Author Topic: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?  (Read 3484 times)

beekeeper

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Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« on: July 24, 2018, 10:07:55 AM »
We have two boys (3 & 4) and I'm thinking about taking a few years off work to be responsible for them and then to return to work once they are settled in school. The motivation is to do one thing well (raise kids) instead of two things so-so (raise kids and work).

Currently my wife and I are each working about 60% and juggling the kids with the help of a nanny. I work as a consultant and my hours are flexible but I feel the pressure to always make a good impression. I find it frustrating to switch back and forth between work and kids and feel like I am half-assing both roles.

Maybe better to whole-ass taking care of the kids until they are busy with school? Have other people done this? I'm thinking it is much easier starting at 3 & 4 than with a newborn?

I am not currently thinking about homeschooling, etc, though I was unschooled myself and I suppose that taking more responsibility for the kids now could make these Plan B/C options more realistic if they became interesting later.

We are not FIRE but I actually enjoy working when I'm able to do it on my own schedule with plenty of time.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2018, 01:20:50 PM »
I think the main thing to ask is if you'd be able to jump back into your career at more or less the same level in a few years' time.  I have a teacher friend who stayed home with her kids for a few years and then jumped back into it when they were older but this doesn't work as well for some other careers - particularly if they are technology based as tech moves so fast.

Also - while you are home with the kids, will your wife contribute to your retirement accounts?

I'm a red panda

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2018, 02:53:36 PM »
If child rearing is a priority to you, even if you aren't FIRE- I'd do it.
The purpose of FIRE is to do what you want with your time.  You can do that NOW instead of putting it off until later.

letsdoit

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2018, 10:15:10 AM »
I don't have advice but would love to hear more about how it progresses

when I think about doing this it is the career trajectory that scares me

LinneaH

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2018, 05:35:35 AM »
I think the main thing to ask is if you'd be able to jump back into your career at more or less the same level in a few years' time.

Agree on this! Think long and hard about what your re-entry into the work-force could look like. Will you be able to go back to the same role/type of job after two years? How about five years, or maybe 8-10?
Or do you see yourself doing something slightly or totally different after this period? How can that be accomplished?Can you prepare for it now or during the period you are not working? As in getting education/training on-line, getting any kind of certification needed. How about having a part-time job when your wife is not working? Preferrably related to what you want to do when you come back, that way keeping a bit in contact and upi to date, and also getting some extra money.

But in general, I think it is a really good idea, it is something I have been thinking about doing myself even though my kids are slightly older, so I would work part time while they have short days in school.

MayDay

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2018, 12:48:44 PM »
I worked in what sounds like a similar job for a year. I worked half time from home as an engineer be with Uber flexible schedule and totally self directed.

In theory working PT was great. My kids were in 1st and 3rd grade.

There were a lot of downsides. I was PT so I handled all kid stuff including during the day (no school! In service! Dr.! Dentist! Sick!). I was on kid duty 7 am to 8:30 when the bus picked up, then had to tidy the house. Then work (but interrupted by the above, including volunteering at the school since after all I didn't work FT). Have to get in work by the bus drop off because  of course I was also in charge of afternoons.

I can't imagine trying to do that with only preschool hours! It sounds like your spouse be doesn't work FT either so probably once your kids are in elementary you won't have to do all kid stuff.

For me working FT and paying for all needed childcare is much easier than dividing time. Others experience it differently. I can see the appeal of just stopping during the preschool years.

beekeeper

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2018, 06:22:58 AM »
I don't have advice but would love to hear more about how it progresses

I have decided to go forward with this idea, starting in a couple of months, so I will report on how it goes.

Just having made the decision to let go of work for a while I am already finding it much easier to engage with the kids and take them out for activities. It's liberating not to have half of my mind on work all the time. Let us see how the situation progresses though.

beekeeper

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2018, 06:26:04 AM »
I can't imagine trying to do that with only preschool hours! It sounds like your spouse be doesn't work FT either so probably once your kids are in elementary you won't have to do all kid stuff.

My DW works around 30h/week and from home on a flexible schedule. I envision that once the kids are in school we will both do this. Meanwhile while I am taking care of the kids she will still be around and available to help out when needed. So I will probably have it relatively easy compared to someone whose spouse is away at the office 40+ hours per week.

Knapptyme

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2018, 06:37:43 AM »
We chose this path one year ago when my boys were 5 & 2. (Not that this is the route you're going, but we also decided to homeschool them.)

It's been great. It affected our FIRE date, but we looked at it differently. Our kids love us now and might not have the same sentiment to always have the 'rents around when they're teenagers because we FIREd. So, pseudo-retirement for me now when the kids are young and go back to work later if I have to.

Good choice to stay home. You may miss some of the adult interaction or higher-level thinking that the working world may have for you, but you'll never regret being with your kids.

merula

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2018, 08:22:14 AM »
My husband is a SAHD to our kids (4 and 6). It's been great overall; I feel like it's definitely easier to both have our own "jobs" and not have to shift back and forth so much. (If I need to go on a work trip or have odd hours for a bit, I confirm with him, but it's not a question of balancing my job's needs against his job's needs.)

I also think that parenting gets physically easier over time, while getting mentally and emotionally more taxing. Infants' needs are limited; they can't tell you whether they need to be changed or fed or comforted, but it's probably one of those three and it's not the end of the world if you guess wrong at first. But it's so draining to be up half the night (or more) every night, and all the other physical pieces of infant care.

Now at 4/6, there are many times when I don't have any idea what my children need from me, and they can't tell me either. What do they need when their neighborhood friends want to play with each other and exclude my kids? Comfort? An explanation? A mama-bear tirade against the excluding children? All three? And it just gets more complicated as they get older. Being there and being committed to that work is so, so valuable.

Some things that are hard about being a SAHD that you might not have considered:
-The work is repetitive and virtually never done. There's very little in the way of what feels like an "accomplishment" the way professional work does. I have no advice on this, unfortunately.
-It can be isolating, PARTICULARLY for men. Do you have friends or neighbors who stay home with their children? Probably a lot more women than men? Try to find support wherever you can, and keep some connection to adult conversation.
-Strangers seem a lot more willing to shout parenting advice at dads, and men in playgrounds get weird and dirty looks. Give yourself permission to flip the bird at people like that.

MoneyStubble25

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2018, 11:49:43 AM »
Wow, I love this discussion. I may have the opportunity to stay home (dad here) by next year with our then toddler son and hopefully a future child. We won't be FIRE, but my wife has the better career and is inline for a big promotion with lots of stability. It wouldn't replace my income, but is more than enough to live on and pay should increase with time. The problem is it's a demanding job, and hard to juggle, especially while I'm also working a medium stress full time job. Most of the husbands of women in the same role as my wife at her work stay at home to help balance it.

I was actually off for 4 months this year due to a generous company leave policy with my infant son (5 - 9 months), so I know how isolating and tough it can be. However, in many ways I enjoyed it more than my desk job, and it certainly felt more rewarding. Our lives were also a lot easier, since I was able to cover most of the household labor instead of cramming it in and outsourcing like we have to do now. Our son seemed a lot happier too.

The problem is, it's hard to walk away from a good job, with a good salary, benefits, and flexibility (WFH 2x a week). It would also set us back towards FIRE. I also feel like SAHDs are judged pretty harshly, and it would be tough to jump back into my current career (ad tech) since it evolves so quickly. It feels like a lot of personal risk, like if something were to happen to my wife or our relationship, and that makes me nervous. It also drastically changes the power balance in the relationship. Ideally, I'd work 3 - 5 more years to increase our savings (particularly tax advantaged accounts), but at the same time these early years are the most crucial for our children, so that may not be the best option for them.

The way I'm trying to think about the possibility is sort of a part time FIRE. I'd escape the corporate grind with plans to hopefully not return, cover the bulk of our domestic labor, simplify our lives and expense for the next 5 years then work my way back into some flexible, part time gig once the kids are in school.

merula

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2018, 12:57:30 PM »
I also feel like SAHDs are judged pretty harshly, and it would be tough to jump back into my current career (ad tech) since it evolves so quickly.

The studies on this have shown that men who slow down for family reasons are judged less harshly than women who do the same in the workplace, but of course that's always going to depend on the individual circumstances.

It feels like a lot of personal risk, like if something were to happen to my wife or our relationship, and that makes me nervous. It also drastically changes the power balance in the relationship. Ideally, I'd work 3 - 5 more years to increase our savings (particularly tax advantaged accounts), but at the same time these early years are the most crucial for our children, so that may not be the best option for them.

Financial dependence is definitely A Thing. (There's an old saying that a woman is always one man away from poverty.) You can mitigate this (and part of the above) by keeping your skills up-to-date and having life and disability insurance, but it never really goes away. That said, the risk is still there when you both work. What if something happened to your wife or your relationship right now when you both work?

I also think that children can always benefit from parents who are more available, regardless of age. In a lot of ways, my children need me more now than they did as infants. But infant daycare is insanely expensive, so there's a lot to be said of being a SAHP early.

MoneyStubble25

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2018, 01:35:28 PM »
I also feel like SAHDs are judged pretty harshly, and it would be tough to jump back into my current career (ad tech) since it evolves so quickly.

The studies on this have shown that men who slow down for family reasons are judged less harshly than women who do the same in the workplace, but of course that's always going to depend on the individual circumstances.

I'd like to see these studies if you have a link. I know that dad's get a "dad boost" at work, but that happens when they stay in their job, and continue to work full time, often with wives who pick up the parenting slack. I don't think those studies bare out for stay at home dads, or they just haven't been done. I can say from personal experience that I was one of the few dads that took our full parental leave at my company, and I felt judged for it. I can't say if it was more than the women I work with, but the expectation seems to be that they will take the leave, but that men won't take all of it. I also suspect I missed out on or was delayed for a promotion because I took leave. I don't think that's a gender thing, more a parent thing, as I believe my wife was delayed on her promotion for taking her leave as well.


Quote
Financial dependence is definitely A Thing. (There's an old saying that a woman is always one man away from poverty.) You can mitigate this (and part of the above) by keeping your skills up-to-date and having life and disability insurance, but it never really goes away. That said, the risk is still there when you both work. What if something happened to your wife or your relationship right now when you both work?

I also think that children can always benefit from parents who are more available, regardless of age. In a lot of ways, my children need me more now than they did as infants. But infant daycare is insanely expensive, so there's a lot to be said of being a SAHP early.

Good perspective and advice. Yeah, life is full of risk, that's why getting to FIRE and having a nest egg are so important. Totally agree on kids needing someone around, I think it could get harder in elementary school once we are juggling after school care, vacations, sick days, etc. And yes, childcare is crazy expensive. We live in a high cost of living area, and daycare is $2K+ for an infant. Without a high salary,  don't profit all that much on your labor once you get a couple of kids in daycare.


formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2018, 03:27:22 PM »
My H went back to school and was a part-time SAHD when the kids were in elementary school.  For our family, that was perfect timing. I think the kids got more out of his availability at that point than they would have when they were preschool age.

I've started seeing a lot more SAHDs recently, and I'm really, really glad to see it.

beekeeper

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2018, 12:52:43 PM »
The work is repetitive and virtually never done. There's very little in the way of what feels like an "accomplishment" the way professional work does. I have no advice on this, unfortunately.

This part surprises me. I am expecting a parade of satisfying accomplishments. Learn to use the toilet; learn to make a sandwitch; learn to ride a bike; learn to swim; graduate from kindergarten to school, etc. What am I missing?

beekeeper

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2018, 12:55:35 PM »
I realize from other posts on this thread that I am in a privileged position. I am only expecting to take 1-3 years off while the kids are pre-school and my wife is happy working. Then I expect to be able to smoothly resume my career and to equally share the parenting load while we both work about 30h/week.

This may or may not be how it really pans out but I am lucky not to have fears about returning to work or being "stuck with the kids" for the next decade.

starbuck

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2018, 01:40:07 PM »
The work is repetitive and virtually never done. There's very little in the way of what feels like an "accomplishment" the way professional work does. I have no advice on this, unfortunately.

This part surprises me. I am expecting a parade of satisfying accomplishments. Learn to use the toilet; learn to make a sandwitch; learn to ride a bike; learn to swim; graduate from kindergarten to school, etc. What am I missing?

I think merula was more referring to personal accomplishments. Toilet training, riding a bike, learning to swim.. these are your kid's accomplishments, not yours. You and your wife will certainly play a role in teaching and guiding, but it doesn't feel the same as finishing your own project. And like most of parenting, the learning process is a 'two steps forward one back three sideways' route.

And the work is quite repetitive, sometimes out of necessity as most kids thrive on routine. But that doesn't mean it's not work worth doing, obviously! Just that it's not the same as traditional paid office employment, so if you're a 'check off the list' kind of person like I am, you'll have to scratch that itch in different ways.

For me, it's been fascinating to see my toddler's development up close. Today, he started building with blocks in a way he didn't yesterday. We both would probably have missed that if we were overloaded with 2 FT jobs.

merula

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2018, 02:45:42 PM »
I think there's a parental element to a child's accomplishments; I meant more that those are few and far between relative to professional work achievements. In any given day, week, month, I can point to a bunch of professional accomplishments I've achieved. I successfully wrapped up X number of projects and streamlined Y processes and made Z contributions to my company's bottom line, etc. etc. etc.

My children seem to be more or less the same as they were yesterday and a week ago and a month ago. They aren't, they're learning all the time, but I can't put my finger on any specific way that they've changed in the same way that I can say "Today I had a meeting and we made these decisions and we're one step closer to a streamlined Llama Grooming process".

MrsWhipple

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2018, 05:15:46 PM »
This part surprises me. I am expecting a parade of satisfying accomplishments. Learn to use the toilet; learn to make a sandwitch; learn to ride a bike; learn to swim; graduate from kindergarten to school, etc. What am I missing?
These things come sporadically over the course of years; they are not your accomplishments but your child's; it's impossible to talk about these accomplishments with other people for more than two seconds without boring them. To name a few differences.

I'm a SAHP now alongside my husband and while it's fun, there is definitely not a lot of sense of accomplishment the same way as, say, training and running a marathon, or developing a new app that becomes a bestseller. It's all been done before, and there's only so long you can celebrate tying shoes.

UndergroundDaytimeDad

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2018, 06:58:27 AM »
I would say go for it! I swapped member names to be a tad more anonymous, so this isn't actually my first post. 

They key/secret fast track to being a Daytime (my term for stay at home) Dad is to take your kids to programs.  We have activities at the library, gymnastics facilities (for little ones it is just running and climbing for fun), and government run centres for early childhood development that run programs.  The other fathers attending at these things will seek you out, so make sure to say hi then ask them about their kid.  Before you know it, you will have a group of local Dad Friends, which I think has been incredibly important.  It then becomes a matter of making a group chat and sending out suggestions for things to do.  "Does anyone want to go to the splash pad Thursday?" quickly turns into a planned morning with happy kids and adult contact. 

LiveLean

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2018, 12:36:12 PM »
I never became a SAHD. BUT I did dial back my career, which involved crazy hours and lots of travel, to working from home and no travel. As a result, I've been the coach, Scoutmaster, chauffeur (25K miles a year on the minivan) and guy who can work the mid-week swim meet or take a week and go on a Scout camping trip.

Too often in these forums people look at this as an all-or-nothing proposition. Either I work full time as a wage slave or quit and be a SAHM or SAHD. Why not re-design your career so you can work from home, make your own hours, work for yourself, etc? Yes, it's more challenging in the 0-preschool years, but it can be done.

 I will argue against daycare all day. You can focus on your career, making money and let someone else raise your kids at daycare, aftercare, summer daycare disguised as "camps," etc. But you will never get that time back. 

beekeeper

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #21 on: August 09, 2018, 04:37:13 AM »
This part surprises me. I am expecting a parade of satisfying accomplishments. Learn to use the toilet; learn to make a sandwitch; learn to ride a bike; learn to swim; graduate from kindergarten to school, etc. What am I missing?
These things come sporadically over the course of years; they are not your accomplishments but your child's; it's impossible to talk about these accomplishments with other people for more than two seconds without boring them. To name a few differences.

I'm a SAHP now alongside my husband and while it's fun, there is definitely not a lot of sense of accomplishment the same way as, say, training and running a marathon, or developing a new app that becomes a bestseller. It's all been done before, and there's only so long you can celebrate tying shoes.

I don't relate to this point of view at the moment. Could well be that I will after having spent more time as a SAHP.

My son started using the toilet by himself recently and I find that milestone every bit as satisfying as running my first marathon. I've also really appreciated congratulations from people who understand what a big deal that milestone is. Seeing the boys' faces when they play in the lake and learn to use floatation devices gives me a rush of joy that I don't get in my work life. I'm enjoying spending my evenings planning what to do with the boys tomorrow (go shopping for groceries!) rather than how to arrange my work TODO list.

Could well be that balance is the key and that spending all my time with the kids will soon leave me too craving a "vacation" at the office and remembering the joy of attending planning meetings. We will soon see!

beekeeper

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #22 on: August 09, 2018, 04:42:58 AM »
Too often in these forums people look at this as an all-or-nothing proposition. Either I work full time as a wage slave or quit and be a SAHM or SAHD. Why not re-design your career so you can work from home, make your own hours, work for yourself, etc? Yes, it's more challenging in the 0-preschool years, but it can be done.

The problem for me is that I don't enjoy the tension between work and family. I do work from home, make my own hours, work for myself, etc, but I find that I don't actually get satisfaction from working less than 30 hours per week. It's too maddeningly slow. And on the other hand if I take those 30 hours to work then I feel that as a family we are outsourcing too much "playing with the kids" to other people. This is why I have decided to try being a SAHP to enjoy spending time with the kids without the distracting frustration of never feeling quite on top of work.

Millennialworkerbee

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #23 on: August 09, 2018, 01:48:28 PM »
Too often in these forums people look at this as an all-or-nothing proposition. Either I work full time as a wage slave or quit and be a SAHM or SAHD. Why not re-design your career so you can work from home, make your own hours, work for yourself, etc? Yes, it's more challenging in the 0-preschool years, but it can be done.

The problem for me is that I don't enjoy the tension between work and family. I do work from home, make my own hours, work for myself, etc, but I find that I don't actually get satisfaction from working less than 30 hours per week. It's too maddeningly slow. And on the other hand if I take those 30 hours to work then I feel that as a family we are outsourcing too much "playing with the kids" to other people. This is why I have decided to try being a SAHP to enjoy spending time with the kids without the distracting frustration of never feeling quite on top of work.

I find this really interesting and I’d personally love to hear more (this is a side tangent to your post I know). I feel like you have the “holy grail” of jobs for a working parent- definitely a setup that my husband and I dream for! I’m really surprised to hear that you still find tension. Although I guess so long as both exist, there would be tension?

beekeeper

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #24 on: August 10, 2018, 05:30:58 AM »
I find this really interesting and I’d personally love to hear more (this is a side tangent to your post I know). I feel like you have the “holy grail” of jobs for a working parent- definitely a setup that my husband and I dream for! I’m really surprised to hear that you still find tension. Although I guess so long as both exist, there would be tension?

I suppose that schedule is the main problem for me. I have a flexible work schedule but that doesn't mean much since each week needs to be carefully coordinated between me, DW, and our childcare. I often find my days split up too much such that I have to stop working when I am in the middle of something, or I take the kids when it's too late to go out for an adventure, or I am booked to work when the weather beckons other things. This is partly due to a mismatch where I prefer to do one thing each day, e.g. work or take care of the kids, while DW prefers to work in the morning and be free in the afternoon.

It's possible that this could be solved with a better structure but I find myself wanting to rebel against this and just have ownership of my own time and agenda. The easy way to do that is to be a SAHP because then I can do what I want, when I want, provided I take the kids with me.

beekeeper

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #25 on: August 23, 2018, 02:13:59 AM »
I pulled the trigger on this. I'm a full-time dad to 3yo and 4yo boys now! So every day when I wake up I can do whatever I like provided that I bring them along with me :). This feels a lot like FIRE to me even though my wife is working 60%+ and we haven't hit our number yet (and I plan to go back to work when the kids are in school or whenever it otherwise becomes convenient.)

I am learning sourdough bread making as a new hobby. I haven't worked out how to involve the kids in this directly but it works as a background activity to keep me occupied at home and as a "geek out" topic to replace work. This really works... when I have a spare moment I am googling ways to troubleshoot misshappen loaves.

merula

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2018, 07:12:14 AM »
I am learning sourdough bread making as a new hobby. I haven't worked out how to involve the kids in this directly but it works as a background activity to keep me occupied at home and as a "geek out" topic to replace work. This really works... when I have a spare moment I am googling ways to troubleshoot misshappen loaves.

My 4 y/o is able to stir doughs that aren't too stiff and likes working with small pieces of dough himself to knead or proof. (He's not good at any of this, but that doesn't matter.) You could give them pieces of dough to work themselves, and then they get to eat the rolls they made. (This will be messy, though. Nothing is as enticing as getting flour everywhere.)

beekeeper

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #27 on: August 24, 2018, 03:51:17 AM »
Thanks for the tips merula.

I have my eye on wild mushroom picking as a new hobby. There is lots of forest around here and we can take our pickings to the local council and they will take away everything that is inedible. Going to try it for the first time this afternoon.

letsdoit

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #28 on: August 24, 2018, 10:17:58 AM »
Thanks for the tips merula.

I have my eye on wild mushroom picking as a new hobby. There is lots of forest around here and we can take our pickings to the local council and they will take away everything that is inedible. Going to try it for the first time this afternoon.

i went once with my dad and we fed some of the morels to our dog b4 we ate, to make sure he did not die first. 
wow, they were good as hell too
we loved that dog BTW

letsdoit

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #29 on: August 24, 2018, 10:19:24 AM »
I pulled the trigger on this. I'm a full-time dad to 3yo and 4yo boys now! So every day when I wake up I can do whatever I like provided that I bring them along with me :). This feels a lot like FIRE to me even though my wife is working 60%+ and we haven't hit our number yet (and I plan to go back to work when the kids are in school or whenever it otherwise becomes convenient.)

I am learning sourdough bread making as a new hobby. I haven't worked out how to involve the kids in this directly but it works as a background activity to keep me occupied at home and as a "geek out" topic to replace work. This really works... when I have a spare moment I am googling ways to troubleshoot misshappen loaves.

we have desire to do this. 
do you live in LCOL?  are you still able to invest anything in retirement or college? is money really tight ?

beekeeper

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #30 on: August 24, 2018, 12:12:41 PM »
we have desire to do this. 
do you live in LCOL?  are you still able to invest anything in retirement or college? is money really tight ?

We live in a LCOL area of a HCOL country (rural Switzerland.) College is free here and we don't have any major new expenses on the horizon. Currently our stash is about 60% of FIRE and it seems sufficient for only one of us to work, earning enough to pay our living expenses, and then when investment returns make the stash grow to 100% we can FIRE and both stop working.

letsdoit

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #31 on: August 24, 2018, 12:36:58 PM »
wow, i got some double jealousy.  rural switzerland sounds like a great place.  we would do that in a heartbeat if we were  allowed to work there.   may i ask, are you and /or your wife working there bc of EU status or the status of your profession, i.e., medical or IT?

catccc

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #32 on: September 17, 2018, 08:43:34 AM »
congrats!  Unsolicited advice... if you aren't doing it already, I would suggesting taking over as much of the household work as possible, since your wife is working more.  This sounds like a no brainer, but studies have shown that working moms still do most of the household management and chores.  Also, let your kids help with these chores even if they take twice as long.  Apparently this is the secret to getting kids to want to do chores, but I missed the boat and my 7 & 10 year old a big whiners when it comes to helping around the house.

DH was a SAHP for most of our kids preschool years, and it was such a good choice for our family.  I hope you are finding the same!


beekeeper

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #33 on: October 02, 2018, 08:21:53 AM »
congrats!  Unsolicited advice... if you aren't doing it already, I would suggesting taking over as much of the household work as possible, since your wife is working more.

Thanks, I appreciate this advice and I am trying to be mindful.

One open question is how to organize non-work hours? The kids are awake from around 7am-8pm and we grownups would like to have an hour or two together in the evening. So when should I attend to other things like non-multitaskable-cleaning, walking the dog, doing taxes, posting on the mustache forum, etc? My best idea is to take care of the kids from 8am-6pm and have "daddy time" from 6pm-8pm for all manner of things that I need to do alone.

How do other SAHP solve this?

I'm a red panda

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #34 on: October 02, 2018, 08:32:12 AM »
This is the great conundrum of the SAHP for sure.  You've been with the kids ALL day and need a break. But your spouse has been working ALL day and needs a break.

Taking "daddy time" from 6pm-8pm means your wife has no decompression time after work.   Maybe you get that MWF, and she gets it TR?

catccc

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #35 on: October 03, 2018, 09:58:18 AM »

One open question is how to organize non-work hours? The kids are awake from around 7am-8pm and we grownups would like to have an hour or two together in the evening. So when should I attend to other things like non-multitaskable-cleaning, walking the dog, doing taxes, posting on the mustache forum, etc? My best idea is to take care of the kids from 8am-6pm and have "daddy time" from 6pm-8pm for all manner of things that I need to do alone.

How do other SAHP solve this?

IMHO:

Think of stacking all the things you do instead of doing them sequentially or trying to multi-task.  Cleaning and walking the dog really can be done with the kids in tow while you are at home with them.  It will take longer, but I can almost promise (based on data/science/research) that in the long run it pays off.  Only "almost" because I was dumb when my kids were that age and thought cleaning and other chores were best done efficiently without the kids underfoot.  Despite the fact that they did want to help (or otherwise be in my face) when I was trying to get that stuff done.

Read this article for details on kids and chores:
https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/06/09/616928895/how-to-get-your-kids-to-do-chores-without-resenting-it

And here is an article about stacking, and how it is different from multi-tasking:
https://www.24life.com/stack-your-life-and-start-a-movement-with-katy-bowman/

You should be able to sneak in taxes and posting on the forum when your kids are playing together or napping, or else save that stuff for another time.

Running errands like getting groceries and doing things like getting dinner started can be done while the kids are in your care.  You aren't doing them or yourself any favors if you are on the floor playing with them all day long.  Don't get me wrong, that is a wonderful time and super important to get in, but it doesn't need to be all day, every day.  I think that one of the main points of raising kids is fostering independence. 

btw, lest you think I let technology "babysit" my kids so I could get stuff done (because I feel like my last statement might lead one to believe that I might ignore my children and leave them to literal devices as many parents do..), I would like to point out that our toddlers were raised essentially screen free, with absolutely zero screen time excepting very occasional movie nights (probably quarterly) starting when they were 4 & 6.  Now, at 7 & 9, they have worked up to getting a couple of 20 minute netflix shows every friday, plus maybe a bimonthly movie night.

Of course, what works for one person doesn't always work for another, so good luck finding what works for you!  Really though, enjoy this wonderful arrangement you currently have.  I know we loved it and miss it!

« Last Edit: October 03, 2018, 10:01:07 AM by catccc »

beekeeper

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #36 on: October 05, 2018, 08:04:17 AM »
I'm not sure that I understand the concept of "stacking" yet but I do like the idea of trying to involve the kids in doing everything that needs to be done. I let them make their own breakfasts this morning (apart from the hot bits) and they mostly cleaned up the egg and pancake batter that got spilled all over the kitchen. I'm also taking them down to the laundry and letting them load the machines even though that takes ages and gets clean clothes dropped on the floor.

The evening dog walk is a tricky one. I need some "me time" every day to stay sane and that is where I usually get it. The dog is not always satisfied with a walk at 3-year-old pace either. So... work in progress.

catccc

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #37 on: October 05, 2018, 11:48:35 AM »
I think you are doing it.  Stacking is essentially the metaphor of killing 2(+) birds with one stone.  For example, a couple weekends ago, DH had to work on a Saturday.  Bummer, because weekends are family time, and I wanted to get outside with the kids, and get some exercise.  So rather than him going to work, and me heading to the gym and putting the kids in gym care, then going out to the park after my workout, we all piled into the car and headed to DH's work.  (Now, he has unique work, not everyone could do this...he is an apiary research assistant, coincidentally, @beekeeper !)  While he tended to the hives, the kids and I ran around in a nearby field, enjoying the sunshine and some movement, and we were all near each other enough to enjoy one another's company.  It was a good morning, and met all 4 of the needs our family had in one shot.

Also, I want to say as an introvert, I get needing alone-time/down-time.  It recharges me.  If you are getting it while you walk the dog, that is great, that is stacking!

eco mom

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #38 on: October 12, 2018, 11:04:02 PM »
Love reading this discussion, and it sounds like you made the right choice! You sound happier about the SAH situation than the work situation.

I've always felt the tension between work and kids and chores. I'm the nag in my household. (Oh look, the garbage is full. Do you want to watch the kids or take it out?)

We spent the last 2+ years doing a 60% schedule for both of us, but I still feel the mental tax of being the household organizer. If anyone knows the answer to what's for dinner, it's me, no matter whose workday it was. Unless I specifically delegate or inform that I'll be home late.

I just recently got laid off after coming back from my second leave, so am now a SAHM who happens to have an au pair. I'm going to keep the au pair and spend time with the kids when I feel like it (including a bunch of 1-1 time), actually FEEL caught up on house cleaning (at some point...), and dive into volunteer work that I enjoy. It will again be interesting to find the balance... but given that we already have up to 45 hours of childcare committed to for nearly 11 more months, I think it makes sense to not just SAH and to get out and volunteer. Obviously your situation is different, but I do hope you'll do what I've done as a 60%er parent and find other adults with similarly aged children to do playdates. As people have said, it can be isolating if you don't! Then again, I don't know how many opportunities you have being in a rural area. In a big city where I am, there are numerous ways to connect with people via in person groups and Facebook groups alike.

I envy your breadmaking and maybe I'll get there some day. I've made it before but ... mainly pre-kids. I'm also at a little different stage than you, with a baby and toddler. There is a lot more difficulty stacking when you have to ensure the older one doesn't attack the younger one. But I can be present while delegating responsibility to the au pair a good amount of the time, so that's nice.

Best of luck to you and I hope it's all going well.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #39 on: October 13, 2018, 03:04:19 AM »
The purpose of money is to buy you the lifestyle you want. If some aspects of the lifestyle you want cost nothing, all the better.

I wanted to be an involved father, because children with involved fathers do better, and you can't get any more involved than staying at home with them. I have a home business (see sig) in which I work part-time. We tallied it up last week, and basically my wife does 40hr pw paid work and 20hr kids and domestic stuff, while I'm the reverse. I'm more domestic, she's more intelligent and needs the stimulation of the workplace. The 20hr pw (14 contact hours and 6 of other stuff) provide me enough stimulation so my brain isn't too rotted by Peppa Pig and stories about ninjas, and roughly the income I could earn in a low-skilled 40hr pw job here in Australia.

Raising children, like many jobs, is mostly boring and annoying; but they give you unplanned moments of joy, and you get satisfaction from watching them grow into their own people. Plus, the education system wants them to conform and society wants them to just consume, so you can help make them into actual people instead.

Lastly, no man was ever murdered by his wife while he was doing the vacuuming.

beekeeper

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #40 on: October 14, 2018, 12:17:29 AM »
I do hope you'll do what I've done as a 60%er parent and find other adults with similarly aged children to do playdates. As people have said, it can be isolating if you don't!

I have not started doing playdates yet. I don't really feel motivated for this. I enjoy the company of the kids and we are doing fun stuff like painting doors, soldering gadgets, cooking food, making fires for sausages, picking fruits of the forest, foraging for mushrooms, etc. We also watch a bunch of YouTube tutorials on all these things. Just for now this seems more stimulating to me than sitting around drinking tea and gossiping with other parents (my mental image of playdates.)

I do feel an obligation to engage more with other parents, because people keep telling me that I should do that, but for now I am tuning this out and just having fun with the kids.

MrsWhipple

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #41 on: October 14, 2018, 01:27:36 PM »
I have not started doing playdates yet. I don't really feel motivated for this. I enjoy the company of the kids and we are doing fun stuff like painting doors, soldering gadgets, cooking food, making fires for sausages, picking fruits of the forest, foraging for mushrooms, etc. We also watch a bunch of YouTube tutorials on all these things. Just for now this seems more stimulating to me than sitting around drinking tea and gossiping with other parents (my mental image of playdates.)

I do feel an obligation to engage more with other parents, because people keep telling me that I should do that, but for now I am tuning this out and just having fun with the kids.
FWIW, I find the benefit is less for parental involvement and more so that the kids learn to interact with other kids their age. Especially if you plan to send them to school eventually, it's good that they learn the social skills necessary to deal with other children so they're not overwhelmed. Spending time with parents is great, but there's a balance to be struck there. I think having siblings helps with that, but only up to a certain point. It's great that you're teaching them so much cool stuff, that's awesome!

I do the gym daycare instead of playdates most days, so I don't have to do the small talk drinking tea thing. I am so much more introverted than my kid, haha.

beekeeper

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Re: Become "stay at home dad" while kids are preschool?
« Reply #42 on: October 15, 2018, 07:31:29 AM »
Quote
FWIW, I find the benefit is less for parental involvement and more so that the kids learn to interact with other kids their age.

Yeah. I can see the positive side of socializing the kids more. Our boys also don't speak the local language yet (we each speak a different foreign language with them) and that is important. However, they will have 3-4 years of preschool/kindergaten before starting school at age 6-7 and I am confident this will give them the chance to pick everything up at their own pace. They are pretty happy, harmonious, polite, articulate, etc, so my feeling is they get everything they need. Their childhood now is a lot like mine was so I can relate.

Our eldest does resist most forms of organized activities but we are letting him warm up at his own pace rather than pushing it.