Author Topic: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?  (Read 1353 times)

startingout

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Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« on: August 06, 2020, 12:10:16 PM »
To start, this is not a question of whether I can afford to retire now. My spouse's income can cover our expenses. The question is whether I should. I recently switch jobs, and I really dislike my new one. I panicked due to the pandemic and thought I was going into a more stable field. Now I'm dreading every weekday and don't know what to do. Should I retire and be a SAHP (stay at home parent)? Try to return to my previous company, which I liked a lot more? Try to stick it out, since I started the job not long ago and got a good performance review for my first several weeks?

I'm not sure I'd be happy being a SAHP. Part of what I liked about former jobs was that every day was different, and there were frequent markers of progress. Not true of life as a SAHP. Another concern of mine is that we'd have to let go our wonderful nanny (I know, I know, it's so spendy to have a private nanny). She's a single mom without a college degree, and I don't want her to be unemployed during a recession. What's holding me back from reaching out to my previous company is that my current coworkers spent a lot of time and energy on-boarding me, completely remotely as well.

What should I do? I'm getting depressed, but my next counseling appointment is 2 months away, so all I have is the internet for advice. Haha.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2020, 12:13:55 PM by startingout »

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2020, 12:34:25 PM »
Ok, take a couple deep breaths. You can manage this. Forget loyalty to a company youíre not happy with. It didnít work out, break up now. Go back to your old company. In your description you didnít mention the joy of being with the kid(s) and you have a nanny. Iím not sure youíd be happy at home, every day. Keep working at a job you care about.

maisymouser

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2020, 12:38:52 PM »
An alternative is talking to your current boss about what is making you dread each weekday. To recap, your options are:

1. Quit and become a SAHP (sounds like you don't want to and won't be that good for anyone)
2. Talk to boss about making your current job better
3. Leave for different job (old or entirely new one)

Option 1 doesn't seem appealing at all from what you've said. I don't see any downsides to option 2 if you are considering quitting over how much you dislike the day-to-day. And option 3- you don't need to feel bad if you choose this. It sounds like you are carrying a lot of guilt about the possibility of #3, which isn't fair to yourself. It's OK to quit a new job that isn't treating you well, and it's OK to return to your old company if you liked it more. It seems a lot LESS fair to yourself to bail on your career because of a few bad months, and it sounds like you enjoy working to some degree. Bottom line- any of the above will work more or less. Don't sweat it too much!
« Last Edit: August 06, 2020, 12:40:23 PM by maisymouser »

nereo

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2020, 12:45:15 PM »
To start, this is not a question of whether I can afford to retire now. My spouse's income can cover our expenses. The question is whether I should. ...

I'm not sure I'd be happy being a SAHP. Part of what I liked about former jobs was that every day was different, and there were frequent markers of progress. Not true of life as a SAHP.

What should I do? I'm getting depressed, but my next counseling appointment is 2 months away, so all I have is the internet for advice. Haha.

Here's my recent experience.  Due to a combination of personal factors and Covid I wound up being the SAHP, and to say it's been a struggle has been an understatement.  Even though we can get by just fine on spouse's income, and even though I cherish spending so much time with our fast-growing daughter (age 2) I've struggled mightily with shifting to being the primary caregiver and someone who's current out of their field.  I've struggled for a few reasons.  First, I love my field and feel like I'm somehow failing or giving up (side note:  I'm still applyiong fro positions whenever I see them, but due to Covid they are few and far between).  Second, it's been really, really hard listening to my spouse enjoy her job (similar field) and make important contributions when my day is spent cleaning and coloring and following aroun a toddler.  Third, while we don't *need* the second income I can't get past how different our situation would be (particualrly towards retirement savings) if our household income was roughly doubled.  It makes me feel like I'm not contributing as much to our family, and I certainly don't feel as valued  in society.

Yes, I know all of these issues are in my head - but they are what I think and feel every day.  We've both come to accept that its important for me to find a meaningful position ASAP, so my energy is going into that right now.  From what you've written, it sounds like you might fall into a similar boat.

startingout

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2020, 01:00:31 PM »
Thanks for helping me realize that being a SAHP is not what I want long term. I feel burnt out from working. I haven't had a real vacation since 2018. Mostly due to having a new baby and then the pandemic. I've had days off, sure, but they have not been satisfying or relaxing.

Malcat

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2020, 01:34:22 PM »
I left work in March to be a stay at home...uh...person. I don't have kids.

The issue here is that going from a difficult job that you aren't enjoying to being a full time caregiver is not a break, it's a shift in responsibilities.

I'm personally taking real time off. I go for long walks, read a lot, cook complicated recipes, and generally do whatever the hell I feel like doing. Okay, that's a bit of a lie, I'm also doing an intensive graduate degree to keep myself occupied, but honestly, it's marginally more effort than the avid reading I was already doing, and is more like being part of a really organized book club.

If you need a break, then take a break, but make sure that it's actually a real break, as in, keep the nanny.
Quitting to become a full time caregiver isn't giving up work, it's giving up your particular job to get paid *exactly* what it would cost to pay your nanny.

seemsright

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2020, 02:07:23 PM »
I did this exact thing. I FIRED the day my DD was born. The transition to SAHP from professional was not easy, add a newborn and it was a struggle bus.

Now during this Covid school situation it has been amazing. I am not stressing in what the schools do, we can make it work either way if school is in person or online.

Staying at home with kids is not easy, it is loud, very very loud. I still cannot get a damn thing done. And I only have a 10 year old. Add a hubby working from home and I am lucky to get to read a chapter in my book a day with all of the interruptions, Mom can I? Mom...Mom. Can you? Can you?

I have struggled during this lockdown and our state is not letting up at all. And we keep getting more and more restrictions.

What ever you choose to do make sure your partner and you are on the SAME page. 

TheFrenchCat

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2020, 04:16:52 PM »
If you liked your previous job, if it were me, I'd try to go back there.  I'm a WAHP, and right now is a super isolating time to be a stay at home caregiver.  I was nowhere near this lonely when I could take my daughter to parks and play dates and such.  And I say this with access to a large family on our street that we can social distance socialize with.

startingout

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2020, 06:14:38 PM »
I liked my previous job, but didn't love it. I was also furloughed for 2 weeks from it, causing me to want to switch jobs. That said, I loved the job I had 2 jobs ago. I would go back to it in a heartbeat. I guess you can never win in the working world. Which is why we're all here.

Malcat

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2020, 04:11:47 AM »
I liked my previous job, but didn't love it. I was also furloughed for 2 weeks from it, causing me to want to switch jobs. That said, I loved the job I had 2 jobs ago. I would go back to it in a heartbeat. I guess you can never win in the working world. Which is why we're all here.

If you loved two jobs ago, why do you say you can never win?

startingout

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2020, 08:53:17 AM »
If you loved two jobs ago, why do you say you can never win?

I didn't realize how good I had it there. Not in terms of pay, but everything else. I'm not sure the company would take me back now because they've moved in a different direction, and probably have been hit by the pandemic. Also, now I moved further away so I wouldn't be able to commute to that office every day. I don't know if my experience would be quite the same working from home.

Malcat

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2020, 09:08:43 AM »
If you loved two jobs ago, why do you say you can never win?

I didn't realize how good I had it there. Not in terms of pay, but everything else. I'm not sure the company would take me back now because they've moved in a different direction, and probably have been hit by the pandemic. Also, now I moved further away so I wouldn't be able to commute to that office every day. I don't know if my experience would be quite the same working from home.

Yeah, but my point is, if you were able to find a job you loved before, what makes you believe you won't be able to find one again? It's not a unicorn, it's a job. There are plenty out there.

nereo

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2020, 09:56:27 AM »


Yeah, but my point is, if you were able to find a job you loved before, what makes you believe you won't be able to find one again? It's not a unicorn, it's a job. There are plenty out there.

I agree.  But as someone going through this too... sometimes it feels more like finding a unicorn.


startingout

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2020, 11:18:45 AM »
Yeah, but my point is, if you were able to find a job you loved before, what makes you believe you won't be able to find one again? It's not a unicorn, it's a job. There are plenty out there.

I thought so too, which is why I left my previous job that I liked for my current one. I was hoping to find another unicorn. I sorely regret that decision now. It's too risky leaving a comfortable position for the unknown. It doesn't usually pan out, from my experience. It's like love. Sure, there are single people everywhere, but many people will always have a special soft spot for that one person in the sea of faces.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2020, 11:33:45 AM by startingout »

Malcat

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2020, 11:57:50 AM »
Yeah, but my point is, if you were able to find a job you loved before, what makes you believe you won't be able to find one again? It's not a unicorn, it's a job. There are plenty out there.

I thought so too, which is why I left my previous job that I liked for my current one. I was hoping to find another unicorn. I sorely regret that decision now. It's too risky leaving a comfortable position for the unknown. It doesn't usually pan out, from my experience. It's like love. Sure, there are single people everywhere, but many people will always have a special soft spot for that one person in the sea of faces.

There's also a recency and a primacy bias going on. The first enjoyable job gets inflated in terms of value, and the most recent job experience gets inflated in terms of generalization to the job market.

I'm not about to argue what it feels like in your current situation, I'm just discouraging the belief that "you can never win in the working world" because you have solid evidence from experience that you can.

That doesn't mean that you don't have every right to be extremely disappointed by the career moves you've made, just that you don't want to end up committing to a miserable career because you've decided to believe that there are no better options.

Luz

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2020, 03:50:10 PM »
It sounds like you've already decided against the SAHP route, but I thought I'd add my 2 cents.

I've been at home 2 years with my toddler and now newborn and I agree that if you like variation and frequent markers of progress, being at home with little ones is pretty much the exact opposite. The days are riculously repetitive and any results you see (in behavior or teaching them a new skill, for example) often require weeks, months, or even years of parental input before they're apparent. It can also be very lonely and overwhelming.

That said, I like being home. I find it meaningful (and actually like the repetition). But I think it's only doable for me because I have an identity outside of raising kids (a career that I'll eventually return to) and I won't be home with them forever. If I were to retire and had a young child to raise, I would be sure to have something in addition to being a caregiver that I was retiring to. Maybe something I could pursue in the evening or when I had the nanny 1 day a week... and that I could transition to more full-time when my kid was older.



« Last Edit: August 07, 2020, 04:06:02 PM by Luz »

startingout

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2020, 09:35:59 AM »
It sounds like you've already decided against the SAHP route, but I thought I'd add my 2 cents.

I've been at home 2 years with my toddler and now newborn and I agree that if you like variation and frequent markers of progress, being at home with little ones is pretty much the exact opposite. The days are riculously repetitive and any results you see (in behavior or teaching them a new skill, for example) often require weeks, months, or even years of parental input before they're apparent. It can also be very lonely and overwhelming.

That said, I like being home. I find it meaningful (and actually like the repetition). But I think it's only doable for me because I have an identity outside of raising kids (a career that I'll eventually return to) and I won't be home with them forever. If I were to retire and had a young child to raise, I would be sure to have something in addition to being a caregiver that I was retiring to. Maybe something I could pursue in the evening or when I had the nanny 1 day a week... and that I could transition to more full-time when my kid was older.

What are you planning on going back to?

Well, given that it's Monday morning, I'm reconsidering the SAHP route again. 😂

phildonnia

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2020, 09:55:55 AM »
So, I actually did this about 12 years ago. 

Just to let you know, I was filled with exactly the same doubts and worries that you are now feeling.  As it should be.  How could you not have anxiety over a huge life decision like this?

For myself anyway, twelve years later I regret nothing.  It was a lot of work, and very tedious at times, but I still regard that time as the high point of my life. 

In fact, it was actually my desire to return to spending time with children and family that led me to the FIRE approach. 

startingout

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2020, 11:31:04 AM »
So, I actually did this about 12 years ago. 

Just to let you know, I was filled with exactly the same doubts and worries that you are now feeling.  As it should be.  How could you not have anxiety over a huge life decision like this?

For myself anyway, twelve years later I regret nothing.  It was a lot of work, and very tedious at times, but I still regard that time as the high point of my life. 

In fact, it was actually my desire to return to spending time with children and family that led me to the FIRE approach.

That's great to hear! I currently get to see my toddler whenever I want because I'm working from home, and that's a good balance for me. I don't know how things will pan out when I'm back to commuting and working in the office (though only a few days each week).

Luz

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2020, 01:35:36 PM »
It sounds like you've already decided against the SAHP route, but I thought I'd add my 2 cents.

I've been at home 2 years with my toddler and now newborn and I agree that if you like variation and frequent markers of progress, being at home with little ones is pretty much the exact opposite. The days are riculously repetitive and any results you see (in behavior or teaching them a new skill, for example) often require weeks, months, or even years of parental input before they're apparent. It can also be very lonely and overwhelming.

That said, I like being home. I find it meaningful (and actually like the repetition). But I think it's only doable for me because I have an identity outside of raising kids (a career that I'll eventually return to) and I won't be home with them forever. If I were to retire and had a young child to raise, I would be sure to have something in addition to being a caregiver that I was retiring to. Maybe something I could pursue in the evening or when I had the nanny 1 day a week... and that I could transition to more full-time when my kid was older.

What are you planning on going back to?

Well, given that it's Monday morning, I'm reconsidering the SAHP route again.

I'm trained in hospital social work but am going back for a nursing degree. I'm really into maternal and child health.
Are there things you'd like to pursue in retirement in addition to raising your child? Have you checked out the Post-FIRE forum?
« Last Edit: August 10, 2020, 01:37:12 PM by Luz »

startingout

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2020, 08:34:01 AM »
@Luz Nursing sounds like a wonderful field! I love that there's flexibility in scheduling. I've heard of full-time nurses working three 12-hour shifts a week, or part-time nurses working one 16-hour double shift a week. I'm sure the actual scheduling is a lot more complicated than that.

I do have interests and hobbies that I would like to pursue in FIRE. I would try to be a tutor or teach a part-time course of some kind. I also want to draw, paint, and write. I'm open to volunteering as well. My problem is that I'm very bad with time management, so I imagine that I'd get nothing done outside of SAHP-duties.

slappy

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2020, 01:16:58 PM »
I did this exact thing. I FIRED the day my DD was born. The transition to SAHP from professional was not easy, add a newborn and it was a struggle bus.

Now during this Covid school situation it has been amazing. I am not stressing in what the schools do, we can make it work either way if school is in person or online.

Staying at home with kids is not easy, it is loud, very very loud. I still cannot get a damn thing done. And I only have a 10 year old. Add a hubby working from home and I am lucky to get to read a chapter in my book a day with all of the interruptions, Mom can I? Mom...Mom. Can you? Can you?

I have struggled during this lockdown and our state is not letting up at all. And we keep getting more and more restrictions.

What ever you choose to do make sure your partner and you are on the SAME page.

Haha, this is how I describe my house. It's just so LOUD! (three kids, 6, 4 and 2)

startingout

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Re: Should I retire now to be a SAHP?
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2020, 01:55:26 PM »
Ok, take a couple deep breaths. You can manage this. Forget loyalty to a company youíre not happy with. It didnít work out, break up now. Go back to your old company. In your description you didnít mention the joy of being with the kid(s) and you have a nanny. Iím not sure youíd be happy at home, every day. Keep working at a job you care about.

I'm taking your advice and reaching out to my former manager. Thanks!