How Parents Can Fill The Void Once Kids Go To School Full-Time

When my kids were born, I made a promise to be a stay-at-home father for the first five years of each of their lives.

Mission accomplished with my son in April 2022. But there's still some time to go before my daughter starts full-time school in Fall 2024 and turns five. Anticipating the completion of this step, I'm wondering how I will fill the void once both kids are in school full time. The more you dedicate to someone or some thing, the more empty you will feel once it’s gone.

I decided on five years of stay-at-home fatherhood because all the experts said the first five years are the most important developmental years in a child's life. I figured, if I put in the hours, I would decrease the chances of them hating my guts or not wanting to have anything to do with me when they are older.

The funny sad thing is, kids don't remember much before age three. So as a parent, you're often left wondering whether devoting so much time to raising your young children is worth it.

Biology Helps Parents Earn And Care For Children 

I've often wondered whether the lack of memory during a child's first three years is an evolutionary design so that one or both parents can be fully absent to earn money and reduce childhood trauma, if necessary.

For example, let's say a dad is shipped overseas to fight a war for two years. When the dad returns, thanks to no memory, the toddler and dad can still form a tight bond. 

To ensure the survival of our species, usually one or both parents must work full time. Therefore, for the full-time working parent(s), the lack of childhood memory during the first three years encourages parents to earn without sacrificing too much family connection.

Kids don't say “thank you” unprompted or appreciate your efforts much at all before age three. So having a full-time job helps ensure the survival of the family.

But given I was already jobless when my son and daughter were born, I figured why not just continue to stay jobless for the entire first five years. Having children gave my fake retirement more meaning!

If I had already had a full-time job, it would have been much more difficult decision to be a stay-at-home parent. Giving up something you're used to is harder than giving up something you never had.

Exploring The Mundane Life

About two or three times a week I play tennis or pickleball during the weekdays. And every time I go to my club or a public park, I usually see the same people. Of the parents with grade school children, ~75% of the players are moms while the rest are dads. Most are retirees, but some have flexible schedules or are unemployed.

The thing is, these parents play tennis or pickleball almost every day for hours. And after they get done, which is usually by 12:30 pm, they go and get lunch with their fellow stay-at-home parents. After a shower and a nap, they'll then pick up their kids from school and shuttle them to after school activities. 

Not a bad life! Maybe I just bore easily, but I can't see myself playing pickleball every day, brunching, napping, and then shuttling for the rest of my life once both kids are in school full-time.

First, my hips and shoulders couldn't take all the movement. I need at least a day to rest. Second, after a month, I would start asking whether this was all there is to life.

Need Purpose And Fulfillment

Playing all day is not fulfilling. I'd rather have some balance and do something productive for society at least part time. This feeling of unworthiness is one of the reasons why it's dangerous to give our children everything. We’d rather feel like we've earned what we've got.

Although, I have talked to several parents who have inherited tons of money and don't work at all. They either manage their family's foundation, do some angel investing, or have trust funds jobs to keep the illusion of purpose alive. Apparently, they are doing enough to feel fulfilled. 

Anticipating The Future Emptiness

Some of you might be scratching your head. Isn't writing on Financial Samurai, recording podcasting, and writing books enough to feel purposeful? To some, each activity may seem like a full-time job. 

Unfortunately, doing just these activities is not enough. I used to regularly work 60+ hours in banking for 13 years. After 14 years, writing on Financial Samurai is like taking a warm shower.

Podcasting is more exciting since I figured out how to use the interviewing software. However, it doesn't completely fulfill the in-person camaraderie I desire. Plus there are all these technical problems and editing work to do.

Meanwhile, writing books is a lonely endeavor. The end product feels wonderful after two-plus years of hard work each. However, writing a book is like an extension of writing on Financial Samurai. 

With two more days of free time starting in Fall 2024, I anticipate the need to fill a void. Writing and recording more is not the solution because I've found a happy cadence. Any more and then I'll start disliking Financial Samurai. Once the dislike begins, it’s only a matter of time before I quit.

What Do Parents Do All Day Once Their Kids Go To School Full Time?

To answer this question, I asked folks on Twitter. Here is a reasonable answer from @MicheleDahl:

This is definitely a lot of work and something my wife and I have been doing as well. However, I just don't think I'll feel happy if I just keep on doing these activities until both kids go to college. There has to be more. 

Then a reader named Steve Diamond replied,

Again, a solid answer that keeps a father busy. However, I find most of these activities to be default activities we must do regardless whether we have kids or not or whether we have kids in school or not. 

I do every one of these things. I'll happily welcome the day when I no longer have to shuttle my kids everywhere. And yes, managing the family's finances can feel like a full-time job. 

But I don’t think I’ll feel fulfilled if my main purpose is to “chop wood” and just “keep the trains running.” Eventually, I will selfishly start asking what about me?

Another great answer I've received from parents who don't work is that they volunteer at school and other organizations. That's a great idea. However, volunteer opportunities are at most one or two days a month.

For Parents Not OK Being Stay-At-Home Parents

Every parent is different. Some are absolutely OK with continuing being a stay-at-home parent despite their kids being in school for 40 hours a week. Brunch after tennis every day, hooray! More power to you. 

But let's discuss one solution for parents who:

Consulting Part-Time Is The Solution To Fill The Void

Consulting is the best balance for feeling like a productive parent while also having enough time to do the daily chores and to “keep the trains running.” Our main job as parents is to ensure our kids are safe, loved, and cared for. And a large part of being cared for is to earn money. 

Working 40 hours a week or longer is an artificial construct. The ideal number of hours a week devoted to consulting should fit into the window of time our kids are in school plus commuting hours.

School usually runs between 8:30 am until 5 pm at the latest. Therefore, the optimal number of consulting hours is usually between 9 am until 4:30 pm, depending on the commute. 7.5 hours a consulting a day equals 37.5 hours a day. 

But consulting for 37.5 hours a week plus doing all the cooking, cleaning, shuttling, and financial managing may be overwhelming. Hence, I suggest 15-24 hours a week as the ideal number of consulting hours.

Consulting Addresses The Need To Earn

As a man, I have struggled with not having a day job since my kids were born. I'm sure there are plenty of mothers who feel unsettled not working after childbirth too.

At times I felt feelings of shame, unworthiness, and even embarrassment at times when I didn't have a day job. Instead of playing tennis during the weekday, I could have used that time to earn and provide for my family. These feelings are magnified in new social settings when other dads ask what I do for work or share what they do.

It was only after publishing Buy This Not That in 2022 that I felt I had an occupation I would be proud of sharing. After all, being a writer is an ancient occupation that commands a certain amount of respect.

If you don't have any way to make money at home while being a parent, consulting part-time fulfills any urge to earn and feel like a productive parent. The income you earn will feel great because it is specific contribution you can point to.

When our work as parents hasn't been generating income, it feels wonderful to have something tangible again. Do not underestimate the power of receiving a steady stream of active income

Consulting Solves The Desire For Camaraderie

One of the most cited negatives of early retirement is the loss of camaraderie. After years or decades of interacting with your colleagues, it feels jolting to suddenly not see them anymore.

Sometimes, this lack of camaraderie can lead to loneliness and depression if you have nobody else to fill the void. 

I miss flying to conferences, bonding with clients over social events, and working with my favorite colleagues on a stretch goal. I don't miss working with micromanagers, under-the-bus throwers, and unreasonable clients. But when you work full-time, this is often part of the job.

With consulting, you have more flexibility to pick and choose who you work for, how long you work, and what activities you participate in. If you don't like something about a consulting client, you have more flexibility to change. As a consultant, you may have the flexibility to go into the office as little or as much as you want to boost connectivity. Heck, you might even get to go to the company holiday party.

Consulting Gives You More Purpose

Once you're able to earn and spend more time with people you respect, consulting gives you a greater sense of purpose beyond just making money.

Ideally, you consult for a company that pays you well and has a great mission. For example, maybe your child has a visual disability. If you could consult for a company that makes products to help those with visual disabilities see better, you would feel a tremendous sense of purpose. 

Consulting Lessens The Guilt Of Not Doing More Parenting

Parental guilt is something most parents struggle with to some degree. It's the constant battle between working, pursuing your passions, hanging out with friends, and taking care of your kids.

We all know we should be spending more time with our kids. Yet we can't help but want to do other things to keep our sanity. Taking care of kids full-time is harder than even the most stressful banking job.

With part-time consulting, you lessen the guilt of not making money for your family. Part-time consulting also lessens the guilt of not doing more household chores or spending time with your children because you’re earning. Now you have an excuse for not washing the dishes, mopping the floors, or being at a play date.

In other words, you can use part-time consulting as a tool to effectively wrestle your demons. 

Taming A Restless Soul

Unfortunately or fortunately, I have a hard time doing little. I'm the one who worked overtime for 13 years after college to get to FIRE. As a result, it's been hard to downshift to a more leisurely lifestyle.

Over the years, most of the people I've met who retired early, also have a difficult time doing less as well. And if their wives work, some feel shame they aren't working in some capacity too. 

We heard this from Colin, a man who is married to a wife who earns $1 million a year and does not seem fulfilled. He worked in strategy consulting for years, lives in a nice house, drives a sports car, golf’s frequently, and has plenty of time. Yet, he longs to do something more.

I mentioned that I'm giving up on early retirement partly because I will meet my goal of being a stay-at-home dad for five years for each of my children's lives in 2024. It is the hardest job I've ever had and I'm sure there will be plenty more parental challenges in the future. 

However, now it's my turn to focus on what I want while also supporting the family. Looking for a part-time consulting gig might just be the perfect solution to fill the impending void.

How Much You Have To Earn As A Consultant Or Entrepreneur To Replicate Your Day Job Income

Why It's so Hard To Stay Retired Once You've Retired Early

Reader Questions On How To Fill The Void

If you are a parent without a day job, what are some of the things you do while your kids are in school?

What are your thoughts on part-time consulting as the solution for parents with children who attend school full-time?

Besides pursuing a hobby, what other activities help give your life meaning and purpose once there's a big time hole to fill?

If You Want To Be A Part-Time Consultant

If you want to leave your job and consult part-time instead for more freedom, I'd try and negotiate a severance instead of quit. Pick up a copy of How To Engineer Your Layoff to learn how to get a severance package.

The book is in its 6th edition and is the resource to help you break free from a job you dislike with money in your pocket. Use the promo code “savefive” at checkout to save $5.

How to engineer your layoff - learn how to negotiate a severance package and be free

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32 thoughts on “How Parents Can Fill The Void Once Kids Go To School Full-Time”

  1. Grumpy Old Man

    Off topic – but you got a really nice call-out over at https://ofdollarsanddata.com/can-you-retire-at-30-with-10-million/.
    “Rather than come up with all of these spending figures myself, I’m going to defer to one of the experts on the matter, Sam Dogen, who writes at FinancialSamurai.com. In particular, Sam has one post where he quantifies “How a Family of Four Survives off of $400,000 a Year Living in an Expensive Metropolitan Area.” In his excellent post, Sam quantifies the cost of everything for a family of four in a HCOL area from food and childcare to housing, transportation, and much more (see table below):”
    I really like Nick’s analytics, and the site gels nicely with Financial Samurai!

  2. Tracey Powers

    Hi Sam,
    Thanks for your diligence in keeping the topics interesting! I always enjoy your newsletter.

    I took a break from X-Ray Technology while raising our boys, homeschooling for 10 years, and being involved in their schools when they were young–before homeschooling, transporting them to speed-skating, science fairs in several states & really enjoying them & their friends.

    I went back to the X-Ray field after our second son went to college, then did medical transcription, cleaned houses, then retired so I could travel with my hardworking husband.

    To fill extra time, I volunteered with our church outreach to visit elderly people in nursing homes & assisted living homes. These precious souls need to know they are still valued and loved. God has not abandoned them. Even a ten minute visit once a week means so much to someone who is lonely.

    I also volunteer to facilitate a book club once a week at the homeless shelter in town. My husband buys all their books, we read aloud & discuss them together, since some are unable to read. Each book is a true story of God’s work in the lives of people who overcome very difficult circumstances. The homeless need inspiration and hope just as we do.

    Giving back with the talents God gives each of us is what keeps us from feeling like there must be more to life. There is!

    God bless you with His wisdom, & thanks for sharing your life with us.
    Tracey

    1. Hi, I’m an airline pilot and my wife stays at home with my 2 children, so part of the week is wide open for me.
      I help my wife a lot while I’m home and help catch up on chores and home repair items, also take care of the finances and mail, etc.
      For free time I meet with friends for coffee, play pickleball, volunteer at church, visit with family, lead a community group through our church, occasionally mentor (like to do more of this), plan vacations/trips, gun range with buddies, krav maga classes, and also try to give my wife breaks where she can do fun things solo or with her friends.
      Some weeks are crazier than others but we try to balance our activities with the schedule for the week.

      As far as consulting, I think this could be a great avenue, and have friends that do so, however I’m not sure of the availability for most people, including myself.
      Thanks for the article!

  3. I worked for 20 years in office pursuing a steep career ladder and a relocation is making me stay home since last summer. I haven’t had time to look for work which is good as this time has made me understand how I dislike the work environment I have been in for those years. I may be looking at career change into comp science after we get through some personal stuff. My kids are also applying to new schools(private in NJ) next year which is a process in itself. Applying is often outsourced in our network but I have decided to do it myself.

    My kids(2) go to school 8-3. I seem to be rushed and just moving continuously throughout those hours when they aren’t there. My 5th grader plays 2 sports(individual/raquet not team) competitively and both require research on tournaments (which take our weekends and school breaks). I wake up at 7 to get them ready, breakfast and drop off at school. From there, I leave for a workout and spend 2 hrs at gym. I usually get back home around 10:30am.

    10:30am-noon: tidy house, cook in parallel, sign up activities, review calendar, schedule social community, sign ups, order groceries, amazon etc
    12-1pm: meditate, lunch. sometimes spouse works from home so we eat together and review school application materials (applying tp middle school in NJ), strategize on competing (this is continuous as I need to check rosters on signups so that the competition is at his level otherwise time wasted)
    1-2:30pm: this is free time. I was thinking of studying comp science during this time to change careers.
    2:30-3pm: pack snacks and leave for pick up
    3-7:30pm: shuttle kids, make sure they eat snacks, maybe in-person grocery shopping, talk to coaches
    8-10pm: bring them back home, homework, shower, dinner, projects, review schedules
    10-11pm: wrap up kitchen, tidy home, parents shower and bedtime
    11-1am: Sometimes my spouse has to work later at night if he has engaged in helping me and the kids during the evening.

    Weekends aren’t free time as there’s always either birthdays, classes, tournaments (some require travel) or community events
    Some weeknights also require commute of 3-4 hours to go to tournaments.

    Since we relocated, I had to figure out many things including sports communities, social circles, private middle school applications tours/materials/essays for my rising 6th grader while making sure both kids eat well, socialize enough in new location, and get enough competing opportunities for my rising 6th grader in the sports he pursues.

    The school they go to can take up all your time if you offer to volunteer. I volunteer 3 times a month.
    All our evenings are booked starting 3pm. We don’t put them in aftercare as its expensive but more importantly time = money at this age for kids that want to learn something outside school.

    About me: I went to a top 5 school for my MBA and was a class valedictorian in high school. Engineer (also top of the class undergrad). I felt like I was successful when I worked however no matter how much more I work, I feel like I will hit ceiling. This is why I made peace with the fact that I may not achieve max potential for myself. My work only adds money to this household meanwhile my time dedicated to kids will add priceless value to my kids life, including emotional – memory of a “present” mom all their life (only 18 years at home).

    I can outsource all that I do. I think the quality may not be the same level and this may take 30-40% of the income I may make from the job I find. Need to hire nanny, driver for kids classes and maybe food delivery or cook(2-3 times/week).

    I am still thinking and unsure if I am on the right path. I am trying to do the best for my kids knowing that my kids go to college in 7 and 10 years. They stay little only so long and their growth happens in these years. Time is everything basically for them.

    Open to advice from your readers – or from you

    1. Phew! Lots of work Jen. Working 20 years and now spending full time being a parent before they go to college sounds like a good trade.

      I love how you said that if you go to work, it’s just more money, but if you stay at home, it’s giving your kids more precious time.

      I don’t think he will regret spending the last seven years at home with your kids. Because the time really does go by and then they will be gone and living their life forever.

      Grade schools in your neighborhood sound pretty competitive! My only advice would be to check in on your husband and ask him how he is feeling regarding covering all the finances. He might be feeling more pressure, so it’s good for you to recognize it, provide mental support, and also tell examples of where you are helping save the family on costs. You mentioned not doing aftercare.

      Also, hope you can develop a good relationship with at least one other mom. Meet up, go for lunches and walks. Having a buddy is great!

      1. Thanks Sam.
        Yes schools in New Jersey are competitive. We have the top schools of the nation in this area including Pingry school, Lawrenceville, Newark etc in the area. All these schools have many step interview process for kids, applications that require essays from parents and kids and tours. Of course none of it is mandatory and we can send kids to public school but we prefer private.
        Regarding my spouse, he doesn’t contribute much with kids as he has a busy job. In fact we relocated for his job.
        We have a decent net worth but none of our net worth generates cash right now as they are in company stocks and 401K. We can convert to S&P to risk manage. haven’t done that yet as we are wondering if there’s a better way to generate income from it.

        1. Gotcha. It’s worth having check-ins about money once a month.

          He may or may not feel stressed with you not working, and kids in private school. He may also be experiencing dad guilt for working so much.

          Good communication is always good!

  4. Steve Barker

    Hi Sam, given that you are into fitness why not set an outdoor activities goal? You are in the right neck of the woods for it. Literally. I started with the highest 50 Hong Kong Peaks. Then it was the CO 14ers and highest peaks in every CO county. And here is the kicker; it’s endless so I am now working through the CO bi-centennial peaks. The planning involved is just as much fun as peak bagging itself. CA will provide just as many challenges as CO and you can set your own goals. Moreover, there is bound to be a website for folk with a similar yen if you want some company. The website 14ers.com will give readers the general idea. Do both consulting and watch Condors in the Pinnacles National Park. Your ‘back yard’ is stunning.

    1. Cool, will check it out! Haven’t really heard of this specific activity.

      Sounds like I should take advantage. Hiking is our most common and favorite family activity.

  5. Been there, done that — but I had more trouble after our daughters graduated. At first, I would wander between rooms and stare out the window. I certainly don’t advise you do that! :)

    Your time will feel ’empty’ for a while. That’s just a given. It will get better. Consulting is a good idea. A second book (or even better – guest posts on other websites, to help advertise FS?) would build on the success of your earlier book. But concentrating on this will literally ‘eat you alive’ if that’s all you do with your life.

    *How about learning a new language? (Study groups could help with this.)
    *Maybe writing some travel posts — or get hired for a guest lecturer on a cruise ship?
    *Trying a new cooking style? (Although you haven’t really shown a great predeliction for this, Mrs. FS might enjoy it.)

    Or a part-time job in some completely new field…it would give you a different perspective. I realize you don’t need the $$ — but you could set those earnings aside for some special project (or trip). Even a temp job (Election?) could be interesting. It pays crap — but certainly gives you some unusual outlooks.

    1. All great ideas. I should guest post on other outlets. I am in the process of writing a second book.

      This year may be the first year we take the kids somewhere via plane. Could be fun, if they sleep!

      When you mention you had more trouble after your daughter graduated, is it because of the lonely and empty feeling you felt in the house? If so, what did you do to fill that void? And how long did that lonely and empty feeling last?

  6. Sam,

    This will be rough for you to hear, but the kid work only goes UP when they begin elementary school. I thought the same thing as you, and found that the first five years are a drop in the bucket compared to all of the scheduling, lessons, teaching, homework, friend scheduling, friend managing, bday party planning etc that starts to occur every single day after age 5. I still have plans to contribute and positively affect the world. But most days, I’m scheduling kids stuff and trying to enjoy modern parenting today…(ha!). It’s ok to aim high, and miss the mark most days. My goal is in all of the relationship stuff. All of the consulting is a nice way to pass time. Good luck!!

    1. Sounds good. Good thing my boys almost 7 years old so I understand what you are talking about.

      Do you mind clarifying whether you are a stay at home parent or not? If you are, how do you spell your day when your child is at school? And if you have a partner, how does he or she feel about the arrangement?

      Thanks

  7. I haven’t understood why you weren’t more proud of being self-employed/business owner and building a successful personal finance website from scratch. I think the problem maybe is that you started that journey by saying you were “retiring” rather than shifting to self-employed/business owner. So it was the framing. I do understand that you miss working with other people more.

    1. Hedonic adaptation probably. It’s the desire to do more or something different.

      I’ve discussed fake retirement before. But writing on Financial Samurai is just a natural part of my life now. It’s like brushing my teeth and taking a shower.

      At my age, the window of opportunity is rapidly closing. I’ve probably only got one, or two shots at most, to do something new. Life is zooming by and I want to make the most of it.

      How about you? Any restless feelings of wanting to do more in middle age?

  8. Long-time reader and in this very position.

    Tried Pickleball, volunteering, consulting, blog writing, and going back into my old field. Drawbacks to each. For example, I encountered much of the same you found with Pickleball and couldn’t see myself doing it enough to fill even a quarter of the time void. With volunteering, I found it was a 45 min commute each way (I was passionate about the organization, but not passionate enough to do that once every week or two).

    Going forward, my plan is to focus on angel/philanthropic endeavor + ample family time + working out.

    By far the best thing I have come across is this: it applies to entrepreneurs but you can easily apply it to anyone who is FIRE. In particular, check out the exercises at the end, especially exercise 3a

    A very simple framework I liked is just 4 things: heart, mind, body, soul. Ideal to have activities for each of those.

    1. Thanks.

      I think you may have missed attaching something?

      “ By far the best thing I have come across is this: it applies to entrepreneurs but you can easily apply it to anyone who is FIRE. In particular, check out the exercises at the end, especially exercise 3a”

      What is “this”?

      Thanks

  9. I was a parent without a day job for many years until the children’s recent graduations. In hindsight, I learned one of the most meaningful but overlooked activities is spending time with your own parents. I did spend frequent time with my parents, but I wish it had been more regular and intentional. We all know one day our parents will no longer be with us, but words cannot describe the hole that it leaves when they are actually gone. It is beyond anything you can anticipate. All the money in the world will not buy a few hours to chat with your parents again. I suggest one of your activities while the kids are at school is to schedule a weekly interview with each of your parents about their past. Take detailed notes and write their words down for your own memory and for your children. The memories you create with your parents now by discovering new stories about the people who raised you will be something you will cherish forever.

    1. Most excellent advice and reminder. I try to call my parents 3-5 times a week. And I also try and get them to fly over more or welcome us to visit. But it’s been hard. Not sure what else I can do. But I’ll continue to do my best to sustain a connection.

      I wonder if something just happens to us when we get past a certain age where we kind of just check out?

      I think once our kids are about 8 they can do the interview thing with their grandparents. In the meantime, we’ll do more FaceTime videos!

  10. Mom of tweens here. I worked part time for the first 8 years. I stayed home one week early on and realized it wasn’t for me. Part time was perfect. When I was ready I went back to full time but my spouse has flexibility and interest in all the carting around and activities. I have mom (or dad!) friends that stay home beautifully, others that stay home and it’s total chaos, and others that say they are better parents because they work. It takes all types.

    Also, just want to add that your kids may not hate you, each generation is different. I kept wondering why my kids’ childhood didn’t look like mine (Gen X and out running the streets) until I read the book Generations by Jean Twenge. It’s given me a lot of insight dealing with my mother (in her 80s, the Silent Generation), my colleagues (Boomers, Gen X and Millennials), renters (Millennials/Gen Z) and my children (Gen Z). Fascinating!

  11. Yeah, it hard to work and put your kids through school and than spend minimum time with them after work because of their homework. I also think the parents should vote on some of their children’s education classes. For example, should the public schools be allowed to teach your kids about sex education? If not, thanks an the parents need to take that responsibility. Another example would be should the public schools be allowed to teach kids about American history? If not, than the parents need to take that responsibility.

  12. Perhaps your entrepreneurial spirit makes it more challenging for you to “rest” than most people. If you yearn for more ways to fill your time then definitely try out some new things. You can always stop or pivot if things don’t turn out as you expect or if you get to a point where you’re doing too much. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

  13. I stayed home to take care of 3 young kids and it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I went back to work as soon as the youngest started school ( the same day he started his first day). Working is a vacation compared with staying at home with young children and I will not ever staying at home again. I admire parents who make trả sacrifice and stay home with kids. I know for sure it will be better for my kids if I continue to stay at home but just can’t do it, I have plenty of friends who are PHDs but choose to stay home to raise their children. They keep themselves quite busy taking care of house, household, kid’ activities, family vacation. They read a lot, volunteer in schools.take classes, etc.

    1. I hear you! How many years were you a stay at home mother?

      Your comment about work, being a vacation reminded me of this post I wrote: https://www.financialsamurai.com/thinking-about-taking-a-vacation-by-going-back-to-full-time-work/

      I’ll update it after dropping off my son at school.

      If I got a PhD, I don’t think I could be a stay at home parent for longer than one year. I would feel bad after all that studying. It’s kind of like trying to fire after becoming a doctor.

      1. I stayed home for 6 years with 3 kids. I wore one kid in a baby carrier and pushed the other two in a double stroller daily. I know a PHD who researched cure for cancer chose to stay home for 20 years until the youngest in college. The sacrifice paid off. One is in Yale now and one is an engineer at NASA. Another friend of mine who’s a Stanford PHD chose to stay home to raise her kids. The kids are doing extremely well at school and will sure be future doctors, scientists. I feel guilty everyday spending time ( very happily:-)) at work and not using that time to help my kids to be in a better competitive position for their future. They’re doing well, but i know they can achieve more if I devote my entire time and energy to them. Plenty of parents know that. That’s why in a wealthy family, either mom or dad stay home to devote to the kids, the other works all the time and makes lots of money. If both parents are working, usually because grandparents step in and take care of the children.

        1. Hard work! Well done!

          “ I know a PHD who researched cure for cancer chose to stay home for 20 years until the youngest in college. The sacrifice paid off. One is in Yale now and one is an engineer at NASA.”

          But what about the mom? What about her hopes and dreams after getting a PhD? Or did she give them all up for her children? I’m not sure that is healthy.

          1. She made her choice of putting her children first so she was probably at peace with it. Some people have it all but most can only do one well. My mom worked but completely refused all the promotions so that she had time for us. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t achieve what I have now. I have two co-workers who asked for demotion so that they would have less responsiblities and more time with their young kids.

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