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SAHD Random Musings and a Soup Recipe

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SAHD musingWe’re having a rough week here at the RB40 household. Junior and I are sick again. We kept getting sick this winter and it sucks. Whenever I started to feel better, we’d get sick again a few days later. 😡 I guess this flu season really is worse than usual. To top it off, Mrs. RB40 is out of town on a business trip this week. Luckily, I’m a seasoned stay-at-home-dad now and we’ll survive until she gets back. Today, I’ll go over a few SAHD questions and share a family soup recipe at the end. RB40Jr is home so I can’t write anything serious. Hopefully, he’s well enough to go to school tomorrow.

Are you a Super Dad?

Unfortunately, I am not Super Dad. Before I quit working full time to become a SAHD, I hoped to be one. However, it’s too much for me. What’s a Super Dad? Here goes… The same applies to SAHM, of course.

  • Super Dad does all the chores at home. He cooks, cleans, does laundry, washes dishes, fixes the garbage disposal, maintains the car, and keeps the home in tip top shape.
  • Super Dad takes care of the kid and enjoys spending time with him. He plays with Junior all day long and loves every minute of it.
  • Super Dad has endless patience and never gets mad at the kid.
  • He makes sure the family is doing well financially. (I actually did pretty well here.)
  • Super Dad volunteers at school, joins the PTA, and has a great network of other stay-at-home parents. He can arrange play dates at any time and pushes the kid to excel at school.
  • Superdad also is a Super Hubby. He plans regular date nights and spends quality time with the missus often.
  • Etc…

Real life is much more of a compromise. I do about 50% of the chores because Mrs. RB40 has a lower threshold for messiness than I do. Things would eventually get done if she left them all to me, but our home would then look like a bachelor pad. That’s where we are this week while she’s out of town. I’ll clean up a little right before she gets home. I cook dinner every weekday, though.

Being the perfect dad is difficult even when you’re a SAHD. It’s impossible to be patient when you spend all day with an energetic kid. Junior pushes me all day long. The more time I spend with him, the easier it is to get mad at him. I think the toughest time was from 2-4 years old. We spent a ton of time together and we got on each other’s nerves constantly. We get along so much better now that he’s in school from 8 am to 2:15 pm. A little less time together actually improved our relationship. If you’re a SAHD and having a hard time with the kids, you should consider getting a babysitter or something. The time apart really helps.

As for school, I volunteered a few times last school year, but not this year. Our school has a ton of support from other parents and they really don’t need me right now. Maybe I’ll volunteer more next year. I have been spending time at school instead to deal with his hearing impairment issue. His left ear has serious hearing loss and he needs extra support. Fortunately, Junior is doing fine academically. We make sure he reads at least 30 minutes every day.

Lastly, I’m not a Super Hubby either. I’m an adequate husband and we really need to spend more quality time together. We’re going to see The Book of Mormon next week so that should be fun. More date nights would really help.

Anyway, I try my best and we’re making do. I think life will be easier once Mrs. RB40 joins me in early retirement. We’ll all have more time to improve our family life.

What’s the hardest part of being a SAHD?

For me, the most difficult part is keeping my temper. As mentioned above, the more time I spend with my kid, the more often I’d blow up. He just doesn’t listen to instructions very well. I’d tell him to stop what he’s doing and he’d keep doing it. After 3-4 times, I’d get mad and yell at him. I don’t know why he can’t just stop and go do something else for a while. Maybe I’m not being explicit enough. I already yelled at him once this week. Hopefully, that will be it before Mrs. RB40 gets back.

The Goldbergs

BTW, RB40Jr loves The Goldbergs TV show for some reason.

What are your go to activities to entertain and tire out RB40Jr?

We went to the playground a lot when he was little. He is a very energetic kid and he needs to run around. Now that he’s older, soccer is a really good activity for him. He is in a youth soccer team at school and he enjoys it. The team is only active in spring and fall, though.

Does it ever get so tedious you think, “I could be by the vending machine at work with work buddies planning a happy hour”?

No way, it never got that bad. There were a few occasions that I blew up and needed a time out. I put a DVD in, told him to take care of himself, don’t bother me unless it is an emergency, and went to take a nap. This hasn’t happened since he started school, though.

I never wished I was back at work. That’s probably because I hated my old job so much by the time I left. The last two years at work was a hell of my own making. If work was tolerable, I’d probably missed it once in a while. The recent news about layoffs, hardware bugs, and alleged insider trading made me extra happy that I’m not in that corporate hellhole anymore. The CEO sold all the shares he could after he heard about Meltdown and Spectre bugs. That’s before the public learned about these security issues, of course. $39 million+ dollars, score!

How to find social outlets so you don’t become isolated and depressed?

Hmm… This one is tough because I’m horrible at it. For me, having an online community and a few local friends is enough to get by. Here are my suggestions.

  • Join some kind of club. I’m going to join Toastmasters this year. This is primarily to improve my public speaking ability, but it should also help broaden my social circle.
  • Connect with your kid’s friends. I made a few local friends through my kid.
  • Connect with other SAHDs through social media. Here is the PDX Dads Group on Facebook. I’m sure there are similar groups in other bigger cities.
  • Take that dream job. Financial Samurai became a tennis coach at a private school. If you find a dream job, then maybe you should take it.
  • Coach a team. You can always volunteer to coach the little league games. We love our kid’s soccer coach and appreciate him very much.

Honestly, I’m horrible at being sociable. If you have any tips for the SAHPs, let me know.

How to mentally be OK with going from primary income earner to secondary or no income earner?

Wow, another tough one. This is all mental and the answer will be different for everyone. For me, I earned more money than my wife did for many years. I think it’s her turn to earn more. Gender equality and all that. Also, we are financially independent now. Our net worth is around 50 times our annual expense so we don’t have to worry too much about money.

Although, having a little income from blogging really helps. It shows that I’m doing something to help our family finance. Going from primary income earner to having no income at all would be harder.

What’s your top 5 favorite activities as someone who FIRE’d and as a stay at home dad?

  1. Read a new book. I just finished Michael Connelly’s new Harry Bosch book – Two Kinds of Truth. It was so good!
  2. Cook good food and try a new recipe.
  3. Blogging. Luckily, blogging is still fun for me.
  4. Go to the gym.
  5. Finding fun weekend activities in the summer. We don’t do much in the long Pacific Northwest winter. Once the weather improves, I’ll find fun weekend activities for our family. We’ll go hiking, swimming, attend some festivals, go to the playground, zoo, etc… I can’t wait.

What’s the secret of harmony at home?

Mrs. RB40 and I have a harmonious home life and we rarely argue. The secret? There are many factors.

  • The balance of power is good. This one is hard to articulate. Usually, one person (the man) has more power in a relationship because they make more money and handle the family finances. Today, while Mrs. RB40 makes more, I still run the finances. We both have some power with our finances. Nowadays, I don’t complain about her clothing purchases as much as I used to. She can buy what she wants.
  • Our finances are good. We don’t have money problems. I think this one is huge. Life would be much more difficult if we were not comfortable financially.
  • I do my best with the chores. I think most guys do very little chores around the house. Even if you do 50% of the chores, you’re way ahead of everybody else.
  • I cook on the weekdays and she cooks on the weekends. She doesn’t have to worry about feeding the family on the weekdays after a full day at work. My food is pretty good too so that keeps her happy. The fastest way to a woman’s heart is also through her stomach. Learn to cook the food your wife loves if you don’t know how!

We’re very comfortable with our relationship because we have known each other for over 25 years and have learned to have good conversations with one another. We fought much more often when we were younger.

*See my guide – How to Start a Blog and Why You Should. Starting a blog changed my life. It provides some income after retirement and it’s a great way to build a community. Those are the two biggest problems after retirement. It’s a great way to use some of your free time.

Bonus – Pork & Cilantro Meatball Soup Recipe

This super easy recipe is from my grandma. She was from China so this is a Chinese recipe. I’ve never seen anything like this on a restaurant menu, though. This mild broth soup is great for when you’re sick.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. pork*
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • A small knob of ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 TB corn starch
  • 1 TB Shaoxing rice wine or any cooking wine
  • 1 TB sesame oil
  • Some cooked rice
  • Salt and ground white pepper
  • Optional – tofu, carrots, and other soup vegetables

*I use bone in pork chops here, but you can use ground pork or any cut really. The bone from the pork chop is used in the soup base.

pork and cilantro meatball soup1. Make the soup base. Put about 4 quarts of water in a big pot and bring it to a boil. Peel the garlic and ginger and add it in the soup. Cut off 2 inches of the cilantro stems and put that in the pot. Once the water is boiling, I add the bones from my pork chops. Skim the scum off and reduce the heat to simmer. If you don’t have bones, then add a little chicken bouillon.

pork and cilantro soup

2. Make the meatballs. Ground the pork in a food processor. Mince the cilantro. Put pork and cilantro in a big bowl. Add corn starch, rice wine, sesame oil, a little salt and pepper, and mix well. Let it marinate for 20-30 minutes.

pork and cilantro meatball soup recipe

3. Strain the soup or just use a slotted spoon to fish out the bones and cilantro stems. Bring the soup back to boil and spoon in the pork mix. I prefer about half to one tablespoon for a meatball. They don’t have to be round. Bring the heat down to simmer and let the pork cook for about 5 minutes. Skim off any scum and the soup is done.

pork and cilantro soup recipe

4. Spoon some cooked rice into a bowl and ladle the soup on top. Season with plenty of ground white pepper and a little salt. I use fish sauce instead of salt.

pork and cilantro meatball soup recipe

5. Optional – You can add tofu, carrots, and other soup vegetables.

Try it when you’re sick next time. On second thought, try it before you get sick. You don’t want to mess around with a new recipe when you’re sick. Enjoy!

What’s your go to sick day recipe?  

Image credit – Superdad by Dreamer

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 55 comments… add one }
  • Lily | The Frugal Gene January 18, 2018, 1:21 am

    Love this, love this, love this! (I might have submitted our Q too late!)

    I think the whole harmony /marriagequestion is weird. It’s such an awkward way to think about love and marriage. A marriage is team work & union, not a power struggle. Power is to whoever loves the other person less, so if you both love each other, then it should be a wash.

    I’m not sure if I’m making sense but that’s how I feel about marriage when one spouse brings in the dough vs the other. And your answer was spot on with what I would have said if someone asked me the same question.

    That recipe is soooo similar to my mom’s! Except we put fish balls with pork in it instead of just pork! Ha! Can’t wait to try. I love it when FI bloggers share recipes :3 we all got to eat!!!

    Get better soon Joe!

    • retirebyforty January 18, 2018, 8:45 am

      I added your question to the post. I usually ignore my phone after 7 pm. 🙂
      The harmony thing got easier and easier for us. We rarely fight now. I think younger people are more emotional too. We’re both a bit worn out and are more relaxed now.
      Interesting about the recipe. I’ve never seen it anywhere else. I guess it’s a home recipe because it is so easy to make.

      • Mr. Tako January 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

        Believe it or not Joe, your meatball soup reminds me of Italian wedding soup. The ingredients are a little different, but the concept is very similar.

        I might have to try your recipe sometime!

        Thanks for the great Q&A! I’m no super dad either, I just play one on TV. 😉

  • Michael @ Financially Alert January 18, 2018, 1:23 am

    From one SAHD to another, I can empathize with you! Hope you both feel better soon. Being sick makes parenting that much harder and tempers can flare easier.

    I do think you’re a bit too hard on yourself. You’re doing a great job just being there for your son. There are a lot of people who envy your position, so it’s okay to take the bad with the good. 🙂

    The meatball soup looks delicious!

    • retirebyforty January 18, 2018, 8:47 am

      I’m better now, but Jr is still a little under the weather. I sent him to school today. Hopefully, he’ll be okay.
      Getting mad at the kid makes me feel very guilty. I hated it when my dad yelled at me and I don’t want to do the same thing to my kid. It’s so hard to keep calm, though. We’ll both have to work on it.

  • Accidental FIRE January 18, 2018, 1:47 am

    “Honestly, I’m horrible at being sociable.”

    Ha, love your honesty… Maybe you should start a cooking show, that soup looks pretty sweet 🙂

    • retirebyforty January 18, 2018, 8:48 am

      Maybe that will be my next project. Joe’s SAHD cooking channel on YouTube. 🙂

  • Olivia @birds of a FIRE January 18, 2018, 1:55 am

    Hope you guys feel better soon! Seems like a tough job spending so much time together!

    Are you Considering a Cooking show on YouTube :D!

    • retirebyforty January 18, 2018, 8:49 am

      Life got much better for both of us once he started school. A little time apart really helped. I’ll try a cooking show after Mrs. RB40 retires. It sounds like a lot of work.

  • Chris Urbaniak @ deliberatechange.ca January 18, 2018, 3:16 am

    Hmmm….
    1. Retireby40.org
    2. Fitby40.org
    3. RockStarChefby40.org….? 🙂

    Joe – You set my expectations low at the start with your “I can’t write anything serious” statement, but then proceeded to write well about something very serious and important 🙂

    One of the biggest contributors to success in life (however each person personally defines success) is self-reflection and the ability to figure out what’s working and what’s not so that you can make course corrections. This article is a great example of such self-reflection.

    Thank you for sharing your insights from in front of the mirror! You guys are definitely on the right track for your journey.

    Get well soon.

    • retirebyforty January 18, 2018, 8:50 am

      This one got turned into a long post unexpectedly. The twitter community helped out with some questions so that was great.

  • [email protected] January 18, 2018, 3:43 am

    The recipe looks delicious. Thanks for answering my question. Hope you two feel better soon.

    • retirebyforty January 18, 2018, 8:50 am

      Thanks! It was perfect for a sick day. I’m feeling a bit better now. 🙂

  • Ms. Frugal Asian Finance January 18, 2018, 4:38 am

    Wow I LOVE this post just like Lily does! Both the musings and the recipe! I really like that you are so honest in sharing the challenges and advantages of being a stay at home dad and husband.

    Patience is my biggest challenge when it comes to Mr. and Baby FAF too. It’s awesome you share 50% of the housework.

    Mr. FAF and I had a huge fight in Nov. But after we reconciled our differences, things have been mellow and much easier to handle. I will go back to this post the next time we have a fight for inspiration!

    • retirebyforty January 18, 2018, 8:53 am

      Thanks! The challenges aren’t easy. The best time to be a SAHD would be after the kid started school. 🙂
      Although, it was good to spend time with the baby as well. It’s tough to be patient. Keep working on it. I’ll do the same too.

  • Pennypincher January 18, 2018, 5:00 am

    What a fascinating post! Can’t wait to read more comments.
    It’s scary when the parent or parents are sick, the whole ship falls apart. Life is messy! : )
    Make sure Jr. washes his hands the minute he gets home from Germ City/School.
    So easy to lose your cool being w/a kid all day/everyday. Breathe deep, count to 10, walk away. Easier said than done.
    And know that you are not alone. Have a babysitter, better 2 for a sanity break. And go on a ‘save the marriage’ date. Things change, scenarios won’t last forever.
    Thank you for sharing so much, Joe. Very helpful. And does anything smell better than Chinese cuisine, I think not! Yum.

    • retirebyforty January 18, 2018, 8:54 am

      We always remind Jr to wash his hands whenever he gets home now. The Germ City is a big issue. They don’t have soap in the restroom. So it’s just water. I notice that the traffic was pretty light at school this morning. I bet a lot of kids are sick.
      Try the soup. It’s really great.

      Oh, counting to 10 does not work at all. By the time I get to 5, he’d repeat whatever I asked him to stop. Maybe I need to physically move him to a different room for a minute or something like that.

      • Pennypincher January 20, 2018, 5:04 am

        Yeah, the count to 10 never worked for me either! All I know is that when I lost my cool (not too often thankfully), I lost the game. Everyone survives it. Time apart is good!
        Will look into that recipe. Thanks, Joe. Sorry, I never, ever get sick. Diet/exercise.

  • FullTimeFinance January 18, 2018, 5:03 am

    I respect ur ability to do it but I personally could never be a SAHD. I just don’t have the patience. But ur to hard on yourself. Short of a robot there is no such thing as a perfect dad.

    • retirebyforty January 18, 2018, 8:55 am

      Thanks! It’s much easier now that our kid is in school. I bet any guy can do it at this point. It was tough from 2 to 4.

  • Nicoleandmaggie January 18, 2018, 5:19 am

    We have a great lo main place in town with handmade noodles and healthy soup stock. That is our current sick go to meal.

    • retirebyforty January 18, 2018, 8:58 am

      That sounds good. Who doesn’t like handmade noodles? I still don’t know what’s the difference between chow mein and lo mein.

  • Tom @ Dividends Diversify January 18, 2018, 5:24 am

    Hi Joe, We do not have kids so I can’t participate much here based on my experience. Even without kids and having exited the full time work world at a youngish age, I went the part time dream job route as a teacher. It’s harder worker than most realize, but I enjoy it. I saw your tweet yesterday regarding writers block. Looks like you broke through nicely. Tom

    • retirebyforty January 18, 2018, 8:59 am

      I think you made a great choice. Working part time on a dream job is much better than taking a full retirement. Life is more interesting that way.

  • Jim January 18, 2018, 5:52 am

    Hi Joe, I am fairly new to your site as per private email a bit ago; and so enjoyed reading this article. As a former engineer and now SAHD to a 6yr old daughter, I’ve got the 1st bullet covered (all household work), but fail miserably with all the others. Plus I’ve got one to add from the Northeast perspective – during 2hr AM school delays (many this year), “Superdad” comes up with a craft or healthy activity, rather than just tossing your kid the tablet. So many things you say strike a chord – I also volunteered more last year during kindergarten, but it still seems awkward to hang with all Moms (plus half seemed to be former teachers so I got seriously outclassed with kids’ activities). In general, the gender equality thing is so much easier said then done, especially in some traditional neighborhoods. Also, agree so much with what you have said about doing reading/cooking/exercise/hobby, and avoiding TV during business hours. Us SAHDs do need to fight off loneliness sometimes, but on the other hand luckily I don’t miss Happy Hours – as an older parent I already had enough of them in 20’s and 30’s. Also, as a kicking reminder of corporate life (did 20yrs), a friend just messaged me about new Management and being laid-off once again – such a lousy and esteem-killing part of many STEM and other careers these days – been there a couple times myself and don’t miss that… Anyway, sorry to hear of your illness, but great writing as always and thanks for the recipe!!

    • retirebyforty January 18, 2018, 9:02 am

      Hi Jim, Great job with the house work! I did more chores when I first quit, but it slowly slid to a balance 50/50. 🙂
      I will try to volunteer more next year. This year has been stressful enough with the hearing issue.
      I don’t miss Happy Hours either. I’ve been to a ton of those and the food was never that great.
      Try the soup and modify it as you like. It’s an easy recipe.

  • Mrs. Groovy January 18, 2018, 7:14 am

    My go to sick day food is canned soup, toast, and tea.

    No kids here, but I would lose my cool way before you do. It sounds like you’re being a great dad, but because you have more time for reflection at the moment you’re being hard on yourself.

    I love all the housework you do! You’re in a good position being that Mrs. RB40 has less of a threshold for mess — in gender roles you kind of expect that, and it almost assures you that your home will always be tidy. Mr. Groovy turns the tables on me when I don’t put things back in the same place in a kitchen drawer, etc. It’s very annoying.

    • retirebyforty January 18, 2018, 9:04 am

      I used to eat canned soup when I was sick, but not anymore. Mrs. RB40 prefers to make her own chicken noodle soup.
      Heh heh. Mrs. RB40 knows where everything is so we need her to find stuff for us. It’s like she’s hiding things on purpose.

  • Steve @ familyonfire.org January 18, 2018, 7:18 am

    Another Bosch fan! He’s about the only author I break my no hardcover rule for.
    As fired parents in a new city making social contacts is hard, but I’ve joined a running group and attend a local quiz night. So I feel like I’m getting there slowly.

    We also go to the local games store and play games off the demo shelf which is a good way to meet people as well as learn new games.

    • retirebyforty January 18, 2018, 9:05 am

      The Bosch books are awesome. It is my favorite detective series.
      Joining local clubs is a great way to make new friends. Nice job.

  • Helen January 18, 2018, 7:25 am

    Joe, hope you get and Junior get well very soon. Yeah, it’s flu season. Eat more soup.

    I like the description of a Super Dad. In Chinese, the fantasy is described similarly: “You want a horse to run faster, while you don’t want him to eat.”. That’s not going to happen. A dad is a human, and has needs and emotions that can’t be ignored, too. Don’t even try to be perfect. Being good is good enough.

    • retirebyforty January 18, 2018, 9:07 am

      Thanks for sharing your wisdom. I’m satisfied with being good enough. The only thing I need to improve on is keeping my patience. It’s tough. Junior needs to cooperate too. He needs to figure out when I’m going to blow up. Quit doing what he’s doing after I asked 2-3 times. Jeez.. 🙂

  • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life January 18, 2018, 9:15 am

    Kids know the way to drive us RIGHT up the wall, they just do. Sounds like RB40Jr has the same selective hearing as JB does. We have to repeat ourselves at increasing volume before ze even acknowledges that we’ve spoken sometimes. KIDS.

    Sorry that you’re both sick, I know that’s so much harder when you can’t just be sick alone as an adult, and have to tend to a sick kid. It gets easier when they’re older but it’s still hard!

    Thanks for sharing the recipe, it’s quite similar to an old family recipe I once loved. I need to keep some of the ingredients in the freezer so I can break it out for our sick days.

    • retirebyforty January 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

      I don’t understand the kid. He heard me, he knows he’ll get in trouble, and he still go ahead and does it. Ridiculous!
      It’s like he can’t stop himself.

  • Caroline January 18, 2018, 9:17 am

    I am not a SAHM but still working hard on all your points to be a regular SUPER mom!
    Either way it’s not easy:)

    • retirebyforty January 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

      I think the other readers are right. Just try your best to be a regular mom. Being a super parent is too difficult.

  • Sam @ Financial Samurai January 18, 2018, 9:44 am

    Thanks for sharing Joe. Good insights on losing temper and patience. It’s hard, when you are with someone 24/7. I pray for patience all the time. But for some reason, I’ve never lost my cool with my son. I thought I would, but it has been total calm. But I can see myself losing patience when he is a toddler and ignoring everything I say for sure. Hope not.

    Did you find a dad group to join?

    • retirebyforty January 18, 2018, 12:14 pm

      Great job so far. I hope your son is less crazy than our son. He is still a baby. I didn’t start losing my cool with our kid until he’s around 2. They push the boundary a lot more. Babies are easier in that regard. Once they sleep through the night, it’ll be easy for a little while. Enjoy!
      I monitored the Portland group for a while, but never went to a meet up. I made a few friends by the time they had a meet up I liked. They also seems more like the younger set – drink beer, watch sports, etc… The local blogger group was better. I forgot to add that one.

  • Felipe January 18, 2018, 1:29 pm

    Kudos. What a great dad, and soup not from a can! Impressed. Not sure how my mom survived as my dad was on ships with only a few weeks home a year. Not surprisingly she went back to school when the last of us three got to 8 years old. She said she was so stir-crazy after 14 years at home with us and no husband to help.

    • retirebyforty January 19, 2018, 12:58 pm

      I used to have soup from a can when I was single. Mrs. RB40 put a stop to that. She doesn’t like them.
      Great to hear that your mom went back to school. 3 kids would drive me crazy too. One is plenty for us. 🙂

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher January 18, 2018, 1:41 pm

    Thank you for being candid about your struggles as a SAH parent! It’s truly one of the hardest jobs in the world. Nobody can do it all; it’s all about doing your best and keeping everyone alive. 😉

  • sam January 18, 2018, 2:14 pm

    Hi joe, I am a nurse by profession and working during the flu season I have found some ways that one can decrease their chances of continually getting the viruses. First, invest in a good multi-vitamin as our food intake does not give us all the required vitamins we need for a stronger immune system. Also, use a hospital grade sanitiser spray or wipe to disinfect the house routinely as germs can survive on surfaces for 4-8hrs. Finally, add a little dettol to your dishwasher and washing machine to kill any further bugs. Hope you get well soon.

    • retirebyforty January 19, 2018, 12:59 pm

      Thanks for your advice. I thought multivitamins aren’t useful. I’m not a big fan of the sanitizer, though. That’s just too much.

  • GYM January 18, 2018, 6:26 pm

    Thanks for sharing your stay at home dad experience! I hope you get better soon. This recipe looks delicious thanks for sharing- I love cilantro in soup. I think it’s the same for stay at home moms, although i am just on my mat leave when I got some alone time I felt exponentially better.

  • JD January 18, 2018, 8:07 pm

    Ditto on vitamins, especially vitamin D. Living in Michigan, during winter months it seemed like one cold/bug after another. Read an article that most are people deficient on D due to lack of sun/weaker sunlight in winter months. Started family on 2000 IUs of vitamin D a day (adults) 1000 kids, and it made a big difference. We’d be healthy and sniffle free while others around us were coughing away. Later we upped daughters dose to 2000 IUs based on recommendation from pediatrician when her D level tested low on a physical.

    When I do get a now rare cold, my go-to food when feeling low is Korean “army base soup”- extra spicy! The high capsaicin content is a miracle cure for congestion!

    • retirebyforty January 19, 2018, 1:00 pm

      Good idea about vitamin D. We definitely get low in the winter. I’ll get some.
      Korean army soup. That sounds interesting. Not sure if I can put cheese in soup, though. 🙂

  • Marc @ The Optimal Choice January 19, 2018, 5:14 am

    I tried to convince my wife that she’s basically retired after she left her job a year ago to stay home with our two kids. But it’s hard to believe since we are in the midst of that difficult 2-4 (our kids are 1 and 3) stage. Her life is those kids. Work is definitely easier for me, and most of the time I just feel guilty because my life is so much easier. Sure I have emails, meetings, and deadlines, but I also get time with other adults. But when we both worked we felt like we weren’t the ones raising our own kids! Can we win?

    Did you ever consider part time, technical work when RB40JR was little? Or is it as hard to find in Seattle as it is in Ohio?

    • retirebyforty January 19, 2018, 1:02 pm

      Yeah, that’s a rough time. It will get easier, though.
      When RB40Jr was little, I was his caretaker full time. I didn’t have time to do part time technical work. I wanted to take time off from the tech industry anyway. It would have been tough. It seems like people who went part time still work a ton.

  • FrugalUrbanFarmGirl January 19, 2018, 7:29 am

    Hi Joe,
    Being sick is so inconvenient, isn’t it?? Slows everyone down to a not so productive pace but sometimes we just need a little break or a little more snuggle time with our little ones and that’s one way to get it. I just got over the flu so I know how you all feel. Thank goodness no one else in our house came down with it.

    I literally have worked only 3 days since Dec. 20 with all kinds of issues (but also some happiness) going on…deaths in the family, holidays together, flu, ice/snow days. I have really started to embrace the pace a little more so I can recover from everything. I think my supervisor at the office is wondering where his star engineer went, though…honestly, I’m wondering too. I will get back there! I’m sure of it! Current mantra: Embrace the pace!

    My little boy is 8 now and I miss him being little but it’s such a blessing to watch him grow and flourish. Now the pushing buttons…yep, its what they all do; obviously, they are looking for their independence and it’s up to us to help them navigate with a firm, yet gentle hand. That strong will that your son has is an excellent quality that will serve him well in the future and it sounds like you are nurturing that.

    Also, nice recipe…I will be trying it to change things up in the kitchen. Thank you for sharing!

    On another note and I’m not sure this is the right place to ask this but….Thought about all of us FIREs out there last night while I was at a financial planning (aka “sales pitch”) dinner. (The free steak was at least great! ? ) This firm was really targeting engineers and the people that were considering using their services were by majority in technical fields, but I guess that’s normal as we are the ones that usually have high salaries and are smart savers. Their approach to investing seems similar to what I want to do with http://www.personalcapital.com…if I ever get the nerve to sign up. I’m just not sure yet what to do; if I keep managing it myself manually with my crazy spreadsheet or find someone or something else to help me. Any thoughts on this or maybe you already have a post on this that you could direct me to?

    Have a lovely weekend with the family! ?

    • retirebyforty January 19, 2018, 1:13 pm

      Strangely, I don’t miss our kid being little. I’m not very sentimental. 🙂
      It depends on the firm. How does the advisor make money? Do they encourage you to buy crappy funds?
      You need to do more research on the firm and how they do business.
      http://retireby40.org/why-i-prefer-diy-retirement-planning/
      I signed up with a firm when I first started working and they were horrible… The financial advisor’s goal was to make money through commission. He didn’t have my best interest at heart. It really depends on the firm.

      • FrugalUrbanFarmGirl January 19, 2018, 3:36 pm

        Thanks for the quick response! Good conversational and helpful comments on that DIY RP post.

  • Frankie January 19, 2018, 6:58 pm

    Ah yes, I used to dream about a luxurious life as a SAHD/P – but these days I appreciate that it is without doubt the toughest job in the world! I love my kids like I never believed I could love anything, yes somehow I still lose my temper when they refuse to listen (or when they outsmart me!), and they just never, never, never stop! I work at home many days so I can be around them and help out at home, but some days walking out the door to the office can be bliss….

  • Financial Orchid January 19, 2018, 8:08 pm

    Oh, your soup looks fantastic!! That’s my other passion aside from FIRE! Must be an Asian thing! Cilantro smells so wonderful. I also like to portion the pork when I buy a pack into a few sections in a Ziploc bag then freeze them and it lasts for so many meals!!
    I still remember when I was a toddler helping my mom marinate the meat, then churn the ground pork into meat balls by hand and putting them in styrofoam in the freezer. We take them out to make meatball congee! Another winter warmer.

  • Lazy Man and Money January 20, 2018, 9:47 am

    I feel this and love the openness. We have two kids about 15 months part and the oldest is a little younger than RB40jr. Both kids have been sick this week.

    My wife’s activity duty status means she’s never really not working. They pushed her to get another degree (MBA) to pair with her Pharm. D. So she’s added a lot of online work as well.

    We’re also working through some money stuff. We have a lot of expenses (close to $30K for schooling for everyone), so even though our net worth is growing, it’s in real estate and retirement accounts that aren’t very liquid. All of it adds to the stress, but I guess everyone has something right?

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