It’s spring break already! I can’t believe the school year is going by so quickly. Our kid started kindergarten last September and he had a very difficult time adjusting to the new environment at first. You can read more details from the link, but suffice to say that he was a repeat visitor to the principal’s office that first month. Luckily, he is behaving much better now. The office still sees him pretty often because he visits the nurse office regularly. RB40Jr is a bit clumsy and occasionally needs a band-aid or two. Oh well, I guess it’s good that everybody knows him so they can look out for him. Anyway, I am still a stay at home dad and haven’t even considered going back to work full-time. Why not? Let me share one stay-at-home dad’s perspective today.
Stay-at-home dad recap
First of all, we’ll do a little recap of my stay-at-home dad career so far.
- I started Retire by 40 in October, 2010. Mrs. RB40 was pregnant at the time and she did not like this whole early retirement concept at all.
- RB40Jr was born in 2011 and I took 3 months off to try being a stay-at-home dad. It was awesome and I had a tough time going back to work.
- I retired from my engineering career in July, 2012 to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger.
- RB40Jr started going to Preschool at the beginning of 2014. He started with 2 days per week and increased a day every year.
- RB40Jr started kindergarten in September, 2016. Yes!!
Being a stay-at-home dad has many ups and downs. For me, the best period was between 18 months and 2 years old. Our baby was so cute and he did pretty much whatever I told him. It got more challenging as he got older, though. He became really energetic and wanted to assert his own personality. It was tough to keep up with him all day long. Kids can really wear you down because they just never stop moving and talking. I never get any peace and quiet at home unless I set him up with a movie. This isn’t good either because kids shouldn’t have that much screen time.
Hooray for Kindergarten!
Our quality of life improved immensely once RB40Jr started kindergarten. Well, the first few weeks were tough because I never knew when I was going to get a call from school. Life was so much better once he adjusted, though. I finally have a little more time to myself! From 8:30 am to 2:30 pm, I can do whatever I want. Here is a typical weekday for me.
- 6:30 am to 8:00 am – Put together breakfast and lunch box for Junior. Then drive him to school because we just can’t make the school bus at 7 am.
- 8:00 am to 10 am – Work on my blog, catch up with email, and do some chores.
- 10 am to 11:30 am – Walk to the gym and work out.
- Leisurely lunch break
- After lunch until 2:30 pm – Work on the blog, read, and/or do some errands.
- 2:30 pm to 5 pm – Hang out with Junior or take him to his lessons and appointments.
- 5 pm to 7 pm – Prepare dinner and have dinner with the family.
- 7 pm to 9:30 pm – Wind down, put RB40Jr to bed, and clean up.
- 10 pm to midnight – Work on the blog, browse the internet, watch DVD, or read a bit.
The 5 hours of free time is awesome. Now I can go to the gym regularly and try to get fit. Blogging is also much easier now. Previously, I spent a lot more time working at night, but now I get most of the writing done in the day time. My sleep also improved because I don’t work late as much. Everything just runs smoother with the extra time.
All in all, I love kindergarten. Spending half a day with a rambunctious kid is perfect. That’s enough time to have fun and not get on each other’s nerves. All day is just too much especially in the winter when we don’t get out much.
Going back to work?
Some stay-at-home parents go back to work after their kids start school. This is a great time to do it because the kids are busy, too. Our school has afterschool care programs that students can sign up for. Working parents can pick up their kid when they get out of work, before 6 pm. The price is not too bad at $330 per month.
However, I have zero desire to go back to work full-time. At this point, I can’t go back to my engineering career anyway. My knowledge is out of date after almost 5 years away and I have no tolerance for BS. I really don’t know what I would do if I need to find a full-time job. The easiest option would be a minimum wage job, but I’m already making more money than that with my blog. Maybe I can leverage my blogging experience into a job somehow.
Anyway, this topic probably needs its own blog post. How can a stay-at-home dad return to the work force? It seems very daunting. I’d have to love the job and the boss to even consider going back to work. Oh, and I’d need to make 2-3 times what I’m making now with part time self employment. The job also needs to be low stress with minimal BS. Is that too much to ask?
Luckily, I don’t have to rejoin the rat race at the moment because we are doing well financially. Mrs. RB40 is planning to work for a few more years, so we’re set at least until she retires. My online income is also pretty good right now. If nothing drastic happens, we should be fine when Mrs. RB40 retires in 2020. My online income and our passive income should be enough to support our modest lifestyle.
Still enjoy being a SAHD
I have to say I really enjoy being a stay-at-home dad now that our kid is in school. It was fun when RB40Jr was a younger, but it was a lot of work, too. Now, life is just about perfect. Half a day is about the right amount of time for us to spend together. I also like volunteering at school once in a while. The kids are a lot of fun. I’m sure life will get busier again once he starts doing team sports so I’ll enjoy this good time while I can.
I read a few forums and posts on the internet about what stay-at-home parents do after kids go to school and a lot of people have a much harder time at this point. Many stay-at-home moms and dads feel a lot of pressure to go back to work. Money is the huge elephant in the room. Most families would do better financially if both parents work. I’m very grateful I have the choice to stick with my current lifestyle. Running a profitable blog really helps fill the time and smooth out the cash flow.
What about you? Have you ever gone though this phase? Did you or anyone you know go back to work after being a stay-at-home parent for a while? It sounds really hard for SAHDs.
*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.
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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