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Why I Want to Be a Stay-At-Home-Dad

why I want to be a stay at home dad

I won the relay!

Becoming a stay at home parent is a big transition that can make a huge impact on your finances. Life isn’t all about money though, so each of us will have to make our own decision. I’m ready for a change and would like to go over some reasons why I want to be a stay at home dad.

  • I love spending time with baby RB40. It’s not fun and games all the time, but even when he is fussy, it’s better than being in some meeting at work. Spending all day with the kid isn’t the same as spending a few hours with him after work.  I get to influence his development much more when I spend the whole day with him.
  • I get along with kids better than Mrs. RB40 gets along with kids. I can handle baby RB40 better than the Mrs. can. He is a daddy’s boy and I already do almost everything for him. We share our care giving duties pretty equally, but baby RB40 gravitates toward dad for some reason. I’m sure many kids are more attached to mom, but that’s not the case for us.
  • We were planning to have only one child and this is it. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and I don’t want to miss it. I always wanted to have kids and be a great dad. My dad didn’t spend a lot of time with us when we were young and I really want to do that for my kid.
  • We really like our daycare, but the kids are sick all the time and always have runny noses. Baby RB40’s nose finally dries out after 10 days out of daycare. I think it’s good to build up immunity, but it was just too much because then Mrs. RB40 gets sick, too. The day care also cost $1,250/month… It is tough to stay productive when working from home with baby needing so much attention, but I’m sure it will get better.
  • I need a break from working. I’ve been working for 16 years in a high stress job. After careful consideration, I decided that it’s time for a change. I’ll miss the paycheck, but I won’t miss the stress. I haven’t been feeling well for a long time and I need something different. In 4 years, baby will start school and I can start doing some kind of part time work again. Mrs. RB40’s career still has a lot of room to grow and she should continue to get promotions and raises. On the other hand, my career is pretty much at a dead end. You know it’s over when you’re pondering if you should quit or get fired. I’m not going to miss work or my co-workers.
  • Self employment opportunities. I’ll continue to work on Retire By 40 and as I have more time, I’ll explore other self employment options. Being a stay at home dad for 3-5 years will give me the time to reinvent myself. I can learn more skills and explore other opportunities.
Baby RB40 came along at the right time for me to become a stay at home dad. My current career is played out and I need to reinvent myself. I don’t mind changing diapers, cooking, and cleaning for a few years. Well, I’m not very good at cleaning, but I’ll get better. I guess I’m more domesticated than most dads.
How about you? Have you thought about becoming a stay at home dad/mom? If you are already a stay at home parent, what are some reasons why you made that choice?  
*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.

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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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{ 61 comments… add one }
  • Early Financial Freedom June 13, 2012, 12:26 am

    Very cute boy you’ve got there 🙂
    I also have one boy and he is one of the main driving forces for our financial success. Once we found out that my wife was pregnant, we started to think about ways to establish a home-based company so she could be with the baby. That let to establishing our IT/Web consulting company.

    • retirebyforty June 13, 2012, 7:37 am

      Thanks! It’s great to hear a great story. I need to drop by and find out more about your home base company. I’d love to do something like that in a year or so.

  • Kevin Mzansi June 13, 2012, 1:18 am

    There are so many people who miss their kids growing up, because they are always working or doing other stuff. For me, the “once in a lifetime” reason is the most poignant one that you put forward.
    At one time or another, everyone has to decide what is most important in their lives, irrespective of what society puts forth.
    Power to you for making the decision!

    • retirebyforty June 13, 2012, 7:39 am

      Thanks for the encouragement. At this point in my life, I think it’s the right decision. If I was younger, I probably wouldn’t do it. It’s just the right time.

  • Princess P June 13, 2012, 6:28 am

    I think that is a great idea! Especiall when you feel that your time in your career is coming to a close and you can spend that time more effectively with your child.

    • retirebyforty June 13, 2012, 7:40 am

      Thanks! He’ll be a kid for only so long. Once he goes off to school, I’ll have a lot more time.

  • Well Heeled Blog June 13, 2012, 6:31 am

    Your little boy is adorable. Good luck with your goals! I don’t think I’m cut out for being a stay-at-home parent, but it’d be nice to have a job with flexibility so you can make time for the most important things.

    • retirebyforty June 13, 2012, 7:41 am

      Mrs. RB40 can’t be a stay at home mom either. She doesn’t have the patience for it. 🙂

  • Money Beagle June 13, 2012, 6:46 am

    Great idea. This isn’t feasible for me, as my wife is the stay-at-home and her income potential isn’t what mine is right now. That said, I do have a job where I work just 5-10 minutes from home, and I have a flexibile schedule so that I’m home at 4pm. This gives me a few hours of quality time each day.

    • retirebyforty June 13, 2012, 7:43 am

      Only a few people can make it work with both people staying at home. That would be nice, but only one of us can stay at home at this time. 🙁
      It’s great that you live so close by and can be home earlier. Usually we get home around 6pm and after dinner and chores, there are not a lot of quality time left.

  • Linda June 13, 2012, 7:05 am

    I want to be a stay at home…person, too. (I can’t say parent because I have no kids!) I’m burnt out of my job, which is a big reason I want to quit. But since I support myself and my animals (one dog, six chickens), I still need the paycheck. I feel so much better on the weekends when I can structure the day around taking care of my little household by gardening, cooking, cleaning, etc. If someone else could bring in enough to pay the mortgage and utilities I’d happily stay home and take care of the household. Eventually I’m sure I’d get bored and want to be back working in an office again, but that it would likely take me at least a year to get to that point.

    Go for it!

    • retirebyforty June 13, 2012, 7:44 am

      Sorry to hear about the burn out. I have been burnt out for a long time too and even if we don’t have a kid, I would probably take a year off to go traveling or something like that. It’s no fun to just show up and trudge through the day.

  • Daisy @ Add Vodka June 13, 2012, 7:20 am

    I think it’s fabulous that you’re wanting to be a stay at home dad. I don’t think it really matters who stays at home, but it’s cool that your son will have a good role model that he can grow up with. Sounds like a good gig to me!

    • retirebyforty June 13, 2012, 7:45 am

      Thanks! I think we’ll have a lot of fun together. I just need to find other stay at home dads that I can network with. 🙂

  • Leigh June 13, 2012, 7:35 am

    I don’t think I’m cut out for being a stay at home parent, but I’m still young and don’t have kids, so who knows 🙂

    What do you plan on doing about adult socialization? That is most definitely what I miss the most when I’m away from work for an extended period of time.

    • retirebyforty June 13, 2012, 2:17 pm

      I’ll try to find other stay at home dad nearby or join one of the stay at home mom group… I don’t know if this will work out, I guess we’ll see how it goes. It’s probably easier for moms to find support. No, I don’t have a good plan. 🙂

  • John @ Married (with Debt) June 13, 2012, 8:10 am

    I too would like to be a stay at home dad, partly for the challenge and because it fits my goals. My little one is 2 and a half, so that really only means 2.5 more years of childcare before she starts school. I don’t know if I’ll be able to achieve this in that short time frame.

    • retirebyforty June 13, 2012, 2:18 pm

      That’s not a lot of time left. Are you planning to have more kids? We had our kid a bit later than most people and I think that was good because we were more prepared financially.

  • Michelle June 13, 2012, 8:17 am

    We’ve talked about it, and he will most likely be staying home with the kids (when we eventually have some). I’m more likely to bring in most of the money forever, so it works better this way.

    • retirebyforty June 13, 2012, 2:19 pm

      Nice. 🙂 I make more money than Mrs. RB40, but she has more potential for raises so I think it’s fine for us too.

  • Aloysa June 13, 2012, 9:47 am

    I have to admit I am not a stay at home person. I need to get out of the house, dress up, and be among people. Staying at home would drive me nuts. But we don’t have any kids! 🙂
    I will be watching closely to see where your journey into stay-at-home-dad will take you.
    Your boy is adorable!

    • retirebyforty June 13, 2012, 2:19 pm

      Mrs. RB40 is the same way. 😉
      Thanks for the compliment. I’ll let him know.

  • 20's Finances June 13, 2012, 10:16 am

    Joe I always admire your willingness walk away from the income. I’ve probably said it before, but so many people just want to make more money and feel that extra cushion is worth wasting their lives in a prison cell. It’s one thing if you enjoy what you do – it’s another if you don’t. Can’t wait to hear when you pull the plug.

    • retirebyforty June 13, 2012, 2:20 pm

      Thanks! We’ll see if it works out. 😉

  • Mr. Everyday Dollar June 13, 2012, 10:20 am

    Wow, great post. My dream job is to be a stay at home dad but first I need to get married and have kids! Having a family is one of my ultimate goals and one of the top reasons why I am choosing to set myself up for financial independence by age 42. At that point, I would hope to have found and settled down with a great woman, to be starting or have started a family, and then to make the choice to be a stay at home dad; reaping the benefits of having multiple passive income streams (a salary).

    Mr. Everyday Dollar

    • retirebyforty June 13, 2012, 2:21 pm

      That’s great. You are still quite a way off though. My advice is to marry a younger gal. If you marry someone the same age or older, then the clock is ticking. Good luck!

  • Kim June 13, 2012, 10:37 am

    I am kind of like Mrs RB40 in that I wouldn’t be able to stay home full time, but cutting back to 2-3 days a week in a less stressful position is going to happen by next year, and I just can’t wait. I also thought I’d have more time when the kiddo gets to school age, but there seem to be more activities we are trying to get to now. I don’t want to miss soccer, dance, gymnastics, etc. I think only children learn to interact well with adults at an earlier age, so we usually take her along for whatever we do, and it is really getting to be fun. I think you are absolutely right on with the path you are taking.

    • retirebyforty June 13, 2012, 5:27 pm

      2-3 days a week is great! If my employer let me do that, I probably wouldn’t be so eager to quit.
      I’m not looking forward to the tons of activities. 🙂
      I think we’ll only sign up for 2 things.

  • Crystal @ Vaerdi June 13, 2012, 10:41 am

    We don’t have children, but if we do, I want both of us to be stay at home parents. I think it is awesome you will be able to be there for every next step and even better that you will have some control of your kid’s development. Good luck on your next step!

    • retirebyforty June 13, 2012, 5:28 pm

      You guys are doing so well so if you have children you’ll be set. 🙂 Thanks!

  • Kathleen @ Frugal Portland June 13, 2012, 1:17 pm

    I love this post — this is so much more compelling than how much money you’ve saved. When do you turn 40?

    • retirebyforty June 13, 2012, 5:29 pm

      Thanks! I’ll try to write more personal stories. I’ll be 40 next year, but I don’t think I can last that long at my job. 🙂

  • krantcents June 13, 2012, 1:37 pm

    Maybe, it is obvious, but you are unhappy at work! This dissatisfaction is affecting your thinking. I believe in going for something positive vs. running from something negative. Whaterver your decision, leave your career for something that you really want. If you don’t, you will regret your decision later. In the past, I have seen a number of people leave a job or career for the wrong reasons. In other words they give up too soon.

    • retirebyforty June 13, 2012, 5:30 pm

      I have been unhappy for a while now. I should have left a few years ago but the economy was so bad and we weren’t ready. I’m sure I can reinvent myself like you did. 😉

  • [email protected]&More June 13, 2012, 6:03 pm

    I definitely don’t even have kids on the horizon but I would say that it is possible one of us would become stay at home only if we had a job we could do from home and continue to bring in some income. That or the cost exceeded the wages we brought in which I don’t think is likely. That all may change though when we eventually have a kid.

    • retirebyforty June 14, 2012, 2:34 pm

      It’s kind of sad that both parents have to work to make ends meet these days. Childcare is quite expensive and if you have two kids, it’s hard to overcome that cost.

  • SavvyFinancialLatina June 13, 2012, 7:48 pm

    Good luck Joe! I don’t have the patience to be a stay at home mom. I have done plenty of baby sitting, and I like it only because I get some extra cash. Other than that I like the kids, but it’s not for me.

    • retirebyforty June 14, 2012, 2:35 pm

      Thanks! It’s tough to be patient with kids, but we all have to. 🙂

  • Michelle June 14, 2012, 1:54 pm

    I am a SAHM and I feel so blessed to be able to spend my days with my kids. The sacrifices: finances are tighter, no breaks or lunches, loooong hours. The take-home: I get to be my children’s first teacher! I get lots of slobbery kisses and rough hugs, joy in seeing my children grow and learn about the world and develop their little personalities. I love my life and am so glad I was chosen to be these little monsters’ mommy!

    • retirebyforty June 14, 2012, 2:35 pm

      Thanks for your input! I’m looking forward to spending a lot more time with my little monster. 😉

  • Josh June 14, 2012, 7:22 pm

    I have followed your blog for awhile and anticipated you were close to the final decision. We are expecting now and wife has given me the ok to do exactly what you are doing. It is something I have always wanted, but I fear that would be putting unfair pressure on my wife to become the primary financial provider . We do have “passive income” but I would be more comfortable in 2-5 years with it much more established. Perhaps waiting till baby is ~2 would work for me as well..Thanks for sharing, and I look forward to following your progress.

    • retirebyforty June 14, 2012, 11:01 pm

      It’s a tough decision. The financial hit is pretty big, but the reward is great too. I think 15 months old is about the perfect age to have a stay at home parent. The first year was really difficult because of all the feeding and napping. Now he naps once a day and we can do a lot of stuff together. I’m kind of glad that we had daycare for the last year or so.

  • Nick June 15, 2012, 8:56 am

    I would love to be a SAHD too. For now it looks like I’ll be living vicariously through my wife… I’m working to build up enough passive income that we can both stay at home 🙂 Looks like it’ll be a while though…

    • retirebyforty June 15, 2012, 9:38 am

      I think most dads will have to do that. 🙂
      It would be great for both to stay at home. Perhaps work from home?

  • From Shopping to Saving June 15, 2012, 9:05 am

    Awesome post! My BF and I have talked about who will stay home with the kiddos later (when we have em). It just bothers me because he doesn’t mind staying at home, but I really want to. The downside is that I will probably be the larger earner in the family and that would mean long hours at work. I’m hoping that my occupation will let me work from home in the future or start my own business, where I can work from wherever. I’m excited and scared, but I do not mind if my BF stays home…it’s just that everything you mentioned and possibly that maternal instinct is jealous and wants to be the stay at home person.

    Your son is adorable!

    • retirebyforty June 15, 2012, 9:39 am

      Really? Maybe you will be better at the stay at home gig and you guys can decide accordingly.
      He’ll probably be making more money by then right? Working from home would be great too.

    • Michelle June 15, 2012, 1:26 pm

      Erika, you so silly! You know you’re going to be making BANK as a full-time blogger by then 😉 You will then *have* to stay home to work.

  • Jerry June 17, 2012, 2:43 pm

    It would not work for us right now unless my wife found a job that covered insurance, time off, etc. Right now, that’s what I’m able to cover. I would love to be home with my kids but I’m afraid it might lead to a bon-bon belly! J/K! I know it’s ridiculously hard work to be home with the kids all day.

    • retirebyforty June 18, 2012, 11:10 pm

      It’s exhausting to be home with the little guy, but it’s worth it. He is a lot more happy with me than at the daycare. I need to figure out a way to exercise again.

  • Kevin - Family Benefits August 1, 2012, 8:56 am

    I had more than enough money to retire by 40.

    Then something happened that never seems to be covered by blogs covering this topic. My wife decided she didn’t want to be married anymore. Assets dropped by 50%, expenses shot through the roof, and income tanked.

    Investing in your marriage relationship is way more important to your retirement security than any IRA or stock pick. If electing to stay at home strengthens your marriage, then you made a wise choice.

  • ppd September 2, 2012, 9:46 pm

    Kevin – good advice. Strong marriage is best financial security over the long term.
    Joe – commendable to be a stay at home dad. good for you. My kids have grown up while working for mega-corp (same one, i bet) … and I’ve missed out on a lot. they are now teen- agers. You never get to turn the clock back.

    One child policy, H1 visas, immigration – gotta give you credit to fulfill the american dream. The stresses and costs if living back “home” I suspect would be even more severe. Good for you !

  • Scotty - Make Money On The Internet January 16, 2013, 9:37 am

    I’ve got exactly 100 days from today until I become a stay at home dad. I’m quitting my job an going full tilt toward my online ventures the end of April. With that will also come me being a stay at home dad. I’m both nervous and excited.

    I gave it a trial run on Monday when my daycare provider called in sick. I got more done on my own projects than I ever thought possible while still making breakfast and lunch for the kid, putting him down for a nap, and even playing dinosaurs. Who says you can’t have the best of both worlds.

    • retirebyforty January 16, 2013, 10:15 pm

      Good luck! It sounds like you are well on your way. Great job with the kid. How old is he? My 2 years old won’t let me do any work when he’s awake. 🙂

  • maddie pearson February 10, 2014, 3:29 am

    Wrote 2 lovely, worthy comments. They must have slipped out to cyberspace. No time to write a 3rd. Watch your generalizations; my college professor would not have allowed a generalization about boys being harder. She said unless I were backed by scientific research I could not make such a statement. I have 2 beautiful daughters ages 25 and 29 who live home. Parenting 30 years down the road now. God bless. ( Blessings too all, and to my late, and greatly missed husband!).

    • retirebyforty February 10, 2014, 9:55 am

      I’m sorry about the comments. I checked the spam folder and I didn’t see anything. I think boys are just more active in general and my son in particular.

  • Angela July 28, 2017, 10:22 am

    In a way, I think that’s actually the downside of having our son early (well, early for our area). We were freshly 27 when he was born, so not near FIRE yet. Even if I really hustled, we won’t be at FI until he’s in middle school at very best (planning on when he’s 18 or so at this point). But I’m not cut out to be a SAHM regardless, so the 80% part time work I’ve engineered is really best for all of us, and that only works because we keep our costs low and can afford to cut my salary by 20%. Hoping to keep it there even once he starts school in a few years.

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