Originally Posted by TromboneAl
You're gonna love this.
Looks like she's gonna launch OK, Al. Of course your parental response was to make her wax them both, too, right?
Originally Posted by yakers
I know a few folks have kids and ERd. As long as you have an adequate income stream, is there any disadvantage?
The biggest challenge is getting those little buggers to work a double shift for the overtime. You'll hear a lot of whining about child labor laws, too.
Seriously, though, kids in ER are no more trouble than at any other stage of your life. But it's much better to worry about money than to worry about juggling work & kids. Your parental time is worth far more than any amount of money and the income stream only needs
to be a trickle. ("Wants" are the kid's own darn problem.) I wonder if kids are a powerful motivator for achieving FI, because otherwise work might just be the most fascinating thing in your life.
Before I start my story, I'll remind everyone that Jarhead had to deal with this situation
a couple decades ago and he put a lot of thought into how his kids perceived it. Later his adult daughter told him that she was so busy coping with her teenage years that she didn't really notice what her parents did during ER. So we're not as important as we think and we certainly can't expect gratitude for our hard ER work at raising kids.
Our kid was born during my staff tour. We had romantic fantasies of backpacking her across the Pacific (as two friends did with their little angels) but that "plan" didn't survive its first diaper change.
Our kid is "always on". Dr. Sears describes it as "your fussy baby & high-needs child." Routine sleeping through the night didn't happen until well into first grade, and the first four years consisted of several nightly naps of 2-3 hours interspersed with more wakeups than I ever had on sea duty. We barely got through the minimum cyclic routine of chronic fatigue (I pulled down pneumonia-- twice) and today I'm still baffled at how we did it. Not that we can remember most of it.
Once while my spouse was at sea I got the dreaded watch officer's midnight phone call. It became necessary for me to go into work and write message traffic. This is a really bad time to call your backup daycare provider so I loaded our little bundle of joy into the car and signed her into my classified workspace (we debriefed her later). The crisis persisted through the night (I'm referring to the troubled submarine & the message traffic) so we spent it on the floor of our somewhat spartan amenities. (Hey, at least I'd brought along her crib mattress!) At 6:30 AM I was coming out of the building with all crises resolved and a bright-eyed baby in my arms to encounter my arriving boss who was somewhat miffed at my appearance. That was when I discovered that I didn't really have a family-friendly career and something was gonna have to give. Making the right choice took another nine years.
I thoroughly enjoyed Career Days at my kid's elementary school wearing my uniform, but it's even more enjoyable discussing life with the middle school gang camped in our familyroom. ER means being there for your kid without being exhausted, without having a buzzing head from the workday, and without having to make choices that you really shouldn't be forced into. As she approaches the teen years I can't imagine doing it like I did a decade ago.
She used to tell people that "My parents retired from the Navy to raise me." (Her teachers agree with that.) Now she understands that we paid our dues and we worked hard for financial independence. She tells people that we have the time to do whatever we're interested in-- last year I won the middle school's adult "accelerated reader" contest.
Homeschooling is good. IMO it exists for parents & kids who can't handle school for whatever reason. Some parents object to the teachers, other kids aren't ready for the environment. (If you think it's just right-wing Christian fundamentalists then you're sadly out of touch.) We seriously considered it because we worried that SCHOOL wasn't ready for our kid. Personally I think that our kid's greatest life lessons have come from the negative examples of her crappiest teachers, and today she clearly understands the meaning of being responsible for her own learning. I've seen kids who'd thrive in any learning environment and others who are still looking for theirs. Your homeschool decision will be the right one for your family whether you hire a tutor, use a curriculum, or just go with unschooling. It all works out. Homeschooling works even if you don't do it-- when our kid comes home bitching about the school day, I tell her that we can start homeschooling tomorrow. She immediately finds something nice to remember about that school day after all.
We've had a lot of talks about our kid "living high" on Mom & Dad's lifestyle. She understands that her standard of living is gonna take quite a hit when she moves out and I'm really glad that we saved all those photos of my first apartment. She knows that chores are assigned to teach her how to be a good roommate, to fix her home, and to execute a schedule under pressure. We also tell her that they're designed to make her want to move out & get her own place ASAP and I do believe that program is working. In return I've agreed not to drive by her morning school bus with my longboard on the way to the beach.
Think of it this way: Which would we prefer that our kids remember of their childhood years-- our working years or our ER years? And which memories will motivate them to achieve their own financial independence?