Author Topic: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question  (Read 8088 times)

Sonos

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Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« on: June 06, 2017, 05:02:02 PM »
Would you rather:

A) Keep a parent at home and fire in 11 years, at which point you have two stay at home parents

or

B) Both parents work and fire in 5 years, at which point you have two stay at home parents


I know our answer is A (edit: a sahp is important to us having at least one stay at home parents is important to us, even if it means delaying fire), but I'm curious how others would (or already have) made this decision.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2017, 11:08:51 AM by Firette2020 »

lthenderson

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2017, 05:39:56 PM »
We went the A route simply because with two kids in school, both of us being FIRE'd didn't really make sense. When the kids are both out of the nest, then we will both be retired full time when we have the ability to go anywhere and do anything without having to worry about how Johnny is going to get to basketball practice, etc.

Morning Glory

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2017, 06:09:46 PM »
It depends on the cost of childcare vs income, number and ages of children, and whether the parents are working normal hours or not. 2 with equal incomes paying for only after school care is much different than a high/ low income split with odd shift overlap times requiring an in-house babysitter.

mrsnamemustache

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2017, 06:32:04 PM »
Also depends on how much both parents like (or hate) their jobs and how much they would enjoy (or not enjoy) full-time child care.

Knapptyme

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2017, 07:10:15 PM »
We just made choice A. FIRE was 7-8 years away depending on unforeseen circumstances. The would've put DS at the teenage years. We figured that by then, he may not want us home all the time. We are his heroes now, so one of us should stay home now. (We also have another son and hope to have more.) So, recalculating, it'll only take an additional 5 years (maybe less depending on my success in side gigs).

Plus, we'll be able to homeschool. And thanks to the wonderful system in place here, I will be a SAHD. (Neither of us were too particular about who stayed home.) The reasons were simple. If we have another kid, DW gets paid maternity leave; I got jack squat. If I ever need to go back to work, I teach math and science which gives me easy reentry. Also, because I taught math and science, I have the more lucrative tutoring gigs available both in quantity and value. Bonus for DW, she likes her job more than I did mine. Not that I didn't like my job, but I knew I was just a mercenary trying to do what was best for my family.

FIRE may be an end goal, but it's not the only one. I liked a post from the high risk/high reward investment thread that mentioned "small humans." If kids are a good, albeit risky, investment, and I can potentially make that investment better myself, I see that SAHP route as the best option.

Mgmny

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2017, 07:39:13 PM »
My wife picks A, but I pick B, so we are going to pick A. :)


Realistically, I'd prefer option C which is: wait to have kids until FIRE, but my opinion matters little in these discussions, lol.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2017, 08:40:31 PM »
Also depends on how much both parents like (or hate) their jobs and how much they would enjoy (or not enjoy) full-time child care.

I think it comes down to this more than anything.
I've come to realize that for me, a cushy while collar / knowledge worker job is much better than being stuck at home with a kid for too long :)

bogart

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2017, 08:58:57 PM »
Also depends on how much both parents like (or hate) their jobs and how much they would enjoy (or not enjoy) full-time child care.

I think it comes down to this more than anything.
I've come to realize that for me, a cushy while collar / knowledge worker job is much better than being stuck at home with a kid for too long :)

Yeah, my DH REd when DS was 3, and we have made (and continue to make, though the existence of public school reduces this significantly) extensive use of paid childcare (nowadays, summer camps).  Keeps us all happy.  As does time together, but we haven't found my work schedule or DS's school (or camp) schedule to leave too little time for plenty of that.  Having DH home is nice for snow and sick days, though.

Goldielocks

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2017, 01:55:16 AM »
My wife picks A, but I pick B, so we are going to pick A. :)


Realistically, I'd prefer option C which is: wait to have kids until FIRE, but my opinion matters little in these discussions, lol.

Ha.  This is true.. If one parent wants A.. A happens.

We had A pick us, not really our choice / decision with a sudden work closure when we had a baby and toddler at home, then one month led into the next.

catccc

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2017, 09:36:53 AM »
We kind of did A.  Well, even if we both worked, we wouldn't be looking at FIRE in 5 years, because our incomes are so different.  When I decided to stay at home, we went from $100K combined to $25k.  Then after a year we switched which parent was staying at home, and we were bumped back up to 80K.  As the kids have grown (now 8 & 6), things have changed.  When DD2 arrived, DH picked up some part time work and I reduced my hours for about 6 months.  When they both were in school to some extent (preschool and K), DH again found some part time work.  When they were both in school full time (just this past school year), he increased his hours to nearly full time, but his schedule allowed one of us to always be home with the kids.

mm1970

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2017, 10:02:06 AM »
I was going to say "C", someone beat me to "C", which isn't my "C"

So "D", keep both working because we like to work, but take advantage of WFH and flex schedules.

FLBiker

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2017, 11:53:22 AM »
For us, DW stayed home for 2.5 years (she's going back this Fall).  She has to do a year back (to "repay" her paid 3 months of maternity leave) but the plan is for her to keep working after that until we FIRE.  If daycare isn't working out, though, she'd likely quit.  I say likely, because it could be me that quits, but I make about 2x as much.  We're probably 5-7 years away from FIRE.  DW also has summers off, which is nice.  And I think in a couple of years (when DD is in elementary school) I might try to get a 9 month gig.  That would delay FIRE, but as other folks have said, speed to retirement isn't the only priority.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2017, 01:09:31 PM »
We chose "A" because it was close to being a wash in terms of money in potential vs. money out for daycare.  Also, both of us believe very firmly that the first 3-4 years are important and did not want to farm out the care.

historienne

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2017, 01:25:35 PM »
A mix, for us.  Neither of us is interested in being a full time SAHP, so we will both keep working full time until our youngest is in kindergarten.  If all goes well, I'll have tenure by then, so permanent job security.  At that point, plan is for my husband to either retire or scale way back.  We'll have enough money that we won't need to make any further retirement contributions, so we'll live on my salary until I want to retire.  Don't anticipate retiring early myself, because I like my job a lot, but I am looking forward to my husband being able to take over all the household management!

cats

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2017, 04:28:03 PM »
Another for the "not interested in being a full time SAHP, so both continuing to work" camp.  We had (and continue to have) much discussion about whether working or SAHPing is the best choice, both for us as individuals and for our whole family.

A big thing that keeps coming up for me is that I don't think a SAHP set up would actually result in a massive drop in spending for us.  Sure, right now we spend a LOT on daycare.  However, we live in a HCOL area and a big reason we are able to maintain a high savings rate is that we choose to live in a fairly small and basic apartment.  This is fine when we are all out of the home for 8-10 hours/day 5 days/week.  If I were at home all day with a toddler though, I'd be going stir-crazy.  Yes, we would go to parks and the library often, but ultimately I think if we had a SAHP we would want to move into a slightly larger/nicer space, which would drive our housing costs up.  I'd say the increase in housing costs could easily be half what we pay now for childcare.  And we would probably still want *some* childcare, even if it's just something like preschool a few mornings a week or a monthly babysitter for date night (something we don't bother with right now as husband and I work near each other and can see each other for lunch dates while our son is in childcare).  I'd also probably want to find a local mother's group or something to go to for adult company/conversation, and that can result in some spending also (if the group wants to go for lunch, or is facilitated by a professional, or whatever).  So while we would spend less money with a SAHP, I don't think it's as easy as saying "100% of current childcare costs, saved!".  SAHPing does have associated expenses also, even if they are less than childcare.

nora

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2017, 05:48:16 PM »
A. Husband retired nearly a year ago and is SAHD and I work casually. We did this primarily because I earn more and also because he had strong negative feelings about his job. It won't delay fire too much though as daycare was so expensive and we have cut living costs by travelling for my work where housing and travel is paid for.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2017, 05:50:02 PM by Nora »

madamwitty

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2017, 05:59:31 PM »
We are halfway between A and B: I cut back my hours to half-time. It has its pitfalls, but it is a pretty good compromise all around.

RetirementDreaming

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2017, 08:02:04 PM »
B here but I worked from home so we never paid for childcare and was always around if one was sick.  My income didn't grow like my husbands but I was happy with my extremely flexible schedule.   We will FIRE next year when the kids are 11 and 9. 

The Money Monk

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2017, 03:26:51 AM »
I am not planning on having kids, but if I was I would want to home-school them, so I would go with the 5 year plan to have both parents be there

MayDay

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2017, 05:49:45 AM »
I was home for about 5 years, and wasn't sure if it would be forever be or not.

Now I've been back part time and will be going full time in a month.  My kids are 7 and 9.

We will probably retire when the kids live the house. No point in being fully retired but tied to the school year. But we'll definitely explore either PT work or consulting as we get closer and as the kids become teenagers (thus needing afternoon supervision but not being in childcare).

TravelJunkyQC

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2017, 07:34:42 AM »
I don't have children yet, so I'm not sure how I will feel not working (I'm very fortunate to live in a country that ensures I can use a maximum of 1 year maternity leave). I might WANT to return to work at the end of the year. But objectively speaking, I would rather spend the most time with my children as possible younger in life.

Along these lines, my partner and I have discussed the future maternity leave we'll hopefully have (2-3 years out at this point, if all goes well), and we plan on sharing. Provided I have no health complications after birth, I'd like to take my 16 weeks for myself (obligatory for mom), he would have 5 weeks (obligatory for dad), and then we would share the last 7 months, both returning part time to work and alternating days of who stays home.

So, is option C possible - both work part-time while kidlets are at school, but are both home early enough to greet the kids when they get home? Because that would be my pick!

BeanCounter

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2017, 07:56:25 AM »
I am not planning on having kids, but if I was I would want to home-school them, so I would go with the 5 year plan to have both parents be there

Believe me, what you think you will want to do before kids and what you find yourself doing after kids are very often totally different.

I had always thought we would choose option A once we had kids, and I would stay home with them. Then we had them. And I found out pretty quickly that I HATED staying home all day with them. If you have to be on a tight budget to stay home and can't go and do classes or activities with them (which are expensive), it can be very boring and isolating. Forget FIRE ever, I'd spend every fucking penny trying to get out of the house seeing other adults.
Luckily my career has been good and we could afford an excellent nanny for them from 0-3 and then a great preschool 3-school age, and still bring home some extra $$ for FIRE. It hasn't always been easy to juggle it all, but it was the right choice for my mental health.
We are now just a few years out from our FI number and I may decide to stay home or go part time. School schedules are much more difficult than the younger years and it gets harder to find care for older kids who don't need much but still need a watchful eye and listening ear.

robartsd

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2017, 08:23:31 AM »
We'd prefer a SAHP over earlier FI. I could see SAHP returning to the work force part-time when all children are in school if FI had not yet been reached. I also like the dual part-time income after kids are all in school option if close enough to FI that working only while kids are in school is enough.

BeanCounter

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #23 on: June 09, 2017, 08:31:08 AM »
I would like to know where all the part time opportunities everyone is referring to are. I have yet to find anything with a decent hourly rate.

Also one point I'll add about part time work when they are little- there is very little price break on part time day care costs. Which hardly makes it worth it.

boarder42

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2017, 11:10:21 AM »
with those 2 options easily route B.  we plan to do that without a spread close to that large. 

i bet it adds less than two years to our FIRE timeline for my wife to stay home.

may add 15 if i chose to.

madamwitty

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #25 on: June 19, 2017, 12:36:35 PM »
I would like to know where all the part time opportunities everyone is referring to are. I have yet to find anything with a decent hourly rate.

Also one point I'll add about part time work when they are little- there is very little price break on part time day care costs. Which hardly makes it worth it.

I started my job at full time and dropped down to part time once I had kids. Once I proved my value, my employers would rather have part time from me than nothing at all. I expect that it would be difficult to come into a job like mine at part time. That's one reason why I may stay OMY beyond my FIRE date. Breaking in is harder than staying on.

Day care price structures vary. The day care subsidized by my employer doesn't have much of a price break for part time schedules, but another popular daycare nearby has a very cost-efficient part time tuition (e.g. half-time is very close to half the full-time tuition.)

trashmanz

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #26 on: June 19, 2017, 12:38:50 PM »
Kids are only young once, you can NEVER get that time back.  You have your whole life to work if you want/need to.

boarder42

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #27 on: June 19, 2017, 01:16:04 PM »
Kids are only young once, you can NEVER get that time back.  You have your whole life to work if you want/need to.

so which portion of their life are you supposed to be there for.

by the time my wife and i have children they will be around 2-4 years old at about the time we plan to FIRE.

which parent is the one who is to get the time. 

there are a million questions this doesnt really answer at all.  its just a open ended statement with 0 advice.

if my wife and i can both be with our kids from age 4 on full time vs.  if i could just be with them til they graduate HS while my wife works.  or my wife could be with them full time from the beginning on and i'd join around 6-7 years old.

do both parents quit work and live off they savings as long as it will last then go back to work when the kids arent in the young stage - they are only in any stage of their life once. 

mm1970

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #28 on: June 19, 2017, 02:19:55 PM »
Kids are only young once, you can NEVER get that time back.  You have your whole life to work if you want/need to.
You realize that you aren't at work 24/7 right?

trashmanz

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #29 on: June 19, 2017, 02:23:06 PM »
Kids are only young once, you can NEVER get that time back.  You have your whole life to work if you want/need to.
You realize that you aren't at work 24/7 right?

Thats true, when you are home from work you can watch them sleep if that is what you call active parenting. 

trashmanz

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #30 on: June 19, 2017, 02:30:40 PM »
Kids are only young once, you can NEVER get that time back.  You have your whole life to work if you want/need to.

so which portion of their life are you supposed to be there for.

by the time my wife and i have children they will be around 2-4 years old at about the time we plan to FIRE.

which parent is the one who is to get the time. 

there are a million questions this doesnt really answer at all.  its just a open ended statement with 0 advice.

if my wife and i can both be with our kids from age 4 on full time vs.  if i could just be with them til they graduate HS while my wife works.  or my wife could be with them full time from the beginning on and i'd join around 6-7 years old.

do both parents quit work and live off they savings as long as it will last then go back to work when the kids arent in the young stage - they are only in any stage of their life once.

Sure, Ideally you would be there for their entire life, but I'm guessing when they are married with children they won't be as needy as a 2 year old, at least thats what one would hope.  Typically the longer they are in school the less they are interested in learning from their parents.  Additionally by the time they are school aged one could always work while they are in school.  Its the early years that most people will regret missing, but some people are more stone cold than others and may not care.  If you need some advice on managing your life to make it work so you can spend time with your young minds feel free to PM me, but OP was doing strictly an A or B choice poll and I wouldn't want to be an ass and derail with side conversations.


cats

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #31 on: June 19, 2017, 02:31:47 PM »
Kids are only young once, you can NEVER get that time back.  You have your whole life to work if you want/need to.

so which portion of their life are you supposed to be there for.


I agree, most folks will have to figure out a balance.

When thinking about this conundrum pre-kids, my feeling was very much that I was more "interchangeable" with another adult if the child in question was an infant.  For a very young child, basics like feeding and just providing a safe space are a huge portion of what constitutes good care.  As the kids get older, I think there are more variables where the parents may diverge from a teacher/caregiver, so it's more important to be "present" then if you value passing a particular worldview/value system/work ethic, etc. onto your kids.  Other kids start to develop more of a personality also and I do think a parental presence can keep a kid from falling too much in with the "wrong crowd", which is clearly not much of a concern at 0-3 years.

Now that I have a kid, I have to say that it's pretty much confirmed my feelings, and then some.  Our daycare provider knows a lot more about early childhood development than I do.  They aren't up all night with a crying baby so they're better able to be "on" and energetic during the day.  They get a totally kid-free lunch and two breaks each day.  My son is now almost 16 months and he's NEVER watched any kind of TV, movies, Youtube clips, etc.  If I were a SAHM, I can totally see that I might be using the "electronic babysitter" from time to time, especially if we were on a tight budget and not able to spend much $$$ on childcare or outings.

Ideally I would like to be a SAHM or working PT *with* a generous amount of childcare (say, 3 mornings/week if I were a SAHM, or something like 30 hrs of childcare but only 20 hours of work commitment).  But that's not in the budget just yet if we want to FIRE :)


RobinAZ

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #32 on: June 19, 2017, 07:47:06 PM »
I am single, had my son on my own. Decided to stay home with him, I ditched the nanny and the $150k/year and I have worked PT as an attorney for 7 years now. Basically a 66% pay cut. He is 10 now, and I am ready to double my hours and build a practice so I can retire eventually!!  Not sure, maybe that's option "N" for Nuts" or "No way!!"

boarder42

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #33 on: June 19, 2017, 08:29:42 PM »
Kids are only young once, you can NEVER get that time back.  You have your whole life to work if you want/need to.

so which portion of their life are you supposed to be there for.

by the time my wife and i have children they will be around 2-4 years old at about the time we plan to FIRE.

which parent is the one who is to get the time. 

there are a million questions this doesnt really answer at all.  its just a open ended statement with 0 advice.

if my wife and i can both be with our kids from age 4 on full time vs.  if i could just be with them til they graduate HS while my wife works.  or my wife could be with them full time from the beginning on and i'd join around 6-7 years old.

do both parents quit work and live off they savings as long as it will last then go back to work when the kids arent in the young stage - they are only in any stage of their life once.

Sure, Ideally you would be there for their entire life, but I'm guessing when they are married with children they won't be as needy as a 2 year old, at least thats what one would hope.  Typically the longer they are in school the less they are interested in learning from their parents.  Additionally by the time they are school aged one could always work while they are in school.  Its the early years that most people will regret missing, but some people are more stone cold than others and may not care.  If you need some advice on managing your life to make it work so you can spend time with your young minds feel free to PM me, but OP was doing strictly an A or B choice poll and I wouldn't want to be an ass and derail with side conversations.

This isn't derailing the conversation. Your comment didn't even answer the question. Since 2 people create a child and their options presented was for one person to possibly spend more time with a child while young. Likely in most cases at the greater lost time of the parent who is still working. You still just made a blanket statement with out actually giving a single piece of advice.

By you logic and statement one can only conclude both parents should quit working while kids are young. And either a have a big enough stash to last til you die at that point or b burn it to the ground and start work backup again when it's all gone. Which in most cases will mean less time in your children's lives overall for a majority of people.

John123

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #34 on: June 21, 2017, 10:01:28 AM »
My advice is option A.  Don't pay a stranger to raise your kids.  If you're an actual loving parent, FIRE will mean nothing to you over the health and welfare of your children.  Some parents never feel that compulsion and choose option B.  Be warned, it didn't really hit me until after they were born.  It was like a switch was flipped and there was nothing I wouldn't sacrifice for them (including my own life).   

cats

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #35 on: June 21, 2017, 12:16:41 PM »
My advice is option A.  Don't pay a stranger to raise your kids.  If you're an actual loving parent, FIRE will mean nothing to you over the health and welfare of your children.

This is so offensive to working parents, suggesting that continuing to work will automatically result in damage to your kids. My son is not being raised by strangers. He's being raised by me and my husband, with significant help from experts on childhood development.  Even with daycare, he spends the majority of his waking hours with a parent. I have said this upthread, but I strongly believe that two working parents has (for now) been the healthiest choice for our family and our son. This is coming from someone who was convinced a SAHP was the best choice before I actually had kids.

maisymouser

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #36 on: March 23, 2021, 02:22:33 PM »
Reviving this post as COVID has enlightened me as to what I choose:

B, B, B, all the way. I never ever want to be stuck at home with my kid all day every day again. DH might choose A and might actually end up being a SAHD in the next few years, so I guess as a family we might end up choosing A- but I choose B for myself. I would rather work than be a SAHM to a toddler or young kid.

In a REALLY ideal situation I might choose a hybrid of A-B, where I either work part-time or WFH a couple days a week. 40 hours a week is a lot of time to spend away from home, kid or no kid.

Kudos to all you parents out there who are strong and patient and wise and go with Option A. You are amazing individuals.

FLBiker

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #37 on: March 24, 2021, 06:42:57 AM »
This thread was an interesting read.  Our choice hasn't been binary.  DW stayed home for 2.5 years when DD was born, then went back to work for 3 years while DD was in pre-school (which we loved), then we moved to Canada (primarily because we thought it would be a good place for DD to grow up) and DW is looking for part-time work that would happen while DD is in school.  Her motivation is largely not financial -- it's to have adult interactions, a sense of accomplishment, recognition, etc.

I've been working full-time throughout (except for 6 months of part-time post DD's birth) and I'll likely downshift to 50% or 75% in a year or so, once we have tracked our expenses up here for a bit.  I don't know that I would quit completely, though.  I feel like I tend to drift towards isolation if I don't have to interact with folks professionally, so it's good for me to do something at least part-time.  I currently WFH (and will indefinitely in this job) and I like the flexibility that affords.  At the same time, I kind of want to get connected to folks locally, so I might look for something face-to-face once I'm downshifting.  Or I might just quit and get really into a hobby (like permaculture).  We shall see!

Fundamentally, we would like for one or both of us to be around whenever DD isn't at school or camp, and we don't want to have her super scheduled.  And it has been awesome for DW to have flexibility during our first year up here -- DD has been able to have a lot of play dates as a result, which means they've both been meeting people.


Mgmny

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #38 on: March 24, 2021, 07:12:40 AM »
Since my reply 4 years ago (lol), we went from 0 kids to 2 kids (2 and 6 months). We are both still working, but my wife is sort of only working "as needed" on thursdays and fridays which gives her the flexibility to stay at home and watch our children, which has been super great. I think we both still have the end goal of her being a SAHM, but her job is so flexible, and her benefits are good, so she hates to call it quits on that job, and then find out she doesn't like being a SAHM or we wnat to accelerate our FIRE date, but then she'd have to go back to a completely new company that maybe wouldn't give her the flexibility she has now (e.g. doesn't really need to work thursdays and fridays).

TheFrenchCat

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #39 on: March 24, 2021, 10:39:07 AM »
This thread was an interesting read.  Our choice hasn't been binary.  DW stayed home for 2.5 years when DD was born, then went back to work for 3 years while DD was in pre-school (which we loved), then we moved to Canada (primarily because we thought it would be a good place for DD to grow up) and DW is looking for part-time work that would happen while DD is in school.  Her motivation is largely not financial -- it's to have adult interactions, a sense of accomplishment, recognition, etc.

I've been working full-time throughout (except for 6 months of part-time post DD's birth) and I'll likely downshift to 50% or 75% in a year or so, once we have tracked our expenses up here for a bit.  I don't know that I would quit completely, though. I feel like I tend to drift towards isolation if I don't have to interact with folks professionally, so it's good for me to do something at least part-time.  I currently WFH (and will indefinitely in this job) and I like the flexibility that affords.  At the same time, I kind of want to get connected to folks locally, so I might look for something face-to-face once I'm downshifting.  Or I might just quit and get really into a hobby (like permaculture).  We shall see!

Fundamentally, we would like for one or both of us to be around whenever DD isn't at school or camp, and we don't want to have her super scheduled.  And it has been awesome for DW to have flexibility during our first year up here -- DD has been able to have a lot of play dates as a result, which means they've both been meeting people.

I'm the same way.  I've been WFH for the past 5 years and it gets really lonely.  We've moved in that time and apart from my in-laws I only made one friend here.  But it's allowed me to take care of my daughter myself, which has been great, but I'm looking forward to when she's older and I can take an in person job.

Knapptyme

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #40 on: May 21, 2021, 11:31:25 AM »
Ok, I'll jump in with an update, too. We have since added another DS and moved internationally.

In year 3 of my being a SAHD, DW experienced friction at work which eventually became toxic. The nature of her stepping away and me returning the work and staying in the area might have presented an awkward social climate. So my solution was to fulfill a dream of mine to teach and/or live internationally.

Now, I'm teaching again, and my wife is the SAHP. It has not been a smooth transition given the pandemic and the fact that I have had to teach virtually for the entire year. She did learn, however, that her job was not that important to her and that she doesn't need to go back to one.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #41 on: May 21, 2021, 12:59:20 PM »
I found it interesting to read both the original question and the responses with a Mustachian perspective in mind. I've read a debate about working parents vs SAHP elsewhere recently and it ended up being very "It's all very well for YOU to stay at home, but some of us HAVE TO work". Whereas most Mustachians could swing a SAHP no problem without getting into financial trouble, even if it detailed FIRE plans.

In my fantasy world, I would send my kids to boarding nursery 24/7/365 for the first year, have them back when they're one, send them to day nursery when they start being stroppy little turds, then have them back permanently around age three. Is this option available in the poll? ;)

We value having a SAHP, but holy fuck babies and toddlers are hard work. If I'd been earning enough to cover daycare, then knowing what I know now I would have worked part time until the kids' average age was four - then become a full-time homeschooling SAHP. (Note: our eldest is three...)

As it is, I'm a SAHP for the foreseeable, as the finances didn't make me working any kind of sensible option.

What's often missing in these discussions is the age of the kids, what age the adult in question would most enjoy being at home with them, and what period of the adult's life is likely to make most financial difference long term. School hours are short and school holidays are long. It's always worth having a SAHP if you want one. I suspect many SAHPs enjoy being with their children more when they are 3+.

I think one of the great potential gender equalisers of our age would be the widespread availability of higher level part time work. Part time lawyer, banker, management consultant, doctor... So it wouldn't always be the lower earning spouse who is more likely to be the woman who gives up their career completely while the man keeps his up completely. If they could both cut their hours back, husband could be a more involved dad and wife could maintain her career.

I think for a lot of Mustachians who earn a decent amount and have FU money, it would be possible for both spouses to go part time. More time with the kids but not overwhelmed by it 24/7, some money coming in but can coast for a bit on a reduced savings rate without a problem, maintain access to career to ramp up again later if desired.

The whole "raised by strangers" thing is something I have mixed feelings about. It does happen. You do get kids who spend almost all their waking hours being looked after by non-parent caregivers for years on end (e.g. nanny does morning routine and drops them at school, at school all day, nanny picks them up and supervises homework, dinner etc, parents pop in to read bedtime story between conference call and cocktail party). But working parents =/= uninvolved parents.

Going nuts because your 3yo won't leave you the fuck alone for hours on end doesn't mean you don't love them or you're not a good parent. It probably means you'll come into your own as a parent in a year or two's time. No one is medal-worthy at parenting every single age of kid. Some struggle with the teen years, some the baby years, others in between. Looking after a small baby is about as much fun for me as being a Hebrew slave building the pyramids. Doesn't mean I should never have had children - there's the next few decades of their life when I can enjoy them more when they're not up all night and screaming incoherently while being unabke to even point at what they want or move to get it.

Speaking ideologically rather than practically, we would prioritise having a SAHP during the primary school years in order to homeschool. I think that's when our kids would get most benefit out of having a parent available all the time.

Cassie

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Re: Would you rather, SAHP vs. Earlier FIRE question
« Reply #42 on: May 21, 2021, 11:15:45 PM »
The teen years were my least favorite. I really enjoyed the first year when the kids were babies. Everyone has a different preference.  Some families don’t have the luxury of choosing because of their circumstances. If the parents are confident and satisfied with their choices the kids will be fine.