A Day In The Life Of Two Stay At Home Parents Who Also Work

A day in the life of two work from home parents with a business

Stay at home parenting is one of the hardest and most rewarding things one can do. During a pandemic, taking care of a child and working is even more difficult. This article will share a day in the life of two stay at home parents who also work on a side business.

The purpose of this article is to:

  • Help folks realize that working from home and taking care of a child is not as easy as you might think. It's actually much easier to drop your kid off at daycare.
  • Discuss ways to be a better parent and more efficient producer while at home.
  • Encourage the 3% of the male parent population who are stay at home dads to speak up about their experiences. And of course hear from stay at home moms as well.
  • To recognize there is no one way to raise a baby since every baby and family situation is different.
  • Highlight how difficult juggling parenthood and work is during a global pandemic. After more than 10 months of sheltering-in-place with preschools closed, life has been extra difficult.

More Full-time Working Parents

According to Pew Research, two-parent households where both parents work full-time today make up 46 percent of the population, compared to 31 percent in 1970.

My wife and I didn't want to be one of the 46 percent. So we carefully planned for a life of stay at home parenting. We both wanted to spend as much time as possible raising our son while also keeping intellectually stimulated. We've only got one chance.

Stay At Home Parenting While Working

Working from home is more efficient than working in an office. You don't have to waste time commuting. You'll never get interrupted by colleagues and there aren't as many meetings. I can get done in four hours what it takes 10 hours to do in the office.

Since the global pandemic in 2020, millions of families have discovered what it's like to try to juggle stay at home parenting with work. It's hard! But also incredibly rewarding.

Before my son was born, I thought it'd be relatively easy to be a stay at home and work from home dad as well. But I was wrong. Here are some reasons why it's difficult to do both:

Challenges Of Working At Home With Kids

1) A life is in your hands.

One look away and your baby or toddler could suffocate from a pillow, fall off the sofa, bonk his head while trying to stand, impale his eyes with a stick, or die in his sleep.

You are always on duty as a stay at home parent. The only time you can rest is if your little one rests. Even then, rest may be a rarity as he may wake up constantly for the first several years.

If you slack off at work, like most people do, generally nothing bad happens. If you slack off with your baby, it could be a disaster.

2) It's impossible to create good work and provide quality care at the same time.

Because you can't lose sight of your baby for more than several seconds, the idea of concurrently working and caring is impossible. I can hold my baby on the floor and read my phone at the same time, but that's about it.

Goodness forbid you have to do something like write, draw, or design for work. When taking care of a little one, it's best to be 100% present.

3) You lose your independence.

There is never a regular schedule to follow when you are a stay at home parent. Your day is dictated by your little one's sleep schedule, bathroom schedule, eating schedule, and doctor visits.

You are working whenever there is a glimpse of free time like I'm doing now at 11pm. The more independent you were before having kids, the harder the adjustment.

4) You relive all the unpleasantries of life.

Most of us who are healthy don't see the doctor more than once a year. But if you have a little one, you are visiting a pediatrician about every three months. You may also visit other specialists if your baby has developmental issues.

While at the pediatrician, your baby is examined thoroughly and gets injected with vaccines, which hopefully cause no harm. And if you have to visit the hospital or a specialist, you may see other patients with issues much worse than your little one's.

5) You are always tired. 

Getting enough sleep is one of the keys to a happy and productive life. Your cognitive ability literally declines by 80%+ if you are sleep deprived.

Having to take care of your little one while also having the responsibility of financially providing for your family drastically cuts into the amount and quality of sleep you can get. F

or the first three months of my baby's life, I felt like I pulled an all-nighter at work every other night. You get through the exhaustion by telling yourself, “this too shall pass.”

6) You feel their pain.

If you are a normal, sympathetic human being, you will feel the pain your child goes through as if it were your own. When your baby or toddler is crying, your body will naturally tense up trying to figure out what's wrong.

Is he hungry? Is he tired? Does he have a tummy ache? A cold? Is he too hot? Does he have a blocked nasal passage? The longer your little one cries, the more pain you feel until it sometimes becomes unbearable where you also start crying. 

Division Of Labor

Having a partner makes life easier as stay at home parenting. For all the single parents out there, you deserve ALL the respect in the world for trying to make things work. Your ability to multi-task is truly extraordinary.

My wife and I work well together. I spent my career in a client facing role that was responsible for revenue generation. And she spent her career in an operations role to help make the system work. I would not be where I am today without my wife.

Primary Dad Responsibilities

  • Revenue generation and business development
  • Social media
  • Mass media outreach (giving written and oral interviews mostly)
  • Accounts receivable – following up with vendors who have a propensity not to pay on time
  • Attending business functions
  • Reading and researching about a baby's developmental milestones
  • Driving the family
  • Ordering and preparing food
  • Cleaning bottles, dishes, kitchen, and dining room
  • Gardening and home maintenance
  • HS tennis coaching (3.5 months a year) and foster kid mentoring (once a week)
  • Provide ~6 hours of care for our son (1-3 hours in the morning, 1-3 hours in the afternoon, and 2-4 hours in the evening, depending on afternoon/evening functions)
Percentage of stay at home moms and stay at home dads
Source: Census Bureau.

Primary Mom Responsibilities

  • Business accounting and bookkeeping
  • Calculating and paying business taxes and California state business filings
  • Managing business office
  • General operations including payroll, health insurance, dental insurance, workers comp insurance
  • Graphics and working with graphic designers
  • Miscellaneous business related functions such as coming up with promotional codes, coordinating with our system administrator to fix bugs, customer support
  • Taking care of our son from bedtime to morning (this is is huge because he wakes up multiple times a night)
  • Ordering all baby food, clothing, diapers, supplies, toys, carriers, strollers, chairs, and books
  • Scheduling doctors appointments
  • Handles all communications and troubleshooting with insurance agents, back end partners, and vendors such as Aweber, Comcast, AT&T, utility companies etc.
  • Manages all back end functions for the e-book store
  • Occasional editing of articles

Shared Stay At Home Parenting Responsibilities

  • Diaper changing
  • Feeding
  • Playing
  • Working on achieving gross motor and fine motor milestones
  • Reading
  • Carrying
  • Keeping the house tidy
  • Laundry
  • Trash

Phew! After writing out all the responsibilities, it's no wonder why they say a stay at home parent is worth about $100,000 a year in salary while working 90 hours a week on average. There's a lot to do while stay at home parenting!

A Day In The Life Of A Work From Home And Stay At Home Parent

After about the third month, I could not take staying up all night and working all day anymore. As a result, I asked my wife to be the sole caretaker once our little one went to bed.

Thank God for her because I wouldn’t have been able to continue my writing cadence on Financial Samurai without her. So please give my wife a big THANK YOU if you've enjoyed Financial Samurai this year.

My wife is the CEO of our little one, and I'm the COO. For our business, I'm the CEO and she's the COO. Since I'm an extrovert and she's an introvert, this works well.

Here's a typical schedule PST:

The days and nights are long while stay at home parenting with young children. Add on working a job while caring for a baby or toddler, and you can easily keel over without support.

Here's a typical schedule that my wife and I had while raising our son. We did our best to divide and conquer.


5am – 8am: Freshen up, read comments, respond to e-mails, follow up on loose ends, write a post, check investments, and make investment allocation decisions. My goal is to get 80%+ of my work done before my wife and my baby wake up so I can relieve her for 1-3 hours in the morning.

Before the pandemic, I would naturally wake up around 6am. Once the pandemic began, anxiety went up and the desire to do more to protect my family. As a result, I regularly naturally wake up by 4:45am.

7:45am – 8:00am: Wash bottles, put away dishes, clean kitchen countertops, clean dining table. The goal is to do as much cleaning before our little one wakes up.

Washing bottles as a SAHD
Plenty of bottles to wash 2X a day. Easier than pumping!

8am – 11am: Watch the little one for 1-3 hours so mama can shower, change, pump, catch up on news, e-mail, and rest. The rougher the night, the longer I will takeover. During this time I or we will change his diaper and feed him breakfast. We try our best to go for a walk outside in our Baby Bjorn carrier to get some fresh air and exercise.

I've had to do some major work adjustment this year because I'm a morning person, and for the past 5.5 years, I've written the majority of my posts during this time period. The mornings are when I'm most creative. By the evening, my creative energy disappears because I'm more tired.

11 am – 1pm: Our son will nap between 30 minutes – 1.5 hours in the late morning. We'll try to use this time to catch up on work or take a power nap ourselves.


1pm – 2pm: Lunch time! Our goal is to feed him 40+ bites of solid food and have him drink 4-6 ounces of milk. He's not that picky of an eater, thank goodness. But he doesn't eat that much compared to other babies his age.

2pm – 4pm: When we have the energy, we'll go for a walk in the botanical gardens, the science museum, or go to a local playground. Otherwise, we’ll just let him roam the house and discover the new things we’re constantly getting him.

Penguins at the science museum
Taking our son to see the penguins at the science museum

4pm – 6pm: More time spent diaper changing, playing, and helping our little one reach milestones. We'll also do a lot of fun cognitive exercises like trying to stack toys and constantly read stories.

Currently we're working on clapping, waving, finger pointing, and walking at 11 months old. Around 5:30pm-6pm is dinner time where we try and get him to eat at least 40 bites of solid food and drink 6 ounces of milk.


6pm – 7:30pm: We give him a warm bath to signal it's sleep time within the next hour or so. I'll either make the bath or watch over him while my wife makes the bath. We'll then dry him up and try and feed him a 6-8 ounce bottle.

If we are successful, my wife will sit him upright for 20-30 minutes while we read him several of his favorite books. During this time, it's important to get a burp out of him to minimize his chances of spitting up during the night and choking.

7:30pm – 12midnight: My wife and I try to spend at least one hour of alone time together each night. 60% of the time it works. 40% of the time we're either too tired or have to catch up on work that we missed during the day.


I'm awake until midnight to provide assistance if my wife needs a bottle warmed up, a diaper changed, or some tag team soothing. All she has to do is text me. If no assistance is needed, I do about an hour of online work and unwind.

Midnight – 7:30am: Despite a long day, my wife is now flying solo. She is waking up to soothe our son, feed him, and pump. Sometimes he cries out for no good reason and then goes back to bed.

But the random stirs always wake up my wife because she is so in tune with his rhythm. Knowing my wife takes care of the entire night now is the reason why I'm motivated to keep working hard on the business during the day.

With the arrival of our baby daughter, the nights have become longer.

States where dad stays at home the most
Source: 2014 Census Bureau

Tips For Better Work And Childcare

Here's what we've learned to make things better at home for the first year. They say that the first year of care is the toughest. Feel free to share whether you think this is true or not.

1) Get as much sleep as possible.

Without enough sleep everything goes downhill. You will be dumber, slower, crankier, less patient, and less attentive. Your relationships will suffer without sleep. Therefore, if it's a choice between going down the Facebook rabbit hole or sleep, always choose sleep.

2) Find help.

If you have a spouse that works or you have work to do at home and don't have a fellow stay-at-home spouse, find help ASAP through an au pair or a nanny. It is a PITA to find someone you can trust and depend on. But getting childcare help is very worth it once you find the right fit.

Therefore, you must start the interview process as soon as possible. The cost is well worth it. Further, this cost won’t last forever as your child will eventually go to school.

3) Set time and space boundaries. 

If you don't set boundaries, there will be constant interruption when it's time to work. Lock yourself in a room to work more efficiently. Nobody can bother you unless it's an emergency.

You will feel so much better if you can get the most important work out of the way in the morning. If not, your mind will wander about the things left undone when its your turn to take care of your little one.

4) Communicate, communicate, communicate.

There can never be enough communication. Always remind your partner about your upcoming schedule so they don't make assumptions about your availability.

If you have a particularly long day in the future, let it be known so your partner can mentally prepare beforehand. Use shared Notes and Calendar reminders on your phone.

5) Divide and conquer.

Try to split things 50/50 as much as possible. It'll help reduce resentment and increase appreciation of each other. Having a baby is very difficult on parents. But if you guys both pitch in, if you are lucky enough to have a partner, it makes all the difference in the world.

The concept of Separation Of Tasks is extremely important for your relationship!

6) Consistently celebrate the wins. 

Your effort as parents and income producers must be celebrated. Celebration will help remind you why you are trying so hard every single day to care and provide for your family.

Celebrate your baby's first crawl, first step, first giggle, first wave, first word, first teeth, and first trip to the zoo with a video recordings and a journal.

Celebrate winning a new client, reaching a new revenue milestone, getting a positive media mention, or cleaning up old files. When you are constantly focused on the purpose, you'll get through the hard times easier.

Things Get Better Over Time

Stay at home parenting and working from home tests your patience, endurance, and sanity. But I've noticed an improvement in the quality of our lives as each month goes by.

The first three months were brutal due to the tremendous lack of sleep for everyone. This is called the 4th trimester where I highly recommend getting help or a night doula if possible.

By the sixth month, our son would often sleep at least three hours in one stretch, and sometimes 4-5 hours at a time.

We made a conscience decision NOT to sleep train our baby using the cry-it-out method because we have nowhere to go the next morning. Instead, we use a softer sleep training method.

It hurts us too much to abandon him in the crib and hear him cry until he hyperventilates. As a result, our days and nights are long. However, eventually, your child will start sleeping more regularly through the night.

Starting around age 3, our son became a better sleeper. But of course, we were then blessed with a daughter 2.7 years later. As a result, we're back to difficult nights for at least two more years.

Rewards Of Stay At Home Parenting

Even though it's hard being a stay at home parent who also has a business to run, I've never felt so much love, satisfaction, and gratitude as I have during the first year of my son's life.

My son and daughter have crystallized the value of financial independence and having a lifestyle business. He's given me so much more motivation to make sure our finances are in order so they can be properly cared for. Further, our kids have encouraged me to eat more healthy.

We've had our rough moments stay-at-home-parenting and working. This is mostly due to my lack of patience, a loss of freedom, constant worry as first-time parents, and her sleep deprivation. But we know that in the end, we will look back and know we did the best we could no matter how our son turns out.

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Homeschooling Could Be A Great Educational Decision

Recommendation For All Parents

If there's one thing the pandemic has taught us, it's that life is not guaranteed. We must do everything we can to protect our children while they are still dependents.

As a result, please get life insurance. Not only should you get enough life insurance to cover your liabilities, your life insurance term should last long enough to get them through college.

The best place to get life insurance is through PolicyGenius. PolicyGenius will help you find the best plan for the lowest price tailored to your needs. PolicyGenius provides free, no-obligation quotes so you can get the best rate. 

In the past, you would have to get a life insurance quote by applying to individual carriers – the process was completely opaque. Now, you can have multiple qualified life insurance carriers compete for your business after applying on PolicyGenius. It's so much more efficient! 

After eight years of owning life insurance, my wife decided to check on PolicyGenius for free to see if should could do better. Lo and behold, my wife was able to double her life insurance coverage for less money. All this time, she thought she was getting the best deal with her existing carrier.

If you don't have life insurance, please get life insurance before you need to. Life insurance gets more expensive the older you get. If you get sick, depending on the severity of your sickness, you might not be able to qualify.

If you do have life insurance, I highly recommend checking PolicyGenius to try and get a better deal. Chances are high you're not getting the best terms. 

Stay On Top Of Your Money

Sign up for Personal Capital, the web’s #1 free wealth management tool to get a better handle on your finances. In addition to better money oversight, run your investments through their award-winning Investment Checkup tool to see exactly how much you are paying in fees.

I was paying $1,700 a year in fees I had no idea I was paying. After you link all your accounts, use their Retirement Planning calculator that pulls your real data to give you as pure an estimation of your financial future as possible using Monte Carlo simulation algorithms.

Having the financial freedom to take care of your kids while stay at home parenting is an absolute blessing.

94 thoughts on “A Day In The Life Of Two Stay At Home Parents Who Also Work”

  1. That photo of your sink triggered me… I have infant twins and the number of Medala bottles they use is outrageous! I just washed bottles this morning and I have a similar looking sink and the exact same bottle brush! HAHA

    My wife and I both work full time and with twins and a toddler, life is pretty intense.

    Sleep Training for our toddler was really hard. We attempted cry-it-out but failed because he would get so upset he would throw up. We ended up getting a sleep consultant who change our life. The basic idea was to slowly (night after night) back out of the situation after getting buy-in from him. Worked amazingly well.

  2. This is an interesting post – even as a non-parent. Seeing a day broken down like that is fascinating. May you all get better rest soon.

  3. Sam,

    We recently had our first child around the same time as you. If your wife is having issues with milk production and is pumping to try to increase supply, you should try legendairy milk out of Austin. Our lactating consultant said at 6 weeks my wife hit peak production, we stumbled upon this stuff and she 2-3x her supply. He is now starting to eat some solids but still mostly milk. I can get a referral link from my wife if you are interested and we will both get 10% off next order or similar. Ps I do not work there just had a great experience.

      1. Sam,

        Here is the the link http://i.refs.cc/XCkepouf?u=1519839211833.

        I suggest buying the 3 pack first. It has pump princess, liquid gold, and some third one that I forgot the name of. You try each for 2 weeks and see what works for you.

        My wife found that pump princess did the best for increasing supply. The liquid gold made the fat too thick and was making it clog her ducts. So depending on the actual issue, there is a different product for each.

        They are only organic supplements, but they seriously worked way more than what we could get at the local whole foods.

        I really hope these help you. I have been reading your blog for a few years now and want to return some of the favor that you have given me the best I can. I am doing well enough that I was able to support our family and let my wife stay home to raise our son, but not anywhere FS caliber.

  4. I remember that first month with our baby, it was unforgettable! It was hectic with the lack of sleep and constant changing of diapers along with the crying. But with all of that going on, it’s a joy to have a little one around us and know that we are the ones who will guide him throughout his young life. He will turn 2 this weekend and we are enjoying being around him every single day. Hope your experiencing this too Sam!!

  5. Hi Sam, welcome to fatherhood! As a stay-at-home father of two boys I know exactly what your talking about. Those first few years are rough!

    Basically you have to put your own life on hold to be able to do a decent job with your kids. It kinda sucks. Having enough time to “advance” my career or business with young kids is basically impossible. “Treading water” feels like an appropriate description.

    I’m happy if I just get my blog posts out on a regular schedule.

    Sure, you can hire help (I know many people do this), but do you really want to? Those precious early years disappear fast.

    I’m know I’m a weirdo for being a stay-at-home dad, but I’m glad I did it. It’s a hard job, but I would do it again, despite the difficulties.

  6. Hey Sam,

    Good for you for putting your child first. We are close in age but I have a 15 year old and a 9 year old. The first 1 year my 15 year old was colicky. This meant that my wife and I got very little sleep for the first almost 12 months that she was born. It was a challenge for sure with maybe an hour of uninterrupted sleep most nights. I do think that my age when my oldest was born being about 27 years old allowed me to endure the sleepless nights.
    My wife and I do run our own business with employees and nothing like an online blog business you have but similar responsibilities being a business owner. My kids are almost 6 years apart in age and I can tell you my 9 year old was a completely different experience at 33 than it was for my daughter at 27. I think in part was the fact that he slept well and ate well and wasn’t colicky. I think also my wife and I having been through it and choosing to do it again probably had a better disposition to it and this confidence probably allowed my son to be
    a little more mellow. Hang in there it does get better. I know you have had a lot of independence in your life and having a child a little later in life messes with that independence and you begin to think ” what were we thinking”. Ironically when your kids grow up you will miss the days when they needed you most. My only real complaint about having kids is that you spend so much time molding these beautiful people for other people to enjoy when they grow up. Call me selfish but this is how I feel and at the same time am so proud other people can enjoy and appreciate all of the hard work my wife and I put in to create such wonderful souls in this world. We need all we can get.

    Cheers to you Sam, Wife, and Son! Keep up the good work!

    1. “My only real complaint about having kids is that you spend so much time molding these beautiful people for other people to enjoy when they grow up.”

      Love it!

      My wife just said to my boy, “I will enjoy you when you are old, whether you like it or not!” :)

  7. Hello Sam,

    Trust your intuition when it comes to your children. Sometimes it’s better to not read all that much or take too much advice. Observe your own child and start to develop that intuition and be present with them. There are simply many ways to raise children.

    I thank my husband who was much better at the baby stage. He is a surgeon and is simply better with staying up at night than I was. It gets easier in some ways and harder in other ways as they get older. The fact that you really try to be a good parent is the most important of all. My husband and I consciously made sure to have one of us be home with our kids. It is amazingly easier to work when you know everything is taken care of at home.

    Our youngest is heading to university in the fall. I am missing all those younger years already. Enjoy all of it Sam.

  8. There are many kinds of freedom. I recall a day when, without especially thinking about it, I told the kids it was time to go and to go get in the car. Then I walked out to the car and realized I wasn’t carrying a diaper bag, nor was I carrying any food or drink and, if we needed food or drink, we would just buy some. I got to the car and the kids were in the back seat, belted in (car seats of course). And something ran through me that made me want to lift my arms to the sky and shout, “FREEDOM!”

  9. Sam- I have been enjoying your blog posts for a few years and the podcast has been a great addition for my commutes. Thanks for sharing your ideas and keep up the great work! You mentioned the challenge of coming up with ideas for new content- here’s one for you: Financial Samurai version of “12 rules for life”. Also, for a different perspective on parenting that will help you not stress out too much about doing everything perfectly check out “Selfish reasons to have more kids” by Brian Caplan.

  10. Sam as a father of 3 girls I would say you’re spot on about every kid is different. There’s really no right or wrong way to raise them (as long as they’re safe) but let me say that if your goal is to have your kid sleeping through the night by the time they are 3 then you may need to recalibrate. They should be sleeping through the night much earlier than that and for your sanity I’d figure out how to get there sooner rather than later.

    Think about sleep training. No kid ever died from crying. If they’re fed, warm, dry, comfortable then they’re fine. You mentioned developing bad habits but one of the worst I’ve seen is kids getting to be 5 or 6 and sleeping in the bed with their parents. It happens more than you think. Kids in 1st grade wake up every night and crawl into their parents bed. You don’t want to set that kind of precedence for your own sanity.

    Bottom line is every kid is different so keep doing you but you’ll lose your mind if your kid doesn’t sleep through the night until they’re 3.

    Oh and if you have another baby in the next couple of years throw out all your rules.

    1. Mike – I hear you, and remember your advice in the hot tub at Gateway. I suggested it to my wife, and she can’t do it. She’s doing a type of soft sleep training with minimal to no trauma. I set expectations low and try to beat them. But if I have a 3 year expectations, it’s only two more years. Not bad! Time goes quick.

      Hope all is well. Sam

  11. As the father of a five year, my girlriend and I have decided to significantly pair down the things we think we need to get done rather than try to fit everything frivolous in (most things I used my time for before child). Some of the things you have mentioned are simply not things we decide to do at all. No tv or “catching up on the news” are examples. Top 5% hh income but spend less than a household making the median helps a lot. If you’re doing it correctly, parenting after 2 years of age will be 90% of the intellectual stimulation you will need.

  12. This article resonates with me :) I was the primary stay at home dad for our youngest one from age 1 to 5 (after I entered early retirement). It’s a lot of fun but a ton of work. I managed to start a blog and build it up pretty well and take care of the little dude. That first year is honestly the hardest and after that as they gain independence and autonomy it gets a little easier to let them do their thing while you do your thing. Just be ready to have your train of thought interrupted 1000 times during the day and go with the flow.

  13. Ms. Conviviality

    That podcast was a nice change from the usual. I liked the Q&A format. You and your wife sound lovely together. Perhaps she can be a regular on future podcasts?

    Mrs. FS, Having read the blog for a while now, I have always been impressed with the consistent quality of the articles and don’t believe this would have been possible without a very supportive partner. I think it shows true love to recognize a partner’s passions/talent and allow him/her a chance to explore it like you did by continuing to work while the blog was starting out. Of course, Sam had sufficient passive income and severance but it still seemed like a big change. Thanks to the both of you for having a blog that helps others.

  14. Thanks for sharing. i enjoy the division of labor, it’s a good benchmark for me and my husband. it is hilarious that you are trying to feed your son 40+ bites of solid food. I hope the kiddo will sleep through the night very soon because that one thing that enables myself and husband to continue to grow our career, i don’t feel like i just have a job, i actually have a career. of course, it gets better when they are older, the golden age in my opinion is 5. so many more activities that you can enjoy with the kids (movies, chapter book, more adventurous rides and sports such as roller-coaster and skiing), shoulder on.

    1. Good to know about the five-year-old mark.

      I try my best to be funny and entertaining, so it’s good you found the 40 bites hilarious. We did the calculation, if he takes at least 40 bites every meal, he won’t fall off the weight curve at the very least. He’s pretty light, so we do want to fatten him up a little.

      But he’s happy and healthy so far, so it is so far so good. Because I’m kind of nuts, I read many articles and so many stories from parents who didn’t properly feed or refuse to bottlefeed. One baby even died bc mamma Wasn’t producing enough milk, and she didn’t know. If only she gave him one bottle at the end of each day, he would still be alive. :(

      This is the article that crushed my soul, and made me super focused on getting our little one enough good at every meal: https://fedisbest.org/2017/02/given-just-one-bottle-still-alive/

  15. This schedule reminds me of when we first got our puppy and he needed to go outside every few hours. Those nights of waking up once or twice to take him out felt like hell. I really commend you both. Parents need to lay all the good parenting things on thick so us non parents don’t get turned off from having kids!

    PS- didn’t know you had a podcast. I’ll be checking it out!

  16. Great post. Let me tell you my experience as a stay-at-home dad.

    I hold a bachelor’s in Accounting and a MBA in Finance, and my career was just taking off. I was a mid-level Accounting manager in a 150 million dollar (sales) software company. I have struggled with a rare neurological disorder called Episodic Ataxia since about the age of 14. It forced me from the work force around age 48. I worked part time at home with the company until I no longer could. Since then I have managed our finances, the house and the children. So I was forced to be a stay-at-home dad while my wife continued to work.

    My son was still living with us, and we had adopted a girl from the foster care system. She was diagnosed with fetal-alcohol effect because her mother had taken drugs and alcohol in-utero. She was born two and a half months premature. She did not talk when she we got her.

    I spent countless hours with her trying to get her to talk. And then I purchased the saxon math curriculum for home schoolers and home schooling reading material. My intent was not to home school but to supplement her education. The result – she knew Algebra before she entered Junior High, and she read before kindergarten. This gave her a huge head start in school especially since she was a slow learner. There were times I never thought she would make college, but a spark ignited in her in her second year of nursing school The diagnosis the doctors gave her was just wrong. Now she recently graduated nursing school, and is a thriving nurse in her field. When she received her nursing certificate at the ceremony they held for graduates, she came to us and said, “Thank you for choosing me.” I also helped my son through school.

    You can really see the fruit of my labor with my daughter when at 18 she met her biological sister. I told my daughter her sister will be a needy person. Her parents never went to college and she hops from one minimum wage job to another. My daughter only wanted to meet her sister, not her biological mother, a relief for me.

    The downside – I see the fruit my staying at home did to my children, and I am very proud. There is however a downside (which you nailed in a previous post.) Leaving the work force makes you loose connections and it devalues your identity, and loneliness can be a factor especially now that the kids are gone. I have always had trouble grappling with this even though financially we were fine. But I think a man has an innate desire to work.

    Your blog has inspired me to create my own finance blog geared towards retirement and also social security disability. Not quite up but will be soon

    1. Wow Mark, simply WOW!!!!

      I have a tear in my eye imagining those words she told you on graduation day. You are an amazing father and amazing person. I have so much respect for you.

      I just saw my foster care mentee yesterday And he is growing up fast. The plan to help teach him some life skills And be there for him when he graduates from high school or college and help him out. He’s 11 this year, but I know they grow up quick!

      Thanks again for sharing your background. It is wonderful.

  17. Hey there! Sam, it sounds like you guys have a nice, respectful, and supportive rhythm to it all. Kudos. It is constant effort but it can be a beautiful dance, right?

    I’m a stay at home dad & online ecomm entrepreneur. I just put my toddler down for his daily nap of 3 hours+ (he’s a great sleeper). Thank god for that otherwise my business would definitely suffer. I’m very thankful for his agreeable demeanor and 12 hour uninterrupted sleep cycles at night (unreal!). We’re afraid to have another one because it’s not likely we’ll get a sleeper like this!

    So now he naps and here I am, avoiding some of the mundane bookkeeping I need to get done by cleaning my inbox and getting distracted by FS. :-) I use this time for biz task blitzing or for a good workout that’ll likely give me the energy to work thru the evening after we do family time. It’s a lifestyle so very distant from the corporate grind & sales culture I was suffocating in for a decade and but I love it. Not everyone can handle the uncertain fluidity and the interrupts (they were nearly just as bad in the 9-5), but I kinda like the small windows to get focused work done and the big windows to immerse myself in my son’s development and just be with him in the moment. I can’t neglect either, and the stakes are way higher than my old career, but it feels easier and more pleasant….I suppose it’s because it’s work with a purpose.

    I’m looking to sell my biz in the next quarter and sure up a windfall event. It’s been turmoil making the call, but I gotta forgo the greed and secure the cash while setting myself up for the security to be present with our son as his nap schedule dwindles. It’ll be strange to have just one baby.

    Anyhow, thanks for writing this article and reminding me to take stock in this whole alternative thing we’ve got going. I knew we were outliers, but 3%? Wow.


    1. Wow! He’s a super sleeper! How old is he? Feel blessed. Then we hold our little one start sleeping like that in the future. But we’re mentally prepared for at least three years of no sleep. Once you can set expectations, things get easier.

      Good luck with the sale of your business. What does your wife do?

      To the 3%!

      1. The little guy is 27 months (2.25 years, starting to seem silly counting the months).

        Yes, I realize I’m blessed with our sleeper. I’m sure we’ll look back on this chapter and fondly remember how great my “business partner” was to allow me to work diligently enough to secure to secure our financial freedom.

        My wife has been a hell of teammate too. She works as a school counselor in a high school so we are very thankful for her health benefits and extended summers.

        Again, this lifestyle feels so counter to the norm but the puzzle pieces are fitting better than I could have anticipated. Give it a thought Dads, you might just like it!


  18. Sam,

    Interesting to see your take…although I would just suggest talking more to friends who have more than one child about how things changed when the family expanded beyond one, because there might be some perspective there that would help. For example, your discussions about not being able to have your baby out of sight for more than a few seconds, etc., are somewhat stereotypical for parents when they have their first. I would suggest that you may be over-stressing yourself by making it overly demanding. Consider that a lot of children the world over still (not to mention centuries past) made it out of childhood just fine with far less food, shelter, water, safety, etc. than we do now.

    Just a thought from a father of six.

    1. You’re right, but not when he is starting to crawl and walk. There’s a reason for childproofing the house etc. After about age 3 or so is when one can worry less about a child injuring himself. Are you recommending I not try and catch him if he falls or guide him when he’s first learning to move?

      Did you stay at home and look after your six kids? That’s a lot of work!

      I will happily take all the advice I can get from more experienced parents. Feel free to share your top tips! But first, let me know how your work/childcare arrangement was with your partner. Thx

      1. Completely agree about childproofing – but there’s only so much you can reasonably do. I’m also not saying to not try to guide him or catch him to a point, but understand that falling is part of the process of learning to crawl, walk, run, ride a bike, and so on. This teaches self-confidence and resiliency over time. I’d recommend things like carpet or those foam puzzle mats to break the falls a bit, though. :)

        I don’t work at home, but our kid situation is different enough (our last four kids are quadruplets) that we found ourselves forced into situations where you have to let a lot of things go, and pick some lower bars to set for yourself and them…and again, they end up turning out just fine. My wife gets a sitter 2-3 days a week to watch the littles, so she can get out of the house for a couple of hours with our “big two,” and the rest of the time I’m at work, she’s at home…but we’ve reflected on the stress we put on ourselves when we just had one, and now we’re at the point where we notice it being significantly easier if it’s “just the quads” at home!

        It’s perspective, that’s all…that’s why I suggested talking with folks who have two or three, because they’ve had to go to a “zone defense” and probably make more decisions about what they’re going to attend to and what they’ll let go.

  19. Thank you, FS’s wife for allowing FS to remain focused on writing! It’s definitely hard and you have to carve out time any time you get. We have a 3-month-old and it’s like “ok he’s asleep, the clock starts now!”.

    This is our second child and over time hopefully it will become easier in terms of sleeping for a longer time, but every kid is different and that is the truest thing I’ve heard about kids. Also, their sleep is really dependent on the right amount of food intake all things being equal.

  20. Marie Jacobs

    As a working mama of three now elementary school age kids I think you tips are spot on! The only one I would add is to encourage short times of independent play that increase as they get older. As a baby this was time on a blanket or bouncer with toys nearby while I did dishes and for preschool kids this was quiet toys, books or coloring while I caught up with the laptop. I volunteered in kindergarten today with my youngest and it is impossible for the teacher to teach anything when each child interrupts with every thought in their head because they were never taught to wait patiently or work independently while an adult is helping others or does something else. As a bonus for me this skill also makes it much easier for me to work with them at home on school breaks, weather or sick days.

    As for sleep, each child is unique and you will learn yours as time goes by. We used the same Tracy Hogg Baby Whisperer sleep training methods with all three kids and it worked perfectly with the oldest and youngest who slept a six hour stretch by three months and through the night at six. It did not work for the middle child who still sometimes wakes up at night at almost 8. When she started kindergarten we told her she didn’t have to wake anyone else up in the night but could quietly use the bathroom, get a drink or look at books until she went back to sleep so the rest of us get enough sleep so we didn’t have cranky mama and daddy anymore. That and we discovered and treated her periodic limb movement so she does sleep through about half the time. It’s not getting older but that you figure out a way forward for your family that works. Have confidence that you will keep at it until you figure it out.

    Older kids doesn’t always mean easier though! By the time you figure it out the game changes. Instead of the pediatrician we have frequent orthodontist visits. Instead of fine motor skills we have to teach social skills to address friend and sibling squabbles. Unlike babies, Bigger kids don’t stay where you put them. I have much to learn about the teen years.

    1. Good stuff! I absolutely see how the challenges morph as the kid ages.

      Three kids a lot to manage! Who took care of them before they went to preschool mostly? And what does your partner do if you have one?

      Check out that book as well. I literally read everything there is About child development. I should just get a PhD in child development in the meantime why not! LOL

  21. Damn, I don’t miss that first year at all! It truly was the toughest year of our lives. We went the CIO method. I can’t decide which was worse, listening to my daughter cry or listening to my wife cry because our daughter was crying. In our case it took 3 days of hell to get our kid to sleep. I’m not advocating this, just sharing our experience.

    Looking back now, 18 years later, there is nothing I’m more proud of, and I mean NOTHING, than the effort my wife and I put into raising our daughter. My guess is you and your wife will feel the same.

    Hang in there, it definitely gets better and more enjoyable.

    Thanks, Bill

    1. Hilarious! I can totally see my wife crying because our son is crying and not being allowed to soothe him immediately. So torturous. Actually, I would be the one crying. I feel immense pain every time he hurts himself by accident.

      That is so awesome to hear there is nothing you guys are more proud of. GREAT MOTIVATION! Thank you! We plan to do everything possible over the next 17.1 years to be present parents.

  22. Wow, Sam, this is so helpful. Thanks! My husband wants to stay at home when our kid is born, but I’m already working from home so I suspect we’ll need to make a schedule and figure everything out like you and your wife did. I suspect he’ll try working from home part time to stay challenged and busy (although the kid will definitely make us busy!)

    I need to listen to the podcast. I admire your wife’s ability to take the night shift with the kid. I’m amazed she can function the next day!

    Those stats for stay at home dads surprise me a bit. I suspect the percentage might actually be higher, but maybe some men don’t want the label? It’s interesting. I saw somewhere that one in five men said they’d stay at home if they could (and one in four working women said the same).

    1. Hmm, if 1 in 5 said they’d stay at home if they could, that means that way less than 20% stay at home to be caretakers, so 3% is about right!

      But yes, in the early retirement financial independence community, every single stay at home dad who has a working wife says they retired early instead of saying they are a SAHD. It is REALLY funny how men can’t just admit they are stay at home dads. Society and self-esteem I guess.

      Related: https://www.financialsamurai.com/stay-at-home-men-of-the-world-unite/

      I think you’ll enjoy the podcast. And your husband should definitely read this post to know what he’s getting himself into!

      1. Very true! And good point; it’s just such a small number. Like, where are all the men who telecommute? I did see that half of those working from home are over age 45, so maybe a lot of them don’t have kids at home anyway.

        I’ll check out the post, podcast and definitely have my husband do the same. It’s a lot to take on raising a kid, and we’re enormously nervous about it, but hey, it’s an adventure!

        I don’t look down on anyone who uses daycare, but I do hope we don’t have to. It’s an expense I’d rather invest in something.

  23. Thanks for sharing your day in the life with us, Sam! It sounds like a lot of work. And I totally agree that it’s much easier to drop the kid off at daycare in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon. That’s what we do, and it works for us.

    I saw that you don’t feed your son a full dinner besides milk and wonder if that’s why he wakes up at night to get fed. Maybe I missed out on something. Let me know :)

      1. Why 40 bites (not critisizing) but why not let him eat how much he wants. Didn’t Dr Spock say a baby will eat what it needs? Has that gone out now? I have seen a lot of parents trying to force or encourage kids to eat more, who seem far from hungry and certainly not overweight. I should probaby but out as you have plenty of advice and know what is best for your kid.

          1. Excellent. Good appetite. They go through periods of growth and then stay the same for awhile. All is well then.

  24. I am not quite in the same position as our son is 6 and most days is in school while I peacefully work from my home office. However, I was brutally reminded of how hard and quite frankly impossibly it is to do both child care and work at the same time a few weeks ago when local schools were closed for 4 days from a combo of President’s day and ice storms all while my husband was out of town. My suggestion as your son is getting to the age for group activities (kids gym, parent/child swim lessons etc) is to get out there and start to find your tribe of like minded and local parents. They will save your bacon and save your $ for date night caregivers. A fellow work from home family (a dad like you) and ours have teamed up to watch our group of kids for a few hours on days where the kids are out of school but work still needs to get done. This give the kids the interaction they are dying for and us parents a chance to get the top priority work issues tackled before resuming full time parenting.

    1. Yeah, for some reason, we don’t have many close friends with kids. And we definitely don’t know anybody else close who are both stay at home / work from home parents.

      Maybe it’s b/c San Francisco is so expensive and people come and go. This is one of the reasons why we want to move to Hawaii. The family/ohana culture is AWESOME there. I truly love it. Family first… money not even close.

      SF and places like NYC are a grind that I want to escape now that we have a different lifestyle.

      1. 100% understand that families with young kids are not thick on the ground but you are definitely not alone in town. Not sure how close you are to San Mateo but there are two places that I was able to take my godson for activities while my best friend and her husband delivered there 2nd kiddo that seemed like easy places to make some connections; Diddalidoo (little kid play gym), and La Petite Baleen (swim school). If there are places like that closer to your house you will likely find those families.

        Hawaii will be awesome, Ohana is priceless, but no sense on just tolerating parenthood in isolation until you make that move. We parented solo (no close family) for the first year, it was nuts. I’ve never been happier than the day my parents called to tell me they had decided to sell out of California and move to my town. Regardless, this internet stranger feels that you are doing great, and your son is very lucky to have such dedicated parents.

        1. Cool. SM isn’t too far. About 25-30 minutes.

          Hawaii is where my family is. I think it would be great to be with them as they don’t want to live in SF. Set in their ways.

  25. Sam, you’re doing a great job. It’s really difficult to get anything done when you’re a SAHD. I only worked on my blog after our kid went to bed.
    You should try to get some help. A regular babysitter would help a lot. It’ll give you two a little time for yourself. We put our kid in preschool when he was 2. Life improved a lot after that. I was able to concentrate on work for a few hours per day.

    We didn’t sleep train our kid either. It took a really long time for him to sleep by himself. I think much later than 3. Our kid stopped napping very early, around 2. This was good because it tired him out and he sleeps better at night. You’re right. Every kid is different. Enjoy your time with the little one. He’ll be a big kid soon.

    1. Thanks Joe. Help is definitely on the way, and will be a topic of a new post, of course!

      Great to hear life improved a lot after pre-school. We will do pre-school when he is 2.5 or 3 years old.

  26. Thanks for sharing your daily schedule and your experiences being a work at home parent and stay at home parent. It’s so tough but so rewarding when you see them achieve their milestones or see them look at something with wonder.

    Mrs. FS has a lovely voice! Very cute that you guys did a podcast together :)

    It’s been 7 months for me and the first 3 months were really rough and I was waking up twice a night at least. I remember reading and commenting on blogs in the middle of the night while feeding to try and keep myself awake. I’m on a one-year mat leave right now and we sleep trained our baby in Hawaii when we were there for 5 weeks. He wakes up about once at 5 am now and my husband said he noticed I was much less irritable once I started getting more than 4-5 hours of sleep at a time. Sleep deprivation really changes you!

    I agree it’s so hard to do anything productive when you have a baby- the only time I have to myself is at night time when he’s sleeping. When he wakes up it’s like 12 hours of being ‘on’ minus naps here and there.

    As a new parent, I learned that you do whatever you think is right for your family and what is guided by evidence. Everyone is trying their best (well except for the anti-vaxxers haha) for their child. Co-sleeping, CIO, baby led weaning- every parent does it differently.

    It’s wonderful that you and Mrs. FS have delineated your roles so clearly and figured out what works best for you.

    1. Ah, 7 months! How time flies.

      What is your current childcare arrangement? Do you work from home are you on parental leave, what does your partner up to? I”m fascinating with understanding all the various dynamics.

      The podcast was fun. Thx for listening and sharing!

      1. I’m in Canada so I have one year off for parental leave. My partner works for himself so his hours are flexible. After I return to work my partner and my mother in law will be looking after our little guy.

  27. Great post Sam. We went through two boys and I forgot how exhausting it was. They are now in grade school and middle school. It definitely gets easier. As they get older, you deal with different issues, but I find it more manageable.

  28. I have worked from home for going on 7 years now, but can’t imagine doing so with a baby / small child in the house. I really need peace, quiet, and separation. Maybe with really good noise-proofing and physical separation (different floors) it could work.

    My wife works full time in a very high level, visible, & demanding job and we highly value the flexibility of my current role. When I’m not traveling, I can wear jeans, tennis shoes, and a T-shirt, don’t have to shave, etc. I can throw stuff in the crockpot in the morning for dinner that night. Having one spouse work from home can give you at least some of the benefits having a stay at home spouse offers.

    The sleep thing is all over the board. We chose to co-sleep with both our children starting at birth, and it worked well for us. I’ve done a lot of reading, and pretty confidently feel the campaign against co-sleeping is based on pseudo-science. Then again, neither my wife nor I weight 400 pounds, go to sleep intoxicated every night, or abuse drugs. However, at some point, you will have to sleep train (I know plenty of 8 year olds still sleeping in their parents’ bed every night).

    I absolutely love having kids. I coach my daughter’s soccer team, take them skiing, support activities, etc. That said, I have absolutely zero interest in being a stay at home parent. Tough job!!!

    1. Hah! The funny thing about co-sleeping is that it’s doing in most every other part of the world. And if you look into the wild, you’ll see parents sleeping with their babies every single time.

      Do what works for you.

      Reading about SIDs really did a doozy on me though. Makes you super paranoid b/c you can’t help but read from parents their stories of how they lost their little ones. SO SAD :(

      1. When ever I mention that I co sleep with my kids people look at me like I have 2 kids, add in that I breastfeed exclusively for at least 2 years the opinions really start rolling in ! Like you said it’s perfectly acceptable everywhere but the US. (I was born in Russia so it’s normal to me) Most mom’s don’t get to be stay at home moms and have to go to work at 6wks post giving birth and leave a tiny baby at daycare all day to be taken care of by complete strangers….thats when I look at them as if they have 2 heads !

  29. Those stay at home percentages are much higher if you restrict to families with young children. How do you see this arrangement changing as your little one grows?

    1. I see us traveling more once he turns 3 since toddlers can’t remember much before then.

      I also see myself, at least, returning to some part-time consulting work or really getting involved in the community through volunteering once our son goes to Kindergarten (5-6).

      I like hanging out with parents and being involved in the school.

  30. Awesome post!! It is a lot of work to care for a little one and you are doing an amazing job. It is not easy to be at home with a baby and try to work at the same time. You guys have found a great rhythm and have divided up tasks based on your strengths. Thats a win win! Keep up the great work!!!

  31. You guys get up at 6 and sleep at midnight?! That’s so little sleep especially for retirees.

    I’m still not sure how single working mom’s or dad’s do it. It just seems impossible because they work outside the home and they don’t have a back up partner in crime to grind through a baby or toddler in the first few years. My hubby is looking very forward to being a stay at home dad. I think it would be very nice, not a lot of kids are attached to their working parent as much.

    1. I’ve been sleeping 6 hours a night for almost 20 years and am used to it. We’re definitely not retirees anymore given how much work is involved running this site.

      I hope your hubby reads this posts and prepares himself for what’s to come. It is harder than he can imagine!

      1. If you haven’t already, you should read Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. The percentage of people that have the genetic trait of needing less than 7-8hrs of sleep is very small. You might reconsider the importance of sleep in your schedule..

        1. I think sleep is so important. But I can’t help but get up naturally after 6 hours.

          But I do LOVE to take afternoon naps, especially after lunch for 30 min or so. I get food coma and to sleep after is so wonderful. A big motivation to stop working in the office!

        2. People have no idea how hard parenting is, mostly hard work and giving up a lot of yourself, but fun and rewarding too.

          I don’t know if it’s genetic but I tend to think it’s just training myself to not need sleep. I am hitting a certain age this year, and have a little more trouble with jetlag, which is a new thing for me. I refuse to give in though, and refuse to focus on sleep. If I start to lag, I make a strong cup of coffee or drink 3 glasses of water, go for a walk. I am still healthier and more energetic and effective than all my friends and family that are forever complaining about sleep even after hours more than I get. And need far less sleep most people especially younger people. I have not noticed any health effects at all.

          I never nap, that is deadly. Whenever I need to function on less sleep (for many reasons — travel, working several jobs), I look at it a a challenge. I recognize that performance can be impaired with sleep deprivation and make adjustments (check work, time the crucial work, etc.). One thing I have trained myself to do is love the early mornings, I love those extra hours, love the dawn, love sunrise, love my French press, my morning exercises, my first look at the stock market 6:30 am on the west coast.

          Babies can be very tiring. More than sleep, it is just plain hard work and not very stimulating, not to mention stressful worrying about everything. It is so random, what works and does not work. You have the luxury of raising your kid with two parents available at all times to share the burden. Most people do not so they have to be a bit more pragmatic with sleep training, baby sitters, day care, nannies, etc. You both sound like you are on a treadmill that is not very much fun. I am sure that the impression is not quite right, at least I hope that this is just the bad part, and that it is mostly great. One thing for sure, you are very diligent parents.

          As for having undisturbed work time when you are working at home, that seems unrealistic. Even at the office all day, I had writing and editing to do, extremely complex analysis, but still the phone rang all day, and staff needed questions answered in order to do their work, so to concentrate, refocus quickly, work on multiple projects, and work with constant interruptions. After a period working at home, I had to train myself all over again to deal with constant interruptions and still dive right back in. The first few days were horrifying when I thought I had lost it, but it came back.

          That being said, everybody is different, and I admire you for another honest and amazing post.

  32. I’ve been working at home for about 10 years. For the first 5 years we had no kids, and for the last 5 years I’ve shared the house during the day with my wife and now 2 kids. I agree with everything you’ve said about the challenges and tips.

    At our old house my office was in the basement and the kids were supposed to stay out of the basement when I was working, which give me nice separation and allowed me to focus on work and be productive. Now we live in a house where my office is on the first floor (with a glass door) and the privacy is not so good. As kids get older and more active the house gets louder and work is more challenging. But at the same time, I get to see them at breakfast and lunch, and throughout the day here are there. I usually play with them for a while at lunch. Most dads are gone before their kids wake up in the morning and only see them for a couple of hours in the evening, so I appreciate being able to have more time with them.

    Right now our daughter is five and our son is two. He still naps, so what works well for us is to have our daughter take some “quiet time” while our son is napping. She colors, works on crafts, plays on her own, and sometimes sits in my office and types on an old laptop. But that downtime gives my wife time to work on things that she needs to do, and our daughter needs some time to do things on her own anyway.

    1. Great to hear from a fellow work from home and stay at home dad!

      Maybe we need to get a sign to put on the door that says “Work in session” :)

      My wife and my son can’t stay away from me. I’m like a magnet or something. It’s hard to focus on work and writing as a result!

  33. Great post! My wife is a stay at home mom and I would love to be a stay at home dad. We live in Utah where the rate is low. Hopefully I can help change that

  34. Adam and Jane

    Sam and Mrs. Financial Samurai,

    This is the first podcast that listened to. You guys got great voices. Pretty funny that it was recorded in a hottub. The audio was very clear. We don’t have any kids so thanks for sharing!

    Thank you Mrs. Financial Samurai for co-running this site so well to allow Sam to continue writing interesting posts!

    Working from home beats the grind of daily commuting. I work from home for my IT job. My wife is fully retired. She does the accounting and I manage our simple muni bonds investments.


      1. I listened to one in the last week or so and was very impressed. I normally would not as I do not have the patience to listen, but other readers were praising you so I gave it a try. Your voice is very listenable, and the pace is fast enough, not to get bored or start to do other things at the same time. Still prefer reading but now I hear your voice when I read. Now will listen to one of you both.

  35. Another SAM

    Sam, it’s so great to see fathers talking openly about work life balance issues. I love everything about this post except, “While at the pediatrician, your baby is examined thoroughly and gets injected with vaccines, which hopefully cause no harm.” You’re a bright guy, you understand science, you grew up in developing countries… why the vaccine skepticism?

    PS. Sleep training for my little guy resulted in less overall crying than not sleep training.

    1. Your first assumption that I’m a bright guy is where you’ve got it wrong! Every day I realize how little I know.

      I don’t 100% understand the science of vaccines and 100% of its effects over the short and long run. Instead, we’ve made the best decision for our son to vaccinate him based on the information we know, and we hope for the best.

      Regarding sleep training, how do you know there is less overall crying than not sleep training? Were you able to test one child with CIO and one without CIO and compare? Your baby could have started sleeping on his/her own the very next week without CIO.

      What I’ve realized from seeking advice from parents is that everybody has a different opinion, probably because every baby is different and every parent is different.

      I like this one thought from a mother, “It’s not a baby’s job to operate around the conveniences of parents – it’s a parent’s job to make life comfortable and reassuring for the baby.”

      When you don’t have a conventional job to go to, this advice becomes more meaningful.

      Tell me about yourself and your work/childcare arrangement. Thanks!

      1. Oddly enough, we’re a Foreign Service family (State/AID). So yes, dual career.

        And your point about the kid deciding to sleep on his own is well taken.

        But my kid was screaming for two hours a night at bedtime, even as we cuddled/nursed/rocked/vigorously bounced/shushed/sang/pleaded with him to sleep. He had bags under his little baby eyes. He was regularly getting 30% less than the recommended amount of sleep for his age. Once we gave him some space and let him figure it out on his own, his crying immediately reduced. He never cried as long during sleep training as he did before it.

        I’m not saying that it’s right for every kid or every family, but it made a world of difference for our kid. I now look back on it as the first of many things that I do as a parent because they’re good for my kid even though he doesn’t like them. The benefits for us as parents were just icing on the cake.

        1. Thanks for sharing. My parents were FSOs. Very cool, and a life I’m thinking of living again, but as an internet entrepreneur who can move wherever (post coming!)

          CIO sounds like it made a lot of sense for your baby. Two hours a night of crying at bedtime is brutal and we would surely try CIO at 6 months if that was our son.

          Our son doesn’t cry more than ~1-5 minutes in 24 hours after the 6th month. And from 0-6 months, he might have cried 5-20 minutes on average in a 24 hour time period. It may be his natural temperament or a combination of his temperament and parental love 24/7. Not sure.

          So for us, having him go from not really crying now to 5-10 minutes of crying for the CIO method isn’t right for us.

      2. Sam,
        If you want to become informed about vaccines, I highly recommend the documentary series The Truth About Vaccines. I watched all seven episodes, and there’s a tremendous amount of information covered, from how vaccines are tested (against an injection of aluminum or thimerisal instead of a placebo shot), the difference between immunization and immunity, the safety of the various vaccines, and the huge difference in autism rates in the US vs Europe, (about 1 in 50 vs 1 in 1000). Babies in the US receive twice as many vaccines as babies in Europe before age two.
        Hope this helps!


  36. Looking after small kids is hard! We are at the point now where both kids are in school and are heavily invested in every decision we make. It takes time to get there but is rewarding when you do.

  37. Great post Sam. My wife is a stay at home spouse and I have a good friend who is a stay at home dad. Child rearing is tough work and I truly believe staying at home with a child is hard, but rewarding work. You only get one chance at it per kid, so might as well do your best to raise them. It is interesting seeing the division of work at your home. For us, I take care of finances and bills and my wife takes care of social calendar, etc. She is taking a large portion of the work in dealing with builders while I deal with insurance companies. It is interesting to see how we divide the work, all unofficially.

  38. Sam, I don’t understand your comment about why you have chosen not to sleep train (your phrase) your child, “because you have nowhere to go in the morning?” Have you spoken to your pediatrician about the number of times your little one still gets up at night? At 11 months, it would be much healthier, IMHO, if he were sleeping through the night. And by through the night I mean a solid 10 hours. To bed at 8 and up at 6 or later. Then a morning nap around 10 and an afternoon nap around 2. It would not take more than a week at most of letting him cry for a bit, for him to start sleeping through the night. The first night you would let him cry for 5 minutes(by the clock). If he is still crying at the 5 minute mark, you would go to him, pat him on the back, make sure there is no issue such as a wet diaper and then leave him. Do not pick him up. Leave the room and go to a different part of the house. If it takes more than one cry session of more than 5 minutes, repeat the process. Within days he should have adapted to the new routine. You and your wife would be much better off as well.

    1. I can’t recommend sleep training enough. We have an 18 month old who has never really taken to naps during the day, even at daycare. But, we sleep trained once he didn’t need to feed during the night (around five months old) and it only took a couple nights for him to adjust and sleep through the night. We initially were hesitant becuase we thought it would be hard to do based on his reticence to take naps during the day. However, it competely changed our life, since we weren’t up multiple times a night anymore. We were walking zombies until then, and since sleep training are much happier and well-rested. Since five months old he’s done a solid 10-11 hours a night except when he’s been sick. Best advice we heard and took by far.

    2. Here’s the best advice I’ve ever read about sleep training by Ava Neyer who has read all the baby sleep books just like me. It is hilarious and so true. Bottom line: every baby is different. Do what you think is best for your baby.

      “You shouldn’t sleep train at all, before a year, before 6 months, or before 4 months, but if you wait too late, your baby will never be able to sleep without you. College-aged children never need to be nursed, rocked, helped to sleep, so don’t worry about any bad habits. Nursing, rocking, singing, swaddling, etc to sleep are all bad habits and should be stopped immediately.

      Naps should only be taken in the bed, never in a swing, car seat, stroller, or when worn. Letting them sleep in the car seat or swing will damage their skulls. If your baby has trouble falling asleep in the bed, put them in a swing, car seat, stroller, or wear them. Use the crib only for sleep and keep it free of distractions. If the baby is having trouble adjusting to the crib, have them play in it first. If the baby wakes up at night and wants to play, put fun toys in the crib to distract them.

      Put the baby in a nursery, bed in your room, in your bed. Co-sleeping is the best way to get sleep, except that it can kill your baby, so never, ever do it. If your baby doesn’t die, you will need to bed-share until college.

      Keep the room warm, but not too warm. Swaddle the baby tightly, but not too tightly. Put them on their backs to sleep, but don’t let them be on their backs too long or they will be developmentally delayed. Give them a pacifier to reduce SIDS. Be careful about pacifiers because they can cause nursing problems and stop your baby from sleeping soundly. If your baby sleeps too soundly, they’ll die of SIDS.

      Don’t let your baby sleep too long, except when they’ve been napping too much, then you should wake them. Never wake a sleeping baby. Any baby problem can be solved by putting them to bed earlier, even if they are waking up too early. If your baby wakes up too early, put them to bed later or cut out a nap. Don’t let them nap after 5 p.m. Sleep begets sleep, so try to get your child to sleep as much as possible. Put the baby to bed awake but drowsy. Don’t wake the baby if it fell asleep while nursing.

      You should start a routine and keep track of everything. Don’t watch the clock. Put them on a schedule. Scheduling will make your life impossible because they will constantly be thrown off of it and you will become a prisoner in your home.

      Using the “Cry It Out” method (CIO) will make them think they’ve been abandoned and will be eaten by a lion shortly. It also causes brain damage. Not getting enough sleep will cause behavior and mental problems, so be sure to put them to sleep by any means necessary, especially CIO, which is the most effective form. CIO is cruel beyond belief and the only thing that truly works because parents are a distraction.

      Formula and solid foods will help the baby sleep longer. Solid foods shouldn’t be given at night because they might wake the baby. Don’t stop the baby from nursing when asleep. Be wary of night feeds. If you respond too quickly with food or comfort, your baby is manipulating you. Babies can’t manipulate. Babies older than six months can manipulate.

      Sleep when the baby sleeps. Clean when the baby cleans. Don’t worry. Stress causes your baby stress and a stressed baby won’t sleep.”


      1. HA! I think I now have brain damage from reading this! From one new parent to another, you keep doing you Sam!

      2. Well – I will have to respectfully disagree with your Ms. Neyer. Co-sleeping is another bad routine.

        1. Yep, another big point of contention. But very common everywhere else except America, and ubiquitous amongst animals.

          The US has an obesity problem, Which is one of the risk factors as is drugs and alcohol before bed.

          What people don’t realize is that we all wake up multiple times route the night, we just don’t remember it. My little one wakes up but then just falls back asleep. But my wife works up every time he wakes up because she’s so in time with him.

          1. I can see your wife pumps, a baby that eats breastmilk will not be sleeping through the night so early ! I exclusively breastfed for 2 years and co sleep with my kids bc they wake often, even after weaning. My husband sleeps in the guest room so he can function at work (he’s a firefighter ) it is true one day they will be sleeping alone in their bed and you will actually miss it All! My parenting style is “attachment ” parenting and it works for me but most have an opinion about it

    3. I’m a mom of two teenagers. As babies, one was able to be sleep trained and slept like a champ. We were so well rested. The second one was NOT HAVING IT. I was chronically sleep deprived for second’s first 2.5 years. They were both just as different when it came to accepting bottles, sippy cups, walking, napping (you know, or not), potty training, coming into our room at night, etc. I’m happy to report that both kids now sleep through the night, in their own beds, and wake themselves up to pee. My point being, you get whatever kid you get, each with their own personalities, eccentricities, etc. Parents know what works for their kids and themselves, and what doesn’t. To each his or her own.

  39. That’s quite an impressive schedule, Sam.

    I am not at this phase of my life yet, but it’s great to see two work-from-home parents who are able to perform at a high level in both raising the little one and building a strong business.

    My question—with such a regimented schedule, how do you wind down to stay sane? Seems like there’s no time for tennis/other physical activities or reading non-work-non-baby-related material.

    1. Writing is very cathartic, and it often takes hours to write a post. I still play tennis about 2X a week on average. Now I’m coaching HS tennis for the next two months, so that gets me out of the house as well.

      It’s been tough so far, but the years will go by quicker than we know. Just got to gut it out and persevere.

  40. Sam,

    Great post. It took me back 4 years to when we went through this with our daughter. Did you ever have any help from the parents or in-laws to give you guys a break? Did you ever do a ‘date night’ alone without your little one? It took us more than a year for us to do it and it was a good experience.

    For us the first month was the worst and things got better slowly. We had a period of sleep training for the little one that was ruined after 2-3 months when we traveled to the USA to meet my parents- the jetlag for the baby was terrible (not to mention the 24 hour journey over which was a nightmare with no sleeping for me nearly the entire time) and then when coming back the sleep training was broken.

    Now it’s a case of mom and the daughter sleeping in one room most nights and me in the other although there are times when we are all together.


    1. Unfortunately, my parents and in-laws live 5+ hours away by plane. They’ve all decided to visit only once a year, and they are also in their 70s, so care from them is more difficult. Another reason to have kids sooner, rather than later.

      The jet lag is something we’re afraid of, hence why we don’t plan to bring him to Hawaii or the East coast for several years.

      1. Its a great article and since we are in the same shoes (exactly the same age as you and your wife are) and we have a 2 yr old son, we share the same challenges, often over 85hr workweeks. One thing is very different though. You could call it selfish or over adventurous from our side but since our son was born two years ago we have probably traveled more with him than before. He was only 8 weeks old when we visited Yoshua Trees NP in the winter (pleasant weather there) and that was just the beginning. Since my wife is from South Africa and myself from Europe we made sure to fly into those countries at least 1x in the last 24 months. This kid was also lucky enough to celebrate his 1st and 2nd birthday in Hawaii. We also do a lot of hikes and museum visits in the Bay Area. This resulted in an extremely curios and smart little man who loves exploring his environment and everything around him (in multiple languages). Our parents are also older and the 15-22 hrs flight is pretty exhausting to them. But we made it happen. My recommendation to you is not to be afraid of short travels (<6hrs) and just give it a try. Of course it also depends on your little one individual needs and health conditions. Maybe we just got lucky that way.

        1. Cool. How did you deal with jetlagged and that your pressure for your little one?

          We made sure to travel a lot for the years leading up to our son’s birth, so we are traveled out. If you look at our travel category of the site, you’ll see a lot of adventures.

          We are thinking about traveling more extensively after he turns three years old. The reason why is partly because he might be able to remember his travels at that age. I traveled a lot from birth because my parents were in the foreign service. I don’t remember much of my travels before five years old actually. I asked a lot of other people and they couldn’t remember either. So maybe we wait until 5.

          Do you guys Work online as well?

          1. Sam,

            We have taken our little one on a few flights in his 7 months to visit our families in Arizona. We try to schedule flights that leave around the time he is supposed to eat. Then my wife would nurse him on take off and landing when the pressure changed. We have only gotten 3 hour flights down so far, but it is 4/4. We are about to do our 3rd RT flight at the end of the month.

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