Author Topic: Taking a break from work to spend time with kid  (Read 897 times)

mountains_o_mustaches

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Taking a break from work to spend time with kid
« on: March 29, 2021, 09:10:57 PM »
We're about 70% of the way to our retirement goal currently thanks in part to a recent unexpected windfall. Prior to that we were only about half way there and I think because it was farther off retirement didn't seem as tantalizing. But now I'm really feeling a pull to quit my job, at least for a few years while my LO is young to get to spend time with her. I come home from work and hear about the visits to the park, story time, etc. but feel like I'm missing seeing my daughter grow.

I'm curious if anyone else took a break from work before reaching FIRE to spend time with kids? Were you able to get back into the work force ok? I'm worried about leaving a good job where I'm on track to FIRE in 5-7 years. I also feel like I genuinely have an unusually good job right now - good pay, a good boss, good benefits, challenging but not overwhelming, so I worry that if I leave I'll have trouble finding as good of a job in the future. Or worry that I'll lose my skills or not be marketable when I look to go back to work again in a few years. Plus there's the normal FIRE worries about health insurance, getting bored, etc.

Any advice or insights from experience with doing something similar would be appreciated.

TheFrenchCat

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Re: Taking a break from work to spend time with kid
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2021, 10:24:10 AM »
I work from home part time in order to take care of my daughter.  We're much farther away from FIRE, about 15 years, partially because I'm only part time. That number may go down when my daughter is older and I can take on more hours.  But it's been such a great balance for me between completely being a SAHM or full time day care.  My husband also worked from home a good bit while she was 1-2 years old, so that was wonderful to have him around for those years too.  We did do preschool before COVID hit, and that was great for her socialization and it gave me a break/time to work more.  Next year she should be back in school for first grade and I'm planning to pull more hours at my current job then.  Then when she's old enough to be home alone, I'll consider working full time, though I'm not positive on that. 

Is your current job something you could do from home?  Or switch to part time, even in person? If you're worried about your skills atrophying, that's probably what I'd do.  My mom went back to work after a long break to be a SAHM, and it wasn't easy.  She eventually went back to school to get her nursing degree after a few years as a TSS worker, even though she already had a bachelors.  Plus, I've found that working some helps provide me more structure to my day, though you may not have trouble with that.   

Also, I do think there's value in having a SAHP at any age.  When I was in high school, my mom started working again, but my dad switched to WFH.  It made me feel more secure to know if I got sick at school or something it was easy for him to pick me up.  I also did a ton of activities, so I think a flexible work schedule/being at home helps with that too.  So if you choose to stick out the next 5-7 years, if your child is still at home, I think they'd benefit from you being at home. 

tooqk4u22

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Re: Taking a break from work to spend time with kid
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2021, 09:44:50 AM »
DW wanted to stay home when kids were younger and stepped out of very good growing career.   Was out for 5-6 years and wouldn't have traded it for anything.   When the career itch came back it was like starting over, started part time in different industry with similar role, went full time, got promoted, got back in to original industry, did well, got promoted to higher level (management) all within 6-7 years.  Did a few more then we FIRED.

My anecdotal observation from each of our megacorp careers for leaving work:

Out 6-12 months, no real impact...kind falls under sabbatical, family leave, etc.

Out 1-3 years, challenging but can likely find job at lower pay in similar or one level down role (I am in this phase, almost professionally dead but fairly confident I could get a similar role somewhere at 50% total comp)

>4 years, basically starting over. 

Staying in touch with professional network can help greatly though.

Also, being over 50 and/or high unemployment can seriously derail it.

But hey, you are 70% there so you probably don't need to make or do what you are doing when or if you go back.