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ER WITH KIDS??
Old 11-18-2004, 10:38 AM   #1
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ER WITH KIDS??

Has anyone ER'd with kids? I have two boys, 5 and 7, and I'd like to quit so I can spend more time with them and watch them grow up. I feel like I've missed almost all of the kid experience so far due to work.

Anyone travel with kids for extended periods

billystu
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??
Old 11-18-2004, 01:10 PM   #2
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??

not yet, but that is the plan. Hopefully, its not too long to wait... whoaa -- Is that my bio. clock I hear ticking
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??
Old 11-18-2004, 02:37 PM   #3
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??

Yes, I'd like to hear some advice about this as well. We haven't started our family yet, but looking forward to doing so maybe next year. We're still at least 13 years away from ER.

As for travelling for extended periods with kids, I had pretty much given up on the idea until I came across this webpage:

http://canadiancarlsons.com/travel.html

It's about a family that took their 3 kids on a one year trip around he world. They have some good advice about what to take, how to keep up with schoolwork, and what types of activities to do.
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??
Old 11-18-2004, 03:00 PM   #4
 
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??

I would rather have my toenails pulled out with visegrips.

John Galt
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??
Old 11-18-2004, 03:52 PM   #5
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??

If it counts, I have semi-ERd with a child. *I guess semi-ERing works well since I can work part-time while my child is at school, but be able not to work while my child has school vacations and half days.

Unlike some others here, my wife and I love going on vacation with our child, and my child loves going everywhere with us. *Maybe the day will come when he won't want to spend as much time with us, so we are enjoying our time together one day at a time for as long as it lasts. *He's been going with us since he was born, so he has learned to behave in public. *Maybe we just lucked out with a good kid, but I feel that the attention we give him is enough for him not to act like other kids in his class who don't get enough attention. *His teacher also notices that difference.

I may have other regrets in life, but not spending enough time with my child is the one regret I know I won't have.
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??
Old 11-18-2004, 04:14 PM   #6
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??

Quote:
I would rather have my toenails pulled out with visegrips.

John Galt
Now that is funny! And I agree.
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??
Old 11-18-2004, 04:26 PM   #7
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??

Quote:
I would rather have my toenails pulled out with visegrips.

John Galt
As Bob Smith said, funny, and I agree.

When our kids were 6 & 9, we took a cross-country trip from Calif. to Boston. (Driving). We later on figured we set a high-water mark on stupidity.

Has been a standing joke with my wife and I since then, and no matter what problems we run into, we usually look at each other, and state "beats hell out of driving across country with the kids.
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??
Old 11-18-2004, 06:24 PM   #8
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??

I ER'd and then had a kid 9 months later. It was my wife's idea, but it's been surprisingly fun for both me and the kid. Their development is so fast and furious in the first few years of life, that it would have been a real shame to miss it (and perhaps influence it) on a daily basis.
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??
Old 11-18-2004, 06:30 PM   #9
 
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??

I quit working two weeks before my first child was born.
(35 years old)Now at 41, we have a six year old and a two
and a half year old. Our days are filled with errands,
working at school, playdates with their friends, and
all the other stuff that goes with a family of four and a
house to keep up with. We don't go into "jobs" everyday
but we are sure workin full time all the same. We figure
if we try to raise them the way we think is right, then
when they're both in full time school and we have time
to do more "retired" things, we'll have no regrets.
So are we "retired" but not really "retired"
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??
Old 11-19-2004, 05:39 AM   #10
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??

Quote:
Yes, I'd like to hear some advice about this as well. *We haven't started our family yet, but looking forward to doing so maybe next year. *We're still at least 13 years away from ER.

As for travelling *for extended periods with kids, I had pretty much given up on the idea until I came across this webpage:

http://canadiancarlsons.com/travel.html

.
I read the summary of thier trip, and I don't think I could handle one year of traveling with our 2 boys. They are 5 and 7 and they fight like pit bulls.

I'm thinking more of traveling during the summer with the family, and not during the school year. I don't want to do the home school thing because I think a big part of their education is to learn how to interact with other kids.

I'm real close to pulling the ER trigger. I'll be 40 in a couple of months and that was my goal, so I'm going to do it. Our current expenses are about $5,000 per month, but I figure they are going to actually rise to $7000 per month when I quit due to more travel and more time to spend money. Kind of scary, but I think we've got enough $$ to make it..............

billystu
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??
Old 11-19-2004, 06:01 AM   #11
 
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??

Absolutely the 2 worst trips of my life were
traveling with small children. I recall coming back from one and being asked how it went. I replied, it was
kind of like being tortured for a week and then being handed a bill for $1500. Can't imagine what I was
thinking, and I love my kids.

JOhn Galt
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Absolutely.  Lots easier than working with kids.
Old 11-19-2004, 11:22 AM   #12
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Absolutely.  Lots easier than working with kids.

We ER'd as our kid was finishing fourth grade. The novelty of after-school care was just fine for many years but it was beginning to wear quite thin by age 9. We parents were heartily tired of juggling schedules (always fighting late exits and rush-hour traffic) and vacations, and it's been a delight to spend all that time at home with our surly almost-teenager.

Quote:
I read the summary of thier trip, and I don't think I could handle one year of traveling with our 2 boys. *They are 5 and 7 and they fight like pit bulls.
Gotta know your kids. We were always jealous of friends who backpacked their newborn & toddler all over Europe... until we realized that they're the most mellow kids we've ever seen. Our fussy high-needs kid would have never made it past the first mile marker. If your kids are gonna fight like pit bulls, it's best to stay near the home boxing ring.

BTW many parents of fighting kids swear by martial arts. First, they (the kids!) are taught that fighting is the last & worst way to solve your problems. Second, they develop enough self-control & self-confidence to solve their problems without lashing out in anger/frustration. Third, they quickly learn that their customary opponent now knows how to do some real damage. And if a fight does break out, soon they're criticizing each other's technique and they forget all about the subject under dispute. If it's available in your area, I recommend full-contact (with full pads) tae kwon do.

quote author=billystu link=board=lifestyles_board;num=1100806689;start=0 #10 date=11/19/04 at 09:39:30]I don't want to do the home school thing because I think a big part of their education is to learn how to interact with other kids.[/quote]
When our kid started kindergarten I lived in daily fear that defeated teachers would eject her for behaving "normally". So, to worry more constructively, I learned quite a bit about homeschooling.

The homeschoolers (and the states) make it look a lot harder than it actually is. You can replicate school at home with schedules, curriculum, homework, & tests-- or you can go completely without and let the kids pursue their own interests. At any point in the spectrum you can find plenty of websites, discussion groups, and local homeschooling families to help you find your way.

Whether you realize it or not, you're homeschooling every time the kids are home. And many communities have robust homeschool groups that serve the same socialization purpose as school. The difference with homeschooling is that the kids can interact more normally (less stressfully) without all those stupid by-the-bell get-in-line sit-in-your-chair rules (I'm referring to school, not the workplace).

But again you gotta know your kids and yourself. If either of you isn't interested in homeschooling then it'll never work. However the mere though of homeschooling is a potent complaint-stopper. When our kid comes home griping about the day at school, I listen sympathetically and say "Yeah, you're right, if you don't want to then you don't have to go to school anymore."
Kid: "Really?!? Cool!!"
Me: "Absolutely, you'll do just fine at Dad's homeschool. After all, I spent eight years teaching at military training commands so I'm sure that I can handle your education."
Kid: "Uh, thanks anyway, Dad, I think I have to go study now..."

quote author=billystu link=board=lifestyles_board;num=1100806689;start=0 #10 date=11/19/04 at 09:39:30]I'm real close to pulling the ER trigger. I'll be 40 in a couple of months and that was my goal, so I'm going to do it. Our current expenses are about $5,000 per month, but I figure they are going to actually rise to $7000 per month when I quit due to more travel and more time to spend money. Kind of scary, but I think we've got enough $$ to make it..............billystu[/quote]
You have more time to do things for yourself and to figure out how to SAVE money, too. Hmmm, maybe your kids will help you hold down those expenses if you're not driving cross-country with them. Spending quality family time together is usually free. A day at the local park or a weekend at the local camping grounds may be more than enough travel!

Just don't expect daily expressions of adolescent gratitude that you're always there for them. In fact I wouldn't expect it annually or even decenially. But someday when they're raising their own herd of wildcats... personally I've been apologizing at least weekly to my father ever since our kid was born.

And if you run out of money or if you get tired of spending all that quality time with your kids, you could always go find a real job. 'Cuz according to your co-workers, surely staying home with your kids can't be anything but indolent fun!
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Re: Absolutely. *Lots easier than working with kid
Old 11-19-2004, 12:08 PM   #13
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Re: Absolutely. *Lots easier than working with kid

Quote:
Just don't expect daily expressions of adolescent gratitude that you're always there for them. *In fact I wouldn't expect it annually or even decenially. *But someday when they're raising their own herd of wildcats... personally I've been apologizing at least weekly to my father ever since our kid was born.
Nords, Great point. Even though my kids are gone from home, I usually have daily opportunity to reflect on some stupid thing that I said to my Dad, and how he handled it with grace and considerably more savoir faire than I am capable of even now.

To realize that I will likely never achieve the wisdom of someone that I always thought was retarded is a bitter pill.

Mikey
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??
Old 11-20-2004, 01:17 PM   #14
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??

Quote:
When our kid comes home griping about the day at school, I listen sympathetically and say "Yeah, you're right, if you don't want to then you don't have to go to school anymore."
Kid: "Really?!? Cool!!"
Me: "Absolutely, you'll do just fine at Dad's homeschool. After all, I spent eight years teaching at military training commands so I'm sure that I can handle your education."
At our home, we use the opposite- "If you don't want to do the work we could always sign you up at the PUBLIC school!" "No, MOM, No!" However, Nords, I do agree with your general knowledge of homeschooling and the fact that you aren't hung up on that old socialization crap.

We've always traveled a lot with our boys. Usually one long trip a year (3 weeks) and several shorter ones. It's not always fun but I've traveled with adults when it was like pulling out toenails to quote JohnGalt. I think spending a lot of time with kids definitely makes a difference in the amount of attention-getting behavior they feel the need to engage in. So I agree with Retire@40:
Quote:
but I feel that the attention we give him is enough for him not to act like other kids in his class who don't get enough attention
It has been my observation that kids who are socialized with adults as well as other kids, usually are more adult in their behaviors and thought processes.

To each his own.

Judy
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Parents have always been clueless...
Old 11-20-2004, 11:10 PM   #15
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Parents have always been clueless...

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I usually have daily opportunity to reflect on some stupid thing that I said to my Dad, and how he handled it with grace and considerably more savoir faire than I am capable of even now.
"When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years." - Samuel Clemens


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Re: ER WITH KIDS??
Old 11-21-2004, 07:14 PM   #16
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??

BillyStu;
Definitely we have positive experiences from ER (Early Semi-retirement -- I do about 10 hrs per week) with kids.

Started 4 years ago when our two boys were 5 and 9. It was a huge part of the motivation to ER --to be with them much more during our years together.

No regrets whatsoever. They do like having us around, but they like playing with their friends even more. Not much gratitude, though I think I'm getting good positive feedback from the older one because his friends now have a nickname for me: YogaBob (I taught a class to a bunch of his friends at our church and they all had a great time and think yoga is cool now).

I have had the time to do a sculpture (my other hobby) of my younger son, that really looks like him and he is noticeably proud of it, as he knows it took a lot of time that other Dads don't have, and is a symbol of my love for him. But you don't get much in the way of overt gratitude from a kid ever, for ER or much else (except buying them the stuff like video games that probably isn't very good for them).

Travel: we've taken them all over the (western) world whenever there are school vacations. Spend less, have more fun. Just try to get them to a place where there are other kids and a pool, and don't plan long travel days. Animals are a big hit, too. We've gone in search of monkeys in about 5 different countries now. All this is different from the trips we'd take as a couple, but so what -- they are kids and we accommodate it.

Bonding vacations (camping) are a big hit. Mid-week overnights at a local state park are virtually free and sized right for their schedules and so forth.

My brother is ER, homeschools his girls, and he and wife take them out in a caravan several months a year. I wouldn't do it myself, but they and the kids love it. Kayaking with orcas in Alaska last year. Lots of time at their rent-a-horse co-op ranch in northern Calif -- pretty ideal.

Boat, RV or Caravan/Tent: all provide highly focussed quality time for a family (very cocoon-like) and save money over hotels/restaurants. A good match for ER budgets.

One last thing: you'll have time to transmit values -both in what you show them in your life and in the activities/learning/teaching you can do together with a bit more time. If there is one thing this generation is growing up missing imho, it is clear, consistent values carefully transmitted (not just by saying, but by real teaching) to kids. The kids are very thirsty for it. Also, time with Dads or adult men is really scarce for this generation, so the kids are learning so much from women/moms. Dads in ER can fill a real hole in these kids lives.

re: finances -- our kids never complain about any budget crimping and will think it is worthwhile if explained as enabling ER. Just tonight, I heard, "Dad, you aren't going to have to go back to work, are you"? as their immediate response when I explained the need to carefully turn off all the lights when we leave the room so as not to waste increasingly expensive electricity.

Have no fear: plunge in. ER with kids is great. Well worth any sacrifice.

ESRBob

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Re: ER WITH KIDS??
Old 11-21-2004, 07:57 PM   #17
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??

Quote:
Also, time with Dads or adult men is really scarce for this generation, so the kids are learning so much from women/moms. *Dads in ER can fill a real hole in these kids lives.
I may be biased since I'm a dad in a similar situation, but this is such an important fact that is so often neglected. Kids need both a caring father and caring mother in their lives.

While investing your money is very important, it is infinintly more important to invest in your kids. The regrets of not having spent quality time with your kids cannot be replaced later when that time has passed.
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??
Old 11-24-2004, 03:32 AM   #18
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??

Thank you for all the thoughtful replies.

I'm excited about begining this new phase in my life, and I'm sure I'll be back in the future with more questions.

billystu
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??
Old 11-29-2004, 07:08 PM   #19
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??

Hi,

I ER’d with two boys almost 5 years ago. They were then 3 and 1 and I was 50! (Some things you just get around to late in life.) I have never regretted the decision.

How you enjoy ER with kids will largely be depend on your expectations. It is not a typical retirement scenario, where you are free of most externally imposed routines. Most of us go through a period where we are establishing careers, feel obligated to be contributors in our employment, and are pulled many different directions in our family life But most retirees are well past that stage. But with younger kids, you are still very much pulled by and at the mercy of your children, their school schedule, and their activities. With young ones, I’m not as free to do the things I would like to as I would be without the boys. ER with kids has a lot of similarity with regular working families, but with a lot less stress and much more time spent as a family. I’m largely at the mercy of the school schedules and the boy’s activities. Can’t travel much without factoring in the school schedule or soccer practices. Can’t go visit tourist areas in off-peak periods but stuck vacationing when everyone else is also there. (We did a lot of off-peak travels when they were pre-school age). For the trips to be enjoyable, our travels always factor in what are appropriate and interesting activities for the boys. We do a fair amount of travel each year, but found a rather laid back pace works best for us. Such rules of thumb as don’t try to spend more than two hard days on the road without taking a day off, don’t try to see too much or schedule too tight, do leave time for impromptu side trips or enjoying simple pleasures. We once got off the interstate and a 20-mile detour to visit a state park that sounded interesting. We picnicked there, climbed some nominal cliffs, played in a creek and had a great time. Being ER’d, so what if we extend the trips by a day or two? Just enjoyed each day.

During the school year, we don’t travel much except on occasional weekend trips. Those trips are probably much more numerous since being ER’d as many of the household chores and projects are done during the week while most famiies use the weekend to catch up on chores and errands. Since I no longer need to pack in as much as I can in with limited vacation time (and the associated workaholic guilt of being gone), we tend to travel more during the week in the summer and keep weekend travel to a minimum.

My wife and I had been regular tent and backpacking campers before children but found camping in a tent with young ones was no fun. However, we picked up a pop-up camper 4 years ago and have taken many 2-3 week trips with it. The boys consider it a second home and so far, have not expressed a wish that they were home.

ER with kids is not your typical retirement, but it is a great way to raise a family. I’m sure how we travel will change as the boys become older, but I’m hoping we can stay well bonded as a family and continue to enjoy each other’s company. To be the role models for our children and not leave them to figure it out along with their peers due to our absences.

PS. I work seasonally about 4 months in the winter to stay connected to adult environments and to do something intellectually challenging. My wife has her home-based business to keep her involved in an adult world. But we try not to have these interests interfere with family times.
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??
Old 12-06-2004, 10:20 AM   #20
 
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Re: ER WITH KIDS??

The last poster talking about retiring with kids not being quite the image of retirement is correct.

Kids have thier own schedule that you've got to adhere to and spending time with them has a lot of pluses and minuses. (more pluses than minuses).

I've noticed a lot of the answers (and I concur with all of them) talk about a part-time job. I think that's important as it is important to connect with adults also.

One of my questions is what type of part-time jobs seem to suit ERs with kids. For this group - it's not about the money but it is about the mental and social stimulation. Joining the kid's PTA doesn't really quite cut it.

In fact, I just wonder whether there is a large enough group of "ER's with kids" to convince the powers on this board to create a specialized subgroup under lifestyles. There are a number of issues that are discussed from time to time (and I have a number of questions) from financial planning (expenses are higher for the next ten years and then...) to child raising ("Daddy - what do you do for a living?").

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