Author Topic: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?  (Read 1131 times)

mubington

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Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« on: February 09, 2018, 04:09:45 AM »
So I'm wondering if an ER type of person is more or less likely to enjoy childcare early into ER? 

The recent addition of a provisional 'baby childcare' column is having an interesting to impact on the graphs.

But money aside, is a relaxed early retirement after an intense accumulation phase compatible with the ups and downs of full time childcare?
« Last Edit: February 18, 2018, 05:50:45 AM by mubington »

Chrissy

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2018, 06:58:45 AM »
I can only answer for us.  We want to retire asap, but we LOVE childcare. 

We have a 2-yr-old and one on the way.  I totally thought I would be the stay-at-home type... but after a 6mo trial, I'm just not.  I'm sooo not.  And, my husband?  He thinks he'd like to be a SAHP, but after 5 min of unexplained crying, he's murderous.  We might try him as a SAHP IF we move to our rural property with the great public schools when the kids are old enough.  Meanwhile, I've built childcare into our retirement models. 

The problem is, you can't know your preference on the subject until AFTER you've had a child.

Aelias

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2018, 11:31:48 AM »
From my personal experience:

I left a high-paying, high pressure job I hated when my first was born.  I was fully expecting to be a SAHM because I was so very done with that job, and I think I assumed all other jobs would be equally awful.

2 months in, I was like "I need to be working."  The reason was simple--deep down, I am a very in-my-own-head introvert.  I need lots of alone time doing thinky things to be happy.  That describes a desk job. Staying at home with a small kid is THE EXACT OPPOSITE.  They want your engagement all the time. And engaging with them can sometimes be . . . boring.  I'm in a better job now, with more engaging work and a lot of flexibility.  Now, when I'm home with my kids, they get me at my best because I've had a whole day to be on my own. 

Our kids will probably be in high school when we retire.  That strikes me as a good time to be home because a) they're going to be at school / activities a lot of the time; and 2) I can try to engage with them on whatever they find interesting, which will probably be more interesting to me. 

I will also say, I never cared much about how much money I made at the old job until my husband was making all the money and I was making no money.  It just didn't feel right.  Us both working for money creates a better dynamic between us.

I will also, also say, I have TONS of women in my family who have been AMAZING SAHMs.  They have their struggles, like everyone, but a few things they have in common: 1) they're geared toward giving to others; 2) they're good a setting boundaries and structuring time; and 3) they're good at coming up with engaging activities for kids.  Even so, a day or two of preschool or childcare a week can be great. 

Novik

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2018, 01:37:40 PM »
The problem is, you can't know your preference on the subject until AFTER you've had a child.

Very true!  My very tentative FIRE glide path includes significant chunks of time to figure this out for exactly that reason, since it could go either way.

My ideas is that my partner and I can take long parental leaves (year+) together, and see how that goes. Most likely, we both go back to work less than FT between leaves, but take long parental leaves with each kid, and retire once some/most are in JK (age 4).

That leaves a lot of time for figuring out how much childcare we should plan on paying for in FIRE, and a lot of flexibility on when/how we each step away from FT work. I'm very grateful for the Canadian system which allows for long job-protected leaves (including the recent option of 18 months) and for my career being something that could handle leaves/PT work well (software dev).
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MayDay

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2018, 08:01:34 AM »
I love childcare.

I went back to work after my first kid (working only 3 days a week). Nice balance. Quit after the 2nd kid but the older went to preschool and the younger went to a sitter one day a week. ideally they would have gone more! I continued using sitters like that til they were both in school.

Now I'm back to work full time and the best part is a sitter gets the ready and out the door in the morning and I don't have to!

I'm introverted.
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Abe

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2018, 10:41:22 AM »
We have an 18mo and have a full time nanny. Neither of us want to be stay at Home parents. However once we have another kid my wife will go to part time for her sanity. Iíll stay full time to build the savings then go to part time when they are teenagers. Either of us going part time is a huge hit to the income relative to having a nanny, but itís fun to play with the kid!

Carrie

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2018, 11:36:00 AM »
I didn't do any childcare unless I was consulting (10-15hr week, from home), and I used MMO two days per week with one child. All my kids started montessori style preschool at 3.  I deal with a little guilt for paying for childcare even though I'm home, piddling around, which is why I waited until preschool age (education/social aspect). Right now I'm doing some work for the preschool to reduce tuition/ keep me busy.
By the time dh retires all of our kids will be school age, so we won't pay for any childcare.

Pigeon

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2018, 11:41:09 AM »
Love my kids, but being a SAHM would be my worst nightmare.

Carrie

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2018, 01:15:51 PM »
Depends. Do you need after school care? Summer care?

I don't quite understand, if you're retired, why you'd need more care than a typical school day.
So then years age 5 and up could be $0 for care, unless you add in some extracurricular activities. The cost would vary greatly on that. 

I have no problem being a SAHM, I love it, and have plenty of ways to find adult stimulation. My job as sah isn't to entertain my kids 100% of the time, I actually spend very little time doing that. I spend the majority of my days doing exactly what I want - I honestly feel like I'm fired now that my kids are past the baby/toddler phase [those years are no joke].

nessness

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2018, 07:49:39 PM »
My kids are 3 and almost 1, and I have thought that I would enjoy being a SAHM to either kid individually, but not to both of them together. They're fun together but get so wound up, and they're naps don't wind up so I don't often get any downtime. I would need at least some childcare to stay sane as a SAHM, at least at these ages.

Having DH home too would make it somewhat easier, but he doesn't like to take the kids out by himself so I still wouldn't get much quiet time at home, which is a must for me as an introvert.

So I guess my advice would be that if you don't want to budget for childcare, either stick with one kid or space them out like 5 years. But I definitely agree with PP that this is all individual and it's hard to tell how you'll feel before the kid is here.

okits

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2018, 10:30:13 PM »
Paging @CanuckExpat to this thread...

(I am not ERed.  I enjoyed a lot of what @Aelias wrote, particularly the below parts.)

deep down, I am a very in-my-own-head introvert.  I need lots of alone time doing thinky things to be happy.  That describes a desk job. Staying at home with a small kid is THE EXACT OPPOSITE. 

Quote
my husband was making all the money and I was making no money.  It just didn't feel right.  Us both working for money creates a better dynamic between us.

Quote
AMAZING SAHMs.  They have their struggles, like everyone, but a few things they have in common: 1) they're geared toward giving to others; 2) they're good a setting boundaries and structuring time; and 3) they're good at coming up with engaging activities for kids. 

LiveLean

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2018, 07:49:52 AM »
As the parent of two kids -- 15 and 12 -- I read these posts and wonder if folks ever consider the years after they enter kindergarten. The mentality on these boards is more like, "Holy crap. How do we handle/finance childcare and not sleeping, etc., for five-six years so we can go back to our regularly scheduled lives and careers?"

What you might find is a shift in mindset that those careers, hobbies and other things don't matter so much and that you really do enjoy raising the kiddos as the top priority. DW and I left higher-profile, much more travel-oriented careers so she could stay home (for 7 years) and I could work from home permanently. It's allowed us to be heavily involved as sports coaches, Scout leaders, religious education teachers, etc. I can count on one hand the number of games and school events I've missed to this point because of work. We didn't spend a dime on daycare and all grandparents live out of state and have been generally useless on that front anyway.

Other threads have discussed this topic in various forms but the thing to remember is that all the cliches are true: these 18 years will fly by.


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Carrie

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2018, 07:57:56 AM »
@LiveLean , yes, this exactly.  Now that I've been home 11 years and youngest is 3, I don't need a career to be fulfilled. I am so much more content than I ever thought possible. I enjoy my kids, but I also enjoy all the time I have to cook gourmet (but inexpensive) meals, do volunteer work, hobbies, music. Things I would never have made time for when I was working full time.
I've decided I'd much rather live simply and frugally and enjoy these fleeting years than bank an extra $50k per year that we may not ever even need.

Prairie Stash

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2018, 08:14:17 AM »
@LiveLean My oldest is entering kindergarten in the fall. I miss her preschool years already, my biggest regret is not spending more time with her. You are absolutely correct, its always possible to pick up the extra cash later, its not possible to get those years back. Luckily I minimized work somewhat, deep down I think I could have had a few more weeks off though.

Hindsight is a terrible curse. 

mubington

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2018, 09:38:02 AM »
I guess what prompted the question was reading so many comments about parents who choose to work longer hours  due to not coping very well with extended periods looking after children, and appreciating the break. Perhaps this makes such folk terrible people. But I did wonder if being ER and at home all day with a toddler is perhaps asking for trouble, if childcare doesn't come naturally,  with no work to 'escape' to.

Pigeon

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2018, 10:53:19 AM »
I think it's going to be as individual as each person.  My kids are now mostly grown.  Both Dh and I worked F/T throughout.  Dh is a teacher and had summers and school vacations home with them and my  job has a decent work/life balance. 

I don't regret not being home with them at all.  We had good childcare arrangements that they liked very much and that were much better than I would have provided if I were a SAHM.  I'm not ashamed to admit that.  I would have been crawling the walls. 

The kids got lots of attention from us.  We weren't together 24/7, but when we were, we engaged with them.  We had family dinners every night.  We took them to all kinds of activities.  We greatly enjoyed the time we spent with them.

I like my career and it would have taken a huge hit if I'd taken off years to stay home.  I most likely would never have gotten something equivalent.  I was  a much better parent as a working mother.

Carrie

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2018, 01:17:42 PM »
I guess what prompted the question was reading so many comments about parents who choose to work longer hours  due to not coping very well with extended periods looking after children, and appreciating the break. Perhaps this makes such folk terrible people. But I did wonder if being ER and at home all day with a toddler is perhaps asking for trouble, if childcare doesn't come naturally,  with no work to 'escape' to.

I too wondered this - if the goal is ER and you don't enjoy lots of time at home / with the kids, what's up with that?
Not being judgmental towards those who are doing this differently.
I'm about sick of the comments from working parents that "we'll I'd go crazy without adult interaction / the challenge of work/ whatever. As if parents who quit careers can't or don't get adult interaction, or don't do mentally stimulating things. It's like ER- you can make of it whatever you like! 

okits

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2018, 02:33:42 PM »
I guess what prompted the question was reading so many comments about parents who choose to work longer hours  due to not coping very well with extended periods looking after children, and appreciating the break. Perhaps this makes such folk terrible people. But I did wonder if being ER and at home all day with a toddler is perhaps asking for trouble, if childcare doesn't come naturally,  with no work to 'escape' to.

Part of the answer to your question may lie in the idea that people enjoy lives composed of more than one thing.  Friends, learning, physical activity, intellectual exploration, spiritual fulfillment.  Non-stop parenting can exclude some or all of that (friends get busy with their own families or drift away if they have no interest in friends with kids; exhaustion and lack of focused time for other pursuits; children at stages or parent/child with medical needs that make bringing them along to things impractical).  Pair that with the difficulty of making a transition from the workforce (to retirement, when you are not traditional retirement age) and I can certainly see how parents who are FI might choose to still engage with their industry because it's familiar, at hand, gives an added dimension to their life other than parenting, and is a more socially acceptable reason to use childcare (if people don't know you're FI). 

The particular kid and the stage of development makes a difference.  Caring for my elder child is a lot different now that she's four compared to when she was two.  She can communicate effectively and be reasoned with (think of what it's like to have a workplace manager who can't do that, and you'll see why that makes life so much nicer as a parent!)

I guess what prompted the question was reading so many comments about parents who choose to work longer hours  due to not coping very well with extended periods looking after children, and appreciating the break. Perhaps this makes such folk terrible people. But I did wonder if being ER and at home all day with a toddler is perhaps asking for trouble, if childcare doesn't come naturally,  with no work to 'escape' to.

I too wondered this - if the goal is ER and you don't enjoy lots of time at home / with the kids, what's up with that?
Not being judgmental towards those who are doing this differently.
I'm about sick of the comments from working parents that "we'll I'd go crazy without adult interaction / the challenge of work/ whatever. As if parents who quit careers can't or don't get adult interaction, or don't do mentally stimulating things. It's like ER- you can make of it whatever you like! 

Tone is open to interpretation on the internet, but your wording of the phrases in blue sound to me like you are judging parents who are doing things differently than you have.  You might not care whether people think you are judging them, but it doesn't enable productive discussion if they perceive you as having already made up your mind about people who haven't made the same choices you did.

mubington

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2018, 05:00:43 AM »
It's just a bit unnerving hearing comments like 'raising kids is a full time job, and the hardest job you will ever do'.  I know it sounds selfish, but I don't think I have the temperament or network to raise kids without significant childcare. So it is just a bit of a shock after planning for so long, to suddenly realise that I will probably need to add 10 years to my ER date, if I don't take to full time parenting. Should have done it earlier I guess.

Northern gal

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2018, 05:12:06 AM »
Childcare is VERY different once it becomes a choice and yes Iím in the ďfor itĒ camp.

You select the center the children love the most, you pick them up at a time that works best for everyone. Pretty much most of the negative aspects just donít apply once you can choose rather than hurrying along.

I was very worried but now am singing praises. So Iíd say definitely include some childcare in your budget.

Disclaimer: 18 month old attending three days a week from 8-16.00, 5 mins drive from home
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 05:19:55 AM by Northern gal »

okits

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2018, 06:37:07 AM »
It's just a bit unnerving hearing comments like 'raising kids is a full time job, and the hardest job you will ever do'.  I know it sounds selfish, but I don't think I have the temperament or network to raise kids without significant childcare. So it is just a bit of a shock after planning for so long, to suddenly realise that I will probably need to add 10 years to my ER date, if I don't take to full time parenting. Should have done it earlier I guess.

Childcare can be inexpensive/free (trade babysitting with another family, friends or relatives babysit occasionally as a favour, your gym has a babysitting service so you can work out) or it can be costly (some of the fancier, private daycares are over $2k/month around here, full time for kids under 18 months).  If you have a spouse, giving each other kid-free breaks is also really good.  There's a wide range of childcare choices available, depending on the cost-quantity-quality-availability trade offs you're willing to make.  If you are bare bones FIRE and want some regular childcare, get a part-time job to pay for it.  It doesn't have to add a decade to your ER date.

You can also save yourself a bunch of childcare expenses if you only have one child. 

talltexan

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2018, 07:11:59 AM »
I love childcare.

I went back to work after my first kid (working only 3 days a week). Nice balance. Quit after the 2nd kid but the older went to preschool and the younger went to a sitter one day a week. ideally they would have gone more! I continued using sitters like that til they were both in school.

Now I'm back to work full time and the best part is a sitter gets the ready and out the door in the morning and I don't have to!

I'm introverted.

A baby-sitter who handles the morning routine? Sign me up!!!

Prairie Stash

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2018, 08:37:20 AM »
It's just a bit unnerving hearing comments like 'raising kids is a full time job, and the hardest job you will ever do'.  I know it sounds selfish, but I don't think I have the temperament or network to raise kids without significant childcare. So it is just a bit of a shock after planning for so long, to suddenly realise that I will probably need to add 10 years to my ER date, if I don't take to full time parenting. Should have done it earlier I guess.
My total childcare bill for my kids will likely run around $60-70k (costs vary by region, my two are roughly $1000/month for part time care currently, I'm halfway through childcare already). That's the expected total cost till they're 18, I won't be paying for childcare after a certain point, its a very short finite time period where they require care. If you want childcare just multiply each kid by the expected number of months they require care until they hit school, costs typically drop as soon as they enter school.  If you hit ER, while they're in school, I would assume you could work part time (9-3), or utilize that time as your personal time. I plan on FIRE and having school time as my time to do hobbies.

Realistically, tally up the total cost and then figure out how long it would take to save exactly that amount. Unlike FIRE costs, you don't multiply it by 25.

As an aside, when you say childcare are you talking 5 days a week, 8-9 hours/day? That's full time for us. Part time for us is 3 days/week, others do 2 days a week. Cost vary according to utilization, If you're only looking for small breaks its pretty cheap, if you want to outsource the majority of the week it can be expensive.  So far we have had a lot of views with people taking extreme positions on both ends, in real life its a continuum of choices. What would your perfect scenario look like?

FINate

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2018, 09:35:43 AM »
The term 'childcare' is way too broad for meaningful discussion. You need to think in terms of infant-care, toddler-care, preschooler-care, and so on. Every phase has unique tradeoffs and people tend to have more or less compatibility with each phase. For example, neither DW or I are infant types. Don't get me wrong, we love our kids and the infant phase wasn't without wonderful moments that we cherish. But overall we both found infant-care to be exhausting and boring. We made the best of it by keeping in mind that it's a phase that passes extremely quickly (amazing how quickly that time passed!). Toddler-care was less difficult for us, and preschool-care moreso.

Our kids are now in the elementary school phase and we both love, love, love, being home with the kids. No diapers or bottles, they go to the bathroom on their own and wipe their own butts, dress themselves, get their own snacks/water, and clean up and do chores around the house (still have to work with them on this last one). They also entertain themselves for long stretches (intentionally trained them on this) so DW and I don't feel like we're always 'on' with the kids. Really enjoy conversing with them, hearing their stories and ideas and love their sense of wonder, imagination, and the newness of everything. Wouldn't trade it for anything.

On the other hand, other folks we know are more into the infant phase than older kid phases. I don't really understand that (isn't the whole point of parenthood to enjoy guiding your kids to adulthood?), but to each their own I suppose.

In any case, the point is I think the question of ER and childhood depends on the intersection of the ER personality/temperament (for lack of better terms) and the life phase(s) of the kid(s) involved.

EDIT: I should add that both DW and I are ER. I suppose this helps because we share the childcare responsibilities evenly. When one is feeling overwhelmed, or bored, or just needs a break, then the other takes over.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 09:38:01 AM by FINate »

cats

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Re: Are aspiring ERs more or less likely to enjoy childcare?
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2018, 02:28:05 PM »

In any case, the point is I think the question of ER and childhood depends on the intersection of the ER personality/temperament (for lack of better terms) and the life phase(s) of the kid(s) involved.


This.  I have a 2-year old and am hoping to have a second kid, husband and I both work FT and kid is in FT childcare.  Honestly, had I gone the SAHM route, I think I still would have REALLY appreciated some childcare the first year.  I was just soooo tired.  Now, I think I could be quite happy as a SAHM of one toddler.  He gives a lot more indication of how he is feeling and I find it's a lot easier to interact with him and figure out solutions to problems as they come up.  And he still takes a long nap each afternoon and sleeps 10-12 hours/night, so there's some room in there for parent recharge. Obviously he's got a lot of development left to do, but I have much more in common with him now than I did when he was 6 or 9 months old.

Not sure how I would do as a FT SAHM to 2 kids under 5 (focusing on under 5 as over 5 means public school is available).  Our FIRE budget does have a "kids" section that should be enough to cover some childcare (not FT, but on the order of 2-3 mornings/week), should we decide to RE before said kids are in school.  DH and I are both very much on board with the idea of paying for some childcare regardless of whether or not we are both working.