Author Topic: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD  (Read 9582 times)

Platypuses

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 65
Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« on: May 12, 2016, 12:33:29 PM »
I am struggling on whether it is worth it to take the plunge and become a stay at home dad. We have 3 girls ages 5, 3, and 4 mos (will start going in June) who attend daycare/Montessori school. We really really like the school and feel that our girls benefit socially/educationally from attending. However I feel that the educational benefit could be provided at home, and that their is no real benefit for sending our infant to daycare.

As far as our jobs neither of us truly enjoy working. We do find fulfillment in working with other adults and enjoy the mental challenges our careers provide, although we would much rather be at home with our kids. Luckily our jobs are relatively flexible (no work outside of the office, 9/80 schedule, no problems taking a day off) which allows us to have a good work/life balance.

Based on the cost of daycare and our tax bracket I pretty much work for maxing out my 401k (~$27k saved after company match) and health care benefits.
Calculations:

Medicare   1.45%
Social Security   6.20%
Marginal Tax Rate    33%
My salary    85000
AGI after max 401k   67000
After Tax Income   39764.5
   
Work Expenses (annual)   
Daycare   40000
Toll Road   1600
Gas            1009
Car Maint     400
Food            480
Total           43489

My wife would likely be staying at home right now if she wasn't the breadwinner (she makes ~$300k/yr). She is open to me staying at home, but I feel that she would have some resentment towards me as she would much rather be at home with her kids then being at work. To make matters even more complicated she let me go back to school (graduated 3 years ago) while she worked with the plan of her eventually being a SAHM. The year I graduated she got this insane raise and our plans have been unclear.

Fellow Mustachians,
What would you do if you were in my shoes?
Is anyone here a SAHD that can relate, and if so how has the home life been with only your wife working?

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5664
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2016, 12:42:56 PM »
The Goblinchief on here is a sahd.  I would just make sure that you do everything that goes along with the job. That is cleaning the house, making dinner, shuttling the kids to activities, etc.  If she has a wife your wife will love it. However, if she has to come home and do chores then she will be resentful. I was a sahm until my youngest went to school and all my husband had to do was work and do the outside chores.  When he got home from work he could relax, play with kids, watch tv -whatever he wanted.  I think if you do it right it can be a win-win for everyone. Your wife won't need to use nights/weekend for errands, chores, etc because you will have done it.

pbkmaine

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8331
  • Age: 63
  • Location: The Villages, Florida
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2016, 12:50:17 PM »
The Goblinchief on here is a sahd.  I would just make sure that you do everything that goes along with the job. That is cleaning the house, making dinner, shuttling the kids to activities, etc.  If she has a wife your wife will love it. However, if she has to come home and do chores then she will be resentful. I was a sahm until my youngest went to school and all my husband had to do was work and do the outside chores.  When he got home from work he could relax, play with kids, watch tv -whatever he wanted.  I think if you do it right it can be a win-win for everyone. Your wife won't need to use nights/weekend for errands, chores, etc because you will have done it.

This. If I were working a job I disliked and came home to find my other half on the sofa, dinner not made, house a mess, I would be angry. You won't be quitting your job; you will be taking a different job.

mxt0133

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1559
  • Location: San Francisco
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2016, 12:58:07 PM »
You present one solution with only you being a SAHP.  Is it possible for both of you to stay home with the kids?  At your income levels, if you get your expenses down enough it might be possible to do it a few years.  You could suck it up for a few years, make bank, invest, and FIRE.

Or take turns being the SAHP.  It might delay your FIRE date but at least you both get to spend time with the kids when they are young.  Eventually they will be more independent and you can both go back to work then.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5664
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2016, 01:03:06 PM »
I think it would be crazy for you guys to give up your wife's income. At that level you will be able to save a lot of $ quickly which will lead to freedom  for you both.  I am sure her job at that level of $ is not easily found again once one quits.

slappy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 708
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2016, 01:04:30 PM »
I'm sure the SAHMs will chime in with the challenges associated with raising three kids and doing housework.

My husband is currently a SAHD. (we only have one child right now)  I will say it is difficult sometimes for me because I feel like I miss out on a lot of stuff. Our financial situation is different than yours because I currently work 50 hours per week just to cover expenses, but in the next few months we will have a lot of things paid off, so I will work less. As you know, being a working parent is exhausting, and when I get home, I immediately take over child care. This is because I want to spend time with my son and I feel guilty if I do anything other than give him my full attention for the two hours I'm home before his bedtime.  It's even harder to leave for work when both my husband and son are home, vs when my son went to daycare, because I miss them both and wish I was home with them.  However, realistically, I have never had a desire to be a SAHM, so on my worst days, I remind myself of that. Anyway, the point of my story is that yes, there may be some resentment. 

Personally, I can see that having a SAHD is that best thing for my son, and he is thriving, so I think it largely depends on the personality of your children. In our situation, the finance portion leaves potential for resentment, but the value of having a stay at home parent is so great that it overrides any resentment that I sometimes feel creeping in.

Sorry if this is super rambling and not helpful.

trashmanz

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 338
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2016, 01:05:09 PM »
300K is some serious cash, but I don't think you mentioned whether you are FI or how close to FI you are?  If you do stay at home, make sure to do everything to make your wife's life as pleasant as possible!  If she sees an increase in quality of life from you being home, then I think the numbers are probably neither here nor there.  I plan on being a SAHD soon too with kids about the same age, but my wife enjoys her job (so far). 

Platypuses

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 65
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2016, 01:33:41 PM »
I think it would be crazy for you guys to give up your wife's income. At that level you will be able to save a lot of $ quickly which will lead to freedom  for you both.  I am sure her job at that level of $ is not easily found again once one quits.

I agree, and she is aware that it would be difficult to obtain this income level elsewhere especially if she takes a long leave of absence.

The Goblinchief on here is a sahd.  I would just make sure that you do everything that goes along with the job. That is cleaning the house, making dinner, shuttling the kids to activities, etc.  If she has a wife your wife will love it. However, if she has to come home and do chores then she will be resentful. I was a sahm until my youngest went to school and all my husband had to do was work and do the outside chores.  When he got home from work he could relax, play with kids, watch tv -whatever he wanted.  I think if you do it right it can be a win-win for everyone. Your wife won't need to use nights/weekend for errands, chores, etc because you will have done it.

It could be a win/win. I think it would be much more work albeit more rewarding being a SAHD. Honestly I am not very good with the baby stage and feel I would struggle to keep up with cleaning the house and cooking dinners while having an infant. This and knowing my wife will struggle to go to work while leaving me and the kids at home has really kept me from pursuing this option.


Platypuses

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 65
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2016, 01:40:13 PM »
300K is some serious cash, but I don't think you mentioned whether you are FI or how close to FI you are?  If you do stay at home, make sure to do everything to make your wife's life as pleasant as possible!  If she sees an increase in quality of life from you being home, then I think the numbers are probably neither here nor there.  I plan on being a SAHD soon too with kids about the same age, but my wife enjoys her job (so far).

We are debt free except for mortgage ($185k ), and our net worth is about $250k. We expect FI to occur in about 10 years, when we are in our early-mid 40's. I know we could reach it much sooner at our income levels but we are not very mustachian, and I am overly conservative.

Platypuses

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 65
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2016, 01:48:19 PM »
It's even harder to leave for work when both my husband and son are home, vs when my son went to daycare, because I miss them both and wish I was home with them.

Sorry if this is super rambling and not helpful.

I feel that I am always rambling when writing on forums.
I can totally visualize my wife's heartbreaking when she goes to work and I am sitting at home with the kids.

trashmanz

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 338
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2016, 01:51:20 PM »
I have to say that being sahd for the first two years of my sons life was awesome and I loved most of it. It wasn't by choice per day since I wasn't able to find work. So if it were by choice I think some of that job related stress would not be there.

You didn't mention if you can or want to go back to work at some point. If it's relatively easy to get back into your field then that helps a lot of you decide it didn't work out.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3057
  • Location: Emmaus, PA
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2016, 01:52:14 PM »
If she sees an increase in quality of life from you being home, then I think the numbers are probably neither here nor there.

I think this is the critical point.

afuera

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 433
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Houston, TX
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2016, 01:52:27 PM »
We don't have kids yet but our plan is for my husband to be a stay at home dad.  I have a higher income, work in field/with a company with great development opportunities, and I'm just lazy when I'm at home.  My husband worked on rigs for awhile and would have to be away a few days straight but then get a week or so off (paid salary with bonus so it was a pretty sweet gig).  The days he was off, he took care of everything from dishes, errands, and cooking.  We both really enjoyed the situation and think it will work best for us when we do have kids.

SomedayStache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 761
  • Live Long and Prosper
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2016, 02:54:25 PM »
Tread carefully.

My husband is a SAHD and we have always struggled with resentment.  I never wanted to be a SAHM, but I've gotten very tired of working.  We have vastly different standards for cleanliness/clutter and unfortunately his are lower.   

He is not satisfied with the idea that his job is a home-maker.  Because he needs more of a 'job' he's taken up a hobby that both costs money and large amounts of time.  The time issue is the biggie because we don't ever spend time together.  He makes us dinner and then escapes to go work on his hobby.  We regularly argue about chores/expectations/time and he tells me that I just want him to be a 1950s housewife. 

Maybe I do.  Despite having a stay-at-home parent, my evenings are filled with chores.  Just today I was pinging friends on facebook to price housecleaners (because I figure they are cheaper than a divorce).

I feel trapped because our income differential is much like yours (at a lower order of magnitude!).  I make $85,000 gross and he's never made more than $11/hr. 

So, yes.  This could be a breeding ground for resentment.  Especially because your wife has in the past voiced the desire to be a SAHM.  But your situation is different than mine because you are going in with your eyes open.  If you are willing to make a job of being a SAHD then it can certainly work.   I will say that the stigma against SAHD is far deeper than against SAHM.  There's also less of a support network and it can get lonely fast.

Any way you could do a test run for a few months to try it out (while maintaining the potential of returning to work) to see how it feels in real life?

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5664
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2016, 03:51:52 PM »
Yes it is definitely work just like a job would be but it doesn't end until the kids go to bed at night:)) however, if you are committed to doing it right then it could be a really good thing for the family. But if you can't clean, cook, take care of 3 kids and do errands then resentment will brew. 

little_brown_dog

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 915
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2016, 03:55:20 PM »
I can't comment much on the concept of being a dad with a breadwinner wife, but I am a SAHM. As others mentioned, being a stay at home parent includes doing almost all of the domestic duties (cooking, cleaning, errands, etc) and adding legitimate "quality of life" value to the family to help even out the labor burden. The whole thing goes badly if one parent feels like the other has life easy, which is very common if the sahp doesn't do most of the chores. If your working wife is constantly coming home to a messy house, no food, etc things will probably not turn out okay.
Our arrangement works out well because I manage almost all of our domestic responsibilities, leaving us with more time to relax and enjoy family time at night and on the weekends. I don't think my husband would be alright if I was the type of sahp to only do 50% of the chores, leaving him with 50% plus working full time.

My advice is what I'd say to any potential sahp, regardless of gender. Really have a heart to heart with her about this and make sure she won't resent it. And if you do it, do it full throttle, like a profession. Don't half ass it. Take it seriously. If you choose to outsource some things like cleaning and yard maintenance (sounds like you can afford it with a 300k/yr income), make up for it by doing a great job at the other tasks your family needs. And finally, make sure you have some sort of outlet outside of kiddie care...the most successful and happiest sahps seem to be home-centered, not kid centered. They cook, do crafts, wood work, garden, etc which keeps them creative and sane, and helps prevent them from devolving into helicopter parents who have nothing else to do but micromanage their kids' lives.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 04:13:27 PM by little_brown_dog »

b_girl

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 21
  • Location: US
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2016, 07:21:50 PM »
My dh is the SAHD for a 6yo and 2 yo. I make enough for us to be comfortable but not extravagant (and we aren't very mustachian). I never wanted to be a SAHM so it works for me to be the breadwinner. My dh never had a desire to be a SAHD but didn't NOT want to be one (if that makes sense).

I never ever want him to work again! I love him being home and taking care of things. I love not having to spend nights and weekends doing chores or grocery shopping. I absolutely love him being home. That being said, my dh is a home body and a nester. He takes immense pride in his home and he treats it like a job. He does all of the cleaning, laundry, shopping and cooking on work nights (i do weekends and very occasionally during the week), house maintenance, yard work, etc. I am very involved with the kids as I do health care, research, clothes shopping, etc. I also take over and spend an hour after work playing with the boys so he can cook. I do know that there are some days he wishes he went to a job, but I do think overall he's good with staying home. There is the usual side eye about him being a SAHD but oh well.

I wouldn't be worried about the baby stage. Constant exposure will make you better. :-)  My personal opinion is that not doing this because she wants to do it (but can't) is silly. She couldn't stay home if you didn't. Should your kids and family not have the best decisions because she can't stay home? If you treat it like a job then it will make the entire families life easier.

Good Luck!

alice76

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 62
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2016, 07:58:08 PM »
My husband is a SAHD to our 1 year old and kindergartner (from school pick up to 4 or 5), and it's working out fantastically for us. The pace of our family life has become much less frenetic. He does the laundry and all the food prep, and we split the cleaning.  He also has a PT job from home, which gives us a little cash and family health care benefits.

The first month was really hard for all of us with new routines, me returning to work with a 3 month old at home (nursing, pumping, all of that), and he getting used to always being "on," which is so tiring. We're through that, and with the support of an active SAHD meet-up group, he loves it. Note that he hated his full time job, and I like mine.


Noodle

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1169
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2016, 08:05:22 PM »
I think the place to start the conversation should be the goals you have for your family. Is it more important to get both of you home as soon as possible? Or to have someone at home with your little ones right now? If you became a stay-at-home parent, would you be able to manage household expenses more tightly and thus shorten her time to retirement even if you aren't bringing in a salary? Starting with "neither of us are happy at work, so who damages the bottom line less by staying home" seems more likely to set you up for conflict when the inevitable stress arises.

As for some of the specifics:

1. As with every SAHP conversation here, remember that you are taking a risk by leaving the workforce before the family finances are 100% ensured. If something happens to your wife (even if your marriage is rock-solid and your life insurance is up to date, she could become ill or disabled), do you have a backup plan if you need to get back into the workforce?

2. Keep in mind that learning in preschool is as much about social skills--dealing with other kids by using your words, following directions that are different from the rules at home, learning to take turns patiently etc.--as academics so although your kids wouldn't need full-time care you still may want to have the older ones go somewhere a couple mornings a week. My mom also found it to be a good time to have 1:1 time with her littlest while her high-energy older kids were out of the house!

3. I always liked the perspective that Amy Dacyczyn of the Tightwad Gazette took--she and her husband were both SAHPs at different times (at a time when SAHDs were much more unusual, especially in rural Maine!) Basically, they each trusted that the other worked full-time during the 9-5 shift, so whatever was left over at the end of the day was equally divided. It probably helped that since both of them had been at home, they had a good handle on what was realistic to get done in a day.

Rewdoalb

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 77
  • Age: 30
  • Location: US
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2016, 06:02:01 AM »
2 things that seem under-addressed at this point.

It sounds like you are overly dependent on her income. If you are making that much money but are 10 years from FIRE. Here's how I see it (facepunch warning) in a non-mustacian reality you SHOULD be able to let HER quit work, since she wants to be sahm, and live on your income which is actually pretty solid once you remove daycare expense, though retirement might be decades away. Now turn the tables. Why couldn't you live on your $85k income from her salary, and save the rest? Take away the risk of her losing that income and your lifestyle being out of control.

Also, I realize you've still got preschool age kids but they'll all be in actual school within 4 years or so right? How will this impact your situation? More time and money for the parents or are they headed to a private school w tuition the size of college?

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4003
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2016, 06:34:04 AM »
My main concerns would be:

1. Oldest kids are very close to being in school and childcare expenses dropping.

2. With 3 littles there is a decent chance your house will be a bomb and dinner won't be on the table when your wife gets home- so what is in it for her?

I say this as a sahm. If she already wants to be home, things can get very very resentful very fast if you can't keep up with all the household chores, in my experience. If you are not the naturally more tidy spouse, it will be very tough to be the sahp without resentment. Add the cultural gender piece and it gets worse.

Which isn't to say it's a bad idea, but I'd set very clear expectations up front, and if consider trying to do it short term (can you take a sabbatical or a big chunk of vacation all at once?) To see if you can hack the childcare + whatever you guys agree on for housework.

Slow&Steady

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 719
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2016, 09:29:14 AM »
We are currently discussing my husband being a SAHD so I can share some of my concerns with this decision.  Our little girl is 2 years old and we will probably try to add one within the next couple of years. I have never wanted to be a SAHM but do struggle with wanting to spend more time with the kid.  As of now my husband is a part-time realtor and a part-time bus driver so he has more free time than a full-time employee would to start with and handles all the daycare pickups and drop-offs anyways. 

How much work will I have to do when I get home?  He already handles all kitchen duties and has since before there was a kid, but I handle laundry, vacuuming, and most of the mowing.  We live on 18 acres and are struggling to maintain the property right now, is he going to be able to do more than we currently do while he has the kid at home?  What about whenever we have the 2nd kid? Or is he going to hand me the kid when I get home and start doing all the chores that he wasn't able to get to (this does not increase our family time and might make both of us resentful)?   I enjoy mowing but hate laundry and vacuuming and feel that all of these things take away the very little amount of time I get to spend with the kid.  For me these questions revolves more around how much time will be taken away from what I get to spend with the kid/family.  I only spend about 2 hours with her on weeknights before bedtime so I resent it if I have to spend any of that time or weekend time doing a chore instead of playing with the kid/family. 

What does this do to the timeline of our goals?  Does him being a SAHD mean that I have to work until 60 vs 50 (those are just broad examples)? Will he be able to find ways to help save more money since he will be home (this is completely opposite of his personality so probably a negative answer)?  If I don't have to work longer I at least want to vacation/travel, will we be able to save enough every year that we can do that?  Is he going to want to go back to work when they go to school?  Will he be able to find a job?

Will this actually be beneficial for the kid?  I don't want him to just sit her in front of the TV so that he can get all the chores done.  Will he try to teacher her stuff that she would be learning at "school"?  Will he be able to get her out and socialized like she does at "school"?

Will he feel isolated and rely on me to be his sole adult outlet?  I am an introvert and NEED a little bit of alone time in order to recharge.  I will not be able to be around people all day at work, come home and have quality time with the kid, and be his sole adult outlet after the kid goes to bed every day.

Those are just some of the questions that I need to talk about before we make the decision.  He has his own set of questions that we need to discuss.

Oh and as for the concerns about leaving for work and them still being at home.  That has always been the case for us (even with both of us working), it is actually easier for me if they are both still in bed when I leave so I try to get out of the house early (and therefore home early).  The only time this causes an issue for us is if there are several days in a row that I am not able to get enough sleep (the kid will only except momma in the middle of the night for some reason), then I am a little resentful that they/he gets to sleep in.  This is usually resolved by allowing me to sleep in on the weekends or him handling any middle of the night wake-up sessions.

frugaliknowit

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1662
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2016, 09:39:05 AM »
My point of view is very different and I am single, so please don't take offense (emotions aside, and I know there's HEAVY emotions involved here...I REALLY do get that!).

I don't reccomend SAH for parents for a lengthy time, period.  Both parents working diversifies the sources of income, reducing the income risk of the household.

Life happens and things go wrong.  One should always be prepared to be a breadwinner and leaving the workplace in this ever-changing one-sided (employer) market has too many risks, in my opinion (like not being able to get back into it after an extended period out of it after death/divorce or an unforseen job loss of a spouse/partner without an inability to replace the job).  I have seen this first hand and it can be ugly.  Just my $.02.

Real life Example:  Degreed and experienced Wife is SAHM for many years.  Daddy, in late 50's loses his job and can't find another (for whatever reason...).  When SAHM tries to re-enter workplace, she is essentially laughed at, if she can even get an interview (what were you doing all of those years...?).  Now, they are both struggling.

Real life Example:  I left a career to sell Real Estate for about 5 years, then tried to re-enter the workforce.  The basic reaction in the job market was,  "...so you were selling real estate...(you may as well have been in a coma)...".  I couldn't return to my old field and it took a LONG TIME to re-invent myself and delayed FIRE many, many years.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2016, 05:19:59 AM by frugaliknowit »

KisKis

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 106
  • Age: 35
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2016, 10:13:51 AM »
It's even harder to leave for work when both my husband and son are home, vs when my son went to daycare, because I miss them both and wish I was home with them.

The harder to leave for work part is definitely true for me, but DH is the most amazing SAHD and I would MUCH rather the kids be with him than at daycare.  (Disclaimer: DH is only a part-time SAHP, because his job is seasonal.)  He always has the kids out and doing activities.  The house is well-maintained and kept sparkling clean, with the occasional clutter mess because of playtime, but everything is sanitary and otherwise wiped down.  He still doesn't fold the laundry, but I don't mind doing that small part.  Dinner is cooked and ready when I get home.  Plus, he is always cheery and lends a sympathetic ear to my grumblings about work.  It is SO hard to leave on dark, cold winter mornings, when he and the kids are still cuddled up in bed, but coming home is always that much more fantastic.

In the summers, because his job turns into 6 or 7 days a week at 14 hours or more each day, I take over all the cooking, cleaning, and kid wrangling and try to provide him with the same sort of clean, relaxed atmosphere when he gets home.  Both of us are extremely grateful to the other, so I really can't imagine a better situation.  We have been saving for DH to early retire at 36 in a few more years.  I will have a 14 year stretch until I retire (to meet the minimum service time for my pension).  I hope I don't develop any bitter feelings once DH a full-time SAHD, but I don't think I will towards him.  If I feel like I am missing out on a lot at home, I may end up hating my job, and choose to give up the pension, but we'll have to wait and see.     

My point of view is very different and I am single, so please don't take offense.

I don't reccomend SAH for parents for a lengthy time, period.

The reason is, life happens and things go wrong.  One should always be prepared to be a breadwinner and leaving the workplace in this ever-changing one-sided (employer) market has too many risks, in my opinion (like not being able to get back into it after an extended period out of it after death/divorce or an unforseen job loss of a spouse/partner without an inability to replace the job).

A harsh point worth considering.  Always being capable of independence is something my mother taught me growing up, and it is a lesson I always pass to other women.  It's sort of like FI but for relationships.  Nothing is more empowering than being able to say, "F- it" and walk away.   I feel like my strength and ability to be independent has always made my relationships stronger and caused my partners and now spouse to appreciate me more.  No reason why this shouldn't be applied to men as well, now that family roles have become more interchangeable. 

A lot of this is dependent on your relationship with your wife.  My suggestion is for you to sit down together with all your financial information in front of you and come up with a financial plan with penciled in target dates for each of you to early retire.  Being on this forum, you probably already have one.  A lot of the bitterness can be prevented if you develop goals as a team, rather than your wife feeling like she is supporting your dream.  If she has a target retirement date in mind based on your realistic savings rates, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, and it may spur both of you to be even more aggressive with your saving.  At a $300k income, I can't imagine that she would have to work more than 10 more years, unless she agrees that a higher lifestyle is worth putting in extra years.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2016, 10:17:13 AM by KisKis »

Lucky Girl

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 175
  • Location: Boston area
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2016, 10:29:37 AM »
These are great comments.  I am considering becoming a SAHM/FIRE in a few years and am considering many of these same issues.  Financial independence is a huge consideration for me, but my salary does add more than marginally to our savings rate.  My DH is not really on board with very early RE, but is considering being done by about 52. 

I have initiated discussions with him to determine what our goal is, and what kind of numbers he'll want us to have to be sure that when he is ready to quit, the money is there.  Then I am looking at how much longer I should work, running projections of market returns and the impact of me quitting, on his later RE date. 

I will feel guilty later on if I don't get my ducks in a row in terms of money.  I want to build a bit of an extra cushion in case he wants to quit early.  In OP's situation, where you are not currently adding to savings, maybe you could do more by quitting and then reducing family expenses to maximize savings that way.  But you may also want to keep the job till the kids are in school and you are able to add more to savings through working.  The most important thing is to have these conversations in advance, to ward off potential resentment later.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5664
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2016, 02:33:35 PM »
No matter the gender it is not that hard to care for 3 kids, do all household chores and spend quality time with the kids as well as having dinner ready for the working spouse.   You need to be somewhat organized and committed to treating it as a job with certain expectations, etc.  It sure can make life less stressful for everyone if done right. You have to ask yourself if you are the type of person that can do it.

Thegoblinchief

  • Guest
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #26 on: May 14, 2016, 07:02:45 AM »
Good comments already. I've been a full-time SAHD for 18 months and mostly-SAHD for 5+ years. The way I do it currently (homeschooling, 100% of cooking and shopping, 80% of maintenance chores, and urban homesteading) it is an 80+ hour a week job that you're basically only 'off' from it when you are sleeping. It's hard work. In many, many ways my previous jobs were easier but overall family life has improved dramatically.

The OP has two nested problems, him being a SAHD and then whether being a SAHD means homeschooling as well. If at all possible, approach it as a 'let's try this for a year' but a pitfall that hasn't been mentioned I'll just point out is that I imagine it would be difficult to return the kids to their current school once you leave. Around here Montessori schools have long waiting lists for most grades.

It's very very difficult to know whether it will work unless you try. Staying at home and homeschooling has worked pretty well for us but it looks very different than the way I had originally imagined it.

seemsright

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 225
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2016, 11:22:04 AM »
I am a SAHM. Hubby and I would not have it any other way. When we had a baby one of us would have been home with her. The baby/toddler years were HARD for me. Once girly could tell me what she wanted and could communicate without crying it became easier. Now that she is in school I am able to really work our FI plan and get costs down. I am able to really study where our money goes and why. I spend at least two hours on this a day while girly is in school.

There are days that the house blew up mess wise and I am sitting in my yoga pants and my hair might have been brushed. But who does not have a bad day at the office once in awhile?

Hubby looks at it this way...he is very proud that he makes enough money to have me at home he looks at it as a luxury. But it does not mean that I do everything, I am not a maid.

I think there is many reason when you have a child or children that it helps to have a parent at home, and I am learning that I am more busy while girly is in school than I have ever been and as she gets farther into school I am sure it will be even more busy.

We might not be FI yet, but having one of us at home allows us to slow down our pace of life and focus on our family and our goals. We are 12 years out from FI. The goal is the day girly graduates HS Hubby wants to be able to walk out the door of his job and never look back. And this is with planning for college. And the only way we can make it all work is to allow me at home.

(I would be only working for daycare and taxes not worth it!)

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4438
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #28 on: May 15, 2016, 01:44:17 PM »

Hubby looks at it this way...he is very proud that he makes enough money to have me at home he looks at it as a luxury. But it does not mean that I do everything, I am not a maid.


The best explanation I have seen of what it should be like is that when SAHS is home, then kids and house are their job. But house and kids are a 24/7 job. So when BOTH parents are home, the job belongs to both of them. If that makes sense.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5664
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2016, 02:42:50 PM »
I think if one parent does not work then that is their job 24-7. The parent with an outside job needs to have time off to de-stress. If the woman stays home most likely the man is still doing all the outside work and maintenance. I know that is not always true but more likely. I do not want to get into a gender war discussion about this.  It eh man stays home the wife is working but maybe does laundry since he does yard work, etc.  In the end it is about sharing chores and making home life easier, less rushed and more peaceful.  It also provides for more family time. I never understand when people say they are busier once their kids are in school all day. The kids are gone a good part of the day and you are no longer caring for them. That is a good time to find a p.t. job while they are in school to add to the stashe and also would avoid paying daycare.  Some people are cut out to stay at home and some aren't.

trashmanz

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 338
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #30 on: May 15, 2016, 10:33:13 PM »
I think if one parent does not work then that is their job 24-7. The parent with an outside job needs to have time off to de-stress. If the woman stays home most likely the man is still doing all the outside work and maintenance. I know that is not always true but more likely. I do not want to get into a gender war discussion about this.  It eh man stays home the wife is working but maybe does laundry since he does yard work, etc.  In the end it is about sharing chores and making home life easier, less rushed and more peaceful.  It also provides for more family time. I never understand when people say they are busier once their kids are in school all day. The kids are gone a good part of the day and you are no longer caring for them. That is a good time to find a p.t. job while they are in school to add to the stashe and also would avoid paying daycare.  Some people are cut out to stay at home and some aren't.

That assumes someones job is less stressful than taking care of their kids.  Not all situations are like that.  Many families have very difficult children, and many people have jobs they fully enjoy.

I won't even get into the gender stereotyping, that is just crazy talk.

meandmyfamily

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 228
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #31 on: May 15, 2016, 10:46:28 PM »
I know I would have really struggled if I couldn't have been home with my kids.  That said is there a way for you to really buckle down and be able to FIRE in 5 years.  Or have some kind of big goal that makes the sacrifice worth it and at that point she can stay home.  That is a HUGE salary.  I know that would have helped me push through it.  Are you having anymore kids?  If so maybe try to plan for one at the end of the goal and she can stay home then?  If you are a SAHD you can maximize savings by cooking all the meals, cleaning, etc and reach a big goal really fast!  Just a thought!

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6319
  • Location: BC
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #32 on: May 15, 2016, 10:57:45 PM »
Ok,   women understand that SAHD who also does all the indoor chores is actually working a full time job, one that helps the wife get ahead in her career, and it is a division of labour for the family success.

So be committed to that or resentment happens.

My DH was a SAHD for 11 years.   He does not do chores, and only occasionally cooked, and often would forget to take kids to their after school activities.  He was not the sort of dad to ensure that the 8 year old girl's hair was brushed and that she was in clean clothing to go to school, but she was always there on time and had someone to support her / talk to her if she was worried about something, and help her figure things out.

If I did not have to do so many chores, I would have liked it a lot better.

To get back into the workforce, he went back to school about 8 years in, for three years.  (more chores for Mom during this time).

I think that if you want to be successful at this, you should discuss the future plans with your wife.  Will she eventually take summers off to be with you? (I hated that part the most, working in the summer while the rest of the family played)....   or can you save for FIRE and she can quit and be SAHM during highschool years, while you maybe go and work?

Talk about it, and figure out what would be an even balance of work and lifestyle between the two of you, for the long term.

Good luck.  Your kids are lucky to have a dad considering this.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2016, 01:09:36 AM by goldielocks »

SimplyMarvie

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 217
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #33 on: May 16, 2016, 11:55:21 AM »
My husband is the stay at home parent in our family and has been since our second kid was born, eight years ago. At that time he was doing research assistant-ship stuff for $12 an hour, grants at the university were being cut, and daycare was looking like $600-$800 a week for the two kids (two years old and newborn). It was a no-brainer for us... he took care of the kids, and I leaned in and went back to work.

It's worked out in various ways for us -- I think two things really helped; we'd had long talks about how we wanted to structure things if we had a stay at home parent way before we even got pregnant, at a point where we thought that I would be the stay at home parent. Which made the discussions in better faith, actually, because we were both arguing for the best deal for the position we weren't actually in. So we'd talked about how taking care of the kids WAS contributing to our family, and we would consider the money to be ours, and that while we both expected the stay at home parent to do a lot, that taking care of the kids was a full time job, so they weren't required to do ALL the chores.

Financially, I think it was a win. Emotionally, it's been up and down. On one hand, I feel MUCH better having the kids with their parent when they are small, and it's contributed to a very close, very sweet bond between our three boys. On the other hand, the oldest two didn't go to preschool and I think that contributed to some issues with social skills and language  that persist to this day. (The little one is in Preschool and LOVING it.) My husband is an enormous home-body and wasn't welcomed into the mom's groups in our snotty little suburb, which meant that my kids mostly went without close playmates as they were little and didn't get out or into activities much and he didn't get much social contact with other parents or chance to build friendships. His threshold for mess and mine are WAY different, and we still have issues with the house being too messy, to the point where I feel like I have to spend all weekend cleaning (or hire a housekeeper -- which we can afford, but he won't permit.) He has also gone through multiple spates of depression that I think are made worse by not having any externally-imposed structure in his life.

Currently, he'd like to get back into the workforce but we're abroad for my job which limits his employment opportunities. He's trying to finish a teaching certificate, which is a challenge from outside of the US, and working on a Master's Degree, but may end up taking some sort of semi-clerical work for my employer because it's the easiest/best way to earn real money... so in his case, his prospects for re-employment now that our kids are bigger aren't great.

I think being an at-home parent really requires you to be self-motivated and self-organized in a way that my husband isn't naturally, and he's only been partially successful in becoming. If you're good at taking on that challenge, I think it can be a great way to raise a family.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6667
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #34 on: May 16, 2016, 12:06:54 PM »
I think if one parent does not work then that is their job 24-7. The parent with an outside job needs to have time off to de-stress. If the woman stays home most likely the man is still doing all the outside work and maintenance. I know that is not always true but more likely. I do not want to get into a gender war discussion about this.  It eh man stays home the wife is working but maybe does laundry since he does yard work, etc.  In the end it is about sharing chores and making home life easier, less rushed and more peaceful.  It also provides for more family time. I never understand when people say they are busier once their kids are in school all day. The kids are gone a good part of the day and you are no longer caring for them. That is a good time to find a p.t. job while they are in school to add to the stashe and also would avoid paying daycare.  Some people are cut out to stay at home and some aren't.
I have to disagree here.  I'm not a SAHM, but I don't think a SAHP has any less right to de-stress than the working parent.

Frankly, while I think that it is overall less stressful for a family to have a SAHP, (less stuff to get done after work/ weekends), I personally find being at home with children to be a TON more stressful than being at work.  At work, I can eat and pee on my own schedule.  This will depend on number, age, and personality of the children. 

There's a reason why when I used to take my son to the park on Saturday mornings, that it was FULL of dads and kids.  Moms were getting their me time.  Whether it was a run, walk, or pedicure, doesn't matter.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6667
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #35 on: May 16, 2016, 12:18:08 PM »
Quote
3. I always liked the perspective that Amy Dacyczyn of the Tightwad Gazette took--she and her husband were both SAHPs at different times (at a time when SAHDs were much more unusual, especially in rural Maine!) Basically, they each trusted that the other worked full-time during the 9-5 shift, so whatever was left over at the end of the day was equally divided. It probably helped that since both of them had been at home, they had a good handle on what was realistic to get done in a day.

I absolutely agree.  That part of her book has always stuck out for me. It's interesting, because I was *just* talking with my husband last night about how I've considered being a SAHP a lot the last few years.  Yesterday, I spent hours cooking and doing dishes - 7 or 8 different things I prepped.  I *know* it makes the week go more smoothly, but it's exhausting.  At the same time, my husband did several loads of laundry and needed to take a 20 minute nap because it's prime allergy season.

Being at home with 3 kids and doing all the chores...I know someone above said it's "easy", but that's just crazy talk.  It's going to vary a LOT.  Babies, toddlers, are a CRAP ton of hands-on work, and they make more mess than you can keep up with.  When home with my kids from time to time, I've been able to get *some* work done.  I could keep up with the dishes and cook dinner.  OR I could do the laundry.  But not both, not on the same day.  And good luck keeping the house "not a mess".  When my kids were very little, I mean just keeping up with the breastfeeding and diapers - oy.

I don't think it's realistic to expect that the working parent does "nothing".  I know that when I've been on maternity leave - the great things were:
- my husband never had to do laundry on the weekends, as I did it during the week
- we ate like kings, because I had time to cook.  I mastered cooking in 15 minute chunks.  Then when he got home from work, it would only take 20 -30 mins to finish it up.

When I was working part time, the great things were:
- I did drop off and pick up.  So he was off the hook for those
- I had more time to cook and play with the kids before dinner
- I had extra spare time to do the doctor's appts, sick days, etc.

Some advantages to having a SAHP is all those things you need to take the kids to.  And when you need to meet the plumber, or get the oil changed.  I wouldn't expect your wife to come home and never have to do a chore.

In the end, as my husband said "well, you'd be fine without a job now, but what about in 6 years?  If you want one then, and have been out too long?"  Very true.  On one hand, I don't think I'd be bored at home, as I would have been 10 years ago when my oldest was a baby.  2 kids, hobbies, PTA, etc.  On another hand, sometimes work is so horrible and soul sucking, I think it *can't* be worth staying.  But sometimes it's not horrible.

As an aside, I went on a couple of women's retreats locally.  Both times, the leader (in her 60s) was talking about life and mentioned how important it is that we let our husbands de-compress for 1/2 hour when they get home.  "Keep the kids away, let them de-stress, it's good for their health!"  All I could think about was "eff that, I have a FT job too.  When do I get to de-stress??  My husband de-stresses after the kids are in bed."  It was fascinating, in part because it reflected both what she'd learned AND her generation.

MrsDinero

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 935
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #36 on: May 16, 2016, 12:24:47 PM »

A harsh point worth considering.  Always being capable of independence is something my mother taught me growing up, and it is a lesson I always pass to other women.  It's sort of like FI but for relationships.  Nothing is more empowering than being able to say, "F- it" and walk away.   I feel like my strength and ability to be independent has always made my relationships stronger and caused my partners and now spouse to appreciate me more.  No reason why this shouldn't be applied to men as well, now that family roles have become more interchangeable. 

A lot of this is dependent on your relationship with your wife.  My suggestion is for you to sit down together with all your financial information in front of you and come up with a financial plan with penciled in target dates for each of you to early retire.  Being on this forum, you probably already have one.  A lot of the bitterness can be prevented if you develop goals as a team, rather than your wife feeling like she is supporting your dream.  If she has a target retirement date in mind based on your realistic savings rates, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, and it may spur both of you to be even more aggressive with your saving.  At a $300k income, I can't imagine that she would have to work more than 10 more years, unless she agrees that a higher lifestyle is worth putting in extra years.

Very good point and something I also encourage to everyone who becomes a SAHP.  When you leave the workforce you are giving up certain financial benefits, 401k, job security, etc. 

One thing my father did was make sure my mom (SAHM) had an IRA that was maxed out every year.

Another thing I've seen suggested (I don't know anyone who is doing this but I also don't know a lot of SAHP) is that out of the total family income the SAHP is given a "salary".  This allows the SAHP to basically have their own money to do with, save/spend/invest as they please.  While it doesn't make up for leaving the workforce and not having something to put on their resume, it does give a certain amount of financial independence to the non-working parent.


Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5664
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #37 on: May 16, 2016, 12:38:08 PM »
Whenever someone says that being a SAHP is so hard that they can't clean, cook, do laundry and take care of the kids I shake my head.  I did this until the youngest went to school f.t.  I also had time to play with my kids or take them for outings.  All my friends did it too with no problem. One friend had 6 kids. Kids do take naps and much can be accomplished then. The thing about being home is that you are in charge of your work load/pace. When I worked f.t. and didn't feel well I still had to drag myself to work unless really sick. When I was home and not feeling well I was free to nap when the kids did.

little_brown_dog

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 915
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #38 on: May 16, 2016, 01:44:47 PM »
Whenever someone says that being a SAHP is so hard that they can't clean, cook, do laundry and take care of the kids I shake my head.  I did this until the youngest went to school f.t.  I also had time to play with my kids or take them for outings.  All my friends did it too with no problem. One friend had 6 kids. Kids do take naps and much can be accomplished then. The thing about being home is that you are in charge of your work load/pace. When I worked f.t. and didn't feel well I still had to drag myself to work unless really sick. When I was home and not feeling well I was free to nap when the kids did.

I think part of the problem is a lack of structure with little kids around. SAHPs have to create a productive work day that flexes around the childcare needs, and some are better than others at it. It's easy to take a reactive stance (just trying to survive getting through all the meals/changes/tantrums) instead of a proactive one (writing up a to-do list, planning when you are going to complete said to-do items), but then you end up doing nothing else except kid stuff all day. I am able to stay productive when I have a list of things I want to accomplish in a given day/week, and I just find time to fit it in around the baby's schedule. When I don't have a clear game plan, I tend to get off track quickly and just bounce from feeding to feeding.

Lagom

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1258
  • Age: 36
  • Location: SF Bay Area
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #39 on: May 16, 2016, 05:13:12 PM »
I'm inclined to agree that being a SAHP while taking care of most of the chores shouldn't be THAT difficult, but that doesn't mean it's not still work or that it's reasonable that the SAHP be expected to continue to take care of absolutely everything while the working spouse sits around doing nothing every evening/weekend. After all, the overall work/chore load during those times will be quite a bit lower than it would be in a dual income household, so even splitting things 50-50 when both spouses are home doesn't mean there is not a significant benefit to the working spouse.

To be clear, I am assuming here that the SAHP takes care of the cooking, cleaning, errands, etc., on most days. When I say "split things 50-50," I'm referring to stuff like playing with the kids while the other spouse cooks, helping clean up messes (throw up, diapers, etc.), helping with projects where the working spouse has special knowledge or skills (e.g. home improvement, computer troubleshooting, mending clothes, etc.), and taking over additional chores when the SAHP is sick or injured.

I do think it's reasonable to expect the SAHP to do the majority of middle-of-the-night duties, although I would still argue the working spouse should take an occasional turn at late night feedings, nightmare reassurance, clean-ups, etc.


mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6667
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #40 on: May 16, 2016, 06:41:18 PM »
Whenever someone says that being a SAHP is so hard that they can't clean, cook, do laundry and take care of the kids I shake my head.  I did this until the youngest went to school f.t.  I also had time to play with my kids or take them for outings.  All my friends did it too with no problem. One friend had 6 kids. Kids do take naps and much can be accomplished then. The thing about being home is that you are in charge of your work load/pace. When I worked f.t. and didn't feel well I still had to drag myself to work unless really sick. When I was home and not feeling well I was free to nap when the kids did.
That's great, but it's going to depend entirely on the kids - the number, and their personality, and the ages. (plus, special needs?)

For one thing, babies and toddlers are work.
Sometimes they don't nap.  My toddler doesn't nap at home.  Gosh if I were sick and at home and wanted to nap?  I'd be SOL.
They are completely incapable of entertaining themselves for any amount of time before 18 months. And then?  Only for 20 minutes.
If you have one kid, without a playmate, good luck getting anything done, really, after they start walking and before they can keep themselves busy.

6 kids?  Easy peasy, by the time you are at that number, the older ones are helping out with the younger ones (I'm the 8th of 9, I should know!)

And then there's just parental skill. I'm pretty organized, so I write everyone down and make schedules. I have friends who used to make fun of me for that "when can you be spontaneous and just do something for fun??"  So I asked "when was the last time you did that?"  "Um, never."  Ha. So at least I get a lot done.  Anyway, on mat leave with #1 I had it down.  3 naps a day for the baby.  During one, I walked (he slept in the carrier or stroller), during 1 I did chores (either cooking/ prepping dinner or laundry) and during 1 I napped.

I don't remember much about mat leave #2.  I was pretty tired, and of course I had a school-aged child to get to and from school.  And at that time, I was also picking up the neighbor kid for a bit.

Not everyone is that organized or skilled.  Some people can be taught, but I honestly don't think everyone can be.  And then, what are your standards?

Of course age matters.  I'm old.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6667
Re: Seriously Considering Being a SAHD
« Reply #41 on: May 16, 2016, 06:48:37 PM »
Quote
My wife would likely be staying at home right now if she wasn't the breadwinner (she makes ~$300k/yr). She is open to me staying at home, but I feel that she would have some resentment towards me as she would much rather be at home with her kids then being at work. To make matters even more complicated she let me go back to school (graduated 3 years ago) while she worked with the plan of her eventually being a SAHM. The year I graduated she got this insane raise and our plans have been unclear.

Fellow Mustachians,
What would you do if you were in my shoes?
Is anyone here a SAHD that can relate, and if so how has the home life been with only your wife working?

Is there an option for part time work for either or both of you?  For me, that was the best of both worlds.  I agree it might be tough if your wife wants to stay at home.

Even when I worked part time, that freed up my husband from drop off and pick up.  And I had more time for cooking.

Can you work out a plan for when she can cut back?  It's hard when you both want to stay at home.  You'd probably want to work out the details before you did it all.  I know I've been vigorously defending the fact that I don't think it's necessarily easy to be at home and do "all" the chores.  I don't think it is, especially not with the kids your age.  (Esp diapers, bottles that need sterilizing, etc.)  However, I think it would be good to hash out the details.

For example, often my husband and I take turns taking days off when there is no school/ daycare.  Or if a kid has a runny nose, we may split the work day.  Our days are VASTLY different from each other.  Without a doubt, if I'm at home I'm doing chores - cooking, tidying (but not cleaning, hate cleaning), etc - generally staying close to home and using the time to get ahead on stuff.  My husband almost always does fun stuff.  Takes the kid to the park, gets a smoothie or goes out to lunch.  I'll get home extra late some days and he says "what's for dinner?"