Author Topic: all right - you've heard this before but...  (Read 6386 times)

Bolshevik Artizan

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all right - you've heard this before but...
« on: August 26, 2015, 07:56:48 PM »
so we are six months away from semi FIRE - semi, because I am going to do a PhD and the wife, bless her, will keep working for a bit (our situation = mortgage paid off $1m in 401ks, $275k in cash and investments)....

AND...

already we can feel the dinner party heat:

"you mean you're not going to work, and you are putting your wife out to work?"

"you mean you're going to stay home with your child and your wife is working"

or, from my wife's friends:

"you are sacrificing your child's nurturing for the sake of your career?" etc

to me, this smacks of reverse sexism, the expectation being that my wife will not have a fulfilling career after having children (straight sexism) and I have to be shackled to a job I dislike just cuz I'm a guy.

How do we answer these dinner party questions? Oh and then all the huge toys, massive yards, granite counter tops etc etc our friends have - how to explain our life choices to a four-year-old? "Mommy and Daddy have less stuff, but then we also have less worries?"

All and any advice appreciated!

Thank you -

Bolshewik

ender

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2015, 08:02:37 PM »
You could be an ass and respond, "when you're millionaires you can live however you want. This how we're choosing to live."

But this might burn bridges with friends.

frompa

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2015, 08:06:20 PM »
I'd say how you handle these questions is most to be determined by your style of handling conflict.  For my part, I am a very capable avoider, and when people (even those I know well) ask me things I don't know how to or don't want to answer, I change the subject.  Ha - it works for me!  And as for people making rude comments, nothing wrong with pointing out the rudeness or bias of their remarks before you change the subject.

As for what to tell your four-year-old -- it seems very unlikely that she is even capable of making comparisons between her lot and those of others.  Your household is her norm, period.  Relax and enjoy the remarkable gift of attention and care you can give her. 

I hope you agree that yours is a good problem to have.

flyingaway

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2015, 08:18:34 PM »
Do you have an assistantship to support your Ph.D. study? Working on a Ph.D. might be more stressful than working for money.

Jakejake

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2015, 08:44:54 PM »
I would likely make a joke of it - "nothing wrong with being a kept man!" and accuse them of being jealous. Or comment that nothing's more attractive to a woman than a guy that's confident enough in his masculinity to challenge gender roles. As for your kiddo, I'm pretty sure they aren't clear on the advantages of having a granite counter top, and if there are questions about why their friends have bigger houses or yards, it's enough to say you decided you cared more about spending time with them than working 40 hours a week so you could buy more things.

okits

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2015, 09:04:28 PM »
Ooooh, lots of sexism in those comments.

"Parenting IS work!"
"Our child isn't any less nurtured if it's her dad caring for her (vs. mom)"

I liked ender and serpentstooth's responses.

You could also just stop socializing with douchebags who have no manners.

Cassie

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2015, 09:41:48 PM »
I have a Ph.D. and am thinking are you going to work after obtaining it? It is so much work. I love when one parent stays home to parent. It does not matter which one as long as that person that is not working totally takes the burden off the family.

EngineerMum

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2015, 12:21:17 AM »

"you mean you're going to stay home with your child and your wife is working"

or, from my wife's friends:

"you are sacrificing your child's nurturing for the sake of your career?" etc

Bolshewik

"You do realize I am / he is her parent too, right?"

"When did we agree that dads aren't parents too?"

Or if you aren't feeling quite as bitchy as those comments made me feel, you could try,
"She's / I've had my turn as primary carer, now I / he wants a turn."

Bolshevik Artizan

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2015, 07:06:00 AM »
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. And Cassie, yes, I intend to go back to work, hopefully three or four days a week, after the PhD. Certainly not in the field I'm working in now. It seems I'm not the only one to have faced this stuff! Oh and PS yes, I'm a guy - I think that's why I was talking about the reverse sexism of how some people in society just expect men to earn the money and there's a problem if they don't... thanks again everyone! Bolshewik

tooqk4u22

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2015, 07:06:40 AM »
The funny thing is that most of these anti-girl power comments come from other women.

My DW went back to work (because she wanted to, not had to) and the stay at home mom circuit basically blackballed her.  Then when the discussion came up that I may take a break there were many comments like this very specific one that was said "So your going to let him hang you out to dry, how can you possibly trust him?"


BTDretire

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2015, 07:08:09 AM »
I would likely make a joke of it - "nothing wrong with being a kept man!"

 My thoughts went the same way.
Tell them , she says, "the sex is so good, it's worth keeping me housed and fed!"

regulator

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2015, 07:58:49 AM »
As someone else said, your 4YO will not notice or care.   That said, 4 year olds do not stay 4 years old.  As they grow up they start noticing differences in how people live and act.  For us, this has been a teaching opportunity.  Why do those other families have/do/buy more XXX than we do?  Because mommy and I value time with you more than material stuff that will be broken or forgotten about shortly after you buy it.  This sort of message has also been framed as a norm in our house for years.  This has been successful enough that my 11 YO is far more interested in the idea that she will likely learn to drive on our 2005 minivan than the fact that it is a 10 year old minivan.

I also have found that there are two strategies that have made life easier for us:

- Camouflage: we chose to live in a pleasant, middle class suburb with excellent schools.  We are not surrounded by millionaires or even particularly high consumption types.  So our dull-normal lifestyle does not brook any comment and if you were trying to figure out which house on the block to rob by what you could see out front, you would most likely pass mine by.

- Have a stereotype/story ready: Most people do NOT want to hear how you are breaking convention and (they feel) implicitly questioning or rejecting their societal norm lifestyle.  Give them an easy out by having a persona or two that they will be comfortable with.  Depending on the crowd, I either throw out the card of "work from home consultant" (see, I still have to work like all of you), or suburban redneck (hunting, fishing, camping, pickup, etc.).  If you pick your story carefully, most people will be satisfied and not poke past that, their egos appeased.

BBub

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2015, 08:16:09 AM »
I agree that you shouldn't worry about explaining the lifestyle to your 4yo. 

As far as the heat from friends, just try not to make a big deal out of the fact you are retiring.  The reason they are defensive is mainly based on their own insecurities - it's actually not about you at all.  Recognize that & try to be sensitive to it.

Don't make it seem like some huge deal.  I'd just go with a nonchalant explanation like "balancing hectic work schedules with raising a family has caused a strain.  So I'm going to take a little time to work on a PHD and spend more time with jr. while he/she is still young".  If they pry further, you could explain that you'll be 'sacrificing' some things like extra luxury spending, etc to focus on family.  When your decision is positioned that way, your friends may have a harder time finding fault with your choice.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2015, 08:20:30 AM by BBub »

ender

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2015, 08:31:33 AM »
I have a Ph.D. and am thinking are you going to work after obtaining it? It is so much work. I love when one parent stays home to parent. It does not matter which one as long as that person that is not working totally takes the burden off the family.

Also, this.

I hope OP realizes that doing a PhD isn't just a "semi-FIRE" thing. It's a "I used to work a normal job, but now am working a ton more hours for way less pay!" type of thing.

Basenji

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2015, 09:19:21 AM »
When people ask me annoying questions I just stare at them, then ask them about something they are interested in. For example:

Q1, an ok question that I'll answer: "Oh, your plan sounds interesting, can you tell me more about why you decided to [do FIRE/Mustachian action]?"

Q2, which gets the Stare: "What is this bizarre plan you have that makes my worldview feel threatened and therefore I've lost my manners and will question you with a superior tone?"

Me: [STARE. one two three...] "So, how is your garden doing? Any squash?"

I find people get the point fairly well. If they don't rephrase or do continue with the annoying comments, then they get my Miss Manners approved, "Oh, let's not talk about that, I'm so much more interested in your garden/haircut/window cleaning service."
« Last Edit: August 27, 2015, 09:28:46 AM by Basenji »

Cassie

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2015, 10:18:43 AM »
Since you are planning to use your PH.D. it sounds like a great idea.  Lots of woman have worked while men go to college so really don't see what the big deal is but it seems that the reverse is the accepted norm.  It is also great that once you are done neither of you will need to work f.t.   I think p.t. work especially with a child is the perfect balance.  I totally agree with the poster that said if you live in a nice middle class neighborhood but not upscale your child should be surrounded by others that are similar.  I never understood why some people think it is ok to criticize others decisions like this.

Bolshevik Artizan

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2015, 10:23:05 AM »
Thanks guys, all excellent comments. I do know a PhD is a lot of work, but I hope it's more meaningful than sitting in an office in a job that, in some ways, I really, really powerfully dislike. Not least among my complaints are the usual - horrendous politics, lack of respect, etc. It's just time to change the record in my life, very long overdue but there we are.

Thank you again for all of your great comments and support.

Bolshewik


Cassie

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2015, 10:29:08 AM »
I loved getting all 3 of my grad degrees. To me it was fun even though it is lots of work. Way better then actually working:))

Jakejake

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2015, 03:43:31 PM »
One more potential retort for you:

Them: "you mean you're going to stay home with your child and your wife is working?"

You: "I said we should just leave her home alone but my wife apparently has a problem with that. Pfffft. Women."
« Last Edit: August 29, 2015, 01:06:51 PM by Jakejake »

begood

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2015, 08:03:30 AM »
Where we live now, virtually all of my daughter's friends come from 1% families. Beach houses, 40-foot boats, condos in Park City, cruises at spring break... all that.

We just remind her, "Some families have more money than ours. We live like this, they live like that."

Trudie

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #20 on: August 28, 2015, 08:48:10 AM »
I would likely make a joke of it - "nothing wrong with being a kept man!"

 My thoughts went the same way.
Tell them , she says, "the sex is so good, it's worth keeping me housed and fed!"

This, I love!

CoderNate

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2015, 01:01:41 PM »
Thanks guys, all excellent comments. I do know a PhD is a lot of work, but I hope it's more meaningful than sitting in an office in a job that, in some ways, I really, really powerfully dislike. Not least among my complaints are the usual - horrendous politics, lack of respect, etc. It's just time to change the record in my life, very long overdue but there we are.

Thank you again for all of your great comments and support.

Bolshewik

I actually dropped out of grad school to get an office job BECAUSE of the horrendous politics and lack of respect (in grad school). YMMV, but at my school the graduate program was just a way to get qualified professionals to work virtually for free. A lot of it depends on your advisor. PhD comics is a pretty good (but slightly cynical) window into grad school culture.

Cassie

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Re: all right - you've heard this before but...
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2015, 03:29:04 PM »
I am surprised because I have 3 grad degrees from 3 different schools & found them all to be professional, helpful, etc.