Author Topic: at home parenting  (Read 8731 times)

uppy

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at home parenting
« on: September 20, 2016, 06:07:44 AM »
General question about stay-at-home-parenting, specifically would be SAHD in our case.

Has anyone run the numbers on the viability of this versus childcare? I am tempted to think that it is much cheaper financially to have 2 incomes and pay for full-time childcare. However, I am looking to transition out of my job and I think I would enjoy being a SAHD. Our particular situation is a little tricky because we don't make that much combined, and family help isn't an option, but I'm just curious on general thoughts on this topic.

ender

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2016, 06:35:17 AM »
Of course people have run the numbers. It depends on a lot of things, a good but non-comprehensive list:

 - Your salary
 - Time commitment of work (a 60+ hour job vs 40 change this)
 - The value you place on having a parent at home
 - The value you place on your family time
 - How much daycare costs
 - How you/your spouse feel about it
 - Your future career interest/earning potential impact
 - Your financial goals


FLBiker

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2016, 06:52:42 AM »
For us, the financial considerations have been secondary.  DW makes ~$40K per year as a 9 month instructor @ a college.  She's taken an unpaid leave of absence (the first 3 months or so were paid) to take care of our 1.5 year old daughter and will go back to work next fall (2017).  We would definitely make more money if she was working full-time (9 months of childcare < $40K) but, for us, this was the right call.  We're planning to start daycare next June (she'll be 2).

I took off a lot of time in the first 6 months, and I loved being home with her.  If my wife made as much money as I do ($75K) I would love to be a SAHD.

Oh, and in our area, infant daycare costs around $1100-1200 / month (I think).  Once they get a bit older it's more like $800-900 for Montessori type places, but there are cheaper options available.  Some folks I know had good experiences with home daycare, but I'm not sure about costs.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2016, 06:55:40 AM »
Very, very dependent. Ender hit on the variables pretty well. If you're curious in your specific case, you can write a case study: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-to-write-a-'case-study'-topic/  This will help you get very specific advice about the situation.

A blog post I recently liked on the topic: http://www.gocurrycracker.com/16-months-16-countries/  Note the articles he links to. Often, if you are *just* asking financially, staying in the work force is more powerful (benefits, time value of money, etc). But money isn't the point of life, so: can you still achieve your goals without optimizing for every cent of earnings over your life? I would assume so, otherwise you wouldn't end up on MMM! For me, my goals center around being there to raise children. It unquestionably makes more financial sense for me to stay working when we have children. But I'm not going to.

Fishindude

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2016, 08:25:37 AM »
The question should be ..... Do you want to raise your kids, or have somebody else do it?
If you can afford it, stay at home parenting is absolutely the way to go.   

KCM5

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2016, 09:15:33 AM »
The question should be ..... Do you want to raise your kids, or have somebody else do it?
If you can afford it, stay at home parenting is absolutely the way to go.

No. This creates a false dichotomy. Working parents who use childcare raise their kids. If you don't think that's the case, then you've never been a working parent or a child care worker.

Regarding the OP's question, previous posters have summed it up. It depends on the incomes of both parents, the work hours expected, commute, regularity of hours of job/childcare, temperament of spouse that would stay home, etc.

In our case, I make more money than my spouse. My spouse was also finishing up school when our first child was born, so without a full time job for the spouse, it simply would not have been prudent to quit my job to stay home with said child. Spouse did not wish to stay home, having just finished school and was eager to put the new education to work. And neither of us would even consider taking a job that requires more than 40 hours regularly. We both value our free/home time too much.

I would say, if both partners are going to work, stretch the maternity/paternity leave as far as you can. Waiting until 4-6 months to go to daycare (or a year if you're lucky enough to live in practically every other wealthy western nation) really makes a big difference in the ability of parents and baby to adapt to the change.

Now that that child is 3 and in public school full time (a somewhat unusual age, for most kids this would be at age 5 when they start kindergarten), we are both able to flex our hours so we don't use before or after care, and both work full time in well-paid jobs we like. The sort of trust that a person gets having worked a job for a few years allows flex time to be available. If I or my spouse had stayed home with the kid and then jumped back into work when the kid went to school full time, we would not have had the ability to be so flexible with our hours now.


mm1970

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2016, 09:45:26 AM »
General question about stay-at-home-parenting, specifically would be SAHD in our case.

Has anyone run the numbers on the viability of this versus childcare? I am tempted to think that it is much cheaper financially to have 2 incomes and pay for full-time childcare. However, I am looking to transition out of my job and I think I would enjoy being a SAHD. Our particular situation is a little tricky because we don't make that much combined, and family help isn't an option, but I'm just curious on general thoughts on this topic.
As ender said, it's going to vary widely on the circumstances.

1. cost of childcare
2. income of the 2 parents
3. health insurance of the 2 parents (this varies a LOT by job).  I have friends where parent #1 makes the most money but has really expensive family insurance.  Parent #2 has great insurance but low pay
4. number of children for which childcare is needed
5. work schedule (how many days/hours do you need childcare)
6. how far apart the kids are spaced

It was definitely financially worth it to me to work with 1 kid.  My kids are 6 years apart, so I have only ever been paying for FT childcare for one kid at a time.  Even so, the stress and exhaustion that comes with having *2* (plus a shitty work environment after #2) made me second guess working for a few years. 

My friend had 3 kids and at one point, was bringing home $100/ month after paying for daycare for 3.  But she had the good insurance.

It's not just being "net positive" at the end of the month - you have to factor in stress too.  I know now why many of my friends quit working after #2.

mm1970

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2016, 09:53:48 AM »
The question should be ..... Do you want to raise your kids, or have somebody else do it?
If you can afford it, stay at home parenting is absolutely the way to go.
Daycares do not raise children, so this is absolutely a false statement.  I do love that people who have never used childcare like to make this statement though.  Talk about ignorance of the topic.

Let's do a little math, shall we:
First, the average child in daycare is in daycare for 30 hours a week.  For this example though, we will use 40.

Hours in daycare a week: 40
Number of weeks a year in daycare: 44
 - Where does this number come from?  Easy.  I get 7 weeks off a year.  Spouse gets 9.  This is a combo of sick/ holiday/ PTO.  Many of these days are school  holidays.  When there are random school holidays that aren't an actual HOLIDAY, we split the days.  This year, there are 13 of them.  So, let's just say that in *my* 7 weeks off, maybe 2 days would be sick days (for me), rest are days at home with the kids.  My husband would take 7 days for the school holidays (roughly half), where I'd be working.

- That means: 1760 hours a year in childcare
- Out of: 8760 hours a year
- Or roughly 20% of the time.  How is that "having someone else raise your child"?  Answer: it's not.

(I can do the math including AWAKE time also.  In this case, it's about the same.  Kiddo naps for 1.5 hours during the week at childcare, but does not nap on the weekends.  And of course, daycare isn't handling the nights like last night, when he comes into our room at 2:30 am and feels like chatting.)

So, unless you never use a babysitter, or take your kid to the gym daycare, or use public school, you really have no leg to stand on.

ysette9

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2016, 10:10:28 AM »
Quote
The question should be ..... Do you want to raise your kids, or have somebody else do it?

Like others, I find this both false and unnecessarily combative. High-quality daycare can be a wonderful addition to a kid's life. No matter how great it is though, ultimately it is the parents (or primary caregivers at home) who have the most influence on a kid's life. To add an anecdote, I speak language A to my daughter and my husband speaks language B to her. Her first daycare spoke only language B to her. If it were true that daycare was "raising my child", she wouldn't understand or speak (albeit still learning) language A. Her current daycare (in language A) does so many wonderful things with her that we can't or don't do at home for various reasons. As much as I adore my kid and love doing things with her, I am not a "kid" person, haven't taken any child development classes, and don't have a knack for creative kid activities. She gets wonderful things from us at home and she also gets wonderful things from her daycare. I see it as a win-win.

Bakari

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2016, 10:15:42 AM »
Of course people have run the numbers. It depends on a lot of things, a good but non-comprehensive list:

 - Your salary
 - Time commitment of work (a 60+ hour job vs 40 change this)
 - The value you place on having a parent at home
 - The value you place on your family time
 - How much daycare costs
 - How you/your spouse feel about it
 - Your future career interest/earning potential impact
 - Your financial goals


Don't forget the cost (both financial and time) of the trip to and from the daycare twice a day.



Daycares do not raise children, so this is absolutely a false statement.  I do love that people who have never used childcare like to make this statement though.  Talk about ignorance of the topic.

Let's do a little math, shall we:
First, the average child in daycare is in daycare for 30 hours a week.  For this example though, we will use 40.

[...]

- That means: 1760 hours a year in childcare
- Out of: 8760 hours a year
- Or roughly 20% of the time.  How is that "having someone else raise your child"?  Answer: it's not.

(I can do the math including AWAKE time also.  In this case, it's about the same.  Kiddo naps for 1.5 hours during the week at] childcare, but does not nap on the weekends.  And of course, daycare isn't handling the nights like last night, when he comes into our room at 2:30 am and feels like chatting.)

So, unless you never use a babysitter, or take your kid to the gym daycare, or use public school, you really have no leg to stand on.


Depends on the age.
As infants, having very consistent caretakers, who very responsive to their needs is pretty important. A good daycare should be able to provide that, but the only way to know 100% is to do it yourself.
From what I've read, by preschool age on, children are usually more influenced by teachers and peers than by parents.  Its no just about time, its about kids figuring out that their parents aren't actually gods afterall, and they don't know everything.
I think the issue is more that maybe its OK for others to help raise your kids.  It takes a village, you know?  The alternative would be homeschool through highschool, and having socially stunted kids who can't think for themselves.






Personally, I'm planning to take at least a year off to full-time parent, my wife will take at least 6 months.  After those times we will probably go back to working at least part time.  Its much more about being able to be there for 100% of kids life rather than the cost of daycare (we both have parents nearby who work very few hours and would be more than happy to watch their grand children for free).

In fact, it was specifically because I was calculating how much I needed to save up in order to take a year off of work that I accidentally discovered that I am FI already (the calculations said I needed to save up less than zero!)

SKL-HOU

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2016, 10:31:50 AM »
"Its no just about time, its about kids figuring out that their parents aren't actually gods afterall, and they don't know everything."

Whaaat!?? My preschooler still think I know everything! I like to keep it that way :P

Bakari

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2016, 10:37:33 AM »
Of course people have run the numbers. It depends on a lot of things, a good but non-comprehensive list:

 - Your salary
 - Time commitment of work (a 60+ hour job vs 40 change this)
 - The value you place on having a parent at home
 - The value you place on your family time
 - How much daycare costs
 - How you/your spouse feel about it
 - Your future career interest/earning potential impact
 - Your financial goals


Don't forget the cost (both financial and time) of the trip to and from the daycare twice a day.



And make sure to calculate salary after tax, and deduct commute costs, and any other work expenses.

There was a reader case study MMM did where he found exactly this situation, (although the person wasn't looking for it) - between commute costs and day care costs, the extra job was bringing in a net of 0 dollars:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/04/reader-case-study-working-a-crappy-job-for-nothing/

frooglepoodle

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2016, 04:06:23 AM »
Quality of life is a big consideration.

My husband works very long hours (military) so a larger than 50% share of the household tasks fall on me. As a result, when I was working I was constantly stressed out and overwhelmed, and we spent weekends playing catch-up. I didn't like my job enough for it to be worth it, so we made the decision that I would stay home.

Many days, I would LOVE to pay someone else to deal with my toddler's antics all day, but I'm not in tears 3 or 4 nights a week from stress anymore.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2016, 04:53:09 AM »
We have gone from, originally, 4 days a week childcare with one child, now to zero days with two children. I think it's better for the child to have one parent (father, mother, uncle, grandma - doesn't matter, just some related adult) at home, it gives them a sense of stability. As well, you can discipline your child, but modern teaching methods basically don't allow them to do so at childcare or school. And however good the childcare, in the end it's a job, they don't care like you do. They usually do a good job, but they don't care - your child is one of dozens.

And there are other considerations, too, like how well they'll teach them - and learning is happening that early on. For example, my son's childcare was staffed by migrants who were recent arrivals, with strong foreign accents and poor grammar etc, and I believe that contributed to his needing a speech therapist now to improve his pronunciation to a standard allowing him to start school next year. This was less to do with their migrant status and more to do with their educational level - locals working in childcare often speak just as badly. Unfortunately, childcare does not attract the highest-educated people.

As well, childcare is dominated by women. Men don't want to do it because of sexism assuming any male around a child is a paedophile. So the child just doesn't see male role models as much as they might. If you like me become a stay at home father, you can remedy this.

Too often, the parents of children in long hours of childcare try to compensate by indulging and/or pushing the child, endless sweets and piano lessons and all that. It's a natural temptation. "I haven't seen you all day! Have a chocolate bar before you go to bed." You want to see your child happy. If you spend all day with them you get a more balanced view of things. And in that long day you'll have many moments you never get in "quality time", ie planned excursions and lessons, etc. The simple spontaneity of a child can only be seen daily, not in bits according to a calenday.

In enjoying your time with your children, you also find yourself connecting with a whole community of other stay at home parents. Today I took my son to an indoor play centre to see his friend, they played for five hours, and his friend's mother and I just chatted for most of that, she's a person I'd never have met otherwise.

So you see, it is about time with your child, but not about constantly hovering over them.

Money's not the only thing that matters in life.

However, consider also money saved by being at home. Childcare, transport to work (I went from filling the tank every 10 days to every 90 days, saving $1,500 in fuel annually), more home cooking and less going out, and so on. And there may be some home business you could start and work on part-time bringing in some income, doing 10-20hr is very compatible with children.

Nobody wants to become the last lines of "Cats in the Cradle." Someone should stay home with the children, and it is probably better that it be the man.

mm1970

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2016, 10:05:13 AM »
We have gone from, originally, 4 days a week childcare with one child, now to zero days with two children. I think it's better for the child to have one parent (father, mother, uncle, grandma - doesn't matter, just some related adult) at home, it gives them a sense of stability. As well, you can discipline your child, but modern teaching methods basically don't allow them to do so at childcare or school. And however good the childcare, in the end it's a job, they don't care like you do. They usually do a good job, but they don't care - your child is one of dozens.

And there are other considerations, too, like how well they'll teach them - and learning is happening that early on. For example, my son's childcare was staffed by migrants who were recent arrivals, with strong foreign accents and poor grammar etc, and I believe that contributed to his needing a speech therapist now to improve his pronunciation to a standard allowing him to start school next year. This was less to do with their migrant status and more to do with their educational level - locals working in childcare often speak just as badly. Unfortunately, childcare does not attract the highest-educated people.

As well, childcare is dominated by women. Men don't want to do it because of sexism assuming any male around a child is a paedophile. So the child just doesn't see male role models as much as they might. If you like me become a stay at home father, you can remedy this.

Too often, the parents of children in long hours of childcare try to compensate by indulging and/or pushing the child, endless sweets and piano lessons and all that. It's a natural temptation. "I haven't seen you all day! Have a chocolate bar before you go to bed." You want to see your child happy. If you spend all day with them you get a more balanced view of things. And in that long day you'll have many moments you never get in "quality time", ie planned excursions and lessons, etc. The simple spontaneity of a child can only be seen daily, not in bits according to a calenday.

In enjoying your time with your children, you also find yourself connecting with a whole community of other stay at home parents. Today I took my son to an indoor play centre to see his friend, they played for five hours, and his friend's mother and I just chatted for most of that, she's a person I'd never have met otherwise.

So you see, it is about time with your child, but not about constantly hovering over them.

Money's not the only thing that matters in life.

However, consider also money saved by being at home. Childcare, transport to work (I went from filling the tank every 10 days to every 90 days, saving $1,500 in fuel annually), more home cooking and less going out, and so on. And there may be some home business you could start and work on part-time bringing in some income, doing 10-20hr is very compatible with children.

Nobody wants to become the last lines of "Cats in the Cradle." Someone should stay home with the children, and it is probably better that it be the man.
- I don't see how a related adult is any different than a non-related adult.  Grandma or uncle is better than a childcare provider?  Hmm.  With grandma you have a whole host of family dynamics that make it hard to disagree about how to handle various issues. 

- Child cares absolutely allow for disciplining your child.  Maybe yours did not, but ours did.  And even better, they are "up" on methods that actually work.  They have disciplined scores of children and have a lot more in their "arsenal", so to speak.

- Perhaps your child care providers didn't care.  Mine did.  Sorry that was your experience.  (My second child's childcare provider for 4 years is one of my very best friends.)  Even my first son's child care provider was great and really cared.  Neither one was one of "dozens", they were one of "5" or "6" or "8".

- Apparently you chose a child care staffed my migrants, but why do you paint them all with the same brush?  My child care providers, and preschool teachers, actually have degrees in either early childhood education or actual education.  Many go on to teach elementary school.  "Unfortunately, childcare does not attract the highest-educated people. " - this is your experience only.

- Child care is often dominated by women, yes.  Then again, my boys have a daddy.  (Although my second son's childcare had a male role model a lot because the childcare provider's husband often worked from home.)

- "Too often, the parents of children in long hours of childcare try to compensate by indulging and/or pushing the child, endless sweets and piano lessons and all that."  YMMV, but in my area this is *definitely* more of a SAHP thing than a working parent thing.  SAHPs get bored.  And go crazy.  They sign them up for music, sports, etc to keep them busy.  Most working parents I know avoid that until mid-elementary.  Time outside of school is just spent with parents.  Doing homework, playing games, going for walks.  Weekends at the beach or at home.  I don't know where the endless sweets comes from.  I can't keep that stuff in the house.  Dessert night is 2x a week, and that's it!

- By the way, studies have shown MANY times that working parents today have more quality time with their kids than SAHPs did years ago.  And it's absolutely possible to be spontaneous - are you kidding me?  It can only happen if you are at home all day?  Come to my house.  Spontaneous trips to the pool, the park, the library happen both in the evenings and on weekends.

- I've managed to connect with a WHOLE community of working parents this way.  Well, AND SAHPs this way too. I  will admit with my older son, there were a few SAHPs who didn't really care to get to know the working parents (they all went back to work at 2 years though.  Hmmm.)  With #2 though, we have a LARGE community of parents - working, at home, working PT, working at home...massive really.  And of course my local neighborhood tribe includes working parents, at home parents, part time working parents too.

Way to make generalizations.

catccc

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2016, 10:56:12 AM »
Like many others have pointed out, so much depends on your specific situation. 

I stayed home for a year after my first was born, even though it was not a good numbers decision.  I was earning 80K and DH was earning 20K.  This looks like a no-brainer for dad to stay home, right?  But I hated my job at the time and DH liked his.  We dropped my salary and lived on his for a year and it was heavenly.  I mean, parenting an infant has its challenges, but I loved my time at home.  After a year, I got a new job and he took the SAHP position.  DD was 1 at the time.  We welcomed our 2nd kid 1.5 years later, and DH continued to stay at home.  After kid 2 arrived, I took my 6 week maternity leave, another 2 weeks, and then worked varying levels of part time until baby was about 6 months old, at which point I'd worked back up to 40 hours/week.  When our youngest was almost 3, DH started working part time at a coffee shop.  The following year, he had a seasonal (6 months) full time job, and we tried out the 2 working parents thing for the first time ever.  It was awful for us.  I know it works for a lot of families, but we just couldn't adjust to it.  Also, after paying for childcare, it didn't make much more than working part time at the coffee shop, and he liked working at the coffee shop better.  So we went back to full time dad, part time work.  This fall marks the first year both kids are in school 5 full days/ week.  (I expect a really clean house!  Doesn't seem to be happening, but we are only starting week two of both in school.)

That said, plenty of families make outsourced childcare work for them.  Good luck figuring out what works for your family- it's isn't always clear what will and won't work until you try it!

bogart

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2016, 12:38:03 PM »

Depends on the age.
As infants, having very consistent caretakers, who very responsive to their needs is pretty important. A good daycare should be able to provide that, but the only way to know 100% is to do it yourself.
From what I've read, by preschool age on, children are usually more influenced by teachers and peers than by parents.  Its no[t] just about time, its about kids figuring out that their parents aren't actually gods afterall, and they don't know everything.
I think the issue is more that maybe its OK for others to help raise your kids.  It takes a village, you know?  The alternative would be homeschool through highschool, and having socially stunted kids who can't think for themselves.


For us, these points skewed heavily in favor of staying in the workforce while the LO was little.  It's once he's more susceptible to others' influences (knowing we're not gods) that I want to have more time available to devote to being present in his life. 

Or as I wrote on a related thread on the Mini-Mustache board, "I came to parenthood via step-parenting teenagers, and among the things that made really, really clear to me is that teenagers need parents (and other responsible adults) around.  I figured it made way, way, way more sense to be available to my kid(s) across their childhood (including the teenage years) than to concentrate my availability in their early years -- and I certainly didn't want to spend my life out of the workforce (I know, many here consider this weird).  I'm fortunate to have a good-paying job with good flexibility and leave policies (by US standards) as well as plentiful good quality paid childcare and a competent and loving grandma in the area.  From 2 months, my DH and I made part time use of paid child care as well as of grandma care (total about 32-40 hours/week, counting things like occasional child-free dinners out). 

If I could do one thing about my kid's early years over, I'd make more use of paid childcare.  He's a social kid who's ended up being an only (not by our choice), and he really loves being around other kids.  Paid setting provide that readily in a way that other options (around us and given who we are) don't."

honeybbq

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2016, 12:49:11 PM »
The question should be ..... Do you want to raise your kids, or have somebody else do it?
 

What a completely obnoxious statement and the insinuation is completely untrue.

mxt0133

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2016, 01:04:14 PM »
You asked from a financial stand point.  But unless you are giving up hundreds or millions of dollars, I think the decision is more based on personal preference and values for most people that have to make this decision.

As you can see from how the threads has deviated/hijacked about which is better outsource childcare vs SAHP it is a very personal choice and there is no definitive right answer. 

There are some pretty outrageous statements being made from both side.  But in reality there are health and messed up adults that were put in childcare or had a SAHP.  Same if they were home schooled, put in a bunch of activities, or sent of to boarding school.

My advice would be to take the economic impact into account along with your personal preference and values.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2016, 06:59:29 PM »
- I don't see how a related adult is any different than a non-related adult.[/quote]
Because one relationship is familial and lifelong, and the other is commercial and transitory.

Quote
Child cares absolutely allow for disciplining your child.  Maybe yours did not, but ours did.  And even better, they are "up" on methods that actually work.
Not really. They just talk to them. It doesn't work with toddlers. The child's behaviour is modified by their parents or not at all.

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- Apparently you chose a child care staffed my migrants, but why do you paint them all with the same brush?
As I said, those in other areas staffed by people born here have the same issue: childcare work does not require a high standard of education. So you get poor grammar and expression and comprehension in either case, it's just that recent migrants typically add a strong accent to it.

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My child care providers, and preschool teachers, actually have degrees in either early childhood education or actual education.
Not in Australia. The workers require a certificate, which takes several weeks to get, and the person in charge requires a diploma, which takes a year to get. Neither require finishing high school as a prerequisite.

I'm sure we'll have some centres staffed by people with degrees, but they'll be the $200 a day ones, not the $115 a day ones.

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"Unfortunately, childcare does not attract the highest-educated people. " - this is your experience only.
No, it's a product of the laws the Australian government makes regulating childcare, which laws it feels entitled to make since it offers generous subsidies for it all. People with uni degrees won't work for under $20 an hour in Australia, people with certificates will.

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YMMV, but in my area this is *definitely* more of a SAHP thing than a working parent thing.  SAHPs get bored.  And go crazy.  They sign them up for music, sports, etc to keep them busy. 
This happens too, of course. But what I've seen is that the parents with children in five days a week, or the dad who works 60hr pw and only sees his kids on the weekends, they indulge/push much more overall.

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Way to make generalizations.
Yes. This is how we talk about life, we make generalisations. Because otherwise every forum post would become a doctoral thesis  - lengthy and read by nobody.

norabird

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2016, 08:31:23 PM »
Re fishindude's statement, it also really depends on your personality. You seem interested in SAH (great!) but even my friends who do it voluntarily find themselves missing alone time and having an outside identity. Maybe this is easier for men? I don't know. Obviously there are trade offs either way. It might be easier to re-enter the workforce as a man too though I'm not sure.


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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2016, 08:39:01 PM »
hmm, sounds like Kyle had a bad experience with outsourced childcare.  Good thing many other people have good experiences!

I don't get why Kyle says that if a parent stays at home, "it's probably better that it be the man."  Because when I stayed at home, I could do everything my husband could have done, plus breastfeeding.  Other than that difference, I don't think it is better for one gender parent to stay home v. the other.

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2016, 09:10:04 AM »
The question should be ..... Do you want to raise your kids, or have somebody else do it?
If you can afford it, stay at home parenting is absolutely the way to go.

Ugh, I hate comments like this. As a parent who has been a stay at home parent and sent my children to daycare you are raising your children in either scenario not someone else.

To OP, yes of course I have run the numbers. Numerous times. Its a very individual thing, so you have to do it for yourself. Usually when one parent makes significantly less than the other and childcare is expensive it makes the most sense financially. Of course, there is other aspects to this decision besides finances. You also have to consider the family's happiness which doesn't always lead to one parent staying home as most might think. Unfortunately that is hard to gauge until you actually try it.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 09:18:28 AM by Meggslynn »

mm1970

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2016, 10:50:02 AM »
...
So what we are dealing with here is a difference between "Australia" (or your area of Australia) and the US (or my area of the US).

FWIW, my kids *still* have relationships with their early childcare providers.  My parents are dead.  So...their relationships with their early child care providers are already longer than that with their grandparents.

catccc

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2016, 11:04:12 AM »
The question should be ..... Do you want to raise your kids, or have somebody else do it?
If you can afford it, stay at home parenting is absolutely the way to go.

Ugh, I hate comments like this. As a parent who has been a stay at home parent and sent my children to daycare you are raising your children in either scenario not someone else.

Agreed.  Also, thought about it this way for the first time:  both of my parents worked and outsourced child care.  Time with those caregivers is a blip in my memories of childhood- my parents definitely raised me.  I really feel like those who took on the outsourced work have little bearing on the shaping of who I am today.  My parents definitely had a bigger impact, no contest. Not to say I didn't have good relationships with the caregivers I spent time with; I believe I did.  But like an old friend from grammar school that you don't know anymore, they are just good memories.  Those relationships had a time and place, and it's fine that they went as long (or not) as they did, and it's fine that they don't exist anymore.  (Although come to think of it, I am FB friends with an old babysitter from when I was ages 5-8...that's kind of random, though.)

Need2Save

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #25 on: September 23, 2016, 06:20:07 AM »
General question about stay-at-home-parenting, specifically would be SAHD in our case.

Has anyone run the numbers on the viability of this versus childcare? I am tempted to think that it is much cheaper financially to have 2 incomes and pay for full-time childcare. However, I am looking to transition out of my job and I think I would enjoy being a SAHD. Our particular situation is a little tricky because we don't make that much combined, and family help isn't an option, but I'm just curious on general thoughts on this topic.
Uppy. I notice your location says Belizez?  Is the tax system quite different there than say the U.S. system?  Since you asked for general thoughts on the topic, please see our post on how one income source worked out for us and the later recovery of the second income. http://need2save.com/2016/09/stay-at-home-parent/  I have never regretted the decision for a moment and our financial life turned out just fine.  We did have 2 boys very close to each other and once I was pregnant with #2, I knew the cost of paying for day care for two in diapers was not worth it.  Not sure about the cost of day care in Belize but here in a major metro area, it was crazy even 17 years ago.  It was a little tight while we survived on one income.  But we made careful decisions with our money and everything turned out fine.  Good luck in your decision.

uppy

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2016, 08:06:18 AM »
Thanks all for your varied and interesting responses!

It is very true, there is more to this question than finances. The reason I asked about finances is because in most other aspects, I am pretty sure I would prefer being a SAHD (not having done it before I am only theorizing). I do enjoy my job, but it comes at the expense of everything else in my life -- it takes all my time and energy. I would hate to feel this way about a child (i.e. the child is a job and have no time for anything else) and I would hate to not have energy for being a parent. I have always felt like I am wasting time working. Doing full-time childcare might feel more like time well spent, and I wonder if it would even give me more time for my secret writing habit.

For those who have done it -- does wrangling the kid really take ALL your time or is there downtime throughout the day? What's to say you can't let the kid play in a safe space/playpen for a while? Naps, etc? Do you get (god forbid) sick of being with your own kid?

Maybe the better question in terms of the financial side is “Is it possible” or “how difficult is it” to support two adults and one kid on ~$32K, which would be the situation if I was a SAHD. It seems catcc's family survived on $20K?! that is impressive but I wonder if it was a special situation.

My sister does it, making only $9/hour with 3 kids. But she also gets child support. And they are in day care and after school care. I would love to help out more but we live 16 hours apart.

norabird

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2016, 08:17:38 AM »
I wouldn't be comfortable supporting three people on 32k, but I'm in a HCOL area in the US, and of course you'd be saving on daycare. So your not being super interested in working and having someone else do the childcare does make SAH an appealing option. I imagine in Belize the money would be doable so if that works out, by all means stay home!

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2016, 08:46:23 AM »
I've lived comfortably on 10k a year for one for many years, and not all costs scale with number of people (esp the biggest cost, housing), so I would def. be comfortable personally, but the biggest factor is your own lifestyle and expectations.

MMM readers tend to be middle class and up, but I think most humans, around the world, for most of history, have had families living on less than the equivalent of 32k a year or less.  Usually more than one kid.


Even just in the wealthy US, that would put you in about the 25th percentile of families, meaning well over 300 million American families live on that much or less.

historienne

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #29 on: September 27, 2016, 09:03:49 AM »

For those who have done it -- does wrangling the kid really take ALL your time or is there downtime throughout the day? What's to say you can't let the kid play in a safe space/playpen for a while? Naps, etc? Do you get (god forbid) sick of being with your own kid?


The answers to these questions are going to depend tremendously on the specific kid (and will change over time, as the kid grows).  I'm an academic historian, which means that a good chunk of my time is spent doing research and writing.  For me, with my first kid, I could have gotten zero writing done.  As an infant, she spent the first six months crying at basically every moment that someone wasn't holding her (and sometimes even then).  She's always been super active and curious, which means that she wants to interact with someone pretty much 100% of the time.  At 3, she does nap for about 2 hours every afternoon, and she's asleep by 8 pm, so there is some amount of time while she's asleep and I'm awake.  It's still pretty hard to get anything done when she's awake and around, though.  TV would work, but I'd rather pay for daycare than let my child watch as much TV as it would take to get my writing done.

On the other hand, I have friends whose kids are happy to play by themselves for 30 minutes at a time.  My second kid is only 11 weeks old, but it's already clear that he has a much calmer personality - he'll lie on his back and coo happily at his mobile for 10 minutes, something my first child NEVER would have done.  So it's going to be a gamble. 

I never wanted to be a SAHP, and having kids confirmed that for me.  Other people obviously find it tremendously rewarding.  All my SAHP friends, though, do say that it's very important to build in breaks for yourself.  It's not that you get sick of your kid, but you do get sick of having to be the parent all the time.

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #30 on: September 27, 2016, 09:31:53 AM »
It is more about the finances after kids are 11 years old. Before then it is a wash, IMO. Benefits offset costs, pretty even decision to make based on your personal preference.

BookValue

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #31 on: September 27, 2016, 10:18:20 AM »
The alternative would be homeschool through highschool, and having socially stunted kids who can't think for themselves.
This is an incredibly ignorant statement. If anything it is public schools that prevent kids from thinking for themselves. Rote memorization is the name of the game, not creative thinking.
How much socialization do you think actually happens while sitting silently at a desk for 7 hours a day? Kids barely get any time for recess or lunch these days; it takes too much time away from "learning."

FYI, I wasn't homeschooled. I just have issues with the government schooling system in this (and most) countries.

little_brown_dog

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #32 on: September 27, 2016, 11:08:54 AM »
For those who have done it -- does wrangling the kid really take ALL your time or is there downtime throughout the day? What's to say you can't let the kid play in a safe space/playpen for a while? Naps, etc? Do you get (god forbid) sick of being with your own kid?

I have found that being a SAHP has challenges that are simply different than the challenges you experience as a full time worker. SAHPs have a lot of flexibility in that there is no set work schedule. Other than baby care requirements like feeding and nap times, my days are my own. I can spend a day sitting in a park, cleaning, visiting family, or all three. I can sit on my butt and do nothing but take care of the baby all day. Since I do only a few hours of part time work from home each week, I can pick and choose when I want to do the work (at night after baby sleeps? during naptimes? on the weekends?). There is something amazingly freeing about this way of being, and I find it to be overall a very relaxing existence. Overall the schedule of being a SAHP is far more natural and free flowing, so it is inherently less stressful than lifestyle where you are living by the clock.

However, SAHPs never get a break from their kids in the same way a working parent does. I am with my daughter 24/7. Even when my husband is home and helping, the most time away from her is when I'm showering or running an errand and he is watching her. So maybe a max of an hour or two per day where I am not really responsible for her care needs. Naps are awesome- when the baby sleeps for a normal period. If she cries, has a blowout, etc then it falls on you to fix it. Interrupted naps are pretty common, so even naps aren't exactly a guaranteed oasis of downtime. That can definitely be exhausting and many people are not cut out for it. You really have to genuinely like kids/babies, and not mind tedious/boring tasks.

 Newborns are a bit easier because they sleep alot, so even though you are sleep deprived, you also get more downtime during the day. Older babies and toddlers though are freaking exhausting. They are constantly getting into everything, and confining them to play on their own often results in angry protestations and crying. I'm not the type to constantly entertain my one year old daughter, but when she is awake, I really don't get much done. I use her naps to my advantage and try to cram in as much as I can when she is asleep. It is really hard to prep and cook dinner, while picking up the kitchen, and feeding a fussy toddler. It's not impossible, but it really fluctuates phase to phase, day to day on what you can accomplish. Is it weird when new parents claim they don't even have 5 minutes to shower? Yes, that is a complete exaggeration. You will definitely find a couple of free 10-30min segments of time during any given day to pee, shower, eat something. But no, chances are you won't be able to easily cook, clean, and play with a toddler all at the same time.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2016, 11:34:55 AM by little_brown_dog »

Beriberi

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #33 on: September 27, 2016, 11:41:30 AM »
One issue that hasn't been brought up (and may not be relevant): opportunity cost for staying home. Leaving the workforce for a few years can make it very difficult to re-enter (depending on your job and location). If you need or choose to reenter during a downturn (perhaps spouse lost their job?) could you?

Ask around the playground at elementary school and you will find a number of mothers who would like to return to work but can't figure out how.  There is tremendous cost to taking a few years off, more than just lost salary.

I outsourced a lot of tiny child care. As the kids get bigger, I can do many things better than a child care provider (homework help, navigate the social landscape of school) - I actually will cut back my work hours as we move towards middle school.  I think a 12 year old needs an available parent more than a 6 month old does. The women who took care of my six month olds rocked and sang and fed just as well as I could (and probably better, as they weren't cranky and sleep deprived).


Giro

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #34 on: September 27, 2016, 12:01:28 PM »
I agree with many of the points on both sides.  This is going to be a very personal decision.  I didn't want to give up my career when I had my daughter.  I was a BETTER parent because I worked full time and put her in day care.

And there is quite an opportunity cost for leaving the work force for 4 years while you are raising up the kid to go off to school. 

historienne

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #35 on: September 27, 2016, 01:09:17 PM »
Newborns are a bit easier because they sleep alot, so even though you are sleep deprived, you also get more downtime during the day. Older babies and toddlers though are freaking exhausting. They are constantly getting into everything, and confining them to play on their own often results in angry protestations and crying. I'm not the type to constantly entertain my one year old daughter, but when she is awake, I really don't get much done. I use her naps to my advantage and try to cram in as much as I can when she is asleep. It is really hard to prep and cook dinner, while picking up the kitchen, and feeding a fussy toddler. It's not impossible, but it really fluctuates phase to phase, day to day on what you can accomplish. Is it weird when new parents claim they don't even have 5 minutes to shower? Yes, that is a complete exaggeration.

I don't know, this depends entirely on the newborn.  With  my first, I could literally only shower if 1)I took my baby in the shower with me, or 2) I was willing to listen to her scream the whole time.  My maternity leave was pretty rough.  Now I'm on leave with my second, and it's a whole different story.  He takes naps in his cradle, while his sister would only nap in my lap.  He can be put down without screaming, which his sister did not accept.  I'm not sure exactly how unusual my first baby was, but it's entirely possible to have a kid that literally prevents you from showering.

uppy

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #36 on: September 27, 2016, 03:01:54 PM »
You really have to genuinely like kids/babies, and not mind tedious/boring tasks.

This is an interesting one for me. I like my nieces and nephews (most of the time, ha), but sometimes I am disturbingly neutral about a baby or a kid that everyone else is gushing over.

Also -- by tedious/boring tasks do you mean housework like cooking and cleaning up messes, or like entertaining the kid? I am all about the former and enjoy that kind of stuff, but I can see getting exhausted with the latter. I mean, I love playing games with my dog, but doing the coochy-coo please go to sleep/stop crying thing all day long? That doesn't sound fun at all.

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #37 on: September 27, 2016, 09:11:28 PM »
The alternative would be homeschool through highschool, and having socially stunted kids who can't think for themselves.
This is an incredibly ignorant statement. If anything it is public schools that prevent kids from thinking for themselves. Rote memorization is the name of the game, not creative thinking.
How much socialization do you think actually happens while sitting silently at a desk for 7 hours a day? Kids barely get any time for recess or lunch these days; it takes too much time away from "learning."

FYI, I wasn't homeschooled. I just have issues with the government schooling system in this (and most) countries.


You misunderstood me - that line is taken out of context.
I was responding to the line about daycare "raising your kids" - and all the anger that line produced

I was pointing out that, yes, in fact, daycare workers and other kids WILL influence your children, as will teachers and classmates all throughout school.
I was using "homeschool" in that context as a shortcut for "never letting your kids interact with any one else, child or adult".
I realize that is not a requirement of homeschooling, (in fact, I hope to homeschool my kids, depending on whether or not they are into it), but I was saying you would have to, at a minimum, homeschool if you have a problem with anyone else (partially) raising your kids.
And if one did isolate their kids to that extreme, to make sure they were the only influence, then they would end up socially stunted.  They would have trouble thinking for themselves if they were only ever exposed to one viewpoint (yours)


In other words, yeah, of course day care workers are helping raise your kids, but there's nothing wrong with that.

little_brown_dog

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #38 on: September 30, 2016, 10:50:25 AM »
You really have to genuinely like kids/babies, and not mind tedious/boring tasks.
Also -- by tedious/boring tasks do you mean housework like cooking and cleaning up messes, or like entertaining the kid? I am all about the former and enjoy that kind of stuff, but I can see getting exhausted with the latter. I mean, I love playing games with my dog, but doing the coochy-coo please go to sleep/stop crying thing all day long? That doesn't sound fun at all.

All three plus mandatory childcare tasks like feeding and diaper changes. In a given day with my almost one year old for example, there are at a minimum 6 diaper changes, 3 solid meals, 1 snack, and 3 bottles, for a total of 13 separate tasks that must be done along with the naptime routines (rocking, reading, comforting if crying, etc), interactive play, cooking, cleaning, picking up, and any other household activities (not counting self care like showering and eating). The sheer amount of activity in a given SAHP’s day is pretty impressive, even if you just do the bare minimum childcare and play. I use the baby’s naptime to do chores or shower and eat. When she is awake, she consumes almost all of my time due to those 13 mandatory feedings/diaper changes and playtime, although I can usually multitask quite a bit while she is eating in her highchair. So I would say yes, the vast majority of my day is spent directly caring for the baby as opposed to other tasks.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2016, 10:53:20 AM by little_brown_dog »

Kyle Schuant

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #39 on: October 01, 2016, 01:08:53 AM »
For those who have done it -- does wrangling the kid really take ALL your time or is there downtime throughout the day? What's to say you can't let the kid play in a safe space/playpen for a while? Naps, etc? Do you get (god forbid) sick of being with your own kid?
Looking after children is not hard in itself, it's just hard because it's relentless. There's downtime. Babies and toddlers sleep. Kids older start going outside to play ball, or sit down and read books. And every parent has used tv as a babysitter. So there's downtime, but it tends to be unpredictable - you don't have scheduled coffee breaks in this job.

Yes, you get sick of your kid at times. Same as any job. Children offer you the greatest frustrations of your life - but also the greatest joys.

Men are, in general, better-suited to be the stay at home parent for a number of reasons. Obviously I am speaking in generalities, as I said earlier this is inevitable if we do not want each forum post to be a doctoral thesis. I speak of trends and tendencies.

Women are prone to post-natal depression. This is partly hormonal but also because of the frequent social isolation and feelings of being imprisoned. Men of course can feel socially isolated, but we don't have the postnatal hormonal changes, so depression is less likely. And women even without children have higher rates of depression and anxiety than do men. Men are not immune to it, it's just much less likely.

Women are in general more social than men. They have more friends and make more efforts to stay connected to physically distant family. So the isolation of being at home rather than in a paid workplace hits them harder than it does men.

Women tend to earn less than men for equivalent jobs. This is mostly for two reasons. The first is that women tend to be less aggressive in salary negotiations and undervalue themselves, if there's a salary range of $60k-$80k, for example, they'll tend to ask for $65k while the guy asks for $80k. If she's been out of the workforce for some years, she'll be anxious about returning to work and will be even less bold in negotiations, just happy to have a paid job. But a woman who has a child and returns to the workforce quickly will ask for more money than one who doesn't, generally speaking, because she thinks of supporting the child, and she retains the career confidence she had some months ago.

The second reason women earn less is that any time someone takes time out of paid work, the career interruption cuts into their income and career progression for their next job. A gap of a few months or so before and after the birth is inevitable for simple physical reasons, but after that it could be straight back to paid work, or it could be years.

A man will likewise suffer financially from an interruption to his paid career, but his boldness in asking for more pay will make up for this to some degree. Thus, the family's long-term net income will be higher with the man interrupting his career for children than the woman.

Children need both parents around. However an "absent father" is not necessarily on the other side of the country - you can have the same address and be an absent father because you're working 70hr a week, so they never see you. Women tend to refuse overtime, and unpaid overtime even more. Men tend to do it, they're more obedient to inconsiderate bosses. Speak to Japanese women, for example, about their "salaryman" husbands - 50-60hr a week at work, and even at 7pm he doesn't come home but it's out to drinks with workmates and boss to suck up some more. This is one of the contributors to Japan having one of the lowest birthrates in the world. We see this in plenty of Western couples, too.

So a family where the mother works full-time will not have the children miss out on the mother much; but one where the father works full (and a half) time will miss out on seeing the father, quite often.

Statistically, the most unhappy women and most happy men are those married with children. So this suggests that the so-called traditional arrangement doesn't work very well. Let's try it the other way.

Lastly, there's wider social change to think of. Men generally are assumed to be sexual predators and dangerous to children. This is why few men become childcare workers, school teachers and so on - we're one paranoid parent or nasty adolescent away from unemployment and a smear that will ruin our lives. If we have more men as stay-at-home parents this will slowly chip away at this vile sexism.

A man's place is in the kitchen.

Bakari

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Re: at home parenting
« Reply #40 on: October 01, 2016, 09:20:05 AM »

Generally tend to agree with most of this.
Just wanted to point out that another significant factor for this:

Women tend to earn less than men for equivalent jobs.


Is this
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Women tend to refuse overtime, and unpaid overtime even more. Men tend to do it, they're more obedient to inconsiderate bosses...
So a family where the mother works full-time will not have the children miss out on the mother much; but one where the father works full (and a half) time will miss out on seeing the father, quite often.


When people do those salary comparisons, they almost always are looking at "all full-time employee", where "full-time" means anything over 35 hours. There is no correction for propensity to take overtime.
That, combined with your first point, and also a large disparity in the types of jobs different genders tend to choose (women are more likely to want to do something meaningful, and become teachers, nurses, social workers, stuff that doesn't necessarily pay well even though it requires an advanced degree, or they become a doctor or lawyer and then work in a non-profit - men are more likely to go into business or work in oil or coal industry) brings the widely reported 70 cents on the dollar pay gap up to 95 cents on the dollar if those factors are corrected for.

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Statistically, the most unhappy women and most happy men are those married with children. So this suggests that the so-called traditional arrangement doesn't work very well. Let's try it the other way.
Of course, chances are that will just inverse that relationship, which won't necessarily be better, but hopefully she will retain her propensity to not become a "salarywoman" wife, consider 35 hours full-time, and we'll maintain some balance.



Quote
Lastly, there's wider social change to think of. Men generally are assumed to be sexual predators and dangerous to children. This is why few men become childcare workers, school teachers and so on - we're one paranoid parent or nasty adolescent away from unemployment and a smear that will ruin our lives. If we have more men as stay-at-home parents this will slowly chip away at this vile sexism.


That's definitely one.  The more commonly thought of sexism is chipped away at by each SAHD too.  Men who don't work are seen as weak and pathetic, must be something wrong with them, parent's basement stereotype and all.  And, supported by your wife! That's even worse.  Very unmanly.  Feminism won women the right to wear pants, and the right to work in whatever field she wants to, but it never addressed the ban on men wearing skirts, and in the 2000s it is only just barely starting to catch on that maybe it is socially acceptable for men to be the homemaker.  The majority of American women today reject the idea of a partner who makes less money than them, never mind makes none and stays at home to take care of kids.
Of course, the early retirement / FI thing kind of gives us a loophole - its not that I'm not contributing financially, its that I made such a large contribution already that we can continue to live off of it.  But I think psychologically, the more of us who do it, it will still have an impact.


If nothing else, I'm looking forward to having my kids grow up with out the normal assumptions about gender and social roles.


They'll still learn that daddys fix things and open stuck jar lids, but hey, our family can't single-handedly bring about total egalitarianism...
Sometimes, despite all the best intended politics and theories, individuals happen to match some stereotypes.