Reflecting On Being A Stay At Home Dad For Two Years

Reflecting On Two Years As A Stay At Home Dad

I've actually been a stay at home dad since 2017, but this article was written after two years of being a SAHD. For dads out there who are considering quitting their jobs to be full-time fathers, this post will give you some perspective.

I still remember the day my son was born like it was yesterday. After only about an hour of labor he joined us in this world at 11:58 pm. It was the greatest moment of both our lives.

From that time forward, we pledged to care for him as best we could. In a big way, all the years of saving and investing and figuring out how to make some income at home were to prepare for this moment that we could both be stay at home parents.

As first-time parents, we didn't know what to expect. So we figured having both of us care for our boy would be the optimal way to go.

Here's my personal reflection as a stay at home dad for the past two years I wrote in 2019. I've sent this post to his e-mail account for him to read when he's a little bit older. In 2023, I've now been a stay at home dad for six years. But overall, my feelings are quite similar.

Reflecting On Being A Stay At Home Dad For Two Years

1) Losing income is hard, but losing time is harder.

Due to being a stay at home dad for two years, I've lost out on between $400,000 – $1,000,000 in income. With 18-20 years of experience in finance and online media, getting a $200,000 – $250,000 a year job + restricted stock units is very possible in the SF Bay Area. If I were to go back to banking, my base salary would be $250,000 a year + bonuses equal to 0% – 200% of base salary.

Although losing out on so much income is hard given we now have more expenses taking care of our son, I wouldn't miss out on the first two years of my son's life for any amount of money.

You could give me a billion dollars, and if I had to be away from home for 14 hours a day to make that money, I would decline. I've spent time with billionaires before, and they are just like you and me, except they fly private everywhere.

Related: Career Or Family? You Only Have To “Sacrifice” At Most 5 Years

Witnessing All Milestones Is Priceless

Over the past two years, I have witnessed his every milestone: his first smile, his first rollover, his first crawl, his first steps, his first words, and so many more. Each milestone witnessed felt like a blessing. I hope due to all the time both of us have spent with him, we will have an even stronger bond as he grows up.

I've gotten to know a couple of nannies over the two years. They have told me how they won't tell the parents about new milestones so that the parents can think they are first time witnesses.

I knew I could always make more money but I could never create more time with our son. When he finally learned how to ride his bike on November 13, 2022 after seven sessions, that moment was priceless!

2) Being a stay at home dad is the hardest job in the world no doubt.

For all the stay at home parents out there, I salute you! And for all the single parents out there, you have my deepest admiration.

Working 14 hours a day in banking where there's constant pressure to produce is a walk in the park in comparison to full-time fatherhood. I would say 95% of day jobs are easier than parenthood!

With full-time fatherhood, you are on 24/7 due to risk of injury or death by the child. The first year of life is the most fragile. You're always on high alert for choking, suffocation, tumbles, running into a corner, and so forth.

I kept reading stories about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which were all so incredibly heartbreaking. For the first year, this paranoia wouldn't let me sleep uninterrupted for more than 3-4 hours. Back is best and get rid of all the blankets and pillows in the crib please.

Once your child starts to verbalize his or her desires, it's all about repetition.

My son loves garage doors. He will say the words “garage door,” “double-wide garage door,” “quadruple wide brown garage door” etc over and over again. He'll then open and close garage door toys a hundred times in a row. I've got to repeat the words and open and close the doors with him. Otherwise, he knows I'm not paying attention.

A Test Of Endurance And Patience

I've also heard whines, screams, and crying 5 – 10X a day for 730+ days in a row (now over 2,000 days in a row because we birthed a daughter in 2019!). In the beginning, this was quite a shock to the system. We never had any of this since my wife and I started shacking up in 2001.

Our boy is a top 1% chatterbox and super determined individual. If he can't do something or doesn't get what he wants, he definitely makes himself heard or felt! Nor does he sleep very well. He can go for 14 hours a day non-stop if we don't try to make him nap.

Over time, things are getting better as he's able to verbally communicate his needs and desires. He's no longer as frustrated because he can tell us he's tired, thirsty, hungry, sad, and so forth.

And here's the kicker. My wife did around 70% of the care-taking largely due to nursing needs. Yet, I still felt being a stay at home dad was the hardest thing I've ever done. One must develop incredible patience and endurance to survive.

The share of children living with a stay-at-home-parent by household type

3) Have children and the money will come.

Although both my wife and I gave up healthy salaries to raise our boy full-time, we ended up making more money. How? We focused on making money online to ultimately generate more passive income.

When you have a child, your mind and body go into overdrive to try and provide as much care and support as possible. As a result, you gain even more energy to find ways to financially support your family.

In my case, instead of waking up between 5:30 am – 6:15 am to start the day and work on Financial Samurai, I began waking between 3:30 am – 4:30 am to try and get more done before our son would wake up between 7 am – 8 am.

Personally, I've found it's hard to re-retire or stay retired one you have children. Fathers are hardwired to earn and provide for their family.

You'll Keep On Going Farther Once You're A Dad

I did not quit because I knew I could not. My family depended on me. In 2023, one of my goals is to generate $400,000 in passive investment income to stay full-time parents.

If he has had a particularly poor sleeping night, I would try and take over for a couple hours to allow for my wife to sleep in or decompress. I'd also try to nap as many times as possible during his mid-day nap. This way, I too could recharge for the afternoon and evening sessions.

After our boy went to bed, usually between 7:30pm-9pm, it was often Netflix, catching up on work stuff I'd postponed during the day, and preparing myself for the next day.

Once he turned 24 months old, our son has the ability to go from 6:30am – 7:30pm non-stop with no naps several days a week.

Just the other day I took him on a 1 hour 20 minute walk in the morning around our hilly neighborhood. I would have bet anything he'd take a two hour nap after lunch. But he just kept right on going until 8pm!

Overall, we are talking about 4:00 am – 10 pm days on average. Sometimes he will nap 45 minutes midday, most of the time he will not!

As the saying goes, “the days are long and the years are short.”

Parental leave by country - stay at home dad thoughts

4) Easy to gain weight and get sick as a stay at home dad.

When all you're doing is caring for your baby at home, it's extremely easy to gain weight. I went from around 168 lbs to 175 lbs, even though I was consciously trying not to overeat.

But after about the 18th month, I started losing weight. Finally, I am back down to about 166 – 169 pounds (still 5 – 7 lbs overweight according to chart below). The main reason why is because I've started to take my boy on almost daily walks. I also went back to playing tennis three days a week.

I suggest trying to lose 5 – 10 lbs before your baby is born. That way, you'll have a 5 – 10 lbs buffer for the inevitability.

Another downer is the increased frequency of getting sick after the first year. Our boy got his first cold at 12 months old. Then he started getting sick about once a quarter as we interacted more with the public.

His sickness spread to us, and we found ourselves frequently battling colds as well. Luckily, neither my wife or have have been sick at the same time.

Ideal Weight Chart For Men
Ideal healthy weight chart for men

5) Nannies won't pay as much attention as you.

I'm really sad to report this but after spending over 150 sessions in a public setting (park, museum, playground, etc), the vast majority of nannies or au pairs (90%+) are on their phones the entire time they are supposed to be watching over your child.

Every time I play chase with my boy, there will inevitably be 2-3 kids who will play along because their nannies are not playing with them. I've seen countless falls by 10-18-month-olds just learning to walk because their nannies are not paying attention.

I often wonder whether one of the reasons for slow speech development is because the nanny simple does not spend enough time speaking to their child or describing things to the child as they happen. We parents should be verbally describing everything our children are doing and seeing to help them learn. But with nannies, what I've observed is largely silence.

If you are having difficulty deciding whether to return to work or staying home to take care of your child, I recommend you choose to stay home if your can afford to. Nobody will care more about your child than you. It's not even close.

Nannies Are Often Distracted

Many of us are addicted to our mobile phones. The nannies I've seen take it to the next level. It's like they're getting paid for being on the phone!

If you go the nanny route, I would explicitly tell them to stay off their phones during play time. Whether they do so or not is up to them. But at least you've voiced your desires and there's a greater chance your nanny will follow your instructions.

It is completely sad and a wee bit alarming to have a little one come up to me, a stranger, and ask me to play with them because they are being completely ignored.

6) There was less discrimination against stay at home dads than I thought.

You sometimes hear stories about moms excluding dads from conversations or moms whispering mean words about dads being stay at home parents.

Out of all my outings, I have never once been discriminated against or been made to feel embarrassed or bad for being a stay at home parent. None of my friends have taken jabs at me either.

Maybe it's because I live in San Francisco, where we're very accepting of people. Maybe it's because my wife was also with me during most public settings. Or maybe it's because I'm a proud dad who is more impervious to the disapproval of others.

Don't let our insecurities run amuck. Dad guilt is a real thing.

Once I went with a moms group walk around Golden Gate Park and we decided to take a break under a large tree. All the moms started to breastfeed their children, but only one had a shawl. It frankly felt weird to be around the group, so I decided to take a short walk instead.

For all the stay at home dads out there who would rather say you retired early, are a freelancer or entrepreneur, you don't have to be ashamed that your wife or partner is bringing home the bacon.

Embrace your occupation as a stay at home dad. It is the most important job in the world!

The share of stay-at-home parents who are men or women

7) Wish I had children sooner.

I find that men are a little too relaxed about when to have children because we don't have the same biological deadline as women do. We like to avoid the subject for as long as possible. But this is not fair to women who want to have children. Have a mature discussion early in your relationship.

Physically, I'm still holding up pretty well. But I'm definitely not as limber as I used to be and it takes me longer to recover from a cold or a sports injury. After about age 45, I'm not sure if my body would be able to handle all the necessary bending over and carrying any more.

Having one kid makes me want to have a second. Therefore, it's good to plan as much as possible. Even if you plan, it might take longer than expected to have a child. I do believe the best age to have a baby is in one's early 30s.

If you know you want to have children, it's better to have them sooner rather than later. Not only will your body be able to better handle childcare, but your kids might also be able to spend more time with their aging grandparents.

That said, I have discovered one massive benefit of being an older, financial independent parent. I can actually spend way more time with our children than parents who had kids 10 years earlier. It also feels great to not have many financial worries.

Fertility Chart

8) You never feel like you're doing enough as a stay at home dad.

I'm constantly in awe of my wife because of her patience, kindness, and ability to naturally feed our boy when he was a baby.

As a stay at home dad, my son and I have a close connection. But the connection is not as close as the connection he has with his mom. As a result, I used to feel a little sad when he cried out for mommy while I was right there playing with him.

What am I, chopped liver or something? I'd sometimes think to myself.

Because I'm unable to nurse our boy, I try to make up for my deficiency in other ways: cleaning, driving, grocery shopping, playing, washing dishes, ordering food and so forth. I'd throw myself deep into my work in order to feel the power of being a provider.

Slowly, I'm starting to feel more worthy of being a father. As he gets older I hope all he'll want to do is play with his old man. It's just such a weird feeling to never feel like you're doing enough no matter how hard you try. The trough of sorrow you will feel as a stay at home dad is real.

Proud To Be A Stay At Home Dad (SAHD)

The benefits of having a father at home

After two years of being a stay at home dad, I'm firmly on the side of the rest of the world that provides 6 – 12 months of parental leave after having a baby.

For a woman to return to work within three months seems cruel, especially if a C-section is involved. All a baby wants to do at that age is be with his or her parents.

One doctor said it best, “Nine months to create, nine months to heal.” If male managers and CEOs were at home every day helping their wives recover, they would be more empathetic as well.

Unfortunately, companies aren't in the business of subsidizing our personal life decisions regarding having children. My hope is that American institutions will soon start to offer some type of paid parental time off

At the end of the day, my wife and I have tried our very best to raise him so far. Looking back, the two years went by quickly. Looking forward, I'm hoping for many more wonderful experiences.

Whatever financial sacrifices you think you're making to be a stay at home parent will be worth it. You won't look back wishing you could have made more money. Instead, you'll look back and be happy about all the time you spent with your little one.

Reader Questions And Suggestions

Are there any stay at home dads out there who would like to share what it was like for you? Stay at home moms feel free to share your thoughts on how dads can help out as well.

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58 thoughts on “Reflecting On Being A Stay At Home Dad For Two Years”

  1. Loved this post, I nodded my head all the way through. My wife is a stay-at-home mom, and I work from home starting from the daybreak, and end the day fairly early. I really focus on doing the right things so I can hang out with my kids more often. It’s great to see someone else having the same perspective.

    I’d agree the nanny in the park situation is terrible :( I see the same thing everywhere here in Toronto.

  2. Gennadiy from Belarus

    I have to apologize for the Commonwealth of Virginia, which broke statistic for the USA and added as benefit 8 weeks of Paid leave for the both parents( FT state employee). Now mama – teacher and papa- utility worker can take 8 40 h payed leaves each together or separately up to 2 years of newborn age.

  3. I have been a stay at home Dad since 1999. I have never met, in person, another SAHD. All my friends were women and we had a great time, and only on a few occasions did a Mom treat me as if I was doing something “wrong” but I did take a lot of ribbing from the men and my own family.

    My house was always the cleanest and I had a 5 acre farm that I also took care of. I found that not only did I do 99% of the inside chores I was still responsible for the outside chores. I should have put my foot down a few more times.

    Have a great time and do what I did not and that is take time for yourself and share the chores. All the Stay at Home Moms did a pretty good job of this but as a man, I took on way more responsibilities than I should have. BUT now I get to relax and find myself again, for I am not going back to work. FI pays well.

  4. Yes this post! I can’t say thank you enough! This has been such an inspiring read and post of encouragement for my husband (also fortunate enough to now be a stay at home dad too). He had worked both physically and mentally demanding jobs in the past and tells me often that it is only now that he knows what true work is! Hats off to amazing dads!

  5. I’ve definitely seen the checked out nannies. I used to run storytime at the library and half the nannies would be on their phones when we were supposed to be doing sing along and interactive games with the babies.

    Mine was great. She taught my daughter so much including her colors, she did baby signs and sang and read to her.

  6. These first years are so important for the little ones. I read somewhere that the child will develop his/her perception of Life during this first year. Basically, if anytime he/she cries or is scared somebody shows up, then he/she will have a more optimistic way of seeing things in general. Don’t know if it is true but it is worth trying by spending as much quality time with them as possible.
    Of course, it is not always possible 100% of the time and nobody should ever feel guilty of working to pay the bills.

  7. Great post!
    That set of statistics about how children with a father in the home are better off, does “a father in the home” mean two parents home or only the father home and the other parent working?

    With both parents being stay at home parents I expect those numbers to be true.

  8. BiggerCashFlow

    Dont have any kids yet, but this was very informative. I like the phrase losing money is hard, but losing time is harder. Something that I am trying to balance these days with my wife as we both try to grow our income, making sure we still make time for each other and not lose sight of whats important

  9. I’m a mom (not stay at home)
    And I go to the park specifically so I can veg out on the phone while my daughter can run around and enjoy the park with the other kids she finds there. I spend plenty of time in one on one creative interaction with a toddler that I feel pretty ok about “ignoring” her for 45 mins in the playground.

    1. Sounds good to me when a kid can run around safely on their own. How old is your daughter now?

      What I’m talking about are 10-18 month olds just learning to walk and falling off steps and falling face first into sharp corners. Then I forget the 3-10 month stage when they start crawling.

      So dangerous to be left unattended.

      I’d love to hear the dad’s perspective if he’s a SAHD! thx

      1. Hello! I just asked my husband (also not SAH) – he does the opposite, lots of phone checking when she’s absorbed with playing blocks or something at home and he leaves his phone home when they go to the park! I think we probably were more attentive when she was learning to walk but now that she’s 2 she’s pretty independent. When both my husband and I take her places we typically trade off so each of us is fully focused for 15-20 mins while the other can completely unplug and then vice versa! It aint easy for either of us to focus 100% on a toddler for much longer than that so this way daughter is happy and we get a combo of together/apart time!

  10. My boy is less than 2 weeks from turning 1. I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with him as I wasn’t working full time this past year. It’s definitely been a blessing. There have been several times my patience has definitely tested to the brink.

    This post has impressed upon me to be more appreciative of my wife who is a SAHM. She works so hard to care for our son. With mother’s day right around the corner perhaps something special shall be in the works.

    Let us always be thankful in every blessing we have!

    Thank you Sam for your wise words on this blog.

  11. Kids are the worst thing you can do for your savings. I’ll keep that $250k and invest it, allowing myself a cool million or so extra to spend on me. Bwa haha. No wife, no kids.

        1. You won’t need a million dollars for that and it’s not nearly as satisfying as you might think it is!

          There is an old Greek expression my father used to tell me: “you can either live like a dog (mind you this came from the days were dogs were work animals, not pets, hence the expression “work like a dog”) and die a man, or live like a man and die like a dog ( dogs often die alone ( at least when left to their own devices).

          As a full time stay at home Dad, I certainly feel like a Border Collie at times. I run around all day trying to keep my 8 month that old from his self created impending demise. At night I sleep with one eye open like a watch dog susceptible to every startle and shake my child make.

          This is all to say you make choices and every choice is a compromise. The older you get the more limited your choices and the greater the compromise.

          In the end I guess it all depends on your time horizon is and how long you believe things go on in the world and the next.

          While I don’t think anyone will argue that children are a good financial investment in the short run, I’m hard pressed to believe that you will find any who thinks it’s a good idea for society to stop producing children.

          You are merely opting not to contribute-rather living off the parenting labors of others who are providing the marketplace participants of the future.

          There is nothing worse for investments and the economy long-term than to stifle the flow of future market participants.

          The fact that you have an economy and market to interact with is because others have chosen to bear the burdens and blessings of Parenthood and raise children to maturity.

          1. Hah! Nice Greek saying Alex.

            Yeah, Fella, I don’t think you’ll don’t need a million dollars to do a threesome.

            You just need charm and an open mind.

            But believe it or not, you can be rich and raise a child at the same time.

            1. I’d prefer to be twice as rich and not raise a child. If I am an ATM, a child is a debit card that allows a woman to steal my money. Additionally, minimizing expenses is the key to building wealth. Why would I voluntarily add $250,000 in expenses to my life? Also, the state regard children as the woman’s property, so you only get to see them when she decrees it so (assuming you’re not married, she gets custody automatically). If you are married, you now have a 50% chance of losing half your estate, and then paying 40% of your income to her in child support and alimony.

          2. I certainly don’t presume to tell society to stop reproducing. You do whatever you want. It’s just not for me.

            And actually, economies get wealthier as the population declines (see Japan, Germany, Portugal, etc.). It also drives wages up, which benefits me as well.

            Thanks for making lots of future office slaves to pump up my dividends!

            Considering our government’s propensity to flood the nation with cheap laborers, I’m not worried about the economy being stifled.

            1. Clearly you see the point of life is to amass wealth rather than to use wealth to amass greater things.

              While I find the perspective morally bankrupt and unsustainable I am not at all surprised this view point still survives.

              What does surprise me is that you are reading and commenting on an article about stay at home dad’s.

              I’m not sure if you are bored and find provocative commentary entertaining or whether this is a case of Aesop’s “sour grapes”.

              Either way, one would think someone as focused on wealth and self service would have more important and satisfying past times.

              Unless of course the promise of personal ascension and the accumulation of wealth are failing to be as fulfilling as you imagined. In this case it would make sense that you are reading such articles and taking issue with them.

              It is becoming abundantly clear to most that the focus and priorities of Western societies has left little to be desired as a model for civilization.

              Without children, and more importantly without cared for and properly reared children, we will have neither CEOs nor middle managers, nor people to fix our furnaces in our expensive houses.

              So far you have raised the mantle both of slavery and prostitution-things you are clearly comfortable with in the pursuit of wealth. Last time I checked, both of these failed miserably as the bedrock of a healthy or prosperous population.

              You will not find anyone who has kids to “make money”.However, a financial sacrifice during the formative years will yield results that everyone will benefit from in society, both socially and financially.

              Think of the costs of drugs, prisons, an uneducated work force, and health care costs. All these can be influenced to a great extent by what our children are taught and exposed to in their formative years.

              Good parenting is a valuable service, and while not for everyone, it does benfit everyone. Our society ought to relefct this on leave policy, tax credits, and compensation.

              Being allowed to make money in a free society is not a right it’s a privilege. It is a hard won opportunity that many in the past have not had.

              Until a few hundred years ago, amassing wealth and assets was a privilege gained only by birth right. You had to be nobility.

              There is nothing that gurantees or enshrines our way life for posterity.

              There are many ways to contribute, children are one way. For those who want to profit without contributing though, there should be price, like anything else in free market.

              I think one thing everyone can agree on is that free loaders are no good for any economy in the long run.

            2. @Alex: My goal is to amass as much wealth as quickly as possible. I don’t have the massive income that many of you people have, so I can’t afford to have a wife and kids. I’d rather retire at 40 alone than have kids and have to work another 20 years.

              I live a minimalist lifestyle which I enjoy. I believe there are plenty of people on Earth already; in fact bringing more borders on immoral.

              I am not comfortable with slavery. I’m merely saying that I will not doom myself to be a wage slave (as many people do) for the benefit of other people. But if you want to make more future consumers feel free. The sooner I attain financial freedom, the more of my life I get to live with F U money. Purchasing depreciating assets or even worse, purchasing liabilities both hinder this goal. Consider Mr. Money Mustache as an example.

              As I said, a majority of people who have kids are in fact making society worse. There is a greater than 50% chance that dad gets muscled out of the equation, which means the kids are hugely likely to end up as gangbangers or welfare leeches. If you raise your kids right that’s great. The problem is that for any random guy, there is a good chance that you get forced out of your children’s lives for one reason or another and forced to pay for them even without being able to influence their development in a positive manner.

              If we were living in 1950 without no fault divorce and the kangaroo “family courts”, I would be fine with a family. In this era, it’s too much of a risk to a man’s financial stability, and the stability of society.

              If I were to have children, the most likely outcome is I lose assloads of money and only get to see them 4 days a month. Then they end up being liabilities to society rather than assets. Short of ridiculous wealth ($5million+), there’s no way you can ensure that the children you produce will get to have their dad in their lives.

  12. Now that I have twins, watching them all by myself and at the same time working part-time from home (my choice), man, taking care of one baby seems like a walk in the park… Granted, when I first started watching my first-born for a while at home, I quickly got bored out of my mind and had to get a part-time job to fill in the void in my adult mind. I guess I am just the kind of person who has to live on the edge all the time…

          1. My husband does his fair share of work around the house and anything with all the children except for breastfeeding the babies, lol. They are on a pretty synced schedule by now, they eat/play/nap (they go down for naps within 5-10 min between each other) all at the same time, definitely more work than one but not double though — the truly doubled workload is diapering and bathing.

    1. We decided last minute that I would stay home with our 8 month old when his mother came off maternity leave.

      The idea initially was that I would work part time from home. It was clear about a month in that I over estimated my abilities to do either well at the same time.

      We have had to make financial sacrifices on the short run, but the experience has been the most rewarding of my life.

      Perhaps it’s because I’m in MN and people here, though very gracious and warm, tend to be so only within their own communities. I do go to events predominantly attended by woman/mother’s with our infant. I have never been outwardly treated badly but it does feel weird to me.

      It’s not so much what’s said, but what isn’t. I feel sometimes as though I’m “taking” the spot of another mother. I forgo the discomfort and try and keep positive. My son enjoys interacting with other baby’s, and being breastfed seemingly always hungry, awkwardly with other mother’s.

      It’s not uncommon for my son to crawl up to a nursing mom and try and get a spot at the table … Super awkward..

  13. I love this post, Sam. It hits right home and makes me smile to know we’ve got similar values when it comes to kids and family.

    After I sold my IT services company, it would have been an easy and natural transition to stay in tech. But, instead I decided to stay at home with my daughter who was 1 at the time.

    Fast forward 5 years later and I’m sure the opportunity cost of staying home was easily 7 figures. And, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

    Being a stay at home Dad is definitely the most challenging job I’ve had, but also the most rewarding by far. I’ve had the opportunity to see my little ones grow up in front of my eyes and be fully present with them.

    Within the next few months my son will be off to kindergarten. And it’s bittersweet time for me. I’ll get back 30 some hours to myself during the week, but I’ll miss the one on one time with him. At least I’ll get to volunteer for the field trips!

    1. Man, getting that extra 30 hours a week of free time will probably feel like a nice vacation finally.

      I think I’m going to enjoy being able to get more free time once my boy goes to preschool this fall. I won’t feel guilty not being with him b/c I’ve spent so much time with him, and he’ll make friends and learn those 4-6 hours a day he’s away.

      GL to us!

  14. “I’ve spent time with billionaires before, and they are just like you and me, except they fly private everywhere.”

    We’re not hanging out with the same billionaires, or maybe things are just different on the East Coast vs. San Francisco.

    From what I’ve seen, billionaires here are definitely not living like the rest of us!

  15. Sam, great job on losing the “baby weight”! I was raised on the family farm with both parents (and grandparents) around each and every day. Of course, we were “helpers” and I worked alongside my dad every day. It was a privilege.

  16. I am a first time father to a 4mo old and I appreciate this article. I just started a blog hoping that it will grow to something one day that can allow me to quit my 9-5 and be more at home to help raise my son. I echo the sentiment that sometimes it can feel shitty when your child develops a stronger bond with the other parent, but I guess it’s something you have to accept.

  17. Congrats Sam and Mrs Sam on two of the best years of your lives. You may not realize it now, but you’ve just made the best investment of your lives.
    In regards to the nannies on the phone- my trick was always to walk up the the child, quietly ask their for name, then loudly greet them, ask how their parents were and to tell their parents I said hello. It sure got the nannies back to work in a hurry.

  18. Wow two years as a SAHD is really a great achievement Sam. I remembered taking leave from work for two weeks to take care of our son when he was 3 months old and thought how can full time parents not go crazy doing this all the time with the feeding, carrying, making sure they go to sleep, take them out on the stroller, etc. That’s why I commend them a lot especially single parents.
    My 3 year old doesn’t takes naps too a couple times a week on days when we do something fun like go to the playground or a gathering like an easter egg hunt. When he’s really involved in activities he feels that he shouldn’t stop and so he stays awake the whole day and finally goes to sleep around 6pm and sleeps for the next 12 hours. So much energy…hahaha!!

    1. Wow.. to be able to pass out at 6pm and sleep for 12 hours straight would be a DREAM COME TRUE FOR US!

      I’m praying our boy sleeps more and more over time. Seriously…. 6:30am – 8pm non-stop is a killer.

      I just think positively and tell myself he is going to be one productive person with that much energy.

  19. Awesome post!
    Thank you for sharing.
    Good job on the first two years and great reading about good male role models!

  20. Love this !!! I have two adult children who tell people that they won the lottery getting us for parents . My philosophy has always been: “What you put in ( in ALL AREAS) of a child’s Life, you will get back in spades.
    ENJOY and God Bless!!!

  21. Everyone has the right to make their own decisions, and I don’t mean this as criticism of anyone, but I just don’t get the FIRE movement.

    It seems unnatural to quit work in your prime earning years, especially if you are just going to sit home and do nothing. If people want a career change, then I get it, but you probably shouldn’t have gone into your original career if money was your only motivation. I think most parents (moms and dads) struggle with the need to provide financially for their family, and the need to provide care for their family. You can outsource the care through nannies or daycare, but you can’t outsource the financial support.

    The principals behind FIRE (invest wisely, live below your means, secure other sources of income…) I understand and agree with.

    For me personally, I’m looking for financial independence, and the ability to retire if I choose to, but I’m 50 years old. I read too many articles about 30 year olds retiring with $1M in the bank and how they survive on $3 per day and drive a 20 year old car.

    Changing times I guess. Think what your grandparents would say about it!

    1. How did you guys raise your kids? Being a stay at home parent is certainly not doing nothing. And I hope you don’t tell your wife this since it doesn’t sound like you stayed at home to take care of them. How many kids do you have?

      At 50 years old, when do you want to retire? Perhaps you are simply blessed to have found something you love to do more than anything else in the world. That is amazing. For me I did not find that something after 13 years of doing the same thing. What is it that you do for a living?

      1. Sam –

        I didn’t intend this as judgement on your decisions or even in response to your post – more of my thoughts on the FIRE movement with lots of generalizations. I don’t consider you retired if you are still earning an income through the blog, real estate, and investments – I see that as a career change. They fact that you get to earn an income while raising your son is great.

        We have 3 kids -2 in college and one still in high school. We both worked when they were young. We had grandparents watch them, daycare, nannies, after school programs, … I’m not saying we made all the right decisions, but we do the best we can. We both were just starting our careers when they were young – my wife is in medical research, and I’m in technology.

        Do I love my job? Hell no! If I won the lottery I would quit this second, but I don’t despise my job either. I like the people I work with and find it challenging.

        The truth is we couldn’t afford to not work when the kids were young so it wasn’t an option. We might have enough invested to retire now, but we are making a decent living, and I like the security of having an income. To be completely transparent, having some money lets us buy nice things and do fun stuff. It also lets me put my kids through school without them incurring a lot of debt to try to set them up for life.

        To each his own.

        1. I haven’t considered myself retired since 2013.

          What made you talk about the FIRE movement when this post is primarily about being a stay at home dad?

          I agree we all do the best we can. Seems like something is bothering you about the FIRE movement though. Please elaborate!

  22. Hey Sam,
    Thanks for this meaningful post. I would love to see more posts about your parenting in the future.

  23. Also, as a medical professional here’s a couple easy tips to help prevent SIDS.

    Keep your house cool so the baby doesn’t overheat.
    Keep the ceiling fan on to help ensure that oxygen stays distributed throughout the room.

  24. You son is incredibly lucky to have both parents have the ability to stay at home and interact, educate, and care for him. It would not surprise me at all that he will have a leg up on his peers with developmental milestones, etc.

    I remember the first couple of years with my daughter. Being a new dad, I was overly protective and baby proofed the house and put padding on all sharp areas (this was at the point when she started getting more mobile).

    The time you spend with your child can never be replaced and is probably the most valuable of time you have in your entire life. Sadly most people have to have one or both parents leave because of financial reasons. I myself continued medical practice (and still do) during the formative years of my daughter (also the fact that I lost her for 6 years because of the divorce did not help at all either).

  25. My wife and I are in our mid-thirties. We’re relatively financially secure, NW just over $1mm, and I recently considered being a stay at home dad for our three kids.

    However, even for us it’s daunting to give up a career the way our society is oriented. We rely on my job for health insurance and to give us the ability to max out our retirement accounts. We’d be losing out on over $2mm before investment oppurtunities over the next decade. Money’s not everything to us, but we realize we’d be in more of a financial pickle if we try to live on a single income. Our kids are still young though so we’re hoping that we can make up for lost time in the future through travel, and we’ll perhaps have the financial means to make that happen. On the plus side, it’ll be much easier travelling with older kids.

  26. Two years is a huge accomplishment! Congrats! What a blessing to be able to share so much time with your son and to be able to write and make a recording about it for him to read and listen to later.

  27. Dave @ Accidental FIRE

    Goodd stuff Sam.

    “Losing income is hard, but losing time is harder” To me that sums up the whole FIRE movement nice and succinctly.

  28. I’m not a SAHD by any means, but I use as many sicks days and vacation days as I can to spend extra time with my 2 boys. Like you said, no one will care for your children as you do.

    My personal tips for the bulk of fathers out there who aren’t able to leave work entirely:

    – Find a job/position with maximum timeoff/flexibility when your about to have kids
    – Stagger your timeoff/sick days with your spouse to have special 1on1 days with your child as much as possible
    – Find a nanny/daycare that is passionate about children and their development. This should become apparent with about 1-2 hours and asking the right questions. If there are signs that your child is not getting enough attention/learning/etc. find another care provider (don’t stick with 1 option because of laziness/convenience).
    – Try to combine activities with your child that incorporate exercise for you: hiking with a child carrier, biking with a child trailer, jogger, sprinkle in some calisthenics at the playground, etc.

  29. My advice to any new parent I know: Nap when the baby naps!
    Adults don’t think they need naps, but as you’ve learned, babies are a LOT of work! So naps are necessary. Glad you figured that out sooner rather than later. ;)

    re: Long days (4am to 10pm)
    People may think that only 6 hours of sleep in service to your family life is too much of a sacrifice. But I remember getting only 6 hours of sleep for most of my higher paid working years. How much better to give up sleep to spend independently free days with your family than as a wage slave chained to your desk working for “the Man”! :)

    Not that my opinion matters one bit, but I commend you and your wife for making the choice to both be stay at home parents (and taking the disciplined steps needed to achieve the financial independence that allows such a choice). I never wanted my job to take precedence over my family, but looking back on my working life, it appears my job did indeed take way more of my life energy than I had ever intended it to. :(

    re: “What am I, chop liver?”
    I use that phrase often. I thought I was the only one who did. Nice to know we at least have a turn of phrase in common. LOL

  30. Agree with you about nannies being on their phones- I see it all the time in our neighborhood!! Sad.

    1. I was thinking about doing a side hustle by:

      1) Creating a nanny cam for parents
      2) Asking the nannies for a portion of their pay so I can take care of their kids for that time they are at the playground.

      Let’s save the children! Could be good.

      1. Nanny cam? Doesn’t that already exist? I’ve seen footage on TV of nannies physically abusing their children.

        I don’t like the idea about subcontracting the nanny service. First, it takes away time from your son. Second, there is likely a liability issue if the children get injured under your care. Nannies don’t make much so you are asking for a cut of something small.

        Some would view my next suggestion as immoral and exploitative. Some would consider it in the best interest of the child. You should approach the parents and offer to film their nannies & kids at the park (for a fee). Share the footage with the parents & let them decide for themselves if their nannies are spending too much time on the phone and too little time watching the children. If want to take it to the next level, you could play both ends and give the nannies the right of first refusal. If the footage casts the nannies in a bad light, let them buy the footage from your or pay you to erase it. Obviously, they would have to pay your more than what the parents are paying you.

      2. When Google Glass/Apple glasses/something similar finally gains mainstream acceptance, it’ll be easy to make an app that monitors whether your nanny is actually paying attention to your kid. Just ask your nanny to wear the glasses, and stream their field of vision to yourself, so you can see what they see. If you don’t see your kid, its because they aren’t paying attention. Facial recognition software could also help keep track of whether your kid is in their field of vision.

        Nannies who find this intrusive or insulting can avoid being insulted, by not working for you and not getting paid.

        Something tells me that other types of workers will be asked by their employers to wear smart glasses for similar reasons.

    2. It’s not just nannies on their phones, it’s everyone. I’m wondering if history will look back at the invention of the smartphone as one of the best, or one of the worst. I think it’s causing social issues and depression for younger people. They don’t know how to interact with each other in person, its all over electronics.

      1. I don’t believe smartphones are the “cause” of social issues and depression. There are no causal studies that I’m aware of anyway. And I always sort of have a push-back reaction when I hear folks blaming electronics and assuming kids who use electronics “don’t know how to interact with each other”. It all just seems like so much older people projecting onto younger people (“those bad kids with their evil Rock and Roll music”).

        To be clear, I’m an older person myself (~50). I see smartphones as one of the world’s greatest inventions for introverts, who find it draining to engage in useless small-talk (e.g., in elevators) with needy extroverts.

      2. I agree. When I go to the park in our area I see lots of moms on their phones or gossiping while the kids play. Undoubtedly it’s worse with nannies, but so many parents are checked out as well. I think in some cases a great early preschool or high quality day care is best because (1) social interaction; (2) good curriculum; (3) the teachers are accountable to each other and not on their phones; and (4) the kids don’t get parked in front of a tv (by their parents or other caregivers).

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