Author Topic: Stay at Home?  (Read 12244 times)

onemorebike

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Stay at Home?
« on: March 07, 2013, 08:31:13 AM »
My wife and I had an interesting conversation last night as a follow up to my previous post on spending to "get away" from the stressors of parenthood. Not a new one I'm sure, but with Mustachianism we could consider one of us staying home with our young ones until they reach school age. We wouldn't have very much "extra" money, wouldn't contribute as much to our 401/503b, but we would perhaps work a job that isn't super fulfilling right now, feel less rushed in life, cook at home more, and have more quality time with our children.

Anyone else out there done this after becoming more mustachian, and if so, I'm curious, what were your pros and cons of taking this step and how did you end up making the decision?

DoubleDown

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2013, 09:42:33 AM »
I think this can be a great choice, and it's what my now-ex-wife and I decided to do. So while I'm in favor of this approach, here's my cautionary tale that touches on ugly things you're likely not even thinking about.

We planned to do exactly what you are planning: I would continue to work with the higher income, while she would stay home to raise kids until they were school age. It turned into a total cluster f***. Over the first few years, my ex got completely wrapped up in the stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) thing, lost her identity as a person outside of motherhood, and when they approached school age, it was apparent my ex had no interest in returning to the work force. Who could blame her? From her perspective, she was FIRE! Unfortunately she spent large parts of her days watching Oprah, Dr. Phil, and socializing/complaining/competing with other SAHMs. In short, I think it made her lazy and heaped on a big sense of entitlement that ultimately became probably the biggest factor in our resulting divorce.

I think this outcome is completely dependent on the individuals involved. Your wife could adopt this new lifestyle in only the most positive ways, as many/most do. I just offer it as something to watch out for if you go this path -- I though my wife would adopt it in positive ways too.

Oh, and when two parents divorce where one is working and the other is staying home to raise children, it sets up a huge disadvantage for the working/earning parent (particularly if that person is the father):

1. Family law courts will be extremely reluctant to change that arrangement after the divorce. Meaning, they will almost always decide that working dad should continue to work, and mom should continue to stay home raising kids if she wants. The last thing courts want to do is introduce further disruption into the childrens' lives. But the working dad will have to support two households through alimony and child support, potentially until the children are all 18 or older. Alimony can continue until your ex-wife dies in some cases, computed with her income of zero, forever (I didn't have to pay alimony forever, but it happens in long marriages). And assets will be split evenly, it won't matter who "earned" them -- you both contributed through your separate roles in the family. You could mitigate all of this with a written post-nuptial agreement, stating what will happen if you divorce and your wife is staying home to raise kids, but no doubt that would be an awkward discussion.

2. In many states, courts will also give very large preference in custody decisions to the stay-at-home mom, since by definition she is providing most of the daily care. You cannot mitigate this with any post-nuptial agreement, custody decisions cannot be made in that kind of agreement. And if the SAHM is aware of this advantage (her lawyer will be aware of it for sure), she can use this to extract additional $$$ in the settlement, assuming the working dad also wants at least partial custody.

I don't mean to be a downer, it's just something to be aware of as you consider and discuss things. In the unfortunate outcome of a divorce, the working parent is setting themselves up for huge disadvantages that can last a long time.
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onemorebike

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2013, 10:04:22 AM »
Yikes, sounds like staying at home screwed everything up!? It also sounds like it is very much a personality thing. I have actually been hesitant to consider this as I've had many a conversation with a SAH that was uber focused on kid raising and not much else. Funny presumption though, as we were really talking about it as an option for me. :) I'm pretty outgoing, like to be outside and love being around/playing with the kiddos - I don't think Dr. Phil marathons are a concern.

There are other concerns for certain, and that is what I'm trying to weigh out first.

-onemorebike

I think this can be a great choice, and it's what my now-ex-wife and I decided to do. So while I'm in favor of this approach, here's my cautionary tale that touches on ugly things you're likely not even thinking about.

We planned to do exactly what you are planning: I would continue to work with the higher income, while she would stay home to raise kids until they were school age. It turned into a total cluster f***. Over the first few years, my ex got completely wrapped up in the stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) thing, lost her identity as a person outside of motherhood, and when they approached school age, it was apparent my ex had no interest in returning to the work force. Who could blame her? From her perspective, she was FIRE! Unfortunately she spent large parts of her days watching Oprah, Dr. Phil, and socializing/complaining/competing with other SAHMs. In short, I think it made her lazy and heaped on a big sense of entitlement that ultimately became probably the biggest factor in our resulting divorce.

I think this outcome is completely dependent on the individuals involved. Your wife could adopt this new lifestyle in only the most positive ways, as many/most do. I just offer it as something to watch out for if you go this path -- I though my wife would adopt it in positive ways too.

Oh, and when two parents divorce where one is working and the other is staying home to raise children, it sets up a huge disadvantage for the working/earning parent (particularly if that person is the father):

1. Family law courts will be extremely reluctant to change that arrangement after the divorce. Meaning, they will almost always decide that working dad should continue to work, and mom should continue to stay home raising kids if she wants. The last thing courts want to do is introduce further disruption into the childrens' lives. But the working dad will have to support two households through alimony and child support, potentially until the children are all 18 or older. Alimony can continue until your ex-wife dies in some cases, computed with her income of zero, forever (I didn't have to pay alimony forever, but it happens in long marriages). And assets will be split evenly, it won't matter who "earned" them -- you both contributed through your separate roles in the family. You could mitigate all of this with a written post-nuptial agreement, stating what will happen if you divorce and your wife is staying home to raise kids, but no doubt that would be an awkward discussion.

2. In many states, courts will also give very large preference in custody decisions to the stay-at-home mom, since by definition she is providing most of the daily care. You cannot mitigate this with any post-nuptial agreement, custody decisions cannot be made in that kind of agreement. And if the SAHM is aware of this advantage (her lawyer will be aware of it for sure), she can use this to extract additional $$$ in the settlement, assuming the working dad also wants at least partial custody.

I don't mean to be a downer, it's just something to be aware of as you consider and discuss things. In the unfortunate outcome of a divorce, the working parent is setting themselves up for huge disadvantages that can last a long time.

bo_knows

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2013, 10:05:50 AM »
OP, do either of your employers allow for flexible schedules? Telecommuting? Do you have any family in the area that can watch the kids for even 1 day/week?

I've mentioned this before on the forums, but here is what we've been doing for ~9 months (we have an 11 month old) since my wife's maternity leave ended:

- Wife switches to PT work (60%). She goes into the office Monday and Friday, and get's in 8hrs of telecommuting somewhere between Tues-Thurs. Typically, we have a teenager in the neighborhood stop by on one of those days and watch the kid for 4 hrs, to allow my wife some unadultered working.
- I switch to a Mon-Thurs, 4 10hr shift schedule. This allows me to watch the kid on Friday at home.
- My MiL comes in on Monday to watch the kid, which allows us both to be at work. She sees this as a "vacation" when she gets to watch our son.

Overall, its a LOT of juggling, but it provides us a lot of extra time with our kid, and allows my wife to keep 1 foot in her career.  If both of your employers are flexible, you can make all sorts of crazy schedules up comprised of PT work, telecommuting, and incorporate at least some babysitting in there to make it work.

I've been very happy about our arrangement.  10+ hr days are not the best, and I've considered dropping to 4 8hr days, but I'm sticking it out for now.
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igthebold

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2013, 10:13:50 AM »
My wife has been stay-at-home for almost all our marriage, including a short childless period. I would say unequivocally that it's a good thing for our family. All our kids are in school now, (one half-day) and we're slowly, deliberately working on what to do next. She has no problem filling her time with useful things, including helping at the kids' school, helping other people, saving us money (housekeeping, etc).

We tend to look at it like some of the folks in The Millionaire Next Door look at it: I'm offense, she's defense.

I will say that for us part of the equation in adding a potential job would be its effect on complicating our family lives. Extra money would be nice, but we've all gotten used to the luxury of having time together, etc. Like DoubleDown's case, she's effectively FIRE, but definitely in the more mustachian useful, fulfilling way.

Kaytee

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2013, 11:25:43 AM »
Depends on what your expectations are for the SAHP. Taking care of children is a full time job and depending on the children and parent, it may be unrealistic to expect the SAHP to also take care of all the household chores while home.

I work, DH is the SAHP. When I come home, the apartment looks like a bomb went off but everyone is so happy and having fun (usually). It helps when kids reach the age (usually starting at about 12 mo or so) where they can help with household work. We found that our expenses went down when DH stopped working. The trickiest part was when I was on maternity leave while he was also home, but we made it through.

termetgirl

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2013, 11:57:10 AM »
This is my first post on this forum :) I had to get in on these Mustachian parenting discussions!!

We arranged our life to make this happen before ever hearing of anything like Mustachianism. To us it just always made sense to have one of us home with our kids. So, I went directly from third year law school to caring for our first child full time at home, then when that year was over, DH (who happened to be in a job he hated) quit and took over for the next year, while I worked. In the second half of that year, he took on part time work with a view to a full time job when our second child arrived, which worked out perfectly, as he's been full time there since about a month after our second baby was born. Our plan for this Spring when my maternity benefits are cut off is to split working time. I'm going to work from the office Mon-Wed and he is starting his own business where his "field" days will be Thurs-Sat, and we'll reserve Sundays for no working at all. Some weeks he may need to work more or less, and the same for me, but it's incredibly empowering (for me at least) when I am at work to know that my babies are being cared for by the other parent. I spend a grand total of zero time worrying about them.

What has this meant for us financially? We have learned how to live on one income, and live well on it. Extremely well, actually. I'm excited about what this means for the inevitable time when our youngest is in grade school and we both work full time. Of course, ER is much further off for us because of this decision. But we set our priorities, and they work for us!

Now I'm off to post on the other thread about sheer exhaustion and convenience :) With a 2.5 year old and an 8 month old, and still being up 3 times (at least) every night....I have lots of thoughts to gather on that one!

DoubleDown

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2013, 01:57:37 PM »
From the financial perspective, it obviously depends on what you calculate to be the net difference in your total income, while taking into account all of the expenses that come with two working parents (child care, commuting costs, work clothing, tax implications, and so on). Once you deduct all the expenses for the 2nd income, and do a rough estimate of your taxes in each scenario, you can boil it down to an hourly rate for that 2nd job. Then just answer the question, "Is it worth $x/hour to go to work, compared to the value of being able to stay home with the kids?" Do you know what the net difference would be in your case?

And of course consider any potential difficulties in getting back into the work force after a long time away.

Obviously high earners find that it's typically worth it to continue earning, but it can sometimes be a close call for low or moderate incomes. Everyone has their own breaking point. Sometimes people have both parents working without even realizing that the 2nd parent is basically working for next to nothing, or even losing money in the process.

Rather than going in with an all-or-nothing proposition of staying home until kids are in school, you could approach it in smaller steps, trying to extend approved leave from the 2nd earner's job as long as possible. Start with 3 months, then go to 6 months, then 1 year, and keep re-evaluating along the way. This could also help address any (unlikely) emotional issues that might crop up along the way, where you could discuss how it's working overall for the family ("Honey, I notice you're speaking only in "baby talk" and can recite every Oprah and Dr. Phil episode for the last 6 months .... maybe we should consider you going back to work!"  :-).
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gecko10x

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2013, 03:04:40 PM »
My wife quit her relatively low-paying job to be home with the kids when she was pregnant with our 1st (she was only a couple years out of college). Since she wasn't making much, we didn't really have a choice, but that's what we wanted anyway. For the most part, it has been good; the only major drawback was that she essentially cut her social time to zero for 3 or so years, which was quite difficult for her at times. We have very few friends here, so YMMV on that one.

Shortly after our 1st was born, she bootstrapped her own business, and we began growing it slowly as her time allowed. Now (roughly 4 yrs later) it's just starting to pay us back. She also started another part-time job last year (from home as well) in the little free time she had left. As the kids spend more and more time in school (eldest will be starting kindergarten full time in the fall), she can devote more time to work. The transition looks like it'll work out well.

So, basically, she quit working, but then gradually devoted more and more time to work as the kids grew up. The budget was tight at times, but in retrospect we could have done better.

onemorebike

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2013, 03:36:02 PM »
Gecko, why did she have to cut her social time? My sense is if I were to take this on I would need to tie into other SAH folks for joint learning/play otherwise I might go house crazy.

My wife quit her relatively low-paying job to be home with the kids when she was pregnant with our 1st (she was only a couple years out of college). Since she wasn't making much, we didn't really have a choice, but that's what we wanted anyway. For the most part, it has been good; the only major drawback was that she essentially cut her social time to zero for 3 or so years, which was quite difficult for her at times. We have very few friends here, so YMMV on that one.

Shortly after our 1st was born, she bootstrapped her own business, and we began growing it slowly as her time allowed. Now (roughly 4 yrs later) it's just starting to pay us back. She also started another part-time job last year (from home as well) in the little free time she had left. As the kids spend more and more time in school (eldest will be starting kindergarten full time in the fall), she can devote more time to work. The transition looks like it'll work out well.

So, basically, she quit working, but then gradually devoted more and more time to work as the kids grew up. The budget was tight at times, but in retrospect we could have done better.

onemorebike

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2013, 03:39:00 PM »
Extremely well? We've been living pretty well off of our dual salaries and enjoying a decent savings/retirement rate, I'm concerned that would be totally put on hold. I'm waiting to recover the harddrive off my dead laptop before I am able to crunch numbers. The lesson is to back up docs like that in gdocs. :)



What has this meant for us financially? We have learned how to live on one income, and live well on it. Extremely well, actually. I'm excited about what this means for the inevitable time when our youngest is in grade school and we both work full time. Of course, ER is much further off for us because of this decision. But we set our priorities, and they work for us!
!

onemorebike

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2013, 03:40:51 PM »
Doubledown,
I didn't think to do this, especially the tax implications...is there an easy way to calculate that? An online tool?

As for return to workforce, it could be an issue, but I work in the nonprofits so it seems unlikely - even though I'm doing pretty well it is because I'm doing things that suck my life energy. :P

From the financial perspective, it obviously depends on what you calculate to be the net difference in your total income, while taking into account all of the expenses that come with two working parents (child care, commuting costs, work clothing, tax implications, and so on). Once you deduct all the expenses for the 2nd income, and do a rough estimate of your taxes in each scenario, you can boil it down to an hourly rate for that 2nd job. Then just answer the question, "Is it worth $x/hour to go to work, compared to the value of being able to stay home with the kids?" Do you know what the net difference would be in your case?

And of course consider any potential difficulties in getting back into the work force after a long time away.

Obviously high earners find that it's typically worth it to continue earning, but it can sometimes be a close call for low or moderate incomes. Everyone has their own breaking point. Sometimes people have both parents working without even realizing that the 2nd parent is basically working for next to nothing, or even losing money in the process.

Rather than going in with an all-or-nothing proposition of staying home until kids are in school, you could approach it in smaller steps, trying to extend approved leave from the 2nd earner's job as long as possible. Start with 3 months, then go to 6 months, then 1 year, and keep re-evaluating along the way. This could also help address any (unlikely) emotional issues that might crop up along the way, where you could discuss how it's working overall for the family ("Honey, I notice you're speaking only in "baby talk" and can recite every Oprah and Dr. Phil episode for the last 6 months .... maybe we should consider you going back to work!"  :-).

onemorebike

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2013, 04:04:45 PM »
bo_knows,

Ironically, my entire job is remote and that is part of what has been the struggle. I've been doing it for sometime but this winter I've been feeling too cooped up and not energized by the work I do (virtually). I imagine there is a possibility of me moving to more of a part time gig in the same job, and I might be able to wrap my head around it but truthfully, the work has been drab and I am very much a people person not getting enough "people".

We have no family that can watch the kids, part of the stress we have is cause by the only room for breaks coming from babysitters and daycare providers at a premium.


OP, do either of your employers allow for flexible schedules? Telecommuting? Do you have any family in the area that can watch the kids for even 1 day/week?


CNM

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2013, 04:08:17 PM »
When you're doing these calculations, I'd give some thought to the impact of the SAHP's income from being out of the workforce for 3-5 years.  I feel like if I quit my job to stay at home with the kids, it would be very hard to pick it back up.  If it were me, I'd likely opt for some part-time gig if that's at all possible.

kiwibeach

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2013, 06:27:49 PM »
I was an at home parent for nearly 7 years. Had a year off work following DD arrival, then part-time work for 1.5 years, then DS arrival.
We decided that I would be SAHP. 
Socially - I had a great network as a SAHP, got involved with the kids' toy library, the local pre-school, there are so many roles out there filled by volunteers, and I got to hang out with my kids and meet some great other local parents. This helped me to build a babysitting network, as my parents are too far away to help out. So being involved in my local community definitely helped, and now we can swap weekends away with other parents, safe in the knowledge that they know our kids, and they'll have a great time, and also (safe??) in the knowledge that at some time in the next month or so we'll have some extras here for the weekend.

Yes income-wise it did put us back a few years, but we got very good at living on one income and really honing those expenses, partly because I had time to spend researching and lots of time to talk to other at home parents about their insurance/internet/grocery deals, and because I was at home I had time to build a killer vege garden.

Other at home parents started businesses/retrained/worked part-time/volunteered/gardened.... we were all trying to stay at home on reduced income, so there was a lot of great information swapping that went on that we all benefitted from.

Once DD started school, I was able to help out at the school a little, doing those parent help jobs.
Long story short, once DS started school I went back to university and retrained as a teacher, which I love.

Yes it can mean a massive career break/disjoint for the at home parent, if it is possible to work part-time, I would definitely suggest that, it has been hard to start all over in a new career.
But for us, me being at home with the kids was the best thing for them, and although financially it probably wasn't the best move, it was the best move for our family overall.
Now that I'm back at work we are saving all of my income (even when the lifestyle creep fairies come calling) and that is getting us closer to our long term goals. 

gecko10x

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2013, 07:30:43 PM »
Gecko, why did she have to cut her social time? My sense is if I were to take this on I would need to tie into other SAH folks for joint learning/play otherwise I might go house crazy.

As we had very few friends here, most of her socialization was at work. Mom's clubs were some help, but not much- they typically just went to McDonald's.

DoubleDown

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2013, 12:34:21 PM »
Doubledown,
I didn't think to do this, especially the tax implications...is there an easy way to calculate that? An online tool?


I think most of the larger tax preparation tools (turbotax, H&R Block, etc.) offer free versions that should give you a very close estimate just by plugging in some basic numbers. Personally we use turbotax, and it would be very easy to just zero out one person's income and see the resulting taxes.

You could probably get by pretty well with just a back-of-the-napkin estimate though, totaling up all the expected costs (childcare, commuting, etc.) and deducting that from your take-home pay, so you'll know what your net earnings would be if you continued to work. I don't know what your break-even point would be, but for me if I came anywhere close to netting 25-50% or less of my gross pay, or anything approaching minimum wage, I'd probably choose to stay home with kids until they started school, and hopefully pick up some part-time pay on the side, especially as they get older and require less constant attention.

Good luck!
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Alexandria

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2013, 08:57:26 PM »
We had always planned for spouse to stay home a few years with the kids.  Due to several factors, (crappy economy and a move to a city with less employment options, etc.), spouse is still home 11 years later.   Will probably work again, but maybe not for another few years.

The money has not been a big deal.  We have always been very frugal and big savers.  We saved up a ton ahead of time and my spouse was laid off about 9 months before planned quit date (I think I got pregnant a minute before he was laid off - we were so conservative we probably would have postponed otherwise - life is funny like that sometimes).  Early on we had done the math.  Income taxes, daycare, working - he'd be working full-time literally for pennies.  I've had so many conversations with people who you see are trying to wrap their brain around the idea of losing a $50k income.  We never took home $50k - not in our tax bracket.  !!  Likewise, I knew our taxes would drop way down when my spouse stopped working, so I lowered my tax withholdings and gave myself a raise.  We figured early on we lost $10k per year cash.  If we needed it, working nights and weekends sounded a lot smarter than working full-time.

It's not all roses, but there are three things that came out of this choice:

**There is no doubt we are the happiest and least stressed parents that we know.  The exception is I do know a few parents who worked out part-time schedules/very shared parenting.  If I had known these people before, might have been more what we strived for.  In general, having kids up to age 10, most other parents are extremely stressed.  Divorce rate is sky high.

**I'd say we were kind of frugal to the extreme before.  But, we have just hit a whole new level.  We have been forced to be even more efficient with our money.  I read the MMM blog and it really resonates with the choices we have made, as my spouse has been retired since age 25.  Over time we find we spend less and less, but life has become more fulfilling.  I don't think we ever would have hit this stride with us both working.

**Along the same lines, my spouse has really gotten the courage to pursue his passions.  It was kind of years 0-9 knee-deep in babies and preschoolers and yadda yadda.  But with the kids both in school full-time, is redirecting a lot of energy to true passions.  (I am blessed to have already found my passion with a well-paying job).  It's a type of leap my spouse never would have had the courage to take before kids, as his passions don't pay as well as mine.    Whether he ever succeeds financially or not doesn't really matter - he will know that he tried. 

I don't think staying home full-time is for everyone.  But I think that thinking outside the box and doing what works for you is important.  If you both have fulfilling jobs, the part-time thing for both of you may be a better fit.  Neither of us ever was really great with staying home full-time.  I was home some times with my spouse (maternity leave) which was totally awesome.  We put our kids in part-time daycare because it was just too much for either of us to be home with them full-time.   But the kicker was that my spouse was very unhappy in his career.  & he is a very good caregiver/at-home type (as long as he had some breaks).  Which is a whole other thing.  Other stay-home parents like to guilt you when you hire help.  Those groups also have a very high divorce rate.  We always chose what made sense and made us happy.  Just because my spouse was at home, we were never going to play by arbitrary rules like "stay home parents can't put their kids in daycare."  Whatever...  I think that attitude could be most of our success.  Who works and who doesn't and the how of all of it - I don't know if that matters so much as long as you are playing to your personal strengths.   As long as you are listening to your true self and not everyone else's expectations.

Dee18

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2013, 07:56:54 AM »
I live in the South, so perhaps this is just a local thing...but here many of the churches have a Mother's Morning Out program (I know, sexist name) where they care for children ages 6 weeks to 4 years for four hours....for free!  it is a service to the community.  It is staffed by volunteers, usually middle aged women who enjoy having a few hours per week with young children and remember how much they needed a break when they were new parents.  It's a great program.  Most churches welcome parents who are not affiliated with the church. It provides a much needed break for the stay at home parent.

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2013, 10:45:11 PM »
Yeah, lots of these programs are geared towards women, and aren't that welcoming to men.

Lots of playgroups here, so many specifically state for mums/mothers. Church has something called MOPS - Mothers Of Pre-Schoolers. Found a playgroup that didn't specify moms (was originally affiliated with my son's school), so I lucked out. The lady that runs it actually checked with another playgroup to see if they'd mind a guy coming to it...to her surprise (not mine) they didn't like the idea.

I'm from the South too, and it wasn't exactly a popular idea that I was going to be the one staying at home with the kids while my wife worked. Even here in Australia where it seems the culture is more open to "alternative" lifestyles and what-not, I'm still a bit of an oddity.

Anyways, just something else to think about before you make the plunge.

Mrs MM

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2013, 11:20:18 AM »
Great comments!  I didn't read them all, so someone might have mentioned this before...

I recommend having one parent stay home with the first child for a year and see how it goes.  You always think you're going to be a certain kind of parent and it turns out differently.

While I am extremely happy with my choice of not working and being home with my kid, I found it harder than I expected.  AND, I had MMM there too!!  But, I would never change the way we did it.  I think the hardest part for me was asking for help.  We don't have family here and I never got into the babysitting thing, so it was me or MMM the whole time.  But, through it all, I learned a lot about myself and realized that everything was within my control.  The days that were the hard days could have gone differently if I'd had a different perspective.

So yeah, give it a year, see how it goes.  One year is not a long time and you'll have a much better idea about whether it works for your family to have a parent stay at home.

HappyDad

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2013, 10:59:17 AM »
My partner is a SAHM for our daughter.

It works for us, we've made sacrifices due to losing 40% of income whilst being in debt (living in a small house, no nights/meals out, no new clothes beyond essentials, keeping our old car when I really could get credit for that little Audi etc. etc. etc.) but as it turns out all of these sacrifices have actually been enhancements and I don't think we'll ever return to that way of living/spending.

5 years ago my aspirations included a big house (with cinema), the best restraunts, bespoke tailoring and a black and chrome Jaguar on the drive. The changes we have been forced to make have led us to simplicity, minimalism, frugality and healthier living. Today my aspirations are made of experiences (playing/travelling/growing together as a family).

I thought having children would be at the cost of other aspects of my life as well as a terrible financial burden. As it turns out those wasteful aspects were the burden and despite the loss of income we're better of now than we ever were (literally - our debt has gone down every month since she was born).

Now we've learnt those lessons though I do sometimes wonder what a second income would do for our moustaches.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2013, 11:01:28 AM by HappyDad »

I Love Cake

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2013, 12:59:23 PM »
My dh is a SAHP. We knew his lay off was coming (dying trade) and so began banking his income 1 year before he was laid off to ensure we could live on my income.

I make a very good income so we do it no problem. We are also quite frugal and simple and we paid off all debt before this happened.

Both my kids are in full day school. When they were at home I stayed with them for a year (maternity leave in Canada is a year) and then we had a loving live-in nanny (who is still in their lives as a friend) for 4 years.

The kids absolutely love having their dad at home. He is not crazy about being home though. But we are both committed to being there for our kids-for us-daycare/after school care is NOT an option.

I wish dh embraced it more but he is bored. There is just so much cleaning etc he can do each day.

I do love that all the home duties are taken care of which means I can spend my downtime with him and the kids

It's also fantastic that we don't play the 'who's day is more important' game when a child gets sick and one of us has to stay home

Our plan is to wait until I finally get laid off (I am in a dying trade too-give it another year or two) and then I get to stay home and he will find a job.

The beauty of being frugal, having no debt, a healthy savings account and living simply means he can find a mediocre job and we will be just fine!

I recommend a parent at home for the entire time you have a child at home-some say that teens need a parent home more than a young child. This is what we are aiming to do

golden1

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2017, 09:58:28 AM »
As a counterpoint to Double Downs experience, I left work while pregnant with my first, and stayed home until my second was in first grade - 8 years in total.

The difference is, I kept my toe in the working world by slowly working towards my masters degree while I was not working.  I only took a class a semester, but I did get my masters in a technical field, and graduated and was able to return to work with a fresh degree.   

The SAHM thing can work, but you need to have a plan.  And have a little flexibility with that plan.  My son has special needs that required me to stay home and extra year to make sure he was settled.   

Easye418

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2017, 10:06:59 AM »
With Bub on the way (#1), my wife is going to drop from 3 x 13 hour shifts to 2 x 13 hour shifts after she returns to work in 12 weeks.  Bub goes to daycare for 2 days (paying full price! until 12 months), wife still brings in decent money, we pay off debts quicker, life goes on.

Technically, I can support our family on my income alone, however, she knows the plan.
You either cut expenses, raise income, or both.  Simple as that.

Pennycounter

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2017, 11:56:26 AM »
While this thread it OLD it's very timely for me.  I have two kids 1 &4 and work a stressful, hectic job. We're working to save so I can stay home for a few years. This is not likely a permanent move as it would negatively impact us during our retirement but its a priority right now. We live in the SF Bay area and would be drawing down savings every month to afford this. We've been saving as much as we can and at our current rate, I could stay home for 5 years with our savings vs spending. 

So its a hard decision when I make a good salary, to walk away from that (potentially). But the stress and time away from my family is so brutal.  I have a personal deadline of leaving work in June.

Notasoccermom

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2017, 06:47:20 AM »
When I had our second child, I decided I wasn't going to go back to my 8-5 anymore. Childcare at a center would have cost us 2,000 a month for 2 kids and very little of that is tax deductible. Basically if i continued to work, I'd be working for $2.50 an hour after childcare. Basically I went to my employer and said I couldn't afford childcare, so I'd either be willing to reduce my hours to part time and do it from home or I'd quit entirely. So they let me work from home.

My kids are now approaching school age, but I'm still not thinking of going back to a 8-5 job. I'm considering starting my own business, as well as doing my part time gig. I'd still be paying $400 a month for before and after school care, have to find a center for every single snow day, 3-4 day weekend, Christmas and spring breaks, summer, every "teacher work day" not to mention every time my kid is sick. It's just way too much hassle that I really don't need.

cheapass

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #27 on: March 22, 2017, 09:48:46 AM »
my ex got completely wrapped up in the stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) thing, lost her identity as a person outside of motherhood, and when they approached school age, it was apparent my ex had no interest in returning to the work force. Who could blame her? From her perspective, she was FIRE!

This seems to be a pretty common problem among SAHM's. They lose their entire identity as a person and their whole life is being a mom. No doubt it's important to make your kids a priority but keeping one's own hobbies, interests and passions is very important as well. I wonder how much of a disaster it turns into when the kids finally move out and suddenly mom's identity is gone?
Every single decision you make with money either shortens or lengthens your working career.

sjc0816

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #28 on: March 22, 2017, 03:50:29 PM »
My kids are school age and I am still at home. We have found that it is probably more necessary now than before they were in school. For one, they have activities some afternoons at 4pm (these things are obviously optional...but not something we would like to take away).

Secondly, I can't tell you HOW many times I have uttered the words "it's a good thing I don't work".....in regards to snow days, sick days (soooo many), teacher planning days, holidays, winter/spring break, summer, etc.

I do a tiny bit of freelancing on the side....but I am actually very busy. I volunteer a lot, work out, cook, clean....do small remodeling projects, read, etc.

Since I have stopped working, DH's salary has increased 3x and continues to. He has the ability to travel for work and do things that he otherwise would not be able to if he was 50% responsible for childcare. If I wanted to work, I could.....but everything else would suffer and I can guarantee everyone would be miserable, stressed, tired, wrung-out.

Also, as my kids get older I realize how fast it is all going. The thought of them spending holiday and summer breaks in "camps".........NO WAY. We have way too much fun!


TrudgingAlong

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #29 on: March 22, 2017, 10:53:15 PM »
my ex got completely wrapped up in the stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) thing, lost her identity as a person outside of motherhood, and when they approached school age, it was apparent my ex had no interest in returning to the work force. Who could blame her? From her perspective, she was FIRE!

This seems to be a pretty common problem among SAHM's. They lose their entire identity as a person and their whole life is being a mom. No doubt it's important to make your kids a priority but keeping one's own hobbies, interests and passions is very important as well. I wonder how much of a disaster it turns into when the kids finally move out and suddenly mom's identity is gone?


I'm pretty sure this is why "empty nest syndrome" is a thing! I've been home with my kids for 12 years. Still have another year until the last one heads to K. I've made it a priority to be ME, not just their mother. Now if older people would stop calling me "mom" when I'm out with them that would be great :P

FLBiker

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #30 on: March 23, 2017, 09:30:26 AM »
We've got a soon-to-be 2 year old and DW has been a SAHM since she was born.  We're lucky -- we live in the US (where maternity benefits aren't great) but she was able to get a paid semester (3 months) and then do unpaid leave the rest of the time.  So she still has her job and will be returning (9-month faculty) this fall (DD will be 2.5).  Our daughter will go to a neat daycare on campus that's staffed by folks in grad school for Early Childhood Education.  We thought about DW staying home longer, but DD is an only child (and is very outgoing and enjoys being around kids) so we think daycare will be good.  If it isn't DW might quit after a year -- she has to work a year or else we have to pay back the paid semester maternity leave.

Financially, it's been pretty easy.  DW makes ~$40K in 9 months, I make ~$80K in 12.  We probably live on ~$45K?  Maybe $40K?  We could certainly live on DW's salary, but we'd have to tighten up on our vacation and food budgets.  Childcare will be ~$800 per month for 9 months or so.

My wife likes being a SAHM OK, but that it has also been challenging.  I think it's harder than she expected (in terms of not being able to get other housework done) but she absolutely loves the time with our daughter.  And we both love the fact that our daughter got to spend her infant / baby time with 1 on 1 parental care all the time.  Now that she's a toddler (and seemingly quite outgoing / confident) we both feel better about daycare / pre-school than we would have at 3 months.

Suze456

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #31 on: March 23, 2017, 02:46:50 PM »
Depends on the people as well as finances...I would crack up at home full-time. At the moment I work about 20 hours and dh fulltime (very fulltime but selfemployed so flexible). Dh has the kid(s) about 8 hours a week while I work (they are in school) and it's great....until summer holidays come! It'll be a shock to pay childcare again. But best of both worlds at the mo...it can be a juggling act but we both get to work and spend time with the kids.

TabbyCat

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #32 on: March 25, 2017, 12:38:10 AM »
We are looking more seriously at allowing me to be a stay at home mom for a few years, and just in the last few months have realized how close we are to that being financially comfortable. As much as I want to be home with my kid now, I would rather work a few extra months at good pay than be home worried about money. Iím only planning to take 5-7 years ďoff,Ē but I want the budget to be solvent even if I never regained a good salary or if we chose for me to continue to stay home, mostly because Iím an over planner and the impact of seeing a generation of SAHMís trying and failing to reenter the workforce during the financial crisis gave me a somewhat pessimistic expectation of jobs after long gaps.

It is encouraging to see others say positive things here about having a stay home parent Ė I love the comment reminding that the goal is to have the greatest number of years in a happy life, not to amass the largest amount of money.

For me, itís harder to pull the trigger as I am (currently) by far the higher earner, but I am also the one who wants to stay home (husband is 100% supportive of that). It also helps us that my husband isnít interested in early retirement, so we save for my early retirement but he plans to keep working. Ideally Iíd like to have the savings for him to retire at 50 or sooner if he changes his mind, and that extra money could go towards travel and kids inheritance if we do end up over saving. Iíve seen too many in the older generation in my family struggle to keep working at 55+ because they had no choice and I donít feel like itís a given that he will want work to 65 just because he loves his job now in his 30s. If he does want to keep working and we do end up with extra funds for things like travel, and helping kids out, I certainly wouldnít complain. I would just like for traditional paid work to be a labor of love and not need for both of us, as soon as is feasible.

firelight

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #33 on: March 25, 2017, 02:44:14 AM »
Very interesting thread. We have a toddler and are expecting our second. We managed to alternate WFH for a year for DD and then sent her to daycare after she turned one. Best decision ever! She loved being with other kids, learned a lot socially and we got a break and were with other adults for daytime. Also daycare helped us navigate issues like napping, potty training, etc pretty easily.

For the second, we are planning something similar but it would be interesting to see how much harder/costlier it would be with two in daycare and two working parents.

AmberTheCat

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #34 on: March 25, 2017, 10:15:45 AM »
i was a SAHM for 17 years. 4 kids. i did a little freelance work (about $10K+/yr) during those years. We were not able to save much. sometimes i wish we had more $ now for our 2 kids now in college.

the mentality changes over the years over the benefits of it all. I will say now the complete busy-ness of having involved teens and pre-teens is CRAZY. I almost think it's more important to be home when they are late elementary and in middle school than when they are younger. Although it was sure fun when they were younger!

I"m working part time now at a school and have the summers off to hang with my two at home who arent driving yet. Truly - i'd rather work when they are gone and i'm older than to have missed all of that time with the kids growing up, even though i'm giving up decent job choices.  good luck to all with your choices; there's really no right or wrong of course!
not young, but newbie here!

Pennycounter

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #35 on: March 28, 2017, 10:18:22 AM »
We are looking more seriously at allowing me to be a stay at home mom for a few years, and just in the last few months have realized how close we are to that being financially comfortable. As much as I want to be home with my kid now, I would rather work a few extra months at good pay than be home worried about money. Iím only planning to take 5-7 years ďoff,Ē but I want the budget to be solvent even if I never regained a good salary or if we chose for me to continue to stay home, mostly because Iím an over planner and the impact of seeing a generation of SAHMís trying and failing to reenter the workforce during the financial crisis gave me a somewhat pessimistic expectation of jobs after long gaps.

It is encouraging to see others say positive things here about having a stay home parent Ė I love the comment reminding that the goal is to have the greatest number of years in a happy life, not to amass the largest amount of money.

For me, itís harder to pull the trigger as I am (currently) by far the higher earner, but I am also the one who wants to stay home (husband is 100% supportive of that). It also helps us that my husband isnít interested in early retirement, so we save for my early retirement but he plans to keep working. Ideally Iíd like to have the savings for him to retire at 50 or sooner if he changes his mind, and that extra money could go towards travel and kids inheritance if we do end up over saving. Iíve seen too many in the older generation in my family struggle to keep working at 55+ because they had no choice and I donít feel like itís a given that he will want work to 65 just because he loves his job now in his 30s. If he does want to keep working and we do end up with extra funds for things like travel, and helping kids out, I certainly wouldnít complain. I would just like for traditional paid work to be a labor of love and not need for both of us, as soon as is feasible.

Oh my goodness this is us/me EXACTLY and its so hard.  I also realize that I get a lot of energy from work. Yes, its draining and stressful and I work too much but I love the camaraderie and sense of accomplishment.  Good luck with your decision!!

TabbyCat

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #36 on: March 28, 2017, 08:28:58 PM »

Oh my goodness this is us/me EXACTLY and its so hard.  I also realize that I get a lot of energy from work. Yes, its draining and stressful and I work too much but I love the camaraderie and sense of accomplishment.  Good luck with your decision!!

Thanks! I go back and forth - sometimes my job is fulfilling (my coworkers and management are fantastic), but often it's crushingly stressful (the customers can be very hard to work with - as in literally yelling at me and I have to be nice and no one stands up to them).

lazy-saver

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #37 on: March 30, 2017, 06:53:39 PM »
This seems to be a pretty common problem among SAHM's. They lose their entire identity as a person and their whole life is being a mom. No doubt it's important to make your kids a priority but keeping one's own hobbies, interests and passions is very important as well. I wonder how much of a disaster it turns into when the kids finally move out and suddenly mom's identity is gone?

This sounds a lot like arguments against early retirement.  But not everyone needs a job to have an identity.

I would encourage doing whatever it takes to give the stay-at-home parent time to pursue their other interests though.

TabbyCat

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #38 on: March 30, 2017, 09:39:37 PM »
I think a person who is going to loose their identity in something and then have to find their way back is going to do so one way or another. The SAHM story is just big because there is a lot of pressure on moms to handle it all, while there is also often undervaluing of that role and of the transition to having adult kids. Maybe being defensive, but comments about SAHM's struggles when the kids leave often sound really patronizing and dismissive - it is a transition, it will take time to process.

ReP

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #39 on: July 17, 2017, 02:45:57 PM »
Glad this thread is still active; I wouldn't be surprised if there are a lot of duplicates. Just want to chime in as my situation is a bit unique, I started as a stay-at-home parent, went back to work and am now going back to staying at home (all in 2.5 years)

  • Remember like others have stated that staying at home to take care of kids is NOT going to alleviate stress on you and your partner regarding household chores. While there are boundaries you can set with your kids to allow for some adult productivity, you're still trying to do 2 jobs at once and it is CRAZY MAKING. (Our son is 2.5, so I can't speak for parents of older kids). The reason I first went back to work was that I was stupidly trying to do EVERYTHING. It didn't occur to my husband and I that we could put our son in daycare so I could fill the role of house cleaner/accountant/basically house manager, and that it would have been completely justified in or out of the Mustachian context. For someone who's profession requires a lot of critical thinking, I just have to laugh that our solution was me to go back to work to pay for daycare on top of the family jobs I already had. I view this phase as being well-spent money and short-lived, as we plan to have only one and he will be in school in 3 years.
  • Stress is a factor that's really difficult to evaluate the financial impact of (sociologists probably have). I think you have to figure out the monetary impact for yourself personally as everyone's jobs, coping skills and personality types are so different. I have an intellectually stimulating and emotionally demanding job that is absolutely having a negative impact emotionally on myself and our family. Not to mention the fact that being stressed is a huge potentiating variable for spending money to alleviate said stress. I'm not exactly dying to stay up at night at plan a vegetable garden, meal plan or bike routes to save us money. I have no time to exercise, and my schedule requires that my husband drive to work even though he could get built in exercise by riding his bike to work 3 miles away because we frequently have to share pickup/dropoff from daycare. Lack of exercise and stress is guaranteed to impact how much we spend on healthcare later in life. Anyways, the list goes on and on for us, even though I do net a fair amount after daycare.
  • Like others, I do have a plan and it involves going back to work (to a new career, TBD, anyone have ideas! I'll check that MMM post again) within the next 5 years. I think every stay-at-home-parent regardless of gender should have a plan in case something happens to their spouse. Who knows, maybe I'll be back on this thread lamenting our choice after the one year trial period suggested by Mrs. MM. Life is an experiment!

Lucky Girl

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #40 on: July 18, 2017, 06:40:35 AM »
This is a pretty old thread but a frequent struggle for so many of us, so I wanted to chime in with my thoughts.  I have two kids currently 4 and 7 years old.  I have been working full time most of their childhood, but went part time for 3 years after the first was born, until the second was about 9 months old. 

I'm really glad I stayed in the work force.  I earn enough that it was financially worth while.  We are now at the point where I am looking to be able to retire in the next few years and stay at home permanently, by the time my oldest is in 4th grade at the latest.  And my spouse will still be able to RE before 50 if he wants, because we've been saving hard because I continued to work.  Childcare is expensive but it has been reliable and the availability of full day daycare/aftercare has made this possible. 

Once my kids get too old for aftercare I don't want them coming home to an empty house.  To me it is important to be around in those years, and be able to get them to swim practice or gymnastics.  At 7 years old my oldest is only just starting to need that.  Also homework.  when they are little they can stay in childcare and don't need a parent around.  But managing homework after a full day of work and them being in aftercare is too much.  I feel like that is when my kids need ME.  Not to do their homework for them, but to be there at home, to give them a good environment and encouragement.

ReP

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #41 on: July 18, 2017, 08:36:38 AM »
Once my kids get too old for aftercare I don't want them coming home to an empty house.  To me it is important to be around in those years, and be able to get them to swim practice or gymnastics.  At 7 years old my oldest is only just starting to need that.  Also homework.  when they are little they can stay in childcare and don't need a parent around.  But managing homework after a full day of work and them being in aftercare is too much.  I feel like that is when my kids need ME.  Not to do their homework for them, but to be there at home, to give them a good environment and encouragement.

This is something we've thought a lot about too and being home has always been a goal of ours independent of our financial goals. I think your plan makes a lot of sense and the more I read the various stay-at-home threads, the more SAHP I'm seeing chime in about the value of being home for their kids as they get older and start to have questions about ethics, problem solving, more complicated emotions, relationships etc. Congrats and have fun!

TVRodriguez

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #42 on: July 18, 2017, 10:09:01 AM »
Our kids went right into a high quality daycare, which was my first choice of childcare for a few reasons:  1. We have a pool, and a nanny has to pee sometime; 2. I liked the accountability of multiple eyes on my child and on each other at the daycare; 3. I learned some techniques and gained emotional support from the daycare, where they approached childcare as a team with the parents; 4. I liked that my children would be around other children daily; and 5. No family relationships were strained by differing views on how to raise children.

I was lucky to reduce my working hours after each maternity leave ended.  Working less definitely changed my career track, and my income dropped, but I was happier for it.  I never considered the cost of childcare to be coming out of my salary alone.  I figured that the children have two parents, so both parents contribute to the cost of care.  I have a professional degree that I worked hard to achieve and wanted to use, even if I didn't love my job at the time.  The job I had when the kids were born provided health insurance for my family (at a cost, but less than on the open market).  I held onto that job for the first 5 years of parenthood, which provided me with the ability to start my own practice soon after our third child was born.

We have 3 kids, ages 10, 8, and 6.  We both now have our own businesses and work less than full-time.  My maternity leaves were 4 to 5 months long each time, and (as implied by the daycare comments above) neither of us has ever stayed home after maternity leave. 

The biggest reason I didn't truly contemplate staying home was that DH's job is highly stressful, and I didn't want to add the stress of being sole breadwinner.

Now that the kids are in school, I'm glad I have my own practice and can take time off for school events and such when I want.  Homework is generally done in aftercare, which I find worth the cost not only for the homework help but also for my kids to have more time with friends and afterschool activities (at school).  I also like that they see both of their parents working at careers we enjoy.

This summer is the first time we've had a "nanny"--I felt like the kids were old enough now for me to feel comfortable leaving them in the care of one person for more than a few workdays.  It's been great, but they've really missed summer camp--in fact, they'll be going for a couple of weeks at the end of the summer.

Aelias

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #43 on: July 18, 2017, 10:42:22 AM »
I stayed home briefly when our first child was born.  I was coming out of a very rough--though extremely lucrative--job.  I thought I was done with that bullshit and wanted to spend the time with my kids.

I learned almost IMMEDIATELY that I am not temperamentally suited to be SAHM.  Here were a few realizations:

1) I like a fair amount of quiet time to myself.  Can't do that with small kids around.

2) I require a lot of adult-level, intellectual stimulation.  NPR and reading only goes so far.

3) I thought I didn't care about money until I wasn't earning any. 

4) I felt like not having a job undermined my marriage in subtle ways.  Although he denied it, I felt like my husband respected me less.  This is possibly because I felt bad about myself.

Fortunately, I was out of the work force for just over a year and was able to jump back in pretty easily.  We've both been working full time ever since, and it really is the best for our family.  We come home and really enjoy those few hours with our kids before bed.  And I take comfort in knowing that if something ever happened to my husband, I could support our family no problem.

BrandNewPapa

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #44 on: July 19, 2017, 06:32:44 AM »
This is something my wife and I have been struggling with the last few days. We had our daughter in May 2016. My wife got 4 months paid leave. We had multiple discussions about what to do after her leave was up. I made it clear to her that I was fine with her leaving her job to be a SAHM, but she needed to make the decision ASAP so we could plan for it.

After her four months were up, she decided to take more time off, another 8 months unpaid. I'm totally fine with that and was glad her job gave her that flexibility. I was happy she could be with the baby during that crucial time. We had multiple discussions during those 8 months about her quitting to be SAHM; again, my message was clear, it's okay if that's what you want, but make the decision now so we can plan. She kept saying she wanted to go back. I can't afford to pay for the daycare on top of all the other bills.

So here we are slightly over a year later, and her manager is trying to find a role for her to come back to work. She works for a consulting company, so projects are generally very flexible. My wife is freaking out and saying she doesn't want to go back. She wants to quit and stay home with the baby.

Our daughter started daycare about 2 months ago. We had to start then because we weren't sure of my wife's on-boarding schedule and the daycare had an 8 month wait to get in. So we've got a sunk cost of 2200 for two months of daycare and now my wife doesn't want to go back.

Going back is hard for her because the role she'll be going into will require 2-3 days of travel each week for one month. Honestly, I think she is concerned I won't be able to care for my daughter, and she is worried daughter won't be so attached to her when she returns.

I keep asking her to just tough out the 1 month project, then find something local or make the decision to quit at that point once she is back in the swing of things. I've also explained I'm not comfortable becoming the sole bread winner and that I have dreams of retiring in 10 years. I make a little more than she does, but she has a pretty high salary.

I have concerns similar to what someone posted early in this thread - that she'll become a stereotypical stay at home mom and just watch TV all day. I've already noticed she's becoming more entitled and has been doing less around the house. I'm having to pick up the slack when it comes to cooking, cleaning, maintenance, etc. We used to be pretty much 50-50 on household chores, now we're probably 70-30 or 80-20. This means I see my daughter even less when I get home from work because I need to take care of those things. It seems like she has come to believe her only responsibility is the baby and nothing else.

I'm kind of at the end of my rope. I don't know what to do. Anytime I bring up household chores she gets super defensive and acts like I'm asking to have dinner on the table at 5 everyday and a sparkling house. I'm not. Just cook 2-3 days a week and help me pick up/do laundry so I'm not doing it all. Anytime I bring up her job she shuts down and just says, "well if that's what you want me to do."

meatface

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #45 on: July 19, 2017, 08:49:50 AM »
My wife and I had an interesting conversation last night as a follow up to my previous post on spending to "get away" from the stressors of parenthood. Not a new one I'm sure, but with Mustachianism we could consider one of us staying home with our young ones until they reach school age. We wouldn't have very much "extra" money, wouldn't contribute as much to our 401/503b, but we would perhaps work a job that isn't super fulfilling right now, feel less rushed in life, cook at home more, and have more quality time with our children.

Anyone else out there done this after becoming more mustachian, and if so, I'm curious, what were your pros and cons of taking this step and how did you end up making the decision?

My wife and I are going to do this. We are not yet FIRE, but we have made great progress and also live on less than one salary. As a result, I am planning for my current job to be my last "normal" job, and I will start working for myself from home once my current job ends. I will make very little money at first, but will have the opportunity to do something I love and build my own business. Not sure it'd be a viable option without excellent saving habits.

CNM

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #46 on: July 19, 2017, 09:35:12 AM »
@BrandNewPapa

Having a newborn requires a major readjustment phase.  All of a sudden there is a huge amount of additional stuff to do.  Your situation re. division of household labor sounds difficult, my only suggestions would be to (1) lower your standards to let things go, (2) just grind through the next year because it gets easier as the child ages, and (3) keep an open discussion with your spouse. 

You could also try doing a time audit, where both you and your spouse keep track of what each of you do doing the day.  It's very possible that your spouse thinks that SHE is doing 80%. (And, statistically speaking, men typically way overestimate the time they spend doing household chores : https://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/12/upshot/men-do-more-at-home-but-not-as-much-as-they-think-they-do.html)

mm1970

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #47 on: July 19, 2017, 09:54:18 AM »
@BrandNewPapa

Having a newborn requires a major readjustment phase.  All of a sudden there is a huge amount of additional stuff to do.  Your situation re. division of household labor sounds difficult, my only suggestions would be to (1) lower your standards to let things go, (2) just grind through the next year because it gets easier as the child ages, and (3) keep an open discussion with your spouse. 

You could also try doing a time audit, where both you and your spouse keep track of what each of you do doing the day.  It's very possible that your spouse thinks that SHE is doing 80%. (And, statistically speaking, men typically way overestimate the time they spend doing household chores : https://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/12/upshot/men-do-more-at-home-but-not-as-much-as-they-think-they-do.html)

These are really good tips.  It's very hard to tell from the outside what the division really is.

Plus, being at home with a child is mentally and physically exhausting.  I work full time, have worked part time in the past, have worked at home now and then when the kids are sick.

It is so.much.harder. for me to function at home.  Because I don't get a break.  When I was on mat leave and the baby napped (I say baby, because that only worked for the first mat leave, not the second, because then I had another kid to take care of), I would prep dinner and do laundry, occasionally nap myself.

On work days, I wake up, I go work out a few times a week before the kids are up, or I walk on my lunch break, etc.  If I'm home with the kids, I can't do any of that.  They need my attention.  And that's especially true until about the age of ... 6 to 10?  It's a gradual change, where they need you "less", but up to 18 months, you are ON - all the time.

The constant food prep and dishes get to me too.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #48 on: July 19, 2017, 10:17:35 AM »
We chose to have me become a SAHM when my daughter was born. It was the best decision for our family hands down. My old job was far away (3 hours of commuting roundtrip per day), extremely stressful and occasionally quite toxic, and we would have had to basically put the baby in daycare for 10+ hours every work day. We were looking at essentially only really having a life or spending any time together as a family on the weekends. Needless to say, this was not a viable option for us. Thankfully, the finances were not a big issue for us because my husband makes so much more than I do working full time. We are still able to achieve all our financial goals/priorities even one 1 income, it's just obviously slower than if we had extra money.

We actually did find that having me home really did alleviate alot of household stress. Obviously not for the first few months because breastfeeding and newborn care take up ridiculous amounts of time, but life is definitely far more manageable on the domestic front when someone is home. I can run errands with the baby, go grocery shopping, pay bills, and do alot of other things during her naptimes that would have to be all crammed into the weekends if I worked full time. I think alot of stay at home parenting is like any other job. Busy, productive people will remain productive. People who like to lounge about and slack off will slack off. The idea of sitting around doing nothing and watching TV stresses me out. I have to be productive - I crave it. Before I did that at work, and now, I do that managing our household. The only caveat to this is that now I am pregnant again, I am far less productive than I am when not pregnant. I was completely exhausted taking care of a toddler in the first trimester and didn't do much. Now that I'm almost in my 3rd trimester, I'm more energized but have to take it easy due to muscle strain or fatigue in the evenings. I still manage to do most of the housework/errands/cooking/etc, but I do need more help. My husband is great though and completely understands. Building a human is hard work!



Carrie

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Re: Stay at Home?
« Reply #49 on: July 19, 2017, 10:43:53 AM »
My kids are school age and I am still at home. We have found that it is probably more necessary now than before they were in school. For one, they have activities some afternoons at 4pm (these things are obviously optional...but not something we would like to take away).

Secondly, I can't tell you HOW many times I have uttered the words "it's a good thing I don't work".....in regards to snow days, sick days (soooo many), teacher planning days, holidays, winter/spring break, summer, etc.

I do a tiny bit of freelancing on the side....but I am actually very busy. I volunteer a lot, work out, cook, clean....do small remodeling projects, read, etc.

Since I have stopped working, DH's salary has increased 3x and continues to. He has the ability to travel for work and do things that he otherwise would not be able to if he was 50% responsible for childcare. If I wanted to work, I could.....but everything else would suffer and I can guarantee everyone would be miserable, stressed, tired, wrung-out.

Also, as my kids get older I realize how fast it is all going. The thought of them spending holiday and summer breaks in "camps".........NO WAY. We have way too much fun!

I love this. And agree. I still will have one home next year (two in full school), but I think it's not worth the trouble or money for me to work full-time even when all the kids are in school. For one thing, I'm too busy, for another, my garden would suffer, my delicious cooking would suffer, and we really value quiet afternoons together instead of after school care &rush hour.  I make clothes, gifts, keep the house in decent shape, am in charge of running the place so that dh can concentrate on work. That has paid off in increased salary & flexibility.  We love our arrangement. I have still kept my professional license current, just in case, but I really don't think I'll need to go back.  When my kids don't need me any more, we'll be fired already. :)