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  • Transitioning to SAHD

    I'm strongly considering staying at home with my kids starting this Fall (ages 0, 3, 6). Looking for tips from those moms and dads who've travelled this road before. We are in our mid 30s.
    We may be hurt financially, slightly, for this. But my salary is an increasingly humiliating fraction of her income so the overall impact will not be significant. My wife prefers that I quit my job, but will let me do what I want to do. I like my job OK, and the arrangement I have is pretty flexible. We both dislike the frenzy that is parenting before work starts and then after work between 5:30-7:30 Mon thru Fri.

    Any words of advice to make the most of this time? Anybody do this and regret it?

    (Note: Financial info left out purposefully as this is question is not chiefly financial.)

  • #2
    See if you cant carve something out in a wfh niche if at all possible at least from a peace of mind productivity standpoint, something to do really.

    Otherwise, having been the sahd a couple times during transitions, its a whole ton of work, rewarding, but exhausting. It is nice not to have to juggle schedules when only one person works.

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    • #3
      Are you on Facebook? Obviously not anonymous but you should join the group “DMD” (dad’s married to doctors). There are lots of guys in there asking this question and you can get good perspective. There’s a subgroup called stay at home dad’s married to doctors. I would imagine this is rewarding and exhausting. You really need to know yourself and what you want

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      • #4
        I always joked that I would be a sahd until I had kids. Now that is not a very funny joke. I am ready to go back to work after the weekend. My kids are slightly older than yours but I have another one. There are a lot of benefits to having a parent stay home. My wife is part time and I think that is the best. Everyone needs adult time.

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        • #5
          I'll have to look up the Facebook group, thanks for the rec. We've discussed going PT but not sure that will be possible in current workplace. Maybe a new company or new career (is WCI hiring??). Wife does get a day off when post-call so I'll have help one day per week.

          Its hard for me to know what I want, as a selfish being. I usually just ask "what is best? What does the most good for the family?" then I do whatever my wife says to do.

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          • #6
            So I have no personal experience but my SIL is a SAHM (3 kids) and I have a good friend who is a SAHD (2 kids).

            My SIL needs time to her self and my brother makes sure that she gets it. Sometimes I see people treat their SAH spouses like they are always the #1 parent for all the hard parenting work. Make sure your wife is on board with not doing this and you have adequate time for yourself while she is in charge, before work/after work/on weekends/whatever works for you. You are probably going to be working harder than her all the other hours of the day.

            My friend who is a SAHD found that SAHM groups were not welcoming to him the way he hoped—e.g. would take the kids to the library/park/pool and all the moms were there with their kids and he would try to be friendly with them but they weren’t welcoming of him like they were the other moms. Hopefully in your area it will be different/there will more SAHD etc but he found it surprisingly socially isolating—surprising in that he had kind of expected that and didn’t think it would bother him but it did.

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            • #7
              My wife and I are both working physicians. As our kids get older, there are definitely times that we envy not having one of us stay at home and do childcare stuff. There is a lot of stress when you have multiple children with multiple conflicting schedules. It would be nice to not even have to worry about a sick day. My advice as a father with young children is to have memberships to things like children's museums, zoos, etc and try to go out most days. Even if it's just to the park, it helps maintain your sanity and keeps the kids occupied. I suppose that it would be nice to have a few stay at home mom/dad friends for those excursions but they are hard to come by as a father. You might want to look for some facebook dad's group or something. I never missed the company of the parents, but I think that it is nice for the kids to have regular friends to play with if they are not going to be in daycare.

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              • #8
                My kid is two. Wife stayed home for the first 1.5 years and loved it. She now works remotely during nap time and after bedtime. So she essentially has no downtime during the week. I don’t know how she does it.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by tylerjw12 View Post
                  I'll have to look up the Facebook group, thanks for the rec. We've discussed going PT but not sure that will be possible in current workplace. Maybe a new company or new career (is WCI hiring??). Wife does get a day off when post-call so I'll have help one day per week.

                  Its hard for me to know what I want, as a selfish being. I usually just ask "what is best? What does the most good for the family?" then I do whatever my wife says to do.
                  I cannot speak to your proposed set-up directly, but as of last year, I spend more time doing the child care than medicine. Medicine is way easier. Just make sure you don't burn any bridges in case you want to change course.

                  Not sure what your wife does, but post-call should not be considered a day that you will have help.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the advice all, good things to think about. I for sure plan to 'get out and do'. Would like to connect with other parents, but fear the mom v dad issue will hurt me in my area. All I can do is try it out.

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                    • #11
                      Wife stays home w 2 kids, one of them w autism. I actually reduced my hours to 26/wk, still maiming full time money. Just had to maximize my efficiency in my inefficient office...

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JBME View Post
                        Are you on Facebook? Obviously not anonymous but you should join the group “DMD” (dad’s married to doctors). There are lots of guys in there asking this question and you can get good perspective. There’s a subgroup called stay at home dad’s married to doctors. I would imagine this is rewarding and exhausting. You really need to know yourself and what you want
                        I agree with this. I'm a member there too, and there are a number of dads in similar roles. After the last move, I didn't go back to work but pursued another degree program. As it finished up, we had a kid and I stayed home with her. She's now in daycare and I'm back at work, but I'm not sure whether that's the best fit for us.

                        The extra money is nice, but after a certain level, things don't really change much.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by G View Post

                          I cannot speak to your proposed set-up directly, but as of last year, I spend more time doing the child care than medicine. Medicine is way easier. Just make sure you don't burn any bridges in case you want to change course.

                          Not sure what your wife does, but post-call should not be considered a day that you will have help.
                          "Just make sure you don't burn any bridges in case you want to change course."
                          SAHD is "easy" but can be extremely difficult to do well. I would suggest you consider what your plans are other than parenting. You will become obsolete. Fired, canned, not useful or whatever, but the job of a parent decreases in responsibilities. No more parenting responsibilities, then what?
                          Pre-school, elementary, middle school, and high school are all different jobs. 2 years out of the job market earns you the label of "long term unemployed". Reentry into the working world will have all types of prejudices and barriers. I noted your current situation and I encourage you not to judge it by the compensation. I would really think hard and have a plan of reentering the the workforce and maintaining some type of network and activity. Doors shut in about 2 years. The "next step" needs to be planned out or you might be unemployable (or at least what you picture as reasonable). Parenting as a career has a dead end built in.

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