March 05, 2007


The raisin'

Today's thoughts are inspired by another of D-Cup's excellent posts.

Having now my first child (and he will be the last unless we win the mega jackpot - then we'll adopt!) at the age of 41, one of the first things I thought beyond "I love you" was "Boy, I wish we had you 10 years ago."

(I mean, c'mon?)

In my life, avoiding the kid thing for the sake of independence was a fallacy, mostly because I did nary a thing to advance my position in life to make said independence worth the amount that I craved it. Instead of finishing my education, I toiled away in a good-paying job that I hated so much I was glad to finally be laid-off (but not before wasting five years).

I now make about half as much in a job that I really like, but my age has me looking seriously at being a stay-at-home dad for Max. Of course the wife's income being about twice mine puts that in the realm of possibility (with some budgetary sacrifices). Add to that our new tax deduction and, above all, me getting to raise him/him being raised at home - the "pro" column fills up fast. I mean, what's the point of working outside the home to have half my paycheck go to pay someone else to raise my kid more than a third of the time in his early years? I'm looking at what lots of working couples do these days - one stays home and gets him to kindergarten or first grade and then goes back to work. The time at home would also be spent pursuing the few freelance connections I have and cultivating more, an perhaps getting that long postponed sheepskin online.

Cons, anyone? Honesty invited/appreciated.

Labels: ,

"Cons, anyone?"

Ha. You're funny.

Sounds like a great 18-year plan.
I think it's a fine idea. My only concern is that you do work on the freelance putting them off until "next week" which might turn into a week after that and after that scenario.

Have you and Jen sat down to work out a budget yet to figure out where to cut costs? If ya'll can work out an arrangement that works, then I'm behind you 100%.

The only cons I can think of involve housework. :P I'll seriously think about it and get back to you if I come up with anything.
Thanks for the linky-love and the boost.

I like your plan. If I had a time machine, The Honey and I would have done two important things for our finances.

(1) If we knew we were going to have multiple children (lack of planning and bad birth control), I would have had them much closer in age.

(2) One of us would have stayed home until the last one went to kindergarten.

The financial setback of each child (loss of wages, extra expenses) spread out over so many years was devastating.

Stay home, cut some fat out of the budget, do the freelance, but push yourself to have a routine that allows for the caregiving, housework and writing because SouthernWoman is right. If you don't, the writing will take a backseat to the other stuff.

And, of course, write about your experience!
I say what Tammy said. If your budget can afford it, then DO IT! I got to stay with Carly for 6 very short months and absolutely loved it! My only regret is giving in to the not being able to spend more money because our budget was very tight. So I went back to work. Now I come home or my mom calls me to let me know she has done something new and it makes me sad.
I believe that IF you can afford it, one parent staying home with a child until K starts is best for the child. The parents? It depends. I found it impossible to write or do much of any career planning stuff while taking care of babies (2) - the whole SAHM thing just drained all my emotional energy, though I realize that doesn't happen to everyone. But PLEASE don't write a book or column about the wonders of being a dad and how adorably brill your kid is cuz there's already way too much of that out there. Gak!
I hate going to work in the morning and I can't wait to get home, simply because I hate being away from Sam. And I love my job, too. My wife stays home with him, so at least he has one parent there most all the time. If you can do it, do it. I would. Still may before he's in kindergarden, if I can sell a goddamn script.
I dunno ... this stay-at-home parenting thing is a bit dicey.

I mean, you may find you suddenly develop an addiction to The View, Oprah, and any other insipid daytime TV there is. Plus, think about the damage to your thighs? They'll grow, alright. And no amount of sauntering with junior in a pram will melt those extra inches.

Soon the wife may no longer find you sexy, and your exhaustion will end up interfering with the Devil's business anyway. Then she'll take a lover, you'll silently resent her while stuffing your face with bon-bons and whipped cream, and before you know it you're cruising the local Wal*Mart looking for stretch pants and cheesy romance novels.

But then, it is your kid, and sacrifices have to be made.

Ook ook
Hey, at least Fez stopped before you started wearing that muu-muu.

I wish I could be a stay at home Dad. Those kittens go apeshit when I'm at work.
I think you should go for it if you're both at 100% on the deal. I don't know your wife at all, but you've just *got* to make sure that she views your contribution as Mr. Mom as more valuable than any financial contribution you would be making.

And I would DEFINITELY take the advice you see here to get a routine. It is TOUGH to write at home with kids around. I get most of my work done on my script at night after 10pm, pounding out 5-15 pages (or working on my plot outline and cards, as long as I'm going forward.) Most of my creative thinking for that session happens during my morning shower, believe it or not. I end up in there for 20 mins. plus because I stand under the water and think through whichever scene is on my mind. Then I finish up and rush through my getreadyroutine to get to my desk and jot down my thoughts. Then that night I'm writing it out.

When he starts to get on a routine and nap time, that will probably help you too.

I hope you guys pull it off. Exciting stuff!
Oh... ADORE the pic.
I wish it could be me to stay home, but I make more money (sorry honey, but it is true!!!!).
I've been staying home with my daughter while maintaining my freelancing for 3 1/2 years. I don't have a general position on whether staying home is best - I think that varies by family and you're the only two to judge what's best for yours.

I can tell you this: you think you can do x, y, and z all while staying home but it is so much harder than you think it'll be. I was a manager at a big consulting firm before, traveling all the time, working long hours, etc. and that was WAY easier than what I do now.

My advice: Expect to get no non-parenting work done for the first 6 months. Be VERY REALISTIC about this and don't beat yourself up about it. Infants are what they are, and they require what they require, and everyone will be happier if you kick back and just say screw it and enjoy this time rather than wondering why you can't do "it all." After that, when there's a more consistent sleep schedule, you can fit in freelancing etc. at night and during naps. For a long time mine was going to bed at 7:00 and I'd put in 5 hours a night, and then get up at 6 AM. It was tiring for me (some people do better on 6 hours of sleep than I do) but totally worth it. From where I'm sitting having this side business that is mine and separate from my family seems to save me from going batty. But that's just my thing - others' mileage will vary.

Finally, I totally agree with Looney about everyone being on board. The contributions of the stay-at-home parent need to be recognized and the need for occasional time off accomodated. There is no substitute for that. To work this hard and not have it valued, or to put a price-tag on it, is just plain old not okay.
Don't feel like you have wasted time. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Everything that you did up until now has prepared you for the job of being the best dad that Max can have. Never regret. And get the sheepskin, it has opened many doors for me. Funny thing is, you don't need it to be good at a job, but having it is why they give it to you in the first place. It puts the resume in the "potential" file and not the "circular" file.
Never regret.

Amen to that. Regret would only be useful if you could actually go back and change what already happened. Just look forward and enjoy :-)
Thank you all for the support and advice, particularly from you "work-at-home" parents. It's still a big decision, but now one that's not so hard. We've got through the summer to decide, so I'll let you know.
I think a con is the isolation - especially for a man perhaps as I have heard they feel a bit out of place in playgroups etc.

The pros outweigh the cons though - I have never regretted staying home to bring up my children - it's the biggest gift you can give them.
I appreciate that, Ruth, but I don't think isolation would be a problem for me. If by "out of place" you mean among women, I'm pretty outgoing and have enough sensitivity to feel comfortable in a pack of them (just ask my co-workers). I'd definitely seek out other Mr. Moms though, just to counter balance any estro-vaginal overload. ;)
He'll be the one hogging the Legos, mark my words......
BTW, I don't think he looks like a raisin at all.

HTH ;-)
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