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Old 06-11-2008, 07:07 PM   #21
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I raised my kids in various ways at various times, as a single mom working part time and going to college and graduate school full time. As a SAHM when they were babies and toddlers, and as a part-time professional once they were in school. I chose, with my husband's total support and agreement, to be a part-time rather than full time professional in order to be around the house and be available for the kids. My husband had a demanding and highly paid executive career as well as family wealth that made it possible for us to make this choice.

I should mention that my two youngest children had severe allergies and many illnesses during babyhood and early childhood that made it difficult to send them to day care. So, even if I had wanted to take a regular job the illnesses would have made that choice almost impossible.

For me, the choice also meant that, besides child raiser, I also adopted the roles of tutor, housekeeper, cook, chauffeur, family organizer, gardener, financial planner and bookkeeper, social life organizer, and and all those other roles that keep a middle class family in order and on track.

Never had a maid or nanny or gardener. We did hire out the lawn mowing for a few years. I painted all the rooms in our various houses, fixed things, planted gardens and took care of them, pressure washed the deck, etc. etc. Every time we moved, many times, I did all the packing up, organizing, and unpacking as well as all the tasks that are required to turn a house into a home.

All this in addition to my work as a professional. I'd say I worked full time thoughout both my marriages and as a single mother.
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Old 06-11-2008, 07:41 PM   #22
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All this in addition to my work as a professional. I'd say I worked full time thoughout both my marriages and as a single mother.

Looking back on it do you wonder how you did it all ? I look back and know I handled it all and I can not imagine how I did it .
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Old 06-11-2008, 09:37 PM   #23
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Did you or your wife quit the job to stay with the kids full time? If so, for how many years and did you/she go back to work later?
DW quit work, never any question that one of us would. We both worked for the same company earning the same money but at the time she hated her job and I really liked mine. We had 2 children, 18 months apart and the plan was for her to go back to work once the children started school at 4yrs old (they start early in England)

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If one of you quit your job to become a SAHM or SAHD, was it more a financial or more an emotional decision?
Emotional - it is something both sides our family believe in. In fact DW's younger sister many years later was a high paid consultant and her husband quit work as a draftsman to raise their 2 kids up to age 4. We both have strong family ties. No divorce in either side - parents, grandparents, siblings etc - 30, 40, 50 and even 60+ years of marriage everywhere

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How did your decision (staying at home or nanny/daycare) affect your retirement planning?
Never even considered it. I was 26, DW was 25, we had been married 5 years.

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Do you think kids whose parents are FT employees are more deprived of family love/attention and extracurricular activities (hence less to tell to a potential college/university to be admitted to)?
Yes for the early years. Personal opinion but I believe the first few years of a child's life are the most important.

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If you could turn time back would you select a different route? E.g. instead of daycare, you'd be become a FT parent or vice versa.
Nope, those formative years with the children were so precious.
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:13 PM   #24
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My spouse (engineer) and I (scientist) both work ... and always have. Our kids are ages 12 and 16 now. Child care was either in-home MIL or babysitter or YMCA daycare. When school started, there was after-school care at school. Financially, we are well off because we are both professionals living in a low-cost area. Either one of us could quit our jobs and it would not really affect our local activities. There would be fewer trips to Hawaii, Europe and South America though.

Our kids were never deprived as far as I can tell. They've done all the sports, music, art, sailing, fishing, sports camps, travelling, whatever extracurricular activities. I've often coached their sports teams and still do. We are heavily involved in their lives, know all their friends and their friends' parents. We live in a great neighborhood where we can turn them loose and they can do whatever they want. It seems like group parenting with all the sleepovers and shared meals that happen.

We often do tag-team parenting. I may have my son for an afternoon, then drop him off and pick up my daughter. I often take one or the other to dinner where we can just talk. My kids beg me to coach their teams, so I think I have not pissed them off.

Luckily we had our kids when we were approaching 40, so we were well-off before they showed up. Also we will be early-retired before they go to college, so should have no earned income to show on the FAFSA.

In contrast, when I was growing up, I never was able to do any extracurricular activities: my mom was a SAHM who couldn't keep track of all her kids nor cart them to activities. My dad was military and often gone. I remember I had to ride my bikes miles to get myself to boy scouts and baseball.

For us, putting the kids in daycare has definitely allowed us to retire early. The costs of daycare are so low compared to either of our incomes. Also each of us has been able to max out 401(k)s every year. We've basically been able to live off the income of the lower paid spouse and invest the income of the higher paid spouse.

Our kids have friends whose parents both work, or either mom or dad works. All the kids are well-adjusted and one could not predict their parental situation just by interacting with the kids. Well, except for one thing: my kids know how to order and eat politely in restaurants. A few of the kids with a SAHM only know about chicken McNuggets.
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:54 PM   #25
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i have raised none, the state of florida still insisting that gay men are not human enough to adopt children. not that i would have, but i should have had that option.

it took a village.

brother and i are three years apart. though mom worked since she was a child (even when her parents thought she was in hebrew school, studying) i think mom quit working full time for my brother and my infancy, but even then she made money by selling clothing designs, knitted sweaters mostly. she was back working full time by the time i was 3 or 4 and only stopped when alzheimer's made work impossible.

while working & raising two kids, mom was very involved with school and the pta. she originated and then ran for many years our town's school newsletter. while working she had a cleaning person for the house. she was always there for me when i needed her yet she allowed me the space i required to become my own person.

i remember preschool and playing in her office after school. not much later i would become a latch-key kid. between ages 8 & 13 i also attended hebrew school three days a week, twice after school and on sundays. for eight weeks each summer i was looked after by day camp counselors from when i was a little child and later at sleep-a-way camp. as i grew my extracurricular activities became nefarious in nature and not suitable for college application. but that did not prevent acceptance to every school to which i applied. i've had much freedom & fun.

my brother's wife stays home where she cares for the house, three kids and a dog. her kids do not have the freedom i enjoyed and i can see that strain on their relationships. she also overseas their separate ranch with manager who tends to 15 tenant horses plus two of their own. my brother keeps her in a lexus and intends to pay for his kids first new cars and college educations. he would prefer giving up his business and getting a teaching job or working part time and have his wife work also, but i don't see that happening. i hope this lifestyle does not put him in an early grave as his stress level at times scares me. i would never live like that. but to each their own.

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Old 06-11-2008, 11:25 PM   #26
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For me and DH, it was our top priority to have me be a stay-at-home-mom when we had our kids. I was making more at the time, but he had a better potential long-term income. I wanted to be at home with the kids.

I did not work at all until they were in college. We all liked me being home, I cover all the homefront needs and DH earns the living. We found that if I run the errands and manage all the details all week he can relax and do things he likes on the weekends. He was (and still is) a very involved father, just not 8-4 M-F.

Financially, yeah, it's a big hit to your income, but I just couldn't see paying someone else to do what I truly wanted to do. So I guess it was an emotional decision, not a financial one. We just made sure that we could live on one income, with the idea of me going back to work as the emergency plan.

I've never regretted being a one income family and being a SAHM. It's absolutely been the best time in my life. Retirement wise, I'm sure we'd have more money, more vacations, better furniture, nicer house, more stuff if I had worked.

I've been working part-time for a little over 2 years. I like making money again and making a contribution toward DH's retirement. But I'm in a "small" part time job, very little time commitment and not much money. I'm looking for something meatier, more interesting and with more hours. I'd like a bigger savings when he retires (with 30 years in a public employees pension) in a little over 5 years.

The problem is that I was out of the workforce for 22 years and what I do now is not related to my career before kids. So I'm having a hard time finding a decent paying part time job.

People just don't seem to have any respect for the years you spent being a mother and home economist when everyone else has a long accomplished work history. I guess that's part of the sacrifice of being a non-working woman. The working moms have plenty on their resumes, I had to go back 22 years to list accomplishments that don't seem to be relevant anymore. The company had gone under, I had no references. At least now after working 2 years, I have some good references.
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Old 06-12-2008, 03:34 AM   #27
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DS was in part-time day care for a couple years and pre-school for a couple years. DD was in part-time day care for maybe a year. When we moved and there was no more family pressure on DW to participate in her father's business, she focused on the kids. I believe that was the right decision for us, for the kids, and if I had it to do over, I wouldn't have put them in even the PT daycare when DW was working for her dad, and she concurs. She would have just done the SAHM thing.
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Old 06-12-2008, 08:01 AM   #28
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To the O.P., if you want somebody else to cuddle them when they fall, or watch their first steps, or play with them, or teach them right from wrong, or be the first one there if they feel sick, or manage their diet and exercise and any of the other myriad of parental responsibilities that will forever bond your child with you, then by all means, make up some womens-lib excuse like "daycare is good for socializing the child". Harsh words, I know, but remember...you reap what you sow.
I think this was very inconsiderate of you. This thread was not about blaming someone how they choose to raise their kids. I was just asking how people did or would do, that's all. I'm sure you know families around you where BOTH parents choose to work FT. Do you also rub them the bad way to make them feel guilty? It feels exactly like listening to a mother who belongs to that famous breasfeeding society (forgot its name...): if you don't manage to breastfeed your baby for a minimum of 12 months, then you did wrong and you're a bad mother and they detest women who choose formula for their babies instead of breasfeeding. Or like hearing contempt regards women who'd like a C-section...
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Old 06-12-2008, 09:05 AM   #29
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This is a prescient thread. NYTimes magazine on Sunday is about the subject: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/15/ma...renting-t.html
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Old 06-12-2008, 09:43 AM   #30
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I only have one child but I only had about 4 weeks maternity leave, if I remember correctly. The day care center wouldn't take infants less than 7 weeks old so grandma took care of my daughter for those 3 weeks before we could begin using day care. The day care was only about 2 miles from my work and was very well run. There were different care takers for the different age groups. The baby room was staffed by an older grandma type lady. My daughter had good care.

I didn't like the idea of having only one isolated caretaker being left alone with my baby. I wanted more than one person around so that there was always someone watching over the caretaker too. I didn't have to worry about the caretaker being sick and not having someone there to take care of my baby.

My daughter grew up using that day care and I think she is a pretty wonderful person. My daughter was 9 when we stopped using the day care. My husband worked nights for awhile and I worked days...we made it work.
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Old 06-12-2008, 09:54 AM   #31
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It feels exactly like listening to a mother who belongs to that famous breasfeeding society (forgot its name...): if you don't manage to breastfeed your baby for a minimum of 12 months, then you did wrong and you're a bad mother and they detest women who choose formula for their babies instead of breasfeeding. Or like hearing contempt regards women who'd like a C-section...
Ah, yes, the La Leche Nazi's, as I like to the call them. Man, DW & I are on a bunch of people's naughty list: kids in daycare, formula-fed kids, and both kids delivered via C-section (not by choice, though).
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Old 06-13-2008, 02:39 PM   #32
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- Did you or your wife quit the job to stay with the kids full time? If so, for how many years and did you/she go back to work later?
My wife quit her job to stay home with the kid(s). Our first (and so far only) child is less than 2, so we're still in this phase and she hasn't gone back to work yet.

Quote:
- If one of you quit your job to become a SAHM or SAHD, was it more a financial or more an emotional decision?
Emotional/personal values type decision for us. My three siblings and I were raised by my mother, who stayed home with us. My wife grew up with a mix of mom/nannies/daycare. Therefore, my wife and I didn't approach the decision with a one-sided perspective.

We just spent a lot of time talking about what was important to us, what we valued most in life (sorta the "Your Money or Your Life" philosophy) and decided that it was important to us that one of us be home with the kid(s) at least until they were in grade school.

Lurking in the background of our decision was a financial aspect, in that we have several friends a few years ahead of us on the Baby Train, and we've seen them go from 1 kid in daycare, 2 kids in daycare, complaining about the stress of both parents working and juggling 2 kids and how the cost of two kids in daycare nearly eats up the second income ...

And since we knew we wanted more than one (hopefully 3) kids, we knew that down the road, our values-based decision might likely end up being the rational financial decision as well.

In terms of executing the plan, I had a higher income so it was an easy choice as to which one of us would stay home. My wife's line of work (graphic design) might allow for the possibility of some freelance work down the road if/when she has an interest in doing some.

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- How did your decision (staying at home or nanny/daycare) affect your retirement planning?
No effect. My retirement planning has always been based on our "current income," and my income has been rising steadily and pretty much covered the gap lost when my wife stopped paid employment.

Also, we realize many savings with her staying home: homecooked meals (no frozen junk, rarely order out or eat out), no overhead work costs for her (transportation, wardrobe), single-car family ... so those savings have offset some of the lost income.

We would probably be on a somewhat faster track to FIRE if my wife were working outside the home, but we're very happy with our progress and lifestyle.

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- Do you think kids whose parents are FT employees are more deprived of family love/attention and extracurricular activities (hence less to tell to a potential college/university to be admitted to)?
Extracurricular activities? No ... I don't think kids with 2 working parents have less access to extracurricular activities, because as I recall most of that stuff happens after school and the kids can stay at school for football practice / band practice / whatever. Sure there will be some stuff that such kids can't do, but I don't think it's all that much. Presumably even with 2 working parents the kids can still attend events/classes on the weekends or in the evenings. And certainly I think it will have ZERO affect on college admissions.

Love? No.

Attention ... well, yeah. From my own personal experience and my wife's experience, we feel that dual-income parents IN GENERAL have less time to spend with their kids, so by default that means IN GENERAL the kids get less attention.

There are certainly bad stay-at-home parents who don't give their kids any attention. And there are working parents who maximize their free time and give their kids much more attention than some stay-at-home parents give their kids. But overall, a stay-at-home parent has an undeniable advantage when it comes to giving attention to the kid(s). My wife spends all day with my kid, reading, playing, gardening, teaching him stuff, doing things together ... and there's just no way she could give our son that much attention if she were working full time. No way. Some parents spoil their kids, so I'm not talking about that type of "center-of-the-world" attention. Rather, just spending time with the kid while he's growing up and learning about the world.

Quote:
- If you could turn time back would you select a different route? E.g. instead of daycare, you'd be become a FT parent or vice versa.
As I said, we're still early on in the business of being parents. But so far, we're both very happy with our lifestyle and our little boy is growing up so quickly right before our eyes, we're thrilled that my wife gets to experience as much of it as she can, without being stressed and trying to be a Super Mom.

Everyone has their own choice to make on this one. Ours is pretty non-standard these days, but it's the right choice for us.


Edited to add: I don't consider grandparents or other family members to be the same as daycare/nanny. That sort of extended-family type of situation is still family. Likewise, I don't consider paid employees part of some touchy-feely "community" of people caring for a kid. Paid employees in the "childcare industry" aren't the same as the extended-family in the it-takes-a-village cultural practices common in some countries, IMO.
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Old 06-13-2008, 02:51 PM   #33
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I wish I could be a SAHD. DW just doesn't make anywhere near what I do (maybe 1/3 if lucky), plus each year I work I build up my federal pension. DW works 3 nights a week 5-9PM so gets some adult time and small $.
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Old 06-13-2008, 04:51 PM   #34
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My DW has said on numerous occasions that the one thing in her life that she is absolutely certain that she will never regret or feel guilt about is staying home with the kids until they were in school.

....

Do we feel self righteous? Yes, because we know that we did the right thing.
Grizz, how can you be so sure, if you never experienced the other side of this?

We've done both. There are plusses and minuses to each. I personally feel that there are more plusses to a well-run day care.

People should be free to decide based on their personal circumstances and what is available to them. I see no value in being self-righteous about it, or attempts to send others on a guilt trip.

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Old 06-13-2008, 05:32 PM   #35
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I didn't like the idea of having only one isolated caretaker being left alone with my baby. I wanted more than one person around so that there was always someone watching over the caretaker too. I didn't have to worry about the caretaker being sick and not having someone there to take care of my baby.

My daughter grew up using that day care and I think she is a pretty wonderful person.
Yes, those are some of the plusses of day care. A SAHM (or Dad) will be busy doing chores, running errands, etc. The day care people - it's their JOB to be interactive with those kids all day, the kids learn more than they do in (probably) most home settings. Plus, trained staff or nurse on hand in case of emergencies. I felt pretty good about the time my kid spent in day care. I can't imagine why some people want to bash the idea. And as I said, we've done both.

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Old 06-13-2008, 05:57 PM   #36
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A SAHM (or Dad) will be busy doing chores, running errands, etc. The day care people - it's their JOB to be interactive with those kids all day, the kids learn more than they do in (probably) most home settings. Plus, trained staff or nurse on hand in case of emergencies. I felt pretty good about the time my kid spent in day care. I can't imagine why some people want to bash the idea. And as I said, we've done both.
I agree, no need to bash either approach.

But, my wife doesn't merely treat it as a JOB to interact with our kid; it's one of the most important, fundamental values in her life. Interacting with, and teaching our kid goes beyond what any JOB (or, I should say, J*B) could possibly mean.

Put it this way - my wife has no desire to FIRE from being a mother. It's not a J*B and not a paycheck to her. We're naive to think that employees in the childcare industry are immune to the same feelings, frustrations, incompetence, and general, all-around crap that most of us are sick and tired of dealing with in our J*BS. They're not doing it for charity, and they're not doing it because our kids are so adorable (as much as we might like to think they are). My mother is a preschool teacher, and I hear the stories, so I have some knowledge of the industry.

For a stay-at-home-parent, those chores/errands take up amazingly small percentages of your life once you stop working outside the home. It's only those of us slaving away at a J*B all day who feel like chores/errands eat up so much time, because we try to squeeze them in during our limited free time.

Not to mention - our kid is learning exactly what we want him to learn, from us, the way we want him to learn it, when we want him to learn it.

Actually, now that I think about it, on a day-to-day basis, being a stay-at-home parent is pretty much the same thing as being FIREd, where you devote your time/energy to doing something you love - spending time with your family.
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Old 06-13-2008, 09:02 PM   #37
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Looking back on it do you wonder how you did it all ? I look back and know I handled it all and I can not imagine how I did it .
Yeah. I'm pretty sure I shaved a few years off my lifespan by cramming work, grad school and CFA exams all inthe same time period so that it was all pretty much done by thetime the kids arrived.
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Old 06-13-2008, 10:54 PM   #38
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Luckily for the human race, there is more than one way to raise a child. I worked full time when my kids were little, and I have two great kids. Our family life is fantastic.

I wanted to keep my job when the children were babies and there was no option for half-time work at that time. We luckily had access to very good daycare, but it was very expensive. For a year after my daughter was born, daycare costs were nearly the whole of my salary (both kids were in care) but it was worth it to keep my job (and my pension and health care, etc.)

I was able to cut back to half time when my son started high school. Surprisingly this had some big payoffs. I was able to keep track on what he was doing, and to volunteer with his high school extra-curricular activities (theater). It was fun for both of us.

Now he's in college and my daughter is starting high school. I'll be volunteering at her school next.

Anyway, don't let anyone tell you how to raise your kids. Figure out what is best for your family and go for it.
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Old 06-14-2008, 07:06 AM   #39
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...Anyway, don't let anyone tell you how to raise your kids. Figure out what is best for your family and go for it.
That's right! Even though we had one of us at home full time - I'm not convinced any one way is better than another.
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Old 06-14-2008, 08:51 AM   #40
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It's hard enough to have a family without other people second-guessing our decisions. I can do that to myself without anyone else's help....
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