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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Daddy-Stache on September 23, 2013, 09:59:04 AM

Title: Anybody here Retired early as a single parent with kids?
Post by: Daddy-Stache on September 23, 2013, 09:59:04 AM
I'm curious if anyone here has retired early as a singe parent with young kids.
I'm 45 and I've got two girls (age 4 and 7) and I might be in a position to chuck the office life and be full time Daddy-Stache.
Factors like other income streams, no debt, decent nest egg, make the finances possible.

I'm more interested with any lessons from those of you that have done this successfully.
How have you adjusted to not having the 9 to 5 job to do every day? Do you miss your adult friends? Has your brain turned to mush? :)
This sounds terrible but do you ever get just sick of being around the kids all the time? And vic versa? I think I will be factoring in some Nanny-time just so I can do my own thing once in awhile.
What about as the kids get older? pre-teen and teen years? I'm thinking that being that constant presence in their life will be much better for them in the long run than being out of town working all the time to afford nonsense high cost kid related "stuff" like the latest gadget or clothing. 

Have you been there? Are you doing it? Single/divorced/widowed and raising those rugrats on your own full-time? I want to hear from you.
Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: Anybody here Retired early as a single parent with kids?
Post by: Dreamer on December 21, 2013, 02:39:59 PM
I am a single mom and I am not yet retired, but I would retire today if I could.  I was off on mat leave for 1 year, so I can give you some answers from that experience.

Adjusting to not having a 9-5 job - I loved it!  That was the year I really seriously starting thinking about retiring early.  Going back to work was very difficult for me (and it still is difficult 2.5 years later).

Missing adult friends - I occasionally felt like I could use some adult company, but I kept busy playing sports 3 nights/week.  Just going for a walk where I'd encounter other people would helped alleviate loneliness other days.  Getting to know other adults with kids who are free during the day helps too.  I had a few friends I would visit with on occasion.

Brain turned to mush - I don't think so.  I would think reading books would help with this though.

Sick of being around the kids - this didn't happen to me.  Having my son made me realize how much I truly love being a mother above anything else.  Of course, I do still enjoy a break once in a while to do adult things.

Kids being sick of being around me - he is still too young for this happen, so I can't give you any personal experiences with this.  I do plan to retire by the time my son is 11, so I will find out eventually I guess!

Sorry for not answering your questions from the perspective you were asking for.
Title: Re: Anybody here Retired early as a single parent with kids?
Post by: jenstill on December 21, 2013, 02:56:53 PM
I am neither financially independent, nor retired early. I am, however, a single mother of 4 and started a job working from home a couple months ago. My kids are all in school and, due to the time difference between where we live and my employer, there's only about 1-2 hours per weekday where I'm not immediately available to my kids. (I'm still available if they need me, but in another room and they have to keep the noise/interruptions down.) So, my situation is certainly not exactly the one you're asking after, but I had some of the same worries when I took this job. I've been raising the kids by myself for several years, but until recently, had about 10 hours away from them every week day, so was worried we'd be sick to death of each other very quickly.

Happily, I was completely wrong. I do not tire of being with them, nor do they tire of me. Three of them are teenagers and they like me being around despite that. There are occasionally a few minutes where I think I'd give just about anything to get out of the house for an hour (because I'm here ALL THE TIME) but it passes quickly and there's more than enough to keep me engaged, busy, and happy. A happy and unexpected side effect has been that they're also more involved in house work and meal planning because we're already hanging out, talking, etc. when I'm doing it, so they naturally chip in, as opposed to before when I was rushing straight in from work & picking everyone up and thinking only of "i have to make dinner, do the laundry, do the dishes" etc. Also, I know more about their lives outside of our home because it's still fresh on their minds when they get off the bus and I'm right here waiting, un-stressed and waiting to hear all about it. I can only imagine it'd be even MORE so if I didn't have to work at all.
Title: Re: Anybody here Retired early as a single parent with kids?
Post by: happy on December 21, 2013, 03:32:15 PM
Singe parent for 14 years, worked part-time for 18.  Now semiretired. Kids 18 and 16.

Not quite your requested demographic either!

When the kids were younger I asked "Do you want more mummy -time or more stuff?" and they always said "more Mummy time." When they were teenagers they wanted more stuff!

For me, the biggest problem has been not getting sufficient personal downtime, since I need time on my own to function well. I was either at work or  with kids.  Sole custody so no times when the kids were away with other parent. 

Once both of yours are at school you will get 5-6 hours break from them 5 days a week.  Once they are teenagers I think its even more important to be around, in the background, "Loosely supervising".

I think you will need to schedule in some adult time. Finding the right people to spend time with in school hours may be a challenge since they are likely to be working.  You can try to find this by socialising with other families, or maybe do a regular activity after work hours with a friend eg sport or a course. I always found it easier if I had a set appointment, with  a set booking for childcare/babysitting, otherwise life got in the way.
Title: Re: Anybody here Retired early as a single parent with kids?
Post by: Sydneystache on December 21, 2013, 03:36:09 PM
Hi there, I know of someone who retired in his 40s with two kids. He became a single parent because he was widowed and he quit his high-paying investment banking job soon after. As this coincided with the GFC he did not mind quitting.

He does seek adult company because being left with two kids makes him insane though he has a good family support and network that help look after kids. However, what I chide him about is that he is h***y as f*** and he trawls through online dating sites to get his quick fix. The widower card is an attractive feature.  However, this might be his excess baggage from the loss of his wife but <judgmental hat on> he shouldn't use other females' feelings for him when they want a long-term relationship from him <judgmental hat off>

He has enrolled in further education and he has had no problems. His former employer wanted him back once things were better but he said no. He loves his freedom-from-work too much and he gets to do things men 20 years older than him want to do - play golf, go boating etc but can't at their stage. So he has made the transition successfully and he adores and loves his kids and spending more time with them. So no problems there!

I'm a single parent too but my job stimulates my mind and fulfills the other intangible aspects of working - eg meeting people, networking etc though the downside is the politics and the paperwork. I volunteer and I suspect once I meet my FI objectives then I'll do more volunteering. However, my job has always been understanding of my circumstance (the relationship with my son's father broke up when I was pregnant so have been pretty much a single parent since) and have been flexible to work around my pick-up and drop-off times for my son. I don't get paid as much as my peers but I've managed to accomplish paying off my flat's mortgage last year and my aim now is to save for my son's education. If I were to be fired tomorrow, I probably have around 6 months' emergency money, before I'd start liquidating my non-$ assets.

Today, I had a good chat with my son about why we should budget and what it means living on $10/day, $20/day...$50/day, what it means if we don't overspend our budget and how that saving amount accumulates per year.

So in short, if you can afford it, go ahead and retire. However, if you are still a bit undecided, why don't you go the part-time mode and see how it works. Since I started regular volunteering last year, I am getting a kick out of being able to help people and I have managed to help my volunteers as well in their life especially in terms of employment (I didn't realise until then how pretty networked I am!) and money/PF education. So I think if I were not to have a job tomorrow, these would be areas where I could volunteer or offer my skills further. My job is still a big part of my identity and for me it is transitioning this aspect to other areas where I may have problems adjusting to.
Title: Re: Anybody here Retired early as a single parent with kids?
Post by: scrubbyfish on December 22, 2013, 09:57:17 AM
Sole parent, one kid (9). I live a life of "semi-retirement", doing a small gig from home and otherwise not.

I mostly love our life. But yes, I dearly miss contact with adults. Yes, my kid and I drive each other nuts with the time together. Yes, I often find it nearly unbearable to not be working in an ego-stroking job like I used to -I'm really focused on releasing that emotional/psychological need, as being with my son is a priority.

Nanny-time is very, very wise, yes! Our great boon is that my son is newly going to a relative's place one weekend of every month. This saves us. Though if your kids go to school, that would be oodles of time apart already.

What I love: that I got to pull my son from the mainstream school system that was hurting him, and develop a program he is so joyful and successful in. That we both get to sleep til we're finished sleeping (no alarms). That we have time to make nutritious meals, then eat them slowly. Road trips. Bike rides in the middle of a school day. Listening to my son laughing in the yard on a sunny Tuesday morning. Taking a super leisurely 1-3 hours to gather our stuff for a trip to the library. Talking with my son about the stuff that comes up for him, when they come up for him. Choosing our environments and relationships, rather than having those imposed by circumstance. That my son can chase his ideas, and I can help him do so.

Cool topic -thanks :)
Title: Re: Anybody here Retired early as a single parent with kids?
Post by: Daddy-Stache on January 29, 2014, 11:20:40 AM
Hi there, I know of someone who retired in his 40s with two kids. He became a single parent because he was widowed and he quit his high-paying investment banking job soon after. As this coincided with the GFC he did not mind quitting.

That is pretty interesting because I am widowed also so I know exactly what he is going through.
I've actually been laid off for a few months now so I'm getting a taste of what the home life would be. It is amazing how much I can NOT get done in the time I have.

I'm jumping back into the workforce for at least another 5 years to get myself on more rock solid financial footing but from there I think I'll be moving towards at least semi-retirement.
Title: Re: Anybody here Retired early as a single parent with kids?
Post by: Sydneystache on February 09, 2014, 10:25:47 PM
He likes to play golf so he has plenty to fill in his days. He does some day trading though. I have another acquaintance who was laid off for a year - the experience was pretty frightening for him as he is the main breadwinner with a SAHM + 3 kids. He ain't taking his job for granted anymore. He is not a mustachian so won't be retiring anytime soon.