't become a footnote in our family.

It would be one thing to make that choice if you had your ideal job and you were having to sacrifice your own dreams here. But it doesn't sound like that's the case at all. It's more a matter of deciding whether you spend more time at home now while the kids are developing, vs. retiring early so you can spend more time at home when you are an empty nester.

Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: MrsPete on September 22, 2015, 07:20:52 PM
I don't think woman are giving him a free pass but I think many people who have been in that situation realize you can't make someone do what they don't want to do no matter how much you nag, etc. If someone is very stubborn it won't work. So then you have 2 choices-keeping working f.t. & doing everything or quit working & do everything.  Of course this is assuming you want to stay married.  Working p.t. might be a good solution if the OP can do that in her career field & provided that child care does not eat up all the income she makes.
Exactly.  My husband and I don't have the same arguments that the OP does, but we do disagree about cleanliness of the house.  After fighting about it for years -- and getting nowhere -- I realized that I realistically had two options:  1) accept that he is never going to care about a clean house and change my own attitude about doing everything.  or 2) continue to have conflict over this situation, which we both hated. 

Accepting that I am always going to do all the cleaning, and he will never appreciate it -- essentially just giving up on that topic -- has allowed me to step back and appreciate a multitude of good points he brings to the marriage.  Things I often overlooked when I was busy being mad that he doesn't seem to know the purpose of a trash can. 

Ideal?  No, but except for this topic, he and I are ideal together in pretty much every other way. 
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Lyssa on September 23, 2015, 07:08:26 AM
In your shoes I would possibly consider part-time but would absolutely not become a SAHM.

I think a lot of posters answered on the basis of the more usual situation in this forum, which is not a 50s style marriage but a couple deciding that a SAHP and a full-time earner are the fastest way to accomplish a functioning family and FIRE in parallel (especially by saving child care, housekeeping and commuting costs and having the SAHP optimizing the finances of the household).

Your situation is very different. Your (otherwise maybe wonderful) husband is basically forcing this choice on you by not carrying his weight re family responsibilities. You admittantly already are resentful. This will probably increase when you stay home and he does not appreciate what you are doing or even drops more responsibilities on you.

You briefly mentioned that you cannot imagine him to ER. Yet you care enough about it to be on this board.

Not trying to be rude, but you have three risk factors for a future divorse: married young, special needs child and different goals and priorities in life. Nothing you can do about the first two. But when have you last discussed how you would want your family's life to look like in 5, 10 or 15 years? Is there a shared dream? Or are the two of you laboring away under very different assuptions of what it is you are laboring for?

Giving up not only your earnings but (and this is the biggie) your future earning capacity is a huge step and to a certain extent you are putting all your eggs in one basket with the words "happily ever after" written on it. I'd not be comfortable to do that in your situation. Then again, that's easier said than done with your son having autism.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: HappyHoya on September 24, 2015, 07:37:08 AM
It seems like the real issue here is that your husband doesn't participate at home as much as your family and home situation requires of both of you and you feel like you have too much on your plate. You're hoping that by staying home you could pick up his slack in that department and he would shoulder the financial responsibility. This division of labor isn't crazy and I won't weigh in on whether it's good or bad to stay home with kids, but I suspect you'll still feel overwhelmed and your husband may see you being home as a reason to do less with the family. Is there an option to get more help around the house, whether now or after you stay home? Having more help might make you feel less compelled to stay home, but at the very least you should make this decision when you aren't feeling overwhelmed. There was a recent article in the Atlantic about how one of the overlooked reasons of families being overwhelmed today is the decline of domestic help, which was common for even middle-class families until more recently than many people realize. A lot of people like to blame working mothers and turn it into a gender issue, but it's more complicated than that. I'm not advocating for a return to the types of class stratification that made domestic help cheaply available or saying everyone should have help, but it might make sense for your situation, even temporarily.

Best of luck with whatever you decide. 
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: TVRodriguez on September 24, 2015, 03:38:27 PM
Personally, I'd keep working.  I took generous maternity leaves of 4 and 5 months, and I went part-time when the kids were younger and now have a flexible self-employed position, but I would not stop working completely.  I would hire more help if I needed it and if my husband were not being helpful.

I also don't understand why women calculate childcare as coming out of HER income alone.  It is coming out of the family income, since those kids are part of the family.

A divorce lawyer I know advised me once that a professional woman should not become a SAHM, that she should keep a foot in the door, even if the part-time position is not perfect.  Otherwise, she risks becoming wallpaper or becoming bored--and that's often when somebody steps out of the marriage.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: cloudsail on September 25, 2015, 03:39:11 PM
A lot of commenters are saying variants of "Since he's being inflexible, go ahead and stay home and decide to be agreeable about it."  But I hear you being uneasy about it, and I'm voting with you on that.  I imagine that the reasons you're uneasy are that you specifically didn't want to be cornered into being the non-salaried, stay-at-home-parent, both because you were hoping that both genders would contribute to domestic life and because you're uneasy about the powerlessness of the situation.  Correct me if I'm wrong.  I see the problem here as his implacability: he's effectively saying "I insist on getting exactly what I want, which leaves you no choice but to get something you didn't really want."  If you both freely chose that you'd be a SAHM, that's a different situation.  But you're contemplating doing it as a response to — as a compensation for — his withdrawal from sharing the domestic load.  That just doesn't sit well with me.  And saying "Well, choose to like it" doesn't really seem like a good solution.  I worry that his inflexibility will continue to be a problem.  Does he seem to understand the difficulty of your position at all?  I'm not sure why so many people are giving him a free pass — maybe I've misunderstood something — or do we just think, "Oh, men, they get to opt out of sharing the load if they want to, 'cause who's going to stop them?"  What do you think, OP?

Pretty much what Gray Matter, MrsPete, and some other people said.  This isn't exactly how I wanted life and marriage to be, but sometimes you have to accept things and move on.  And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

I know it doesn't sound this way, but DH is actually not an inflexible person.  Quite the opposite, he's always been very willing to admit his shortcomings and work to improve them.  Except for this one thing, which admittedly is a very big thing.  But at point I'm pretty sure that it's not because he doesn't want to be a better parent, he's simply unable to balance work and family properly.  He doesn't know how.  He's all or nothing, and unfortunately he doesn't have anyone to teach him how to do a good job both at work and at home.  And to be fair, I'm not good at this either.  I just don't have a choice, which is why I constantly feel like I'm doing a crappy job both at home and at work.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: cloudsail on September 25, 2015, 04:20:46 PM
If we do this, I would definitely make it clear that I retain the right to hire domestic help if chores are taking up too much time from the children.  I don't need the full time nanny, but I would make sure my husband understands that I'm staying home to spend more time with the children, and that is the first priority.

I ran some projections of our net worth, minus my salary. Of course I have no idea what the market will be like in the near future, but we are half stocks/bonds and half real estate so a prolonged bear market is not catastrophic for our portfolio. I'm relatively certain that our marriage is okay in the short term. It's the long term that no one can be certain about. But in five years our net worth should be somewhere around $2M, not counting foreign funds/inheritance. (I'm talking net worth instead of investable assets because presumably if we divorced we would sell the primary residence and split any other rental properties.) I could live comfortably with the children on $1M, even if my husband somehow got out of paying child support, and if I never made another cent. There's a lot of unknowns, of course, like what the value of our primary residence would be at the time of divorce. But I think it's unlikely that I won't be able to bring in some sort of income, however minor, and that my husband will be able to completely get out of any financial obligations to us.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz on September 25, 2015, 04:45:37 PM
Just want to say that this sounds like a super-hard situation and I really admire that you are paying attention to what YOU can do rather than continuing to beat your head against a brick wall. This is a tough one--good luck.

Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: rmendpara on September 25, 2015, 07:41:41 PM
Seems to be 2 separate issues in my view. This is  a very personal and touchy subject, so don't take my view as making it simpler than it probably is.

2 Situations to resolve:
1) If you should stay home
2) How to resolve guilt/resentment/whatever between you and husband

For 1, I see the logical choice as you staying home. You said you don't have any attachment to your job, but do like the field. No harm in working on some pet projects or even taking on part time work later just to stay relevant and not feel like you're being left behind. Of course, if you choose, you can leave the field entirely. You could probably also return to work if you choose.

For 2, this is more of a personal issue, and 1 certainly plays into it, but it really comes down to your relationship with your husband. Today, while working, you feel that husband may not respect/understand your contributions and you fear the power balance (either real or not) will shift if you decide to stay home. Fair point, and very reasonable thought. But, even if you continue working, this won't solve problem #2. Your husband could very well not respect you, and your contributions today.

I would make decision #1 based on what you feel is best for your son and yourself. I would work on #2 more seriously. Consider going to therapy/counseling. If for nothing else, you can at least have some help organizing your feelings (both of you), and make sure that no one feels un-heard and that you don't feel hopeless. The hardest part of marriage is when you have a problem that you don't fully understand, and then drive yourself (and spouse) nuts with all these crazy misunderstood feelings flying around. Find a safe and mutually beneficial way to talk about what you are feeling and see if you can work on this. Also, don't focus on forcing your husband to change. You can't change someone. You CAN lay out your thoughts, make your desires known, and let that person make their own decision.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: cloudsail on January 06, 2016, 05:24:37 PM
UPDATE:

After many discussions and much waffling back and forth (on my part), we've decided to do this. I'm planning to give notice in two weeks, which will be my one year anniversary at this company. I'll be able to vest some stock options and will have also reached 40 points of Social Security.

I'm a little nervous, but mostly excited. We traveled extensively during the holidays, which has made us realize how much the children benefit from increased interaction with us. With regards to my concerns, my husband has said many times that he wants this not so that he can do less at home but because it's best for our kids, and that he'll continue to work at better work/life balance. I don't actually believe the last part, but the thought matters. He's also open to contracting a cleaning person if the housework takes up too much time, though the mustachian side of me wants to avoid this if possible. I've found that just the decision to quit my job has made me less resentful of my husband and more sympathetic to his job stress, which has made life much more pleasant for everyone involved.

I'm nervous about giving notice because I'm not sure how my manager is going to take it. I have a lot of responsibilities so I feel bad about effectively abandoning my team. He also gave me a promotion and a raise in December, which caused a couple days of me doubting my decision. But he has two small kids himself so hopefully he'll understand. If I want to return to the work force one day I shouldn't burn any bridges, so I want to try to do this in a way such that no one is upset about me leaving.

Welp. We'll see how it goes in two weeks.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: tj on January 06, 2016, 08:03:43 PM
UPDATE:

After many discussions and much waffling back and forth (on my part), we've decided to do this. I'm planning to give notice in two weeks, which will be my one year anniversary at this company. I'll be able to vest some stock options and will have also reached 40 points of Social Security.

I'm a little nervous, but mostly excited. We traveled extensively during the holidays, which has made us realize how much the children benefit from increased interaction with us. With regards to my concerns, my husband has said many times that he wants this not so that he can do less at home but because it's best for our kids, and that he'll continue to work at better work/life balance. I don't actually believe the last part, but the thought matters. He's also open to contracting a cleaning person if the housework takes up too much time, though the mustachian side of me wants to avoid this if possible. I've found that just the decision to quit my job has made me less resentful of my husband and more sympathetic to his job stress, which has made life much more pleasant for everyone involved.

I'm nervous about giving notice because I'm not sure how my manager is going to take it. I have a lot of responsibilities so I feel bad about effectively abandoning my team. He also gave me a promotion and a raise in December, which caused a couple days of me doubting my decision. But he has two small kids himself so hopefully he'll understand. If I want to return to the work force one day I shouldn't burn any bridges, so I want to try to do this in a way such that no one is upset about me leaving.

Welp. We'll see how it goes in two weeks.

Have you considered that you both could do a "semi-retirement" now. It sounds like you clearly have enough to survive for a long time if you get out of the ridiculously costly bay area, so why not do that? I get that he wants to bust his butt to support his family, I get that, but have you sat down with him and actually shown him charts, graphs and projections, drawdown rates etc and explained that you could move to Arizona, Colorado or wherever, where you both could work less time intensive jobs that interest you enabling you both to spend significantly more time with your children?

I'm surprised nobody else has mentioned this.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Midcenturymater on January 06, 2016, 09:50:30 PM
I am a sahm. Have Been over 6 years.   Happiest 6 years so far. I left a meaningful but stressful job in education. I read a book...affluenza in my 20 s by Oliver James. He suggested if you can do anything to be :O.e in your kids early years....up to 5 I recall....he recommended doing it for the benefits for your kids and I really listened to that book. So it was a value to me and we gave up my 70 k salary for my husband's only a little higher between us. I feel I have mainly relished these 6 years and they have cost us.....We could have $250 extra at least if I had worked minus childcare.

Being with my kids, raising them but essentially getting to enjoy them has been very special.
I travelled through my 20 s and had a fairer than average stream of adventures but none of it has given me the joy and satisfaction of being with my kids. If I have to retire 7 years later it will be worth it.

But I do see sahm who are not suited to it...they miss the structure of their jobs and whatever satisfactions it delivers. Some people have their identity tied up in their job. I have never been like that   
So the transition was easy.
But

Accept you may never go back in on that salary level.it does impact your career I believe.
Creating a social network is essential unless you are an introvert.
The fact that we can meet with other kids and moms every day if we choose makes it a lot more fun.

The key is to be a stay home mum without staying home too much so you get the social connection work provides.

I think supporting your son would be very meaningful and life Jericho ng for him.

Some things are worth more than ER.

Go for it!it is amazing. The freedom over your day alone is intoxicating enjoyable.
I say this asvi prepare to return to work with a 4 and 6 year old so I did not manage the magic 5  James recommends😁
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: CindyBS on January 06, 2016, 09:55:45 PM
I was a SAHM for 10 years and now have older kids and work part time.  I currently get paid less per hour than I did in 2003. 

I would recommend working at part time.  Once you are out of the work force for more than a few years, it is nearly impossible to get back in at anywhere near your previous level.  We have estimated that my staying home will cost us $1M in lost wages, lost retirement match on a 401(k), etc. 

I have a very supportive DH (although he is not great on housework, he always acknowledged and thanked me for the hard work I did at home).  I have a lot of hobbies, activities and interests that I base my identity on rather than a career, but it is still very hard to be middle aged and be so "far behind" in the workforce.    If I could do it again, I would not have stopped working completely. 

Also, it really is a lot of work to be in charge of children nearly 24/7.  It would be illegal to expect any childcare worker or nanny to work the number of hours the average SAHM does.  I can honestly say there were very few days in the decade I stayed home that were so bad - but the constant work does get overwhelming after months/years.  I wish I had taken more time for myself instead of trying to just push through.  I highly recommend a night away alone and regularly scheduling days for yourself.  Just block out days and make it a regular part of your family's schedule. 


I'm sounding pretty negative, but I did really enjoy my years at home.  I mostly really liked being able to live a more relaxed lifestyle without rushing out the door every morning to get to daycare, spending every weekend catching up on chores, and missing out on my kids' milestones.   I agree that one key is to have a social network and do not stay in the house all the time.

Best of luck!!
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Midcenturymater on January 06, 2016, 10:14:20 PM
I am excited for you.

It really I'd the best thing I have ever done and I actually enjoyed my job! Not that it is always easy but I do think, unless you are a miserable stay home mum, kids actually really like being their parents as much as possible. 

I return to work through financial necessity and I hope to work part time but I will not pretend it is the best for my kids. It's not but I am grateful we have had 6 plus years of this experience as a family advisers who say it comes at a cost are right. It does.

But working and delegating care of your children to a caregiver who is always actually just doing a job, rather than oarenting. Comes at a cost too and I think the kids pay that cost more than the parents do, when both parents work demanding jobs. I accept that returning to work will have a positive impact on our finances but a non positive impact on our kids.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: 1967mama on January 06, 2016, 11:03:37 PM
Twenty four years ago, when I became a sahm, I was really REALLY feeling terrible about letting down the person I was working with. Someone else said to me, "1967mama, do you really think that in 20 years you will care what Jane Doe thinks of you?" She was right! I don't care, and it was the best decision I ever made!
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Ceridwen on January 07, 2016, 07:26:07 AM
That's an exciting update! Congratulations to you! I read this thread with great interest, and lots of good points were brought up.  I agree that ultimately for you, it's the best decision, both because of your special-needs son, and because you could easily re-enter the work force if you change your mind.

My husband and I have started talking about me being a SAHM once our mortgage is paid off, which should happen by 2020.  He makes x 3 my salary.  I have had the benefit of getting a taste of the SAHM life twice due to long maternity leaves in Canada (I took 13 and 14 months for each child).  Parts of it I loved, parts of it I didn't, which is why I'm hesitating about this decision.  But by 2020 both of our kids would be in school, so the dynamic of SAH would be quite different than when they were small.  Lots of time for me to evaluate this decision.

Anyway, I wish you the best of luck! I'm sure it will be great!
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: cloudsail on January 07, 2016, 08:32:35 AM


Have you considered that you both could do a "semi-retirement" now. It sounds like you clearly have enough to survive for a long time if you get out of the ridiculously costly bay area, so why not do that? I get that he wants to bust his butt to support his family, I get that, but have you sat down with him and actually shown him charts, graphs and projections, drawdown rates etc and explained that you could move to Arizona, Colorado or wherever, where you both could work less time intensive jobs that interest you enabling you both to spend significantly more time with your children?

I'm surprised nobody else has mentioned this.

Yes, this has occurred to me. But DH is not that kind of guy. He still dreams of making it "big", as in multi millions in an IPO big. That's his definition of success. I may not agree with it, but I can understand. The funny thing is he's not a materialistic person and is very frugal at heart, so what does he want all that money for? But it's really a self worth thing. He would be miserable in a job he did not find exciting and cutting-edge. He also considers these his best earning years, and is worried about ageism in the Valley. I'm resigned to staying put for the next five to ten years, and just hope that the housing price won't plummet right when we decide to leave.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: elaine amj on January 07, 2016, 09:32:19 AM
Congratulations on your decision!

For us, we got married early and had kids right away so I was a SAHM with very little work experience. However, I ended up doing a lot of volunteer work and started up an organization to help other moms in my community. With this "work", my resume was ok and all my experience throughout my SAHM years helped me get a full time job when I entered the workforce properly (when both my kids went to school full time).

What made it easier for us is that we both had the type of personalities that never considered or measured who contributes more to the household. It was always "our money" and shared goals. I have to admit it was a pretty sweet deal for me as I was a terrible housekeeper and not the most dedicated mom. I definitely did more-than-my-fair-share of vegging out during those years! He still helped out at home and with the kids on evenings and weekends. When he didn't want to do "x-crappy household task", I would cheerfully agree - I didn't want to do it either. Somehow, that usually made it better and eventually one or both of us would do it.

One of my close friends sounds more like you though. She has a lot of guilt because she is a SAHM and constantly pushes herself super hard to work constantly all day long. She feels guilty if she sits around and relaxes. My DH had a cushy job and did tons of relaxing at work so no guilt here, I just counted my blessings some more.

My friend also had the trouble of a workaholic husband (similarly devoted). She continually pointed out to him that if he didn't make time to be a part of their children's daily lives, they wouldn't even know him (when little, both were clingy to mom and would cry forever if left with dad). She eventually got through to him and he started spending more time with the family. She still does 90% of the child-rearing - but he is capable of putting them to bed and caring for them if she goes out. I think things got much better as the kids got older/more independent.

In your case, I would push hard for frequent vacations. It sounds like that is the time your DH is able to focus on your family. That sounds completely worth it. That's partly why our family travels so much - we focus more on each other on trips and that is precious to me. Yes, we can do that at home - but traveling is such a fun way to do it - no nagging or whining necessary :)
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Cassie on January 07, 2016, 12:11:26 PM
I am now 61 and never regretted staying home with my 3 kids. The sacrifice was worth it in terms of $ etc and when my youngest went to school f.t. I went back.  I think one of the worst things is having to get sleepy kids up, dressed, fed and off to a daycare,etc.  I have done it and it was horrible.  Then you come home at night tired but still need to make dinner, etc and I think the kids get short changed because before you know it-it is bedtime and you haven't had much time to spend with the kids. If you let them stay up later to compensate they are too tired to get up in am. Just a vicious cycle. I think you will be very happy with your decision.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: cloudsail on January 21, 2016, 12:16:14 PM
UPDATE 2:

I haven't tendered my resignation yet.... no, I'm not having second thoughts. It turns out that this week is when our new manager starts. Our old manager was so happy to wash his hands of us (not because we're terrible people, because he's very busy :) that he cancelled all the 1:1's already. I haven't yet met with my new manager in private. I'm working from home today (my son has speech therapy in the afternoon), so I have a remote meeting with him after lunch, but I just can't bring myself to say over video: "It's great to meet you.... I quit." I really hope he's able to schedule another meeting sometime next week when I'm actually in the office.

The good news is, my husband got a promotion! It comes with a nice raise, and he's trying to negotiate for some more bonuses. Also, with me no longer tied to my job, he wants to go work in their Dublin, Ireland office for a couple months this summer, when our son is on summer break. I've never been to Ireland and am a huge fan of slow travel, so am very excited at the opportunity. Especially when a lot of our travel expenses will be paid for :)

We also recently paid off the mortgage on our rental property. Unfortunately our long-time tenants just left, so it's vacant right now, but the property manager is working to get it cleaned and listed, and she thinks we can rent it for higher than it was before. At least we no longer have that mortgage expense, and when we get new tenants it will be additional income. I'm just sad because the previous tenants were great people who took very, very good care of the house.

I had been planning to give our nanny notice and lay her off at the end of February, but my husband last night said that he wanted to keep her until we leave for Ireland in the summer. He thinks we should have a transition period and also that I should get a few months rest after I quit. It's super thoughtful of him and I really appreciate it, but the mustachian in me is cringing at three additional months of full-time nanny expenses. I told him if I really felt overwhelmed we can always find a cleaning person to come once a week or something, but he was pretty determined. Well, I'll see if the nanny wants to start hunting for a new job right away.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: cloudsail on January 21, 2016, 12:24:05 PM
I am now 61 and never regretted staying home with my 3 kids. The sacrifice was worth it in terms of $ etc and when my youngest went to school f.t. I went back.  I think one of the worst things is having to get sleepy kids up, dressed, fed and off to a daycare,etc.  I have done it and it was horrible.  Then you come home at night tired but still need to make dinner, etc and I think the kids get short changed because before you know it-it is bedtime and you haven't had much time to spend with the kids. If you let them stay up later to compensate they are too tired to get up in am. Just a vicious cycle. I think you will be very happy with your decision.

Thats exactly how I feel right now (minus the making dinner part because our nanny does that). Also, good schools in California are insane. My son is 5-years-old in kindergarten (and in a special-ed class!) and he has homework every night, both reading and math. Not a lot, but he needs my help to do it. It's okay when I work from home, but on the days when I go in to the office it's all I can do when I get home to help him with his homework, bathe the two children, get them into bed.... I usually don't have time to eat dinner myself. Then I'm up at 6:30 am the next day. Vicious cycle indeed.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: jeromedawg on January 21, 2016, 12:56:07 PM
My wife just gave her notice beginning of the week with our [almost] 5mo old around. In the interim, we've had my parents help with watching him. I'm full-time telecommute now so hopefully things will work out. She'll pretty much be SAHM starting in the February time frame. I think it will be good for us in the long run.  My parents though, consider much virtue in working mothers (especially my mom) so they keep slipping in comments about my wife finding full-time work again, eventually, where the employer is "more flexible" - my wife gets pretty upset when they keep talking about this, given our decision. I think if my wife is able to receive an offer for working as a contractor (where she makes her own part-time hours according to how much she wants to work), that would be the most ideal. We know of a couple where the wife has this arrangement and is basically SAHM. But her employer really didn't want her to leave so let her stay on the payroll and she can work as little or as much as she likes (this is quite unusual). To the point where she gets paychecks for well under $100 at a time. Basically, she has become an "event coordinator" for the office at a minimum - so she gets paid for helping plan parties or other things. It's pretty ridiculous if you ask me... but very fortunate for them at the same time :)

That said, I think we're pretty set on the transition to SAHM and we just want to focus on making that transition and seeing how it goes. Having this outside noise from my parents (and a little from hers but not nearly as much as mine) doesn't help. I was telling my mom the other day that we're not rushing anything and to stop pushing the issue on us. Of course, my parents will say what they will, and I'm sure will continue encouraging for my wife to look for work when she may not really want to. I would want to encourage her to come up with ideas for side-hustle but I think focusing on the transition is the most important piece right now.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: cloudsail on January 21, 2016, 03:16:42 PM
My wife just gave her notice beginning of the week with our [almost] 5mo old around. In the interim, we've had my parents help with watching him. I'm full-time telecommute now so hopefully things will work out. She'll pretty much be SAHM starting in the February time frame. I think it will be good for us in the long run.  My parents though, consider much virtue in working mothers (especially my mom) so they keep slipping in comments about my wife finding full-time work again, eventually, where the employer is "more flexible" - my wife gets pretty upset when they keep talking about this, given our decision. I think if my wife is able to receive an offer for working as a contractor (where she makes her own part-time hours according to how much she wants to work), that would be the most ideal. We know of a couple where the wife has this arrangement and is basically SAHM. But her employer really didn't want her to leave so let her stay on the payroll and she can work as little or as much as she likes (this is quite unusual). To the point where she gets paychecks for well under $100 at a time. Basically, she has become an "event coordinator" for the office at a minimum - so she gets paid for helping plan parties or other things. It's pretty ridiculous if you ask me... but very fortunate for them at the same time :)

That said, I think we're pretty set on the transition to SAHM and we just want to focus on making that transition and seeing how it goes. Having this outside noise from my parents (and a little from hers but not nearly as much as mine) doesn't help. I was telling my mom the other day that we're not rushing anything and to stop pushing the issue on us. Of course, my parents will say what they will, and I'm sure will continue encouraging for my wife to look for work when she may not really want to. I would want to encourage her to come up with ideas for side-hustle but I think focusing on the transition is the most important piece right now.

At least for me, this was a difficult decision and the support of family was important. I can only imagine the stress your wife must be feeling without the full support of her parents and yours, especially with a new baby. If I had to hear my in-laws hinting that I should go back to work, I would be super pissed off. Not sure if your wife feels the same way, but I would try harder to get them to stop, or at least make sure your wife doesn't have to hear it. To counter-balance it, I would often reinforce that you fully support her decision and the sacrifice that she is making, and definitely don't try to encourage part-time or side-hustle work. If she feels ready for it, she will do it on her own without encouragement from you. If she doesn't, it will just seem like you are not comfortable with being the sole bread-winner.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: jeromedawg on January 21, 2016, 03:38:26 PM
My wife just gave her notice beginning of the week with our [almost] 5mo old around. In the interim, we've had my parents help with watching him. I'm full-time telecommute now so hopefully things will work out. She'll pretty much be SAHM starting in the February time frame. I think it will be good for us in the long run.  My parents though, consider much virtue in working mothers (especially my mom) so they keep slipping in comments about my wife finding full-time work again, eventually, where the employer is "more flexible" - my wife gets pretty upset when they keep talking about this, given our decision. I think if my wife is able to receive an offer for working as a contractor (where she makes her own part-time hours according to how much she wants to work), that would be the most ideal. We know of a couple where the wife has this arrangement and is basically SAHM. But her employer really didn't want her to leave so let her stay on the payroll and she can work as little or as much as she likes (this is quite unusual). To the point where she gets paychecks for well under $100 at a time. Basically, she has become an "event coordinator" for the office at a minimum - so she gets paid for helping plan parties or other things. It's pretty ridiculous if you ask me... but very fortunate for them at the same time :)

That said, I think we're pretty set on the transition to SAHM and we just want to focus on making that transition and seeing how it goes. Having this outside noise from my parents (and a little from hers but not nearly as much as mine) doesn't help. I was telling my mom the other day that we're not rushing anything and to stop pushing the issue on us. Of course, my parents will say what they will, and I'm sure will continue encouraging for my wife to look for work when she may not really want to. I would want to encourage her to come up with ideas for side-hustle but I think focusing on the transition is the most important piece right now.

At least for me, this was a difficult decision and the support of family was important. I can only imagine the stress your wife must be feeling without the full support of her parents and yours, especially with a new baby. If I had to hear my in-laws hinting that I should go back to work, I would be super pissed off. Not sure if your wife feels the same way, but I would try harder to get them to stop, or at least make sure your wife doesn't have to hear it. To counter-balance it, I would often reinforce that you fully support her decision and the sacrifice that she is making, and definitely don't try to encourage part-time or side-hustle work. If she feels ready for it, she will do it on her own without encouragement from you. If she doesn't, it will just seem like you are not comfortable with being the sole bread-winner.

Yea she was pretty pissed yesterday but it was only after I told her (venting session) when my mom was pushing me. I think they're 'generally' sensitive about it unless the topic is somehow brought up. I know my oldest SIL had struggles over this with them. My second oldest SIL works full-time though so my parents probably view her as the "benchmark" for us. I know they don't intend to or that their intention isn't to do harm or make us mad, but after having them live with us (and don't get me wrong, we appreciate their help with the kid), it starts getting difficult after a week or two. We have discussed previously my wife potentially taking on part-time work and she has said she would be open to it, but I do want to make sure we're focused first on the transition before we explore that idea (unless an offer just falls into her lap that is a no-brainer). As far as side-hustles, she'll tell you she has no hobbies and no interests, and therefore finding a side-hustle would be really hard. If I were to initiate something (that she could do within her means) then she would be open to the idea of running a side-hustle. But we both have agreed that her priority is family at this point in time. If there's any inkling of anything overriding that based on her capacity and willingness, then it's put to rest.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: lhamo on January 21, 2016, 04:12:01 PM
Congratulations and good luck with the transition!

Your nanny may want to stick around until closer to the end of the school year, when the market of people looking for FT help may be better for her.  If she does, I would encourage you to keep her on.  You are in a position where you can give her lots of time off to interview, etc., and having a bit of time to yourself over the coming months may help to make the transition easier/smoother for all of you.  My kids are older and my DS is now in school all day, so a bit different than having young kids at home, but I found it a bit of a challenge to get into a rhythm after having worked full time for so many years. 

And now I'm off to enjoy a late afternoon nap -- part of the rhythm I enjoy quite a bit!
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: Midcenturymater on January 23, 2016, 05:40:06 PM
Just get parents putting  pressure on mum's to go back to work to read that book by Oliver James. He makes a great case for making the financial sacrifice of having a stay home mum, and I for one was convinced.  I would rather have this time now with my kids and work longer because it goes so fast as it is. I can't imagine not having been with my kids when they were small. If you have the luxury of choice then grab it. It is very very special and of value for a parent to be stay home. Best choice we have ever made.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing
Post by: cloudsail on March 03, 2016, 08:27:37 PM
UPDATE:

I have been home for two weeks now, and just wanted to say that it is AWESOME! Our nanny left last week. We had planned on keeping her until the summer, but she wanted to take the opportunity to travel and visit family. While I miss all that she used to do, it actually hasn't been that bad. I realize now that chores were only a burden when I had a bunch of other things hanging over my head. Though I am thinking about getting a cleaning person to come once a week or so and vacuum, clean the bathrooms, etc.

The last couple of weeks at work were a little sad, as I do have great coworkers and everyone kept saying how sorry they were to see me leave. The guy who sat beside me asked every day if there was anything that would make me stay. In our weekly retrospective, someone on the team wrote in the "Sad" column: "X loves her children more than she loves us." :D My manager actually suggested the option to work part time, but with my husband's increased salary, I would essentially only be keeping about half of the part time pay. So if I worked two days a week, one of those days would basically be working for the government. It just didn't seem worth it. Plus I'm not one of those people who can just put my job out of my mind the days that I'm not working. I just want to be completely free of those responsibilities.

Financially, I'm still waiting to see what our new income and expenses will be like. We paid off the small remaining mortgage on our rental property, so now we have additional rental income every month. My husband got his big raise. We no longer have to pay for childcare or estimated taxes. It also turns out that I erred way too much on the side of caution last year and overpaid our estimated taxes by a LOT :( Oh well, too late to cry about the interest free loan to the government now. Our expenses should be going way down, and I hope to do other things to optimize and get them down further.

I'm still getting used to not having work responsibilities. I often find myself unable to shake off the feeling that I've forgotten something, like there's a build that I need to verify or a failing test I need to look at. This feeling is especially strong on Sundays. My mind just can't seem to wrap itself around the notion that I don't have to go back to work on Monday and keeps trying to figure out the things that I need to accomplish in the coming week. I suppose I'll get used to it soon :)

In the past couple of weeks, I've been playing games with my children, taking care of household paperwork, cooking, baking, planting, and just generally decompressing. My husband has had to travel extensively recently, so I'm especially grateful that I no longer have to go to work. Otherwise I can imagine how stressed we both would be right now.

Lastly, I've been able to volunteer a couple of times in my son's class. His teacher is great and lets me bring my daughter with me. My son has gotten over the initial adjustment period and is doing quite well. His teacher always has great things to say about his academics. Now that I have all the time in the world on my hands, homework time every day is no longer such a rushed affair and I can really focus on the things he's struggling with.

To sum it up, life without work is great! But hey, this is a forum about FIRE, so I guess we all know that or we wouldn't be here :D
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing (Update - I did it!)
Post by: little_brown_dog on March 04, 2016, 06:05:15 AM
Congrats on making the switch!

I’ve been home full time for about 6 months now and yes, it can take some time to get over the change in pace. Since there is no set work schedule, the days and weeks can sometimes feel aimless and very unstructured. I sometimes forget what day of the week it is because I no longer have a workweek to determine the passage of time and there is no real distinction between a weekday and a weekend for me (except that my husband is home on Sat/Sun). I find it’s helpful to stick to a schedule I create for myself using frequently updated to-do lists, and overall I try to treat my sahm status as a profession that requires a certain level of productivity each day. So far, I think this strategy has kept me from backsliding into a PJ wearing mess of a mom who can’t remember if she did the dishes yet today (because we know the sink just always fills up again!) :)
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing (Update - I did it!)
Post by: couponvan on March 04, 2016, 07:00:25 AM
You did it!  Awesome! 

This time with your children is precious, and it is time that you cannot get back.  I like the idea of keeping the SAHM status as a profession.  When I was SAHM, I treated weekends as sacred fun times for the family so there weren't chores for DH to do except 1 Saturday per month.  Now Saturdays seem to be Costco/errand day every weekend. Boo.

It sounds like you have been volunteering quite frequently.  Pace yourself on that, as while it is very rewarding,  it can also turn into another part-time job.  For me part time was the answer, although I'd like to be more part time than I am so I could have more home time and avoid paying so much to the tax man.  I also dream of having a more organized house....I'm working on it, but it's a long slow process.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing (Update - I did it!)
Post by: Cassie on March 04, 2016, 11:55:45 AM
Congrats on taking the plunge!  Enjoy this time with your children.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing (Update - I did it!)
Post by: Midcenturymater on March 05, 2016, 08:02:54 AM
Congratulations.

I am coming to the end of 6-7 years of sahm and it has been so special.
I essentially gave up my management career in education....to support my husband's career and a move to California from Europe.

For me so far it has,worked out. I have been mostly pretty content apart from those days when you are sick or kids are sick. I feel like if I died tomorrow I have had the loveliest experience this last 7 years. I am very connected to my kids from spending all my days,with them and for me there us no price on that.

Now on prepare to return...just to teaching...20 k salary cut due to being in  different  country.

I imagine it will be easier to know if it was worth it if and when using secure a job.

But right now from an assumption of I will find a teaching job...it was so worth it.

So many jobs are kind of meaningless and education isn't even one of them, but I could not give up being present to my kids growing up when they are pretty vulnerable.....for a job.

But I am someone exceptionally suited to being home by my temperament. No need for structure. Not controlling. Sociable...so I met loads of great parents to hang out with through these years.
Best thing I have done so far and my life has been pretty varied and other have done meaningful( on my world) jobs.
Good luck with it. You have gifted you and your kids something special.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing (Update - I did it!)
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz on March 05, 2016, 09:16:42 AM
So glad your stay-at-home honeymoon is going so well! Our oven broke this week and we had to have an electrician come out (I think I can fix the oven, but it took a circuit breaker with it). I was thinking how nice it is that with my part-time schedule, we don't have to have someone leave work early for that kind of thing.
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing (Update - I did it!)
Post by: cloudsail on September 17, 2018, 01:15:31 PM
I am updating this post in response to a private message from a forum member. I will post in more detail tonight, but just wanted to post this short note so that it will be easier for me to find this thread again.

Overall, the past two years have been great for our family. We've made a big move, from Mountain View to Seattle, our net worth has grown to 2.5M (!), and our kids have made amazing progress. There's been ups and downs, of course, but I'd say we're definitely happier as a couple and a family than we were before. I actually found a part-time job that is remote and very flexible, and not in the software field. It doesn't make much but gives me a concrete sense of accomplishment that is often hard to find with kids and household chores. DH is starting to get disillusioned about his career path and not working is starting to sound better and better. We are thinking that 2022 may be our FIRE date, dependent on a lot of different factors, of course.

Stay tuned for a longer update!
Title: Re: Seriously considering the SAHM thing (Update - I did it!)
Post by: cloudsail on September 18, 2018, 12:06:44 AM
Looking back on the past two years, I would say that the pros and cons were pretty much expected for someone in my situation.

Pros:
1. No more deadlines! No more performance reviews!
2. So. Much. Less. Rush. I no longer feel like I'm being pulled in multiple directions trying to juggle work and kids.
3. It has given our family much more flexibility. We wouldn't have been able to make the move to Seattle so easily if both of us had to relocate. I wouldn't be able to enroll my son in an alternative school that requires extensive parent involvement if I was still working.

Cons:
1. It's very easy to feel unappreciated. I was pretty good at my job, so when I was working I had people all over the company telling me things like, "That tool you wrote is awesome!" You're not going to get that kind of affirmation from your kids. This was the cause of some conflict between DH and I. Since he has realized this, he's made an effort to try to express verbal appreciation for the things that I do. Also my part time job helps. My boss wanted to promote me to head of the department I'm working in, despite the fact that the company is on the other side of the country, lol.
2. Weekdays and weekends are pretty much the same. I didn't quite realize before how important it was to me to have a change of pace on the weekends. It can feel like you don't have the opportunity to "recharge."

Things that haven't really been affected:
1. Our financial situation is actually way better than it was two years ago. We've blown past our original FIRE number.
2. I don't really miss my old job. I like software, but after doing it for ten years I was ready for a change.
3. I don't lack adult interaction. In fact, I actually have more time to do things like entertain, meet with friends, etc.
4. I don't feel like I'm taking on much more household responsibility than I used to. We have a cleaning lady come and clean the bathrooms, floors, etc. The house looks like a mess most of the time but neither of us really care. We eat out or takeout much more than we should, but DH's philosophy is that if any chore stresses me, it should just be outsourced. Needless to say our spending is atrocious, but at this point as long as we live within our means our stash is basically growing exponentially on it's own. And we still save almost half of what we make.

I do think there are so many different factors involved in this kind of decision that huge differences in outcome can result, kind of like the butterfly effect. And it's hard to predict how things will turn out until they actually happen.