Author Topic: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD  (Read 2319 times)

GreenFrog24

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Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« on: May 21, 2021, 01:29:03 PM »
Hi all!

We have two young kids (baby and 2 1/2 year old) who are great (but of course a lot of work). My wife and I have discussed how at some point before the oldest is off to Kindergarten, I'd love to be a SAHD for awhile but also know it may turn out to be something I'm not suited to do full time. But I'd be excited to give it a shot and it's something that I think I'd regret if I never gave it a chance. 

I hadn't planned on doing this now, but my job has been getting worse and worse and causing a lot of stress. High workload, crazy requests from customers, etc. and I'm ready to walk away. It's possible it would get better but that likely wouldn't be for 6-12 months and even then at it's best my job is "ok but not meaningful". My wife is awesome and fully supportive of me going the SAHD route for awhile (whether it's for a few months or a few years - depending how it goes). If I ended up deciding it's not for me, at least I've eliminated that regret and can look for another job (or maybe a fun part time job and home with kids a couple times a week). Basically, I think we have options. I could ask for sabbatical at work but I think even if granted that would eat at me a bit while home with kids knowing I have a backstop that I know I don't like.

I should note that my kids are doing well in childcare so that's a consideration too, but can always have them go back if needed.

Our quick and rounded numbers:

House Equity: $100k (450k House - 350k Mortgage)
Investments: $1.05 Million
Net Worth: $1.15 Million

Pre-tax Income:
Her $125k
Me $85k

Expenses (with Daycare): $95k
Expenses (without Daycare): $65k

1. Does it seem like a fine plan or anything we are missing?

2. Any stay at home parents who took a leap and loved it (or didn't!) that have any words of wisdom? My wife and I will certainly discuss expectations of each of our roles, while also trying to remain flexible to change if something isn't working.

3. Any last things I should think through or get done before leaving job? Luckily I'm already on my wife's family health insurance plan. I'm on my own dental plan and have dental appt set up for next week.

4. I have over 2 weeks of PTO accrued. If I worked into July 1st or later, I would vest a small amount of stock ($750 or so). Not super relevant but if it came down to working a few extra days or whatever I'd want to hit that. I have a week of PTO planned in later June which I'm not willing to adjust, and a few days around 4th of July. My company does NOT pay out for PTO upon an employee leaving. In our handbook it also says PTO is not allowed during resignation period. My original thought was to say, "I'm resigning. My last day will be July 1st, but since I'm out XXX days in June, I'm giving you the notice earlier to assist with transitions etc." but seeing that PTO may not be allowed during resignation period, it seems like I should either just do it now, or wait and use more PTO, slog through another month and upon returning from 4th of July week give notice the first Monday back. Is that burning bridges even though the company has decided to not pay out PTO and I would've otherwise handled differently?

Thanks for the thoughts!

 



jiimmy

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2021, 01:54:03 PM »
I'm not a parent, so take this with a grain of salt.

I say go for it.

You both seem to be on the same page about this, you'll still have a positive savings rate with the single income, and you being home could turn your stache of ~11x  expenses into 15x or more.

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2021, 02:16:34 PM »
I'm not going to respond with all the stuff you've probably already thought of, so I'll just throw this out there.

There is a definite cultural expectation that the man be the one who goes to work and the wife is the one who stays at home with the kids. People tend to be ok with both parents working, or one parent working if it's the dad. There's no way to 100% tune that out.

Doesn't mean it's not possible. I've been a SAHD for over a decade. And maybe it's worse for us than others (we're both from a pretty conservative part of the world), but I've seen this sentiment even in liberal places (even in Australia when meeting one of the teachers, when I answered what I did for a living she said "but you're looking for work, right?"). It's everywhere, please be very aware of that so it doesn't catch you off-guard.

SunnyDays

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2021, 02:40:47 PM »
No kids here either, by choice, but I do have thoughts on this.  Warning:  this may sound harsh, but I donít mean it unkindly, but to help you focus on whatís really important.

You can afford it, for sure, but what I donít hear you mentioning is what is best for the kids.  Whether you are suited to it or not is secondary.  Just because theyíre doing well in childcare doesnít mean itís their preference.  I mean, they donít have a choice, do they?  Ask the older one if he/she would like daddy to be home with him/her all the time and see what response you get.  That will make your decision for you.

Freedomin5

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2021, 02:58:37 PM »
My husband was a SAHD for a year when DD was 2-3 years old. DD was fine with the experience, but it didnít go so well for us. DHís cleaning skills were not to the same standards as our cleaning lady (whom we got rid of since DH would be ďhome all the time and can clean the houseĒ). He found it to be exhausting as he also took that sabbatical year to work on his masters. And even though no one else commented that it was weird for the man not to be supporting the family, there was still a bit of resentment as I had to work all day and then come home and clean the house *better*.

Financially we were fine. After the year and DD was old enough for preschool, we sent her to preschool, DH went back to work, and everyone was much happier. We did discover that itís a lot better if DH was at least working part-time and making enough for his own spending money.

Not saying this will happen in your family...just sharing our experience.

GreenFrog24

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2021, 03:02:31 PM »
Thanks for the replies.

@jiimmy - always helpful to have someone unbiased take a look. Thanks!

@NumberJohnny5 - I've definitely thought about this and we've discussed a bit too, but probably haven't internalized enough how that would affect me, knowing it's a certainty that comments will be made, etc. Thank you.

@SunnyDays - I didn't take your comment as unkind.  I probably didn't mention how this should be a decision regarding their wellbeing, because as a dad it's a given for me that I'll try to make a decision that is good for them. I mentioned they're doing well in daycare because it's relevant to the decision. I think they'd do well at home with me, but we'll see how it goes and evaluate. If we decide later to go a different direction, the daycare provider has proven to take good care of them. Thanks for your thoughts!

joe189man

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2021, 03:06:46 PM »
looks like you can handle this financially, on one income, and from a retirement perspective with $1million in the stashes. check with the daycare on if you wanted to work part time, ours has the kids going 3 or more day a week as full time and full price so you would have to work 2 days a week and keep them 3 days a week in that case to get a break in cost if your daycare is similar.

have you watched the kids alone for more that a day or so? If not, you may want to use a week of pto and give this a dry run to see if you like it.

i am interested in your journey, i may step back from work in the next 0-3+ ish years for a SAHD role, or try for a reduced schedule to be able drop kids off and pick kids up from school. There are a ton of things to consider regarding this change, i hope you have researched this extensively to see all of the possible outcomes and how you as a family may handle them. A few things i think about would be the expectations for each spouse in the new roles as breadwinner and SAHD, mental health and feelings of self worth, financial strain or difference in quality of life on one income, are you prepared to provide age appropriate mental stimulation to the kids all day everyday, do you have other kids of similar ages you can have play dates with often, do you have a support network, among many other thoughts.

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2021, 03:19:13 PM »
And even though no one else commented that it was weird for the man not to be supporting the family, there was still a bit of resentment as I had to work all day and then come home and clean the house *better*.

It won't always be quite that direct. Anyways, my wife can definitely relate to the second half. We're just wired different. I'm the stereotypical male who cleans "if it's necessary" and she's the stereotypical female who cleans "because it's time to." I won't debate whether the stereotypes are true or not, just that in this case we fit them. I don't make up the bed because, well, we're going to sleep in it again tonight, right? I don't wash the bedsheets every week, unless someone had an accident; I'll wait until it's been a while or someone actually got the sheets dirty or I need some more clothes to make a full load (as often as I need to just wash her work uniform, this works fairly well). She on the other hand will ask when the last time the kitchen was fully mopped. Sometimes it's been over a week. Sometimes it was earlier that day because someone spilled a drink everywhere. Anyway, we both definitely approach cleaning from different angles.

@NumberJohnny5 - I've definitely thought about this and we've discussed a bit too, but probably haven't internalized enough how that would affect me, knowing it's a certainty that comments will be made, etc. Thank you.

Not just how it will affect you, but how it will affect your wife as well.

Papa bear

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2021, 03:32:26 PM »
I quit my job a bit before my son was born (now 2 kids) and worked part time on a recruiting/staffing business and managing multiple rentals.  I was the main caregiver, with preschool, some babysitting, and grandparents helping out.

Since covid, when we lost preschool and babysitters, the already part time business turned into no business.  I havenít really picked it back up because this whole no work thing is pretty cool.

I really enjoy being with the kids and doing things with them.  Except when I need to be productive.  Itís not easy to do actual work when they are around, and no one is very happy with the situation.  Over the past year, Iíve been part of 2 rental remodels, and built an addition on my house.  Things go slow when the kids are around, but they seem to have fun learning about what dad is doing and helping out when they can. 

Gist of the story, you can be a SAHD hybrid and sprinkle in some work if you want and get your kids into part time preschool. Or go full SAHD.  Itís pretty awesome.


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K_in_the_kitchen

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2021, 05:33:48 PM »
I definitely say go for it!  Who cares what unenlightened members of society might think?!

That said, I think it's important to note that a stay-at-home-parent isn't by default also the cook and housecleaner.  I have two children, 14 months apart in age.  As a SAHM, there was no way for me to stay sane if I was supposed to do it all -- child care (so much more than just making sure they are safe), cooking, cleaning, laundry, meal planning, grocery shopping, bill paying, researching necessary purchases, etc.  Maybe the pretend middle class wife of the 1950s was thought to be able to do it all, but parenting is different now.  I wasn't about to plop my toddlers in front of a screen so I could vacuum.

Trying to divide the house tasks by who is at home and who is away at work doesn't take into account hours put in.  In our case, DH realized early on that it was entirely unfair to expect me to do it all.  Indeed, he once said that he doesn't like cleaning toilets, so why should he assume I did -- and he took on cleaning of one of the bathrooms.

Those toddlers are young men headed off to university in another state soon.  While the house will certainly be cleaner without them, we still need to take on some of the tasks they've been doing.  Since DH is still working for pay, and I'm "retired early", the assumption might again be that the majority of tasks fall on me.  I happy to do more, but I probably won't take it all on.  No, I don't work outside of the home, but I still put in plenty of hours on other household tasks.  I do the laundry (clothes, cleaning towels, shower towels, bedding, throw blankets, dog beds, etc.), plan the meals, do the grocery shopping, cook the meals (and do as many of the dishes as I can while cooking), make the budget and take care of the finances and paperwork, bill paying, etc., keep the household supplies inventories and in stock (medications, toiletries, dog items, cleaners, etc.), I schedule vet appointments and take the dogs, care for the houseplants, tidy and clean the porch and patio, clean our bedroom and bathroom, keep track of extended family birthdays and make sure we have cards and gifts for those and all other holidays that require acknowledgment, clean inside campervan, and many other things.  DH does plenty -- I'm not complaining in the slightest.  But to think that with our sons leaving that I'll be solely responsible for dog clean up outside, two more bathrooms, vacuuming the house, and few other things is making assumptions about value of the person who does paid work and the the lack of value of the person who does unpaid work.

With two little ones, you probably won't be able to be the sole housecleaner, etc.  But you didn't say you're itching to be a housecleaner, you said you want to be a stay at home dad.  So do that, and figure out the rest once you see what kind of time you have.

(Also, as someone who has had to learn not to reclean things that aren't to my standards, I will say that's 100% on the other person if they can't accept an honest attempt.)

jeninco

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2021, 09:47:11 PM »
I definitely say go for it!  Who cares what unenlightened members of society might think?!

That said, I think it's important to note that a stay-at-home-parent isn't by default also the cook and housecleaner.  I have two children, 14 months apart in age.  As a SAHM, there was no way for me to stay sane if I was supposed to do it all -- child care (so much more than just making sure they are safe), cooking, cleaning, laundry, meal planning, grocery shopping, bill paying, researching necessary purchases, etc.  Maybe the pretend middle class wife of the 1950s was thought to be able to do it all, but parenting is different now.  I wasn't about to plop my toddlers in front of a screen so I could vacuum.

Trying to divide the house tasks by who is at home and who is away at work doesn't take into account hours put in.  In our case, DH realized early on that it was entirely unfair to expect me to do it all.  Indeed, he once said that he doesn't like cleaning toilets, so why should he assume I did -- and he took on cleaning of one of the bathrooms.

Those toddlers are young men headed off to university in another state soon.  While the house will certainly be cleaner without them, we still need to take on some of the tasks they've been doing.  Since DH is still working for pay, and I'm "retired early", the assumption might again be that the majority of tasks fall on me.  I happy to do more, but I probably won't take it all on.  No, I don't work outside of the home, but I still put in plenty of hours on other household tasks.  I do the laundry (clothes, cleaning towels, shower towels, bedding, throw blankets, dog beds, etc.), plan the meals, do the grocery shopping, cook the meals (and do as many of the dishes as I can while cooking), make the budget and take care of the finances and paperwork, bill paying, etc., keep the household supplies inventories and in stock (medications, toiletries, dog items, cleaners, etc.), I schedule vet appointments and take the dogs, care for the houseplants, tidy and clean the porch and patio, clean our bedroom and bathroom, keep track of extended family birthdays and make sure we have cards and gifts for those and all other holidays that require acknowledgment, clean inside campervan, and many other things.  DH does plenty -- I'm not complaining in the slightest.  But to think that with our sons leaving that I'll be solely responsible for dog clean up outside, two more bathrooms, vacuuming the house, and few other things is making assumptions about value of the person who does paid work and the the lack of value of the person who does unpaid work.

With two little ones, you probably won't be able to be the sole housecleaner, etc.  But you didn't say you're itching to be a housecleaner, you said you want to be a stay at home dad.  So do that, and figure out the rest once you see what kind of time you have.

(Also, as someone who has had to learn not to reclean things that aren't to my standards, I will say that's 100% on the other person if they can't accept an honest attempt.)

I think it's fair to specify minimum acceptability criteria! (Not exactly kidding -- when we started teaching the kids to clean the bathrooms at 5 and 7 or so, we had a conversation about what's "clean enough". Then we realized we ought to have that conversation about the other cleaning jobs, too.)

Otherwise, are you me? I've been working at home, mostly part-time, since my oldest was born about 20 years ago. For the past 13 years we've divided the cleaning/weekly tasks among the four of us (I always do meal planning and shopping, and the boys alternated bathroom and sweeping/vacuuming, DH supervises, vacuums the office and bedrooms, and daily does dishes). I do the vast majority of all that other household management stuff, including inventory (food, clothing, toiletries, etc.), almost all the cooking, appointments for all living things under 22, etc.

I actually am a big fan of having part-time paid work, especially if it can be done at home: it's a way (for me) to keep my brain occupied on technical stuff part of the time, get paid, keep a food in the work door, and still be around plenty for the kids.

But yes, there need to be some concrete and explicit conversations about who's "expected" to do what, and those need to be revised as the kids grow and change. Good luck!

Cassie

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2021, 10:55:15 PM »
If one parent doesnít work and stays home to care for the kids itís not unreasonable for that person to do all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. I did it with 3 kids. Small children want to be in the same room as you so you can get stuff done while they play. Little kids also take a long afternoon nap. Then I started college full time and my husband took on some tasks such as grocery shopping and some laundry. He always did all the traditional male stuff such as yard work and home/car maintenance. When both work full time both need to share equally or you need to hire it out. I would be very resentful if the at home parent wasnít doing anything other than caring for the kids.

GreenFrog24

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2021, 04:11:14 AM »
Seeing varying opinions on the household tasks is helpful - thanks everyone who's weighed in. I would certainly plan to take on more of the household tasks, and we'll continue to discuss what that looks like, and likely re-evaluate after a few weeks, for example, what's going well vs what needs to change.

@joe189man that's awesome you're considering something like this at some point. I think a part time work / part time home with kids would be a great balance if you can make it work. But given I don't think my current job is where I want to do that, we're going this route for now. Also, yea our daycare is still really expensive at the 2 or 3 days a week route, but part time job might make sense anyway for better balance for everyone at some point for us.  To your other questions/thoughts: I had some Paternity Leave but the longest stretch I've had alone with them is 2 weeks, still relatively small sample size. But overall it was great - while a couple days were a little rough around the edges, the girls did great and I enjoyed it more than 2 weeks at work :) I'm lucky to have a good support network. I don't think it will be easy transition but I'm hoping it's slightly easier due to me not previously tying much of my identity into my job. Hopefully a future job will have more meaning for me if I go back to part time / full time.

@NumberJohnny5 We're definitely not washing our sheets once a week. Haha. But yes, there are some things my wife values differently on the cleaning aspect and will keep that in mind!

@K_in_the_kitchen Thanks for the thoughts (really helpful) and congrats on raising those two toddlers :)

@Papa bear love hearing from others that have done something similar. Sounds like you do an awesome job rolling with the punches and enjoying the ride best you can.

Side note - I woke up at 4am and couldn't sleep so decided to send a reply back after seeing the great responses. My older gal woke up (just started sleeping in her own "big bed" so can get out of her room now) and came to the living room - probably hoping to be up for the day. Yea.....no. She got to pick one book before going back to bed and chose "Love You Forever" :) Good reminder that time will go quick whatever we end up doing!
« Last Edit: May 22, 2021, 04:14:06 AM by GreenFrog24 »

Dee18

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2021, 06:42:50 AM »
If you do go for being a SAHD I suggest also hiring a housecleaner to come at least every other week to do a serious clean.  With the savings you already have and your wife's income it looks like you could afford it.  A friend of mine taught me long ago that if you have a problem that you can make go away with money, it's not really a problem, just a choice.  (I say that in the spirit in which it was offered to me--my friend knew how frugal I was in every area.) Everyone gets to choose how to spend their time and money. 

seemsright

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2021, 08:46:12 AM »
I FIRED the day my DD was born. I am female. But the preschool age was by far the hardest time. Having a parent home has allowed my husband to go up the ranks at work. He flat out would not be at the level he is at if he had to deal with a sick kid, add covid and schools closing and not opening much at all has allowed him to be the rockstar at work. He is working form home and thankfully can teach math.

During the preschool age I was able to work with DD enough to get her far enough ahead to then take on the school district and was able to jump through all of the hoops and get her grade skipped. I am able to work with the school now and have the time and energy to help keep her on track.

Having a at home parent is nice during the young years but even more important during the middle school and high school years. Where the kid can get themselves into trouble and go off the rails. Hubby and I always said that one of us would be at home during the older years than the little years.

The housework, shopping etc is easy to work out. I suggest you and your wife sit down and really look at the cost of you working. Calculate all of the costs. I bet you will be shocked at the number.

Kids are hard. Having a spouse at home is a luxury and worth every cent. We would not have it any other way.

legalstache

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2021, 09:22:04 AM »
Financially, it seems like you're fine to give it a try. A few other thoughts in no particular order:

-Make sure you really want to do this, as opposed to just really wanting to quit your job and this being the default in that scenario. Sounds like the answer is yes, but double and triple check.

-Have you thought about what your typical day/week will look like? How much experience do you have getting both kids out the door to activities/parks, etc.?

-Being a SAHD will likely be as hard if not harder than your job.

-Really think about your support network and possibility for socialization in this role. My wife is a SAHM and meets up with other moms during the week. I'm sure there are plenty of SAHDs in my community, or dads with alternative schedules, but I don't really know any of them. Having a good support network or one or two other SAHDs that you socialize with could be good. Obviously, you don't just have to socialize with men, but make sure you're comfortable with the gender dynamics at play.

-Otherwise, I think it's awesome that you're in this position and willing to give it a try!

TheFrenchCat

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2021, 11:24:21 AM »
Financially, it seems like you're fine to give it a try. A few other thoughts in no particular order:

-Make sure you really want to do this, as opposed to just really wanting to quit your job and this being the default in that scenario. Sounds like the answer is yes, but double and triple check.

-Have you thought about what your typical day/week will look like? How much experience do you have getting both kids out the door to activities/parks, etc.?

-Being a SAHD will likely be as hard if not harder than your job.

-Really think about your support network and possibility for socialization in this role. My wife is a SAHM and meets up with other moms during the week. I'm sure there are plenty of SAHDs in my community, or dads with alternative schedules, but I don't really know any of them. Having a good support network or one or two other SAHDs that you socialize with could be good. Obviously, you don't just have to socialize with men, but make sure you're comfortable with the gender dynamics at play.

-Otherwise, I think it's awesome that you're in this position and willing to give it a try!
I strongly agree with the bolded.  I'm grateful I'm able to stay home and raise my daughter but for me at least, it's definitely harder than working.  I also WFH part time, and that provides structure to my day and honestly feels like a break sometimes compared to taking care of my daughter and the house. 

And if you do this, if you can, find a way to spend time with other adults during the day.  We just started hanging out with a family down the street, and being able to talk with their mom while the girls play has made such a huge difference in my well-being.

Cassie

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2021, 11:47:07 AM »
I think working part time is actually the perfect situation because it gives you adult time and purpose and you still have plenty of time with the kids.

GreenFrog24

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2021, 12:26:10 PM »
GreenFrog24ís wife here! =)

Thank you all so much for the thoughtful comments about this important family decision. Iíve personally been dreaming about this type of family flexibility even before having kids or meeting my husband. I would have never imagined being this far along at this age and feeling so grateful about our situation. I should mention, our financial situation is 99% due  to DHís early awareness and coaching on the mustachian ways. Like one poster alluded to, itís amazing to have this conversation in such a community where financial stability is just an assumed first checkpoint. Im very excited about this next chapter and further coming to know what balance of being at home with the girls is right for our family.

My incredibly talented husband has understated his  ability and knack for caring for our gals. Heís taken the working  fatherhood role in complete a stride.  He often  gets comments from friends and neighbors about how easy he makes things look (i.e. plowing through MN winter snow on his own with toddler in  stroller and baby strapped to his chest because he knows itís good for them to get outside every day). 

He also currently takes more of the household stuff than I do. I grew up in a household where  both parents worked full time, mom was breadwinner with more stressful job and dad did more household stuff. This non-traditional dynamic was more rare 30 years ago, but I was  shocked to learn how rare this still is in 2021.  Many of my good female  friends with MBAs and high power jobs have become ďaccidental traditionalistsĒ assuming most of childcare and household  tasks on top of their jobs.  How they survive daily life I have no idea. So I feel very lucky in this regard BUT I agree,  we need to be very careful  about future household  expectations knowing that taking care of kids at home is HARD work and tends to makes the house messier!  Thankfully I have some experience from maternity leave to lean on a bit as reminder.

I thought the comments about socialization, having a network and educational  resources available  to be able to care for small children were  spot on. Early childhood education feels deeply undervalued in our society (IMO). Itís not something anyone should naively step into, or should step into. This should probably be our biggest  priority.

My honest biggest worry about the SAHD situation (that others have also mentioned) ó> the systematic discouragement of men having big roles in the household. I mean WTF. I really thought we were further along societally  in this area and Iíve personally been pretty bummed to see that weíre not. As several posters mentioned, its prevalent in almost every interaction. I feel it quite a bit in our current situation so I imagine it  will just be further amplified when/if he does decide to stay at home. Despite being talented, devoted and eager contributor to the household, Iíve watched my husbands ambition slowly erode each time he gets boxed out of the equation or sent the message this isnít where he belongs. Iím optimistic this dynamic will  continue to get better and my husband can serve as a trailblazer and example to many, but am slightly nervous about the toll of this uphill battle.

Overall, Iím very excited  to see where  this journey takes us. We will feel better prepared to embark having contemplated all your great advice. Will keep you posted on updates! Thanks again!

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2021, 01:07:28 PM »
Very cool to hear from both halves of the couple. I totally agree that itís complete BS that menís contribution to the home is undervalued and unappreciated in this day and age. Iím glad that more and more dads are taking on a bigger role and making it more acceptable for everyone.

DH and I are both on 12 weeks of parental leave for our second daughter right now. We both wfh full time, and are trying to decide what we want the future to look like. Heís seriously considering being a sahd at the end of the year if working feels like too much. Iíll be following this thread with interest to see how it goes for you. Good luck!

Cassie

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2021, 01:45:53 PM »
Itís sad that in this day and age that men are assumed not suitable for the caretaker role. The Goblinchief is a great example of a SAHD doing a excellent job on the home front. I donít think he posts anymore. He worked weekends for awhile but it meant the entire family didnít get much quality time together. So he quit and now his oldest is a teenager.  Itís worked really well for them.

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2021, 02:12:38 PM »
My honest biggest worry about the SAHD situation (that others have also mentioned) ó> the systematic discouragement of men having big roles in the household. I mean WTF. I really thought we were further along societally  in this area and Iíve personally been pretty bummed to see that weíre not. As several posters mentioned, its prevalent in almost every interaction. I feel it quite a bit in our current situation so I imagine it  will just be further amplified when/if he does decide to stay at home. Despite being talented, devoted and eager contributor to the household, Iíve watched my husbands ambition slowly erode each time he gets boxed out of the equation or sent the message this isnít where he belongs. Iím optimistic this dynamic will  continue to get better and my husband can serve as a trailblazer and example to many, but am slightly nervous about the toll of this uphill battle.

A lot of the everyday stuff isn't meant to be degrading (I don't think), but I would very often get "giving mom a break today?", said in a way that sounded like it was meant to be supportive, but wasn't. I never came up with a better comeback than "No...." or "this is my job". The few times she took them somewhere by herself, no one ever commented on how dad must be enjoying his break from the kids. It does feel like I'm nitpicking, but hearing it constantly, multiple times per day, when I'm just out with the kids doing some errands...it gets irritating. Plus I couldn't help to think about the fact that since they didn't know us...how the heck did they know the mother was even in the picture? What if she had passed away and I was a single dad? I'm guessing I would have eventually lashed out on some poor unsuspecting soul who only meant well.

I did well at one playgroup (started as a school-sponsored one, which became a church playgroup, which eventually dissolved). The mothers there actually asked another group of mothers (who met at the same church the playgroup moved to) if they'd be ok with a dad coming...they weren't. This was in Australia, in an area that seemed to be quite a bit more open-minded about alternative lifestyles than I was used to, so if THEY weren't ok with it...that's saying something (to me, at least).

Plus my wife is constantly told about how I should be working, it's not fair it's all on her, etc. Mostly by her family, which isn't as big an issue as it used to be. It is kinda funny in a way; I don't even have to defend myself, all I have to say is "well, if you want the life your sister has, you should definitely listen to her advice."

This isn't meant to discourage you (honestly, it's not). I'm a firm believer in having realistic expectations. If you go into this expecting that everyone will be completely fine and there'll be no friction ever and everything will just work out...you're in for a big surprise. Go in with eyes wide open and make a truly informed decision, you have a shot.

We've been doing this for well over a decade, so it's definitely doable. Plus I think you'll have an easier time, thanks to "trailblazers" like me :)

yachi

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2021, 02:52:17 PM »
You can definitely afford it and your wife has the higher income, so it makes more sense for you to be home than her.  For comparison, we live in an area where most people with incomes like yours own houses in the 450k range (newer developments).  We have an older house in the 200k range, in an older development, and my income is similar to yours.  There are lots of ways you'll save taking care of your own kids:  childcare, taxes, eating out and other convenience expenses. 

When we started having kids, I thought my wife and I would trade off staying home, getting advanced degrees, and working.  It hasn't worked out that way for lots of reasons, and that's OK (I haven't always felt it was OK).  I've been the primary one employed since our now-11 year old was born.  We will actually be FI before we switch who has the primary job.

I too think SAHDs is an area where society needs to grow the F up.  In my area at least, many stay at home mothers are from conservative backgrounds, so I could definitely see mom groups being hesitant with stay at home dads, but we don't use those groups anymore anyway.  These groups give the parents somewhere to socialize, so their usefulness really depends on how much you would need to socialize.  Instead we do a summer hike program that our county puts out that gets us out almost every weekend.  My wife continues that program with our kids throughout the week.  The 3 oldest of our 4 are in school, so that provides something for them to do.  We get together with a small group once a week after work hours and this seems to be enough interaction for us.

yachi

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2021, 03:19:16 PM »
One more thing I wanted to add.  I understand why it might be a good idea to ask your kids what they want, because they might really LOVE daycare and miss it if it were gone, but a few things get in the way of your kids being able to compare these two things:
1.  They only know the current dad:  the one that comes home from work at the time he does, and sometimes still has work on his mind when dealing with tantrums etc. (if I'm projecting my own experiences, I apologize)
2.  They don't know the stay at home dad.  Yes, these are two things different points.  The stay at home dad doesn't have the work stresses, but he might have the home stresses, will have less socialization outlets, will have to juggle personal time with family time.  Do you carve out time for yourself during the day while the kids do something independent, or wait for your spouse to be home first.
3.  They *LOVE* their dad, so being asked if they want to spend more time with him is sort of unfair.
4.  If weekends are filled with Mom & Dad doing chores, and that's the only time kids are home all day, that colors their comparison against daycare where floors are swept vacuumed & toilets cleaned without the kids there.
5.  It's hard for kids to think abstractly about the options.

I think you should be able to get a lot of information about how they feel regarding daycare.  Ask hey, what did you like about daycare today, what was your favorite activity.  Who are your favorite things, and who are your favorite people.  You might find your kids really connect with a few other kids and you're able to have some playdates with friends from the former daycare.  You could also look into daycare less days per week if that's an option.  Then you're sort of meeting them halfway in the middle.

charis

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2021, 06:04:40 PM »
Unpopular opinion: This is not a good idea. It is very easy for her to lose respect for you and start to resent you when she's working and you're a SAHD.

How do you know the OP's wife? Surely you must know her intimately, not just making a sweeping and destructive generalization. Or, as is the usually the case, this is your fear born out of insecurity.

My husband was "stay at home" parent by necessity for our first born. It's not that uncommon in my professional and social circle for dads to be at home parents for at least a little while. It's NBD. It's less common for the wives. I've always been the higher earner and sometimes sole earner and wouldn't hesitate to have a parent at home in the OP's very secure financial situation.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2021, 10:10:58 AM »
Mr SLTD and I have both done stints as SAHPs, and now I reflect on it I've known quite a few SAHDs. 1/3 of my SAHP friends have been dads. (We've moved a lot so I have some friend churn in th same-stage-of-life convenience friendship zone.)

NumberJohnny5 has made some really astute comments on how people perceive SAHDs. It either tends to be "Loser couldn't get a job so he's stuck at home with his kids while his poor wife has to support them" or "Wow, what an absolute hero, taking care of his OWN CHILDREN, what an AMAAAAZING man!!!" Not spoken as such, but that's the insinuation in the constant grind of tiny comments. Mr SLTD has had a lot of the latter, and says it's just as annoying as the former. So keep some perspective. You are neither a loser nor a hero. You're just a parent.

And yes, you will probably be directly or indirectly frozen out of some SAHP socialisation vehicles. I saw it happen to a SAHD I knew, that he just got fed up with "So, ladies..." or "OK, mums, gather into a circle". Sure, he could have just ignored it, but he sought out other opportunities instead.

I'm glad you've had a two week "dry run". I would also urge the two of you to set a check-in in the diary for maybe six weeks after you start to talk about how things are going. It's easier to have something planned than to decide it's time to bring up some minor but persistent issues.

Lots of people have covered the chores angle. It doesn't matter how you split it, as long as you both agree what needs doing and who's doing it. Agreeing the former is harder, imo. Yes, you can do chores during the day, but we have found some chores are no big deal to do as a SAHP and some are borderline impossible. So for example, in our house, the SAHP does almost all the cooking but is never expected to clean a bathroom while in charge of the children. Also, we both require naptime/quiet time to rest and recharge so no chores are done then. We'd rather have that time free and catch up together in the evenings. YMMV, but talk about it.

Talk about parenting too. Mr SLTD and I have different styles of parenting our small children. He has never taken them to a group or organised activity, and has to be reminded to maybe take them to the playground sometimes. But he is very good at playing games involving making strange noises and building things out of blocks. I run out of steam if we're just at home without anything planned and am not very "silly". For the good of our kids, we have to work against our natural tendencies sometimes.

Talk with each other about how you imagine the day's going for you and your kids. What's your budget for outings and consumables? You'll get through more crayons if it's you providing them where it used to be daycare. Do you have any pedagogical plans? Our eldest is three, and while we're not into academic stuff, we're concerned to find new experiences for him.

ETA: forgot to say... Go for it! You sound in a great position to try it out. I think (lol, how patronising) it's awesome to see families considering having a SAHD. It's been great for our family for Mr SLTD to have spent some time being Primary Parent.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2021, 10:16:45 AM by shelivesthedream »

lhamo

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2021, 11:56:24 AM »
Re:taking PTO, this was something I obsessed about before I FIREd because I had quite a bit of time banked and my org DID pay out after my last date.  In retrospect I should have taken more during my long notice period and/or left sooner than I did.   I ended up only having about 10 days off before an international move, and ran myself pretty ragged in the time leading up to it.

I know you said you are swamped at work but can you do a few long weekends/short weeks or even add another week or two off between now and July 4?   Use what you can and see how the full days at home with the kids feel/work out before you give notice?

GreenFrog24

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #27 on: July 15, 2021, 07:33:21 PM »
Back with an update. I don't post as much as some others but I'll be sure to post some periodic updates. Thanks to all of the folks that chimed in later in the thread - some awesome info / thoughts. 

Well, I gave notice at work this week - I'll be wrapping up work during notice period and home with the gals starting in a couple weeks! We decided to wait a bit longer than originally planned for a few reasons: talk to some more stay at home parents, discuss amongst ourselves some more, finish maxing 401k (contributed 80% last couple paychecks), and utilize the PTO I had earned (I did a trip to Oregon with friends that we had planned for awhile, as well as a family local trip) before giving notice.

Before doing this, I actually requested moving down to 3 or 4 days a week at work. Test the waters a bit. Boss declined. Took my trips amidst some work time, and then gave notice this week. The managers in my group have been great about it overall and expressed their excitement for me. One said I could come back to our company to work "any time", which was cool to hear. My boss then asked if I would go part time, but just for a couple months to help transition, but I declined.   In the meantime, my wife just got a promotion!

Excited to be home with the little gals but realize I'll be best served by connecting with some more stay at home parents for meetups, continuing to learn how to be a better parent (and husband!) , making sure exercise / personal interests are still prioritized, and trying to remain flexible and realizing that some days will probably just not go well :) And I'll try to continue networking / keeping eyes open for opportunities in case we decide we're best off with me working part time. But in the short term I just want to be dad!

I'll plan on posting another update after being SAHD guy for a bit.

 



 


Sibley

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #28 on: July 15, 2021, 09:12:02 PM »
Cool! While things aren't going to be smooth sailing all the time, you'll figure it out. Hope you enjoy the time at home.

norajean

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #29 on: July 16, 2021, 05:12:10 AM »
Anything you can do to get kids out of a daycare situation is a huge improvement. Dads are not the ideal parent, but light years better than a stranger.  If it helps you feel better, that is just a bonus!

(MOD NOTE:  excessive trolling.  User is banned.)
« Last Edit: July 16, 2021, 08:37:13 AM by FrugalToque »

HSBW

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #30 on: July 16, 2021, 05:37:03 AM »
Anything you can do to get kids out of a daycare situation is a huge improvement. Dads are not the ideal parent, but light years better than a stranger.  If it helps you feel better, that is just a bonus!

When you make a comment like this do you understand that you're being insensitive, cruel, inaccurate, and inflammatory? Or do you understand and just don't care?

charis

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #31 on: July 16, 2021, 07:18:51 AM »
Anything you can do to get kids out of a daycare situation is a huge improvement. Dads are not the ideal parent, but light years better than a stranger.  If it helps you feel better, that is just a bonus!

Wow, what an ignorant statement.  Child care providers and preschool teachers are not strangers, they are frequently beloved by the children they care for.  My children's day care teachers still check in with me about them.  And a father is frequently the ideal caregiver, in my experience, so I don't know what that comment even means.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #32 on: July 16, 2021, 08:06:47 AM »
Anything you can do to get kids out of a daycare situation is a huge improvement. Dads are not the ideal parent, but light years better than a stranger.  If it helps you feel better, that is just a bonus!

Lol, trollin' again. Look, I think SAHPing is great for kids and family life, but statements like yours are so whackadoodle I can only laugh.

Dicey

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #33 on: July 16, 2021, 08:35:50 AM »
Anything you can do to get kids out of a daycare situation is a huge improvement. Dads are not the ideal parent, but light years better than a stranger.  If it helps you feel better, that is just a bonus!

Lol, trollin' again. Look, I think SAHPing is great for kids and family life, but statements like yours are so whackadoodle I can only laugh.
Laugh (more like wince) and report. Comments like that are absolutely not okay.

Sibley

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #34 on: July 16, 2021, 08:58:01 AM »
Anything you can do to get kids out of a daycare situation is a huge improvement. Dads are not the ideal parent, but light years better than a stranger.  If it helps you feel better, that is just a bonus!

Lol, trollin' again. Look, I think SAHPing is great for kids and family life, but statements like yours are so whackadoodle I can only laugh.
Laugh (more like wince) and report. Comments like that are absolutely not okay.

I guess the mods agreed, since they banned the user.

HSBW

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #35 on: July 16, 2021, 09:02:03 AM »
I will admit to being a bit sensitive on this topic (and susceptible to the trolling) as a father who'd prefer to be home with his child, also as the more ideally suited parent for that kind of arrangement. Those kind of comments are just so frustrating. My son loves his daycare teachers and they take good care of him. I'm the one with the "problem" wanting more time with him. He's doing great with the arrangement.

GreenFrog24

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #36 on: July 16, 2021, 09:10:34 AM »
Yes, quite a comment - finding a way to take a shot at multiple parties at once, impressive efficiency.

But more seriously, our daycare teachers have been fantastic, and show so much love to our girls. We've had one of them babysit for us for a date night and the long, extended hug our older daughter gave the teacher upon arriving at our house was really special. 

FrugalToque

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #37 on: July 16, 2021, 11:24:14 AM »
I guess the mods agreed, since they banned the user.

Some moderation calls are tricky.  This one was not. :-)

Cassie

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #38 on: July 16, 2021, 12:40:38 PM »
Wishing you all the best in your new journey. I am glad that the person was banned because his comments were cruel and absolutely not true.

FireLane

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #39 on: July 17, 2021, 09:33:34 AM »
Well, I gave notice at work this week - I'll be wrapping up work during notice period and home with the gals starting in a couple weeks! We decided to wait a bit longer than originally planned for a few reasons: talk to some more stay at home parents, discuss amongst ourselves some more, finish maxing 401k (contributed 80% last couple paychecks), and utilize the PTO I had earned (I did a trip to Oregon with friends that we had planned for awhile, as well as a family local trip) before giving notice.

Before doing this, I actually requested moving down to 3 or 4 days a week at work. Test the waters a bit. Boss declined. Took my trips amidst some work time, and then gave notice this week. The managers in my group have been great about it overall and expressed their excitement for me. One said I could come back to our company to work "any time", which was cool to hear. My boss then asked if I would go part time, but just for a couple months to help transition, but I declined.   In the meantime, my wife just got a promotion!

Excited to be home with the little gals but realize I'll be best served by connecting with some more stay at home parents for meetups, continuing to learn how to be a better parent (and husband!) , making sure exercise / personal interests are still prioritized, and trying to remain flexible and realizing that some days will probably just not go well :) And I'll try to continue networking / keeping eyes open for opportunities in case we decide we're best off with me working part time. But in the short term I just want to be dad!

I'll plan on posting another update after being SAHD guy for a bit.

Congrats!

I handed in my notice this month, and I'm also going to be a SAHD, admittedly on a shorter timeframe than you - only about a month. My son is in summer daycamp until August, and in mid-September, he's starting kindergarten. The prospect of getting to spend that in-between time with him, without competing obligations, was one of the major reasons why I chose to FIRE when I did.

In my opinion, the ability to spend time with your kids while they're young is the most valuable gift FIRE gives us. Your kids will benefit their whole lives from that togetherness and the secure bond it creates. That's time we can't get back later.

Unfortunately, I agree with the other commenters that it's possible you'll encounter misunderstanding and prejudice. But if you're secure in your self and your values, it will slide right off you. Besides, the best way to beat that kind of prejudice is to refute it by example. We should do more to normalize dads being full-time parents and spending time with their kids.

JJ-

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #40 on: July 17, 2021, 10:13:34 AM »
Back with an update. I don't post as much as some others but I'll be sure to post some periodic updates. Thanks to all of the folks that chimed in later in the thread - some awesome info / thoughts. 

Well, I gave notice at work this week - I'll be wrapping up work during notice period and home with the gals starting in a couple weeks! We decided to wait a bit longer than originally planned for a few reasons: talk to some more stay at home parents, discuss amongst ourselves some more, finish maxing 401k (contributed 80% last couple paychecks), and utilize the PTO I had earned (I did a trip to Oregon with friends that we had planned for awhile, as well as a family local trip) before giving notice.

Before doing this, I actually requested moving down to 3 or 4 days a week at work. Test the waters a bit. Boss declined. Took my trips amidst some work time, and then gave notice this week. The managers in my group have been great about it overall and expressed their excitement for me. One said I could come back to our company to work "any time", which was cool to hear. My boss then asked if I would go part time, but just for a couple months to help transition, but I declined.   In the meantime, my wife just got a promotion!

Excited to be home with the little gals but realize I'll be best served by connecting with some more stay at home parents for meetups, continuing to learn how to be a better parent (and husband!) , making sure exercise / personal interests are still prioritized, and trying to remain flexible and realizing that some days will probably just not go well :) And I'll try to continue networking / keeping eyes open for opportunities in case we decide we're best off with me working part time. But in the short term I just want to be dad!

I'll plan on posting another update after being SAHD guy for a bit.

 

Here in Denver I have seen more SAHD groups and even working dad groups pop up. Keep an eye out for both as kids are hard whether you're working or not.

You seem like you're confident and happy in your choice, so just rely on that when you get the trolls instead of second guessing yourself on what you're doing.

If I could quit and SAHD I would, it's just financially and physically not possible. I envy you :)

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #41 on: July 17, 2021, 03:12:06 PM »
Back with an update. I don't post as much as some others but I'll be sure to post some periodic updates. Thanks to all of the folks that chimed in later in the thread - some awesome info / thoughts. 

Well, I gave notice at work this week - I'll be wrapping up work during notice period and home with the gals starting in a couple weeks! We decided to wait a bit longer than originally planned for a few reasons: talk to some more stay at home parents, discuss amongst ourselves some more, finish maxing 401k (contributed 80% last couple paychecks), and utilize the PTO I had earned (I did a trip to Oregon with friends that we had planned for awhile, as well as a family local trip) before giving notice.

Before doing this, I actually requested moving down to 3 or 4 days a week at work. Test the waters a bit. Boss declined. Took my trips amidst some work time, and then gave notice this week. The managers in my group have been great about it overall and expressed their excitement for me. One said I could come back to our company to work "any time", which was cool to hear. My boss then asked if I would go part time, but just for a couple months to help transition, but I declined.   In the meantime, my wife just got a promotion!

Excited to be home with the little gals but realize I'll be best served by connecting with some more stay at home parents for meetups, continuing to learn how to be a better parent (and husband!) , making sure exercise / personal interests are still prioritized, and trying to remain flexible and realizing that some days will probably just not go well :) And I'll try to continue networking / keeping eyes open for opportunities in case we decide we're best off with me working part time. But in the short term I just want to be dad!

I'll plan on posting another update after being SAHD guy for a bit.

 

Iím so happy for you and your family. This is a wonderful update. I donít think thereís much to add as you have thought of everything and planned accordingly. Itís great that you have the option of returning to the company. You might find that when both are in school, you might be ready to go back to work, or you both might be ready for retirement. So many options. All the best.

Jon Bon

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #42 on: July 18, 2021, 11:23:54 AM »
Congratulations on making the decision.

Fellow SAHD here, been at it about 4 years. A few things I have noticed that you might run into.

1. Its Isolating - You think "holy crap im gonna have so much free time!" You do, but who are you going to spend it with other than the kids that you already see 24/7? Its hard to talk to other parents (moms) at the park. They might be wary of your presence around their kids. You are not going to get invited to moms groups, so making park friends might be difficult. I for much really enjoy talking to other parents at the park while the kids play rather than just sitting there. Other parents are likely going to be weird/uncomfortable about playdates if you are the only one home. Its just kind of how it is. Basically you need to work a little harder to show parents you are not a creep and are a safe person. So be careful with your comments and and actions with other kids. As a man you cannot be too careful. You also immediately lose all your work friends, so finding other adults to have regular conversations with can be difficult.

2. Get a job - (not really) this one might just be my ego talking. But one of the first questions men almost always get asked when meeting someone new is "what do you do for a living". I reply that I am in property management which is true, but its probably 90% kids 10% property management.  Just be prepared for this question discussion, because it is going to happen all the time. New people are going to judge your for this fairly or not. Which leads me to:

3. The Double Standard -  Sometimes its good, sometimes its bad. For instance as long as I am not actively swearing at my kids strangers will stop me and tell me what a great dad I am. Just the simple act of the grocery with the kids during the day on a Tuesday is unusual enough for people to comment. At the same time you will totally be judged for not providing income for your family. It's a weird dynamic, just a heads up.

4. Reassignment of house hold tasks - You might fold underwear a different way then your wife folds underwear. You might like the diaper bag set up differently, you might prefer to mow the lawn north/south versus east/west. These are obviously silly examples but this will probably lead to some growing pains in your family. Just be aware and talk it out.

5. Outsourcing - might be a good idea in the short term. Pay for a sitter 1 day a week, maybe hire a cleaner too? Trust me this can really grind you down, and there is no help. There is no one to tag in most of the time, so you have to deal with it. Having a bit of outsourced help might lessen the burden initially. We have no family in town, plus when you need help the most inevitably no one is available to drop everything to give you a hand anyway.

6. Money - honestly this was the easiest part for us, but YMMV

That's what I go so for, its been 4 years I think, I don't plan to go back to corporate life. Having 2 full time jobs as parents just did not really work for us. Good luck out there.




MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Likely leaving Job to become SAHD
« Reply #43 on: July 18, 2021, 02:38:43 PM »
Amazing insight Jon Bon.