Taking A Vacation From Parenthood By Going Back To Work

Taking A Vacation From Parenthood By Going Back To Work

Being a full-time parent is hard. It's way harder than any day job I've ever had. And I worked in the high-pressure world of investment banking fo 13 years.

After being a stay at home father since early 2017, I long to take a vacation from parenthood by going back to work. Both kids will be attending school full-time in September 2024. As a result, I'll have this void to fill.

Sure, I should probably use this time to recharge and relax. However, with two more extra days of free time, I feel it's important to stay productive by consulting part-time.

Entrepreneurship, Day Job, Parenthood

One of the things I learned after leaving Corporate America is that entrepreneurship is much harder than a day job. When you have to be the marketer, the creator, the accountant, the publicist, and the customer support, you often wonder how you can make any decision to move your business forward.

But after almost four years of being a full-time parent, I've come to realize that being an entrepreneur is a walk in the park in comparison! Full-time Parenting > Entrepreneurship > Day Job in terms of degree of difficulty.

As a stay at home dad to a newborn, you realize why sleep-deprivation is an effective torture technique used by the CIA. You experience mini-heart attacks on a daily basis because there's always a close call as they learn to crawl and walk.

You endure pain in your knees and back because you constantly get down on their level to make a connection. Your patience is tested as you read the same books, work on the same dexterity exercises, and use the same hand signs over and over again. Then of course there's the diaper changing, temper tantrums, and crying.

Despite all the difficulties of child raising, I wouldn't trade the initial years of parenthood for the world. The joy you get from seeing your little one smile and waddle into your arms when you enter the room is priceless. There's also an incredible sense of satisfaction helping your baby reach milestones. 

Two Years Of Full-Time Parenthood Seems Like Enough

Now that I'm in my seventh year of full-time parenthood, I'm beginning to plan ahead. Whereas the typical dad in America might stay at home between 2 – 14 weeks, I told myself that I would stay at home for at least 104 weeks. If I can last, then my ultimate goal is to be a stay at home dad for 260 weeks until both kids go to kindergarten. I succeed with my boy, as he began kindergarten in April 2022. Now I plan to succeed with my daughter, who will turn five at the end of 2024.

Pediatricians say the first two years are the most important developmental years in a child's life. A child’s brain triples in size from birth to age two and reaches about 75% of an adult's brain size. Therefore, to be present as much as possible during these first two years seems like a good idea. If he becomes a problem child, at least I gave it my best shot.

I'm not sure how much longer I can last being a full-time dad. I've begun to experience occasional heart arrhythmia from the pressures of simultaneously running a business and helping care for our son with my wife. The global pandemic added a lot more uncertainty, pressure, and stress. We pulled our son from preschool in Feb 2020 and have homeschooled him since.

I also gained another five pounds from the lack of exercise and constant food delivery. Finally I've begun to feel the full force of being a sole provider after we bought a real forever home in 4Q2023. With more property taxes and maintenance expenses to pay, I feel more financial pressure to provide.

Going from 5 am – 9 pm every day can get exhausting. I'm exhausted!

Percentage of stay at home moms and stay at home dads and moms - Taking A Vacation From Parenthood By Going Back To Work
Source: Census Bureau

A Need To Mix Things Up

Some friends, who have older children, tell me parenting gets easier and more rewarding as children grow. But I can't count on them being right. Instead, I'm counting on them being wrong so I can hopefully be surprised on the upside.

I need to find some way to unwind before having some type of breakdown. The solution I've come up with is taking a year long vacation by going back to work! All my male friends find fatherhood to be relatively easy because they have full-time jobs.

On average, my father friends spend 1-3 hours with their children. For the rest of the day, they're in meetings, doing their work, or going on the occassional business trip. Sounds like a great vacation!

Several mothers I've spoken to have found relief in going back to work after three months, although they say they struggle with guilt. But after two years of being a stay at home dad, I don't think I'll have much guilt at all, especially if my son goes to pre-school.

Full-Time Work As A Way To Decompress

Here are eight reasons why going back to work could be the perfect vacation from parenthood.

1) A long and peaceful commute.

Although commuting was the #1 reason why I hated going to work, since leaving work in 2012, ridesharing costs have come down by over 50% since. No longer do I need to wait for a super crowded bus that is hardly ever on time.

Once there is herd immunity again, I like the idea of sitting peacefully by myself in an Uber or Lyft for 30-40 minutes each morning and evening. During this time, I could daydream, sleep, or consume mindless information on my phone.

2) Easy work objectives.

When I worked in banking, there was constant pressure to bring in the most revenue and be ranked in the top 3 with every single client. That's all I knew for 13 years. When I did some consulting for some fintech startups, I realized this type of pressure was not normal.

Despite working in a fast-paced startup environment, I found people at the three startups I consulted for to be much less high strung with much lower objectives. As a result, I believe I can go back to work at most places and not feel the same amount of pressure that I felt in banking.

It's also an extremely exciting time to work in artificial intelligence. And San Francisco so happens to be home to some of the largest AI companies in the world, like Anthropic and OpenAI. I think it'd be fun to work in AI and make a lot of money as well.

3) Nice water cooler conversations, holiday parties, and work boondoggles.

Nobody works 100% of the time during the work day. There's a lot of long bathroom breaks, smoke breaks, coffee breaks, lunch breaks, and company outings. I'm always envious of friends who get to go with their work team to a Giants or Warriors game in the middle of the day.

I love attending holiday parties and watching colleagues get drunk and making a fool out of themselves in front of their bosses. One time a guy got so drunk he professed his love for his female boss in front of a dozen folks. It was hilarious! Seriously, who doesn't love having fun on company time while also getting paid.

4) Endless meetings to relax the mind.

Some organizations have so many meetings it's hard to get anything done. Combine so many meetings with water cooler conversations and work boondoggles, it's no wonder why I found it much easier to get 3X more done in the same amount of time working for myself at home.

Getting 1X worth of stuff done at work would be a piece of cake. I'd use all the endless meetings and extra time to zone out and recharge my mental health. I might even go work out for an hour a day as well.

Taking a vacation by going back to work sounds like a great idea

5) A better social life.

As an extrovert, I enjoy spending time with people. This pandemic has been harder for me than my wife, who is an introvert. Loneliness definitely increased during this time period.

My wife has the amazing ability to stay at home for an entire week and not go stir crazy. I, on the other hand, start getting grouchy after about one day of being at home.

Joining a workforce elevates my chance of having a better social life. I should be able to make new friends and attend the random weekend BBQ or house party. I love those.

Related: The Key To A Longer Life: Fear Being Alone

6) Optimization of work.

Even with blogging, there's a diminishing level of return. It feels wonderful to work online for 2-3 hours a day and get 90% of the benefits. After the third hour of blogging, blogging no longer becomes fun. It starts to feel like work, which then decreases my joy of blogging.

By going to work for eight hours a day and earning a steady paycheck, I could easily maintain Financial Samurai before and after work just like the old days. Maximizing the day brings me joy.

Related: Why Blogging Is The Best Business On Earth

7) More appreciation for family.

Distance always makes the heart grow fonder. But if you're with someone 24/7, you will naturally take that person for granted. By being gone most of Monday – Friday, I'll appreciate my Saturdays and Sundays with the family more. I'll plan more fun things for all of us to do.

My wife will also appreciate more of my efforts during the first two years of our son's life and become more independent as well.Finally, my son might miss me more and be more excited to spend time with me.

8) Financial relief.

The obvious benefit of full-time work is getting a steady paycheck and healthcare benefits. It was relatively easy providing for just the two of us, but something about having a baby increases your level of financial responsibility to new heights. Having an extra income and insurance source would certainly create more relief, especially if the stock market and real estate market begins to seriously roll over.

We pay $2,250 a month for health insurance as a self-employed family of four. Then we pay another $120 for dental insurance. That's nuts! How is this even a reasonable amount to pay when all of us are all relatively healthy? It's clearly not.

I completely believe that $300,000 a year in gross income is necessary to live a middle-class lifestyle in a big city. We plan to stay in San Francisco or relocate to Honolulu eventually.

Find The Right Vacation Job From Parenthood

Getting a job at a startup, in banking, or in management consulting would not be a vacation job. Instead, a “vacation job” is one that's at a huge organization where profits are plentiful.

The larger the organization, the smaller your impact. Given management has lower expectations of you and has so much money, your stress will be lower. At a startup, one wrong decision could mean the death of the business.

Organizations that have long-term objectives instead of quarterly objectives are also wonderful. Working for a small-cap public company is probably going to be incredibly stressful because they'll always be wondering which gorilla will launch a competing product and eat their lunch. Conversely, working at a large private organization could be just the ticket.

I don't want the term vacation job to be pejorative. I'm simply describing a vacation job as something fun, meaningful, and that can be easily accomplished based on your skill set. A vacation job is the perfect solution for your fake retirement!

Here are vacation jobs from parenthood that would best suit me:

* Venture Capitalist: You get paid well, don't have to risk any of your money, work reasonable hours, don't have to build a business, get to attend a lot of social functions, and aren't judged on performance until the end of the fund's life (5-10 years). A lot of venture capitalists don't even have firsthand experience building a business. It's great to be a VC for a larger firm. The pay is great.

* Angel investor: Being an angel investor is one of the best types of trust fund jobs around. You're just making small investments in various startups with your own capital.

* Quant Fund Manager: The computer does all the investing for you once you've developed the proper algorithms. So long as you are performing in-line or better than your index, all you've got to do is press a button once in a while and you're golden.

* Index Fund Manager: Your job is to simply stay on top of any changes in a particular index and copy the changes in your index fund. You literally don't have to think of any new ideas or make any hard decisions because your investors are investing in your fund for the low fees. But you can easily try to market yourself as an Index+ investor with a sexy edge if you want.

* Sports Broadcaster: It would be amazing to be a sideline reporter for every major tennis open. I can easily watch tennis for eight hours a day and talk about tennis for another four hours. Ah, now you know another reason why I've been practicing my oral delivery through my podcast.

* Fintech Startup Board Member / Advisor: As someone who lives in San Francisco, worked with dozens of fintech startups since 2009 and organically grew a personal finance site to 1M+ organic pageviews a month, I'd be a good fit for many startups in the financial technology space. I'm connected, have operational expertise, know how to grow a business, and have a platform they can leverage.

Happiness, Marriage, Parenthood

Some of you might say “the grass is always greener.” But don't forget I've had plenty of experience being a full-time worker, entrepreneur, and parent already. Parenthood is by far the hardest job.

The last thing I want to do is get a divorce after kids, like some of my peers. I've done my best to be the sole-income provider. I've also provided 4-5 hours of childcare on average every day for years. I'm just burning out and something has to give.

For 2023 and beyond, one of my goals is to practice more the separation of tasks. As soon as there is herd immunity, I'm probably going to at least look for part-time freelance opportunities. This way, we can divide and conquer parenthood better.

I'd love to know if you have a vacation job or know of anybody who has a vacation job. All ideas are welcome. By planning ahead, I hope to increase my chances of landing that perfect gig!

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170 thoughts on “Taking A Vacation From Parenthood By Going Back To Work”

  1. Sam – long time reader here … I was shocked to hear of your plans to return to the corporate world. Surely it isn’t a financial decision, or is it? Reading your most recent blog post I got that impression. Obviously I don’t have your entire financial picture here, but I can’t imagine you’re not able to comfortably live off of your passive investment income and revenues from this site while still saving a big chunk every month. Or am I totally misjudging your financial situation here?

    That being said, I totally understand you wanting to get back to work to have something interesting and worthwhile to do. Personally, I am aiming for FI (instead of FIRE), because I’d like to have more freedom. I could never imagine being happy at home for more than a few days in a row. Would working part time be an option for you? That might give you the best of two worlds. Obviously finding an interesting job (especially in the world of finance) may be a challenge if that’s a criterion. But then again, you do have the luxury of waiting for the perfect job posting and then applying … Thoughts?

    1. I made a promise to be a stay at home dad for two years at least, and perhaps until he starts going to pre-school (2 years, 9 months earliest). The 2 year and 2 year 9 month mark will be in 2019, and therefore, I like to plan ahead. I’m always planning ahead, trying to forecast the future because why not, it’s free. I’m looking for a social and professional outlet, and part-time consulting work is likely the best solution.

      Given the publication of my DIRE Movement post, I feel that it’s going to be harder to make money from my investments over the next 3-5 years. Therefore, finding some interesting work that brings in some bacon is a great way to supplement a slowdown or a loss on net worth.

      I think going back to work would be like a nice vacation, much like getting an MBA. I don’t need the money, but hanging out with cool people building something I care about while getting paid sounds good. Work is much more enjoyable when you don’t need to work.

      Check out: The Negatives Of Early Retirement Nobody Likes Talking About

  2. Good luck! I think you will find the grass it not always greener on the other side. Schools- public and private- expect an enormous amount from parents. Field trips, mystery reader day (mom when will you be my mystery reader- I’m sorry son it’s scheduled at the same time I have my SLT briefing). Oh. And homemade food (what, you brought Publix cupcakes?!!). Or they get out at 3. And need to go to aftercare. Or other activities. Nanny – Sign me up! But good luck finding one that shows up on time and does the basic things you ask. And forget it if you have a special needs kid that requires an IOP (look it up) along with constant supervision of what’s going on at school or with the myriad of therapists.

    AFTER all that you get to cook, clean, maybe watch a show and start it all over again.

    And I hope for you that you don’t have aging parents that need oversight.

    This is life. In America. For people who have very good incomes.

    1. Sounds wonderful if I can focus on doing just that or if I can focus on 80% work and 20% fatherhood like many working parents.

      If I have to do both and provide for the family, that’s a lot of pressure. Probably unsustainable over the long run.

      Do you mean IEP? What’s your situation?

  3. Wow look at all the comments this post generated! So much good stuff in one. I think it’s really cool to see the round up of jobs available but I also wanted to say kudos for doing the stay at home dad gig if even for a while. I had a stay at home dad and I can say I’m an engineer because I thought as a woman I would be the provider of my family the same way my mom was. His impact on me growing up as a caretaker was a positive force in my life! He also picked up some jobs on the side to feel more fulfilled as we grew up.

  4. Being a stay at home parent is a lot of work! I’ve been doing it for about 11 months and I am tired. It’s like hitting the ‘go’ button from 6am until 7:30pm without any pause for break. Letting your mind ‘rest’ is not a thing unless it is nap time or baby is asleep.

    I wonder if you can find a part time job where you can get some time away but then not be away for too long. I think that would be the ideal and that’s what I plan to do.

  5. Oliver Watson

    I think it is a good idea getting back into working “vacation style”. Working elegantly is definitely the way to go. Hey it helped me to get C-suite in 5 years of a 15.000 people company. So I believe most jobs can truly be “vacation jobs”.

  6. Why are you gaining weight samurai? I run and lift while my one year old naps…

    Food and diet the same…

  7. sounds horrible dude. Just go buy a stupid small business and run it, don’t take a job working for something else, you’ll resent having to answer to other people.

  8. I stayed at home with my boy, until he was 22 months old, than he stayed with my husband for 1 month (law in my country permits us to stay so much time with the kid, and still get payed..85%of income you had the year before baby comes).
    For me it was hard and I think I only know one more mother that says so…everybody around says otherwise and I’m thinking that I’m the one with a problem.My toddler is now in kindergarten, from 8am-17 pm and at home in the weeks he gets sick (his grandma comes to stay with him in those weeks). He has learned a lot in the months he has gone to kindergarten (he is now 26 months old) and he always talks about the other toddlers, what activities they have there.
    But while I stayed at home, I was the one cooking, playing with him, get him to the park,cleaning (looking back, I’m really sorry I didn’t hire some help). And at such a small age, he just wanted my attention…he didn’t stay one minute alone.
    Even now, I’m happy when I get 5-10′ of him playing with water(washing his toys or with plastic cups) or arranging his toys in their home.I can use those minutes to get things done.So the time he stays alone has improved, and if we had a garden I’m sure it would be easier for us…but that’s how it is at the moment.
    Again, thank you for not saying that it all super-fun and just a walk in the park

  9. Kate the dental hygienist

    Interesting topic. I wanted to (and did) stay home with our three kiddos (twins and a single 2 years younger). Twenty-plus years later, I still tell my husband it was the greatest gift he gave me. The deal was I could stay home but he would need help paying for their college expenses. I went back to work one day a week when they started middle school through high school, then back full time when the twins started college. I didn’t miss a thing in their lives and I believe it made it easier for me to move through their growing phases. I find many of my friends who went back to the work force (either by need or choice) lamenting at each milestone. “Where did the time go?” “How did they grow up so fast?” Nope. Never felt this because I saw it happen. I was there for every moment. Yes it was hard. Yes it was a whirlwind. But even a bad day home with the kids beat a good day at the office in my opinion. I know not everyone is suited for this but for me it truly was a gift. We didn’t do expensive vacations or even Disney but looking back, it was worth it. (How did I survive? Keeping them busy! The first few hours of the day was cleaning and chores, which they participated in, and afternoons were fun. Big cardboard boxes, a sand box on the deck, plastic pool on the deck with a bit of water for sailing boats, washing toys, action figure adventures, field trips to the park, museum, mall or beach. We’d go watch container ships sail. Picnic anywhere and everywhere. Ride the train. Go on nature hikes. Make meals. Sewing. Puppet shows. Dress up. Role playing. Backyard camping. Backyard carnivals…..) I realized that as much as I brought to a 9-5 job, all my skills and talent and expertise and all the “extra sauce” I proudly invented, at the end of the day really didn’t matter. As long as a person had the basic skills to do the job, that was all that was really required. Anyone’s butt in the chair will do. But at home I was irreplaceable. I believe no one could be a better mom to my kids than me. So even when things were tough, somehow I had to find the ability to solve the problem and get through it. I had to be creative beyond my wildest dreams. My stay at home mom neighbors became my coworkers. We laughed and bitched, shared tips and recipes and sometimes tears. They were my lifeline during the day. So I guess the take away from all this: get connected, get creative and enjoy every moment you are given with your child. (Yes, I’m still working but part time and will probably retire for good in about 3 years. No Mondays or Fridays. Best schedule ever)

  10. This is a super interesting post since currently I’m the stay at home mama. It does come with it’s ups and downs. But I feel fortunate that I don’t have the stress of working FT commuting let’s face it the Bay Area commute is brutal and coming home to more work I can’t imagine. I’m super tired all the time but seeing my little one grow is such a blessing. They grow too fast and I feel super lucky that I get to spend this time with my 18 month old. I know my girlfriends would love to do the same if they could. I’m looking for part-time work which I can make close to my previous FT salary wo benefits by billing an hourly rate and keep some Flexibility. We’ll probably move out of the area when preschool comes around(can’t wait grew up in Bay Area yeah it’s not that bad but tired of it and way too expensive). All in all it’s tough but I strongly feel we have to look at the positives since the negatives always have a way coming in. Best!

  11. Sam,

    Read this post without much interest earlier in the week, but you highlighted it in your email so visiting it for a second time. I think it’s timely for me given it’s Mother’s Day.

    My wife is a SAHM. We never planned it this way, but once #1 was born it wasn’t long until my wife told me she wants to stay home for as long as possible. I actually bought our first house 2 days after #1 was born. Financially, there were lots of sacrifices. 5 years later, my wife remains a SAHM and we’re expecting #4 next month.

    Comparatively speaking, my job is a cake walk compared to the responsibilities of my wife. I work in a role where I travel 18 weeks a year, sometimes for weeks overseas.

    I think our biggest asset is serving one another. Carving out selfish interests that are important to each of us and supporting each other without reservation. It sounds easy, but with almost 4 children sometimes this means making big sacrifices so the other person can ‘get away’ to recharge.

    My wife gets out of the house and stays connected like you do. Involved in our church, supporting kids sports teams, classroom parent for preschool, etc. This has helped build connections with other parents in the same position and creates play dates. Play dates are another opportunity for adult conversations.

    I rambled on more than I planned, but ultimately the stay at home spouse has the toughest job on the planet. We should give pause to think about how hard they have it, what they sacrifice, and tell them how appreciative we are for them.

  12. This post should be required reading for anyone who dreams of FIRE.

    The grass is not always greener. Most things have their downsides. IMHO, there is an age where one is too young to leave the workforce. Retirement is great when you are actually retired and your kids are not kids anymore.

    FWIW, I early retired three years ago at 53. My two daughters are now 25 and 22. DW and I do what we want, when we want. We go to the gym together every morning (well M-F) and travel extensively (plan to sleep away from home 60 nights this year – and in future years as well). Bottom line is exiting the rat race can be great, but should be done at an appropriate time.

    There are some who might disagree (left work in their 30’s or 40’s) and are happy as can be. I think they are more the outliers.

    Sam, I hope you find what you are looking for. Recognize that it make take a couple of different attempts to find the right situation (vacation job as you put it).

    Good luck!!

  13. My husband has been a stay-at-home dad for 2 years (since my oldest was born) and our second was born in January of this year. I transitioned to work-at-home, online entrepreneur at the end of 2017 and shift my hours a couple of work days a week to give him some relief and then work after the boys go to bed.

    Over the two years, we have periodically discussed hiring parent helpers or sending our oldest to daycare a day or two a week, but my husband always decides against it. Is he exhausted? Absolutely. Are there days he looks at me with a “what is happening?!” face? You bet. But he loves it and views school as the light at the end of the tunnel. He will be able to spend more time in his woodshop and developing our future property.

    The important thing you mentioned is personality type. I love my children dearly but could never be a full time stay at home parent. The hours I spent closed in my office working are necessary for my happiness. Comparatively, my husband is an introvert, does not like having a boss, and couldn’t stand doing the same thing every day. It made being a private yacht captain a great job for him when we were younger, but it takes too many hours and days away from home to be realistic now. And working for billionaires has is own difficulties…

    I can’t imagine my husband going back to work and I have a difficult time imagining sending my sons to daycare. But my husband does find value volunteering at the local aquarium, meetups with other young farmers (or potential farmers – as is his interest), and taking woodworking classes.

    You have to do what is best for your mental health. Not everyone is the same! Plus, being a stay-at-home parent is incredibly hard, but being a stay-at-home dad is even harder. Never easy to be the odd one out!

  14. Being a small group tourist guide. Or setting up your own adventure tour company.

    Staying at home has never been a man’s business. It is not really that fun. The Chinese tycoon Li, Kasheng only retired at age of 89.

    Get out and show the world your talents. Face-to-face is fun.

  15. “The solution I’ve come up with is taking a year long vacation by going back to work.”

    Oh God. This is terrifying me into not wanting to have kids. If only we could just skip over the boring hard parts and get to the fun, cute parts.

    Had you ever considered outsourcing some of the mundane tasks by hiring a nanny?

    Best of luck with your job search?

    1. It’s tough, but is very rewarding. I think experience really teaches you to become a more patient and caring person.

      We have a part-time babysitter that comes occasionally for 2 to 3 hours a day. It’s hard to find someone you trust, and it’s hard to hire out childcare services when we’re both at home. But taking a break here and there is a must. Our house is too small for a live-in nanny.

      Best of luck and your baby making endeavor! Sounds like it’s about time :-)

  16. Hello FS,

    I went back to work after 2 weeks mat leave with both my kids. I realized it just wasn’t for me to stay home full time. I went back to practice half days and that was perfect for me. Especially if you are a social individual, it is very difficult to stay home all day.

    But as your child gets older, just try to be available for his events, etc. It got more fun after that baby stage for me.

    Good luck with whatever you end up choosing.

  17. Sam — Interesting idea. Apologies if I missed it, but why are you going 0 to 60 so fast!? I know you’ve done it all — full-time gig, entrepreneur, stay-at-home dad, etc. — so this isn’t your first rodeo. But why not do part-time work instead of going full blown full-time? Seems like a part-time job would fit your needs best actually, and there’s research that suggests part-time work and parenting has been an optimal combo for parents.

    What was the thought process for skipping that idea straight to full-time? Just harder to carve out part-time opportunities that you’d be interested in?

  18. The theory makes total sense, but the jobs listed seem unrealistic. These are jobs that most people work their entire careers to get to, and it doesn’t seem possible to “drop” into one mid-career and after having taken a child care break.

  19. My wife and I are struggling with the same thing. She stays at home while I go to work Mon-Fri. I own my own business so I work for myself, but I can say 100% that it is definitely easier to go to work and deal with [mostly] rational adults rather than a moody 2 year old and a 3 month old infant. We’re sending the 2 year old to school in September so he can socialize more. Why not try to get a part time job instead of jumping straight into another full time gig? FT + coming home to parent isn’t the easiest either!

  20. Working Wonder Woman

    I think your problem may be working full-time while being a full-time parent.

    I’m a first time mom and although I’ve always been ambitious, this is the most challenging period of life. In fact, at 33 I just came do with shingles! That shouldn’t have happened for another 30 years. :) I think the stress of balancing a full time job with full time parenting worn me down. I work from home most days and am the primary caregiver of my nine-month-old. The stress of not being able to focus my attention on just one thing and the accompanying mini-heart attacks trying to keep my child out of trouble got to me. My ideal would be to just stay home with my little girl for the next two years, but my partner is not ok with the financial loss. And stalling my career also gives me pause. My solution: asking the spouse to step up and take on more responsibility at home. It’s a fight to get the husband to take on more responsibility for the baby and home without him believing he’s doing me a favor. The second shift is real for women!

    1. Yes, doing both well is hard. So it’s about figuring out how to be OK with not being great at either. The easiest thing for me to do is to reduce work online b/c my son is infinity times more important.

      However, if I don’t work and don’t stay on top of my investments, my wife will then have to go back to work, and that in turn would make me have to work more as a father. So it’s a delicate balance.

      I’m guiding my wife that i’ll be there and dedicated until he goes to kindergarten.

  21. I think it is a great idea getting back into working “vacation style”. I have always found if you have some brains and can think strategically then you can mold the job around you to maximise output but minimise time and seem like a hero all the time. Working smartly is definitely the way to go. Hey it helped me get to the C-suite in 5 years of a 15.000 people company. So I think most jobs can actually be “vacation jobs”.
    Also I have found (being new to blogging) that working stimulates my subject matter and articles I want to explore. If I was a stay at home parent I think that would be harder and I am all for the easy route.
    Good luck

  22. Sam, I feel the most important part of parenting is caring for your child whether you work full time or not. I have three sons (14,18 and 27) who are all good kids – not geniuses or highly motivated, but good. In Freakonomics, Steven Levitt found a positive correlation between test scores and parents who wanted their children to be in a better school whether they were able to get into one or not. Being FI provides options, but also the challenge of deciding what the best option is. You have earned the ability to try whatever you want. I can’t imagine anything you choose will reduce the amount you care for your son, so he’ll be just fine.

  23. My father retired early. Started a business. Retired again. Started another business. Retired again. Then went back to a part-time minimum wage job. The issue wasn’t money but all the other things you mentioned. A wise man said that nothing will kill you faster than retirement. I love the FIRE mentality because if you achieve FI, you have options. We don’t have to take the RE part. We can if we want to, but don’t have to. I guess that’s why FI comes first? Anyway, enjoy the vacation job and let us all know where you land! – FS

  24. Bro – you are hilarious! I love the way you are all over the place with ideas. It is good to be open minded and question everything like you do. I have been reading your blog for a long time. You have a very unique perspective and write well thought out and researched posts without plagiarizing. However, I always get a feeling of smugness and a slight touch of arrogance. I don’t mean that in a bad way. With someone as intelligent, opinionated and confident as you, you may come across as sanctimonious. Are you really serious about going back to slogging your butt off for some grumpy narrow minded TPS filing slob boss? Have you not watched Office Space in a while? Surely, ye jest. Is this the same Sam, who spent a good part of the last couple of years shaming parents who didn’t spend every moment with their precious child because they have to work? Are you that Sam, who thought it was ridiculous to outsource some tasks like cleaning your own toilet or sweeping the floor instead of spending time with your kids? Are you the same guy who said to buy buy buy SF real estate and lever up until you exhausted every last dollar of loans banks would give you? You have gone soft my friend. In other words, you have fallen back to earth, which is right where you belong with the rest of us. Gravity, always works.
    Now that we got that out the way, I can see that you realize that being a full time parent and running a blog full time is no joke. You know what’s harder? Working part/full time and being a parent. Now try adding a few more kids to the equation, subtract a few million dollars in net worth, subtract a whole bunch of good luck/fortune, and add a spouse who also has to work to keep the lights on. Sam, take it easy, stop whining, hire some part time help/nanny/au pair/babysitting and take some breaks. Ask grandparents, friends, cousins, etc. to help. Don’t feel guilty about spending a little time away from your kid. They don’t need you all up in their business all day long. And, most likely it should get easier as he gets older. I say most likely, because kids go through phases, and have different personalities. So I cant guarantee it will get ‘easier’. It will surely be different, and fun, if you have an open minded positive attitude. Kids are a blessing. I kiss mine everyday. I cook all their food from scratch. They sleep in my bed every night and cuddle with me. I take them for fun bike rides, swimming, hiking, vacations, beaches, cultural stuff, classes, and countless fun activities. And yes I work full time and keep my hours under 40 per week while my comp in the high six figs. I spend less than 20 minutes commuting/walking and work from home often. I love my job. My wife stays home with the kids, and although its tougher than a ‘real’ job, she loves it. Hanging out with little children all day makes you go mad though, even if they are cute, so she takes breaks too. I’m fortunate. But perhaps not as fortunate as you since you don’t have to work! You don’t need this silly vacation job thing, assuming you are not pulling everyone’s leg. If you do decide to go for a job, none of the above are a good fit for you or the company, with the exception of the Fintech startup adivsor – I think that should be your target IF you are actually going to follow through with this ridiculous idea.

    1. Man, your life sounds like a dream! To be able to say “I love my job” and have the wife stay home with the kids and love it as well is incredible. What more can a person ask for?

      Do you know how lucky you really are?

      BTW, I thought whining was complaining and then doing nothing about it. With this post, it’s forecasting a suboptimal time period, and coming up with a solution: vacation jobs. Any ideas for one?

      1. Yes I am very lucky. I’ve had my fair share of bad luck too, like losing a baby more than halfway through pregnancy. You have no idea how much that hurts.

        Good catch on the distinction between whining and complaining. You are correct, you plan to do something about it and that’s great.

        A vacation job to me is something you enjoy doing. It is something you would do anyway even if pay was less. It is something that does not give you that Sunday night dread you feel in your belly. You don’t work too many hours at it (optimally less than 50 per week) but you work hard and smart (CFO alluded to that in a post below) and prove your worth through quantifiable achievements. You are allowed to speak your mind freely, even to your bosses. You can take as much vacation as you want/need without disrupting your performance and the company’s success. I sell long vacations as a positive to the company because I return refueled, energized and read to burn some rubber. A vacation job means no sucking up, no ‘selling’ myself, no clients, I am the client. No long/sweaty/unpleasant commutes. No meetings for the sake of setting up more meetings, preferably no meetings at all. No project management, following processes like a manual that would make you go insane. You should not be fire-able because you are
        the most valuable employee, committed, honest. These are my personal criteria.
        Can you find one of these? I think the fintech startup advisor could be a good fit. Others are proprietary trader, quantitative analyst in a hedge fund, artist, musician, etc.

  25. Hi Sam,

    I feel like we had this conversation a few months ago where I said putting my son in daycare and going back to work after a year at home was good for his social development and a relief for me, and you kinda made it seem like I should feel bad for not spending 24 hours a day with him. You can imagine my smugness reading this post. Being a SAHD is rewarding but draining and not for everyone.

    You need to find something super old fashioned for a vacation job. I work for a tractor company, with a bunch of sleepy old dudes who have been there for 40 years. If a company does the same thing it did 100 years ago, that job is for you!

    Also, public sector could be another way to go. Livingafi’s job history series is a great description of downshifting in FI. He seemed pretty happy in zombie startup and university settings…

    1. I don’t remember the conversation. How long were you were a stay at home dad for until you went back to work?

      I think you and other readers might be misinterpreting the post a little bit. I am forecasting the future, and my forecast is saying that after two years of being a stay at home dad I will feel like I need a vacation from parenthood. I’m not burnt out yet.

      The vacation job needs to have some type of excitement or growth. At least for me. I don’t think I could do the tractor job for 40 years!

      1. I was lucky to negotiate 7 months work from home (while doing the childcare) starting at age 4 months. I really value that time with my son, but I learned a lot about myself as well. I was ready to go back. And he was ready to interact with more kids.

        Good luck finding the balance. I have a vacation job and often get itchy for growth and excitement… but I have to tell myself that being bored at work is a small price to pay for the amount of family time I get in this phase of life. There will be plenty of time to ramp back up or take on a new business once the kids are older.

        1. 7 months is great!

          The best thing for folks to do who have a vacation job is to start a side hustle online.

          Although my banking job was difficult, towards the end, I didn’t care for it very much anymore. After 10+ years of doing the same thing, I could do my job in my sleep, so I craved to do something new, hence the birth of FS.

  26. I have two kids, one at age 6 and one 9 months. I think as a dad, I’m need to be there much more for the 6 year old to keep her going on school and get her into sports. So while I understand you think first two years are important, the later ones I feel are pretty important too.

      1. Oh, I see your point. I meant reading and doing homework and playing at night (since I work during the day).

        1. Gotcha! I definitely plan to be there to play at night and work through all homework and explain the purpose. I LOVE doing this. Feeding the curiosity and explaining why things are important or not is so important.

  27. Life has seasons and sounds like you are making way for a new one. Here is food for thought—how about starting and running a business incubator for high school kids in your area? My husband ended up consulting for a day at our local high school business incubator and met some accomplished entrepreneurs who worked for fun. That might allow you to spend more time face-to-face with a lot of people who are like you and to also continue doing what are so naturally talented at – teaching personal finance – but to an entirely different audience. Check out the business incubator at Barrington High School in Barrington IL if you need a model. Good luck!

  28. Rachel Bier

    Hi Sam,

    I’m a relatively new reader of your blog and I absolutely LOVE it! Have you thought about moving up to the wine country? Plenty of jobs with great benefits especially with the larger companies…Trinchero, Gallo etc, check out winejobs.com. I live in St Helena and we have a fantastic public school system (only 16 kids in my son’s kindergarten class!), my daughter’s in a great preschool for $995 per month. Wonderful family community and there’s always plenty of wine, a change of scene can work wonders!

    1. Welcome to Financial Samurai Rachel! What took you so long? :)

      The school system sounds nice and cozy for you guys up there. I’ll have a look. It’s nice indeed.

      But I’m thinking if we are to move, we will move back to Oahu where my parents are from to take care of them. I love the family-focused culture in Hawaii. It is amazing. And of course the islands are amazing too.


      1. Interesting post! We’re estate managers for one of those huge properties up here so that life is very familiar to me!

        I’m so glad I found your blog through Quora, there’s so much info to trawl through!

        Let me know if you have any questions about wine country life :)

  29. When making decisions like this, I believe parents must ask themselves one simple question.

    Is this truly in the best interest of your child?

    In all of your child related posts I’ve yet to see one comment where the parents regret or feel guilty about spending to much time with their kids while they were young.

    1. It’s true. A parent must be selfless when it comes to child raising. But I don’t think you’ll ever have someone admit that they spent too much time with their child.

  30. It’s hard to make much more then what you pay out in daycare. For us, 2 kids in daycare would cost 25k ish. You make 70k salary gross, that’s max 50k after taxes, so you would be around 25k max. Basically making minimum wage while someone else raises your kids and makes more than you. And we are both CPAs! Now, if you are in a low paying job, it really makes no sense.

    1. Absolutely. And here in SF, full-time day care is around $3,000/month per kid.

      So for us, we’re looking at gutting it out for 2-3 years to save on daycare before going to school. Then, that’s when we’ll have the ability for at least one of us to go back to work.

  31. We are currently talking about having a kid. I’m early retired, 37. One of my biggest concerns, is that I think the same will very likely to me. I’ll prefer working to parenting, and end up going back to work. But at the moment I’m happy not working. Having a kid will shift me into an entirely new dimension….

    Could be good though?? Maybe working is healthy and this is the best and probably only way to get me back in the race.

    On the other hand, I’m feeling a bit old to restart, and could easily imagine living our a lazy, emptier life without career or kids.

    Life huh

    1. I’m pretty sure you probably will. Every single parent who tells me that parenthood is easy is not a full-time parent. Either their spouse or a nanny or daycare takes care of them most of the day.

      You’re also feel pressure to provide and earn. It’s just natural because you want maximum security and the best for your child.

      1. I can imagine that instinct to protect is near impossible to resist.

        I do wonder, if it is possible to live fully and actively, without triggering that instinct.

        Could you imagine a parallel world where you could live a full life, without job and kid?

        (goes without saying, you wouldn’t trade of course…)

        Or do you think this is ‘the’ life.

        1. Most definitely. Before our son came, I felt welived an incredibly full life full of meaning and purpose. After he came, our lives simply became even more full and meaningful. It seems like a never ending expansion of meaning and joy.

          But it is the loss of loved ones that can be really devastating because you go from knowing what was amazing to losing.

          You won’t miss as much what you do not know. Which is also the reason why it is very insightful to hear from people who do not know give advice.

        2. Hi Chris, I early retired in my late 30s. Got married and had a kid after retirement! Every person is different, you have to figure out what you want. I always wanted kids, and enjoy staying home to take care of mine. Tiring as heck sometimes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
          I also enjoyed single life in early retirement. I had a lot of fun dating and travelling, but definitely prefer being a dad.
          I made a ton of money at my job. I do regret leaving it sometimes. I miss the prestige, the challenge, the camaraderie, and the millions. But again if I had to choose between the two (most people have both), I’d choose being a dad.

  32. Hi Sam,
    Time to take a deep breath! My thoughts, as an early retired SAHD to a 5 year old in San Francisco Bay Area:

    1. I too thought this was an April Fools post but it’s already May!
    2. Are you regretting selling the rental property? That covered a huge chunk of your passive income needs, I thought your goal was to replace it with even higher passive income? What happened for you to be insecure about the passive income now?
    3. My health insurance premium is only $1299 a month for a family of three. I’m on ACA, no subsidies, with silver benefits, and I’m guessing your premiums should be lower because your family is younger. Are you on platinum?? Probably not necessary. I’ve read studies that show HDHP are the way to go for both minimal and maximal use of health insurance. I’m on silver because I’m right in the middle. Platinum is almost always not optimal since you could self-insure with those high premiums up to your out of pocket maximum.
    4. I think kids are gonna get exposed to illness either sooner or later. I had mine at home for 2.5 years before daycare, once starting daycare she got sick quite often for a few months but she has been super healthy since (knock on wood).
    5. Toughen up! I do 90% of the childcare, earn all the money (mostly passive), pay all the bills, manage 4 rental properties and many other investments, and do all the housework including cleaning and cooking. No help from grandparents (deceased) or in-laws (out of the country). It’s not that bad if you develop routines. I did all the diaper changes, night feeding, bathing, medical appointments during the early months, and now I do all of the meals, housework, child development, education, school projects, birthday planning, playing, trip planning, drop off and pick up from daycare. I’ve taken my daughter on ski trips, vacations to Mexico, Italy, France, Japan, Singapore, etc on my own. Maybe you should try taking care of your kid 100% by yourself for a period of time, then having your wife available sometimes to help will seem like a walk in the park… I actually have a ton of fun while doing most of these things with my kid (hard to have fun on medical appts, and I don’t really enjoy birthday planning), it’s all about attitude.
    You always say you are privileged to be able to stay home with your son so you might as well enjoy it, right?

    1. Hi Joe, what if you had to work at home as well online instead of just earn passive income? Do you still think you’d be able to do it all? I’ve been thinking of selling this site as well. Then I would free up a lot of time and could be just like you.

      If you earn all the money and do 100% of the childcare and household chores, is your partner OK? Do you feel that with a need to figure net worth, you could hire some people to help you?

      1. No I definitely would not be able to do it all! That’s why I admired you, because you were able to run a business plus be a SAHD plus have a social life and volunteer! I think I wrote you a comment about that last year. I also thought you might have a tough time trying to get work done once junior was walking and grabbing onto your leg every other minute. You do have the benefit of a spouse who is available to take care of him during the day though, if you only work 1-3 hours a day that support should more than make up for the time you need to work, right? Does your business really only take 1-3 hours a day though?? That’s the question.

        I think you’re being sarcastic about being just like me, but I’ve been trying to build a life like yours where I could start a biz at home. It’s proven difficult for me to come up with another 2-3 hours a day. Like you, I also go back and forth on whether I really need that extra income for the added work. I think we are both in the twilight zone on net worth, in a position to trade time for money, but not enough to stop thinking about it.

        My spouse goes to school full-time and her health is not so good, so that’s about all she can manage. We had some back and forth about the division of responsibilities but in the end I just sucked it up and adapted. I’ve always wanted kids and she not so much, so that’s how the situation naturally evolved. The first 6 months, she was afraid of handling a 7 lb little one, while it came pretty easy to me, and it went from there. Her background and mine are very different, so I prefer handling the child development aspects. I would not feel at ease with leaving my kid with my in-laws even if the opportunity was there, my father-in-law smokes and they pay zero attention to safety, and know little about childhood education and don’t think they need to learn. It’s kind of ironic because I grew up an orphan.

        I have a gardener, that’s about it. You know how much nannies cost in the Bay Area! Worth it or not…..

        Oh yeh, I would agree with other comments that child-raising doesn’t get easier or harder, every stage is just different. The first year is all about feeding and getting them stronger, early intervention if necessary. The second year, they get mobile and you have to keep an eye on them everywhere. The third year, they start getting their own ideas and can argue with you for an hour about what shoes they are willing to wear. Fourth and fifth years they spend more and more time on activities, developing relationships with peers and the associated problems, and endless curiosity which takes up a lot of time. And then it’ll be all the challenges of school, hooking up with the wrong friends, dating, driving, vices, etc etc etc.

        My kid goes to a daycare on a campus where there is a facility for developmentally challenged kids. Every day when I drop her off I am reminded how lucky I am and what a joy it is to take care of my kid.

    2. Doctor Nancy

      Hope your spouse is OK. The way you describe it, it reads like you do everything and she does nothing.

  33. I seem to remember a child rearing post where you rejected the methods of getting your child to sleep through the night that were offered to you in the comments. I think you are not getting enough sleep and are now going crazy. Time to look into humane methods of sleep training.

    The 1/2 day daycare you need are called Mom’s Day Out programs around here. You could also hire a “mother’s helper” for a certain number of hours a week. Please try both the getting enough sleep and getting some help before you get a vacation job.

    I was a SAHM when I got sick. We had to hire a nanny because I couldn’t do everything on my own anymore. I would give just about anything to be able to physically care for my child on my own again. Of course, before I got sick I had no idea how lucky I was.

    My experience does not mean the your struggle is not real. It is! Just offering my unique perspective. My grass is kinda brown. And yours looks pretty green to me.

    Best of luck to you!

    1. Ah, but not crazy enough to write a coherent post!

      I hope you are winning the battle against your sickness. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

      It’s 7:34am, and I can’t wait to give my boy a squeeze and play soon.

  34. Do you really think you could go back to work and not end up performing to your potential?

    Once you are aware and capable and know how to get things done, I imagine it would be hard to go back to chilling out and not being bored out of your mind.

    Do you really want a boss who is less skilled than you as well?

    Things to consider especially considering your former employer/the IB culture.

    1. I think I could. A vacation job is about letting someone else make all the decisions so you can mentally relax.

      The mindset of the entrepreneur is that you’ve got to make EVERY decision, no matter how small. It’s nice to just let someone else be in charge as you collect your pay, your benefits, and your time.

      I’ve already been able to let go by being an assistant tennis coach and not the head coach.

  35. Financial Orchid

    According to HBO’s Silicon Valley, Dan Melcher went into insurance after he was forever banned from tech. Repetitive, older workers, not as progressive, difficult to pivot, and there’s even a pension at the end of the 20 year rainbow in some places. I’m thinking somewhere old school like Berkshire Hathaway. It’s not very competitive or cut throat either because people are not that educated outside of actuary. Further it’s about protecting people -health, assets, and indemnification.

  36. Hey Sam,

    Ever thought about teaching a class or two at a college/University? Pay might not be as great as the consulting gigs, but it could be considered a “vacation” job – low hours, high reward. Best class I ever took was with an ex-Wall Streeter at a small liberal arts college in PA. He wasn’t from academia which made his classes the more unique – different perspective than the “full time” professors – and fully attended too! Final project was a case study….of his Fidelity portfolio LOL

    Might be worth poking around in that area :)

    1. Good idea, but I don’t think they provide healthcare or even pay? I’ll have to look into it. There are so many good universities here in the San Francisco Bay area. I’m sure I can be a guest lecture for free, but to actually be a prof would probably be impossible With my credentials. I think they want people from academia and not so much people with real world experience ironically.

  37. Work in the manufacturing line of a large medical device company (quite specific, isn’t it!) :P.

    1) You get the satisfaction of building something that will change a patient’s life for better.
    2) Repetitive work. You can keep it interesting by switching and training to different stations/lines.
    3) Does not require a specific degree but just general technical skills and common sense. A complex device assembly line may be more interesting than a simple one.
    4) You can find a role to manage people or take more responsibilities if you wish to based on experience.
    5) Attend a few meetings; but not a lot.
    6) Plenty of opportunities to hang out with coworkers: lunch, water cooler, coffee.
    7) Attend company parties and events.
    8) Benefits: health insurance, 401k, pension (if available), etc.
    9) If the company if big enough, overtime may be optional rather than mandatory. Clock- in and clock-out at fixed times.
    10) Pay may be decent with annual bonus. Way above minimum wage, but probably not six figures without overtime.
    11) Only stress may be to meet certain number of set units per day/week/month which is also shared by everyone in the line than just one person.

  38. I’m a long time reader of your blog, and I got a kick out of this post. I’m an engineer by training (former Naval officer), I’ve been working part-time from home and taking care of my kids for 7 years, and I’m getting ready to move to Asia with my family. I had 3 kids back to back, and my youngest is now 4. I’ve been out of the office environment for a long time now, and I’m ready to get back into the professional world and focus more on work and adult conversation :). I just started a personal finance blog geared towards the military (something I’ve been wanting to do for a while). All that to say–being at home with kids is no joke! And it’s hard to not lose your own identity. With regards to the comments about illness- they get the germs at some point. It’s hard when they are babies, but if they aren’t sick all the time at 2 years of age, they get it all in kindergarten. My husband and I are firmly on the side of doing whatever is necessary for the mental health of the parents (with respect to working/daycare/preschool/date nights). Also- to the people who think it’s easier having both parents at home as you do, I would only partially agree. If both parents are home there is the additional stress of everyone being together all day, seeing how you use every bit of time productively (or not).

    1. Three kids back to back is extremely impressive! How are you not absolutely exhausted? You truly are a superwoman. Seven years at home is also very impressive.

      Any specific tips on staying sane and making it work as a stay at home parent given your experience?

      I really want to last five years until he goes to kindergarten, but I’m really not sure if I can do it.

      1. LOL- In some ways, I think it’s easier to have the kids so close together in age. You get all the diapers/nursing/stroller craziness over with in one REALLY LONG shot.

        Staying sane tips:
        1. Think about what makes you happy, and make sure you are doing a few of those things. Examples would be reading fiction, exercising, quiet time by yourself, time to go out with your spouse, being outside (if any of those things make you happy).
        2. Hire help and don’t feel bad about it. House cleaners, meal kits like Blue Apron, babysitters, etc.
        3. I have continued to work, but I’m not sure whether it helped me stay sane or made me more stressed. It’s nice to have an identity other than “mom,” but it’s hard to work on spreadsheets at 9 pm when you just finished the dishes and want to relax.
        4. I really enjoy being outside with the kids. They are happier, I’m happier, no one’s looking at a screen. I love finding hikes/daytrips/etc to do with them. Download some good audio books, take them somewhere you want to go, pack lunch, and if goes downhill- no big deal, you just head home.
        5. Look for groups to join so you have people to talk to. I’ve done Stroller Strides and Bible studies of various kinds. I think this is harder as a dad. There are lots of groups for women, but probably not a ton during the day for men. None of the groups I’ve been a part of have included men- but maybe there’s a space to start something :).
        6. If you like to run, get a great running stroller. Then you can take the kid and get exercise and fresh air at the same time.

        1. Thanks for the tips!

          Yeah, the support system for SAHDs is minimal. I went w/ my wife to a mom meetup group at the park. After we walked for 45 minutes or so, it was feeding time.

          We sat on a several large picnic blankets, and all five moms whipped out their boobs for feeding. Some covered up, some didn’t. I’m all for it. So natural. But as the only male, I thought it would be best if I let the moms chat in peace so I went for another walk by myself.

          I look forward to when my boy can fully grasp spatial awareness and get more coordinated to go on those adventures. But i’ll enjoy him just as he is right now.

  39. Venture capital consultant for fintech investments?

    I fully appreciate the difficulty of childrearing (I’m three deep) and that of feeling ready for a different challenge. I often make a change on a similar time window. I don’t think it’s fair to call older kids easier or harder. They become more independent and have more ability to self-care, but they become more demanding and present new risks related to age and independence. It’s just different.

    The ability to solve all cares for a small child with ice cream is great. The ability for a teen to drive themselves somewhere is great. Public tantrums are brutal. DUIs are life altering.

    1. Well said. I’m still currently in making sure my son survives mode by being physically independent.

      I’m sure there will be plenty of future mind bending challenges to deal with. I’ve had lots of experience dealing with 12 teenagers for 3.5 months for two years so far as a HS tennis coach.

  40. If you are considering going back to work, I’d focus on finding a meaningful job, rather than a vacation job. Perhaps I’m interpreting the description differently, but I can’t think of a worse scenario than going to work, doing something with half-effort, and having limited impact on the organization.

    A meaningful job to me is an occupation that you have a high degree of skill and positively impacts society that aligns to your values.

      1. I think this depends on each individual person. If I had to leave my work, I’d go into education (either in administration or as a professor at a local university) or healthcare (as an administrator). If I chose to not make money, I’d probably go back to school and study microbiology – the advancements in genomics are awesome.

        1. I wanted to do that too, until I saw all the requirements to be a teacher or professor. Hence, I decided to go into HS coaching. It is rewarding, but I didn’t realize there were also many downsides.

          1. I’ve never researched becoming a professor, but I know of a colleague who left work and became an adjunct professor in international business at a local university. I agree with you that it’s tough to get a tenured professor position, which I believe requires a PHD.

  41. You want a Vacation job – go work for the city. I have lots of friends that do and they’re constantly calling me a sucker for being in the private sector.

  42. Buddy just as I am getting on the FIRE bandwagon, you are saying you want to back to work … haha..

    Sam do what works best for you. End of the day you know what works best for your life.. all the best.

  43. Hi, Sam: your writing of this is spot on: “…a (vacation job) is one that’s at a huge organization where profits are plentiful. The larger the organization, the smaller your impact. Given management has lower expectations of you and has so much money, your stress will be lower….”

    I’m currently in exactly this kind of job. Can’t say I love it but I have had enough startup fun when I was younger (failed startup, startup->IPO->now_very_boring_job, startup->IPO->company that became irrelevant, banking, etc..). Although we no longer need money (age 51, with liquid assets 50x living expense), still coming to work simply because my commute is awesome, the lunch is free, and coworkers are much younger and still fun to hang out with. I’m planning to retire @55 and am now trying to develop some hobby to occupy my time and keep myself engaged socially when retired.

  44. I stayed home with my two kids. My son from high school on until he left home, and my daughter whom we adopted from the foster care system. I spent hours with her supplementing her education. The doctors said she had fetal alcohol effect. They were wrong. The time I spent with her is the reason she is a registered nurse now in the emergency room in Bakersfield. She recently met her biological sister who goes from one minimum wage job to another. She saw where she could have been. The words I will never forget when she graduated RN school was, “Thank you for choosing me.”

    1. Awesome Mark. And thank you guys for adopting from the foster care system. I sat down for a session with my foster kid mentee and his foster care liason who has been searching for a family for the past three months. Difficult.

      Maybe you can share a post on your thoughts on fostering, why, how, etc in the future?

        1. By the way, I could not imagine my life without her. She has made my life so incredibly more, and all I wanted to do was adopt a child for a child who needed it.

      1. I just did a post on my blog on adopting our child, but it was so long. I will cover it in two parts. So my this latest post is part one. Monday I will post part two.

  45. I think a great vacation job would be a wine rep – get to go to various clubs/restaurants and promote tastings all over the country!

    1. Thanks for the idea! And being so close to Napa/Sonoma, that is a no brainer. I will look into this during this year’s crush season in September. Napa/Sonoma is the first place we will go for a family vacation due to the short distance.

      Hmmm, maybe I should encourage my good friend now to buy his money place in Napa after all. I’ve been discouraging him for 4 years!

  46. Be careful Sam. All of us current working stiffs who are working for FIRE and leaving the JOB might turn on you with this kind of comments. I know a lot of people think this was a belated April 1st joke but I personally think you are stirring the pot to see what comes up. Sometimes you need to hear both sides of the story to appreciate and reaffirm your decisions. This isn’t a negative post at all but I think if you are serious you just might be a little burnt out. My advise to you after nearly 20 years of marriage and 15 years a parent you just need a mini vacation from your current day to day. Also I think you are far overshooting the kind of care your little guy will need moving forward as it gets significantly easier (very different but way easier) the older they get. Do you have any family that can watch your little one so you can have a weekend off? I think you will think differently after a little sleep and time to yourself. My crystal ball says that IF you went back to the workforce you would not be there long as you would make the case that you make more money at home and miss your child. I think you would lack the grit of individual w2 employment today. If I am right I promise I won’t give you the “I told you so” but you might remember my comment when you are writing your post about that adventure.

    Good luck and keep us posted!

    1. Will do. I like to live dangerously. Perhaps it’s b/c I’m in my last week of HS coaching that I finally see the light. It’s been a tough season, but we won the league championship and now it’s off to the final sectional tournament that begins tomorrow. Exhausting. Will write about this in the future.

      If I go back to work, I WILL commit to at least 1 year. 1 year is a walk in the park for a guy who did 11 years at one shop and 9 years on FS so far. The one thing I have is grit.

  47. My husband and I talk about this a lot. Work is so much easier than dealing with kids 24/7. My kids are 1.5 and 4, and it’s just non-stop on the weekends. Coming into work on Monday mornings, checking emails, sipping coffee is literally like a vacation (with the exception of my coworker who sits across from me and doesn’t stop talking). I can completely relate to this post, there is no way I would be able to stay at home with my kids. That being said, I am fortunate that I get done with work at 4:00 and have zero commute, so I still get to spend time with them. Besides, I truly think it’s better for my kids (maybe not all). My 4 year old is very reserved, and I think he needs the socialization. My 1.5 is very go with the flow, and I think daycare helps her stay that way.

    1. Finishing work by 3pm or 4pm would be great, as that would leave 3-5 hours of time with the little ones. And, to avoid rush hour traffic back would be good most of the time.

  48. No shame in admitting that the early years are hard as hell. The one criteria of me quitting my job was that both my kids would go to full time daycare. We have a 4.5M net worth and daycare at 5K for 2 kids for 5 years is worth it to me, and my kids really thrive. I find the whole “brain development” or “babies are best at home” argument to be moot if parents are barely surviving, not exercising and door dashing dinner. My health took a quick, ugly dive. I love my time with them in the evenings and weekends, but thats about all I can handle at this age, given my health. I assume a super active mom in good health could pull it off, but I know my limitations and I cant.

    I would urge you to dig deep into the work culture of whichever “vacation job” you choose. More than VC’s I think work culture at “cash cow” tech or product companies are a good bet, if you ask me.

    If you are clear that this is a social benefit to you and not a “passion” it would end up with a better end result I think. Good luck!

    1. Quitting work once the kids go to daycare sounds like a nice luxury. But what does one end up doing at home if the kids are in daycare and there is no work to do?

      Working for cash cows like Google, Microsoft, Apple SOUNDS good.. but so many people have told me they are sweatshops.

      I’m really looking for good vacation job ideas, and nobody else has seemed to come up with any.

      1. You do all the other stuff that matters – exercise, focus on good food, kind of mostly bringing your life back in alignment with what you want. Then it’s natural that you’ll figure something out that involves building something – a service, a business, a product perhaps? You probably feel like you’ve already done this but for me it’s a journey I’m yet to take.

        As for jobs – I think you’ll know it when you see it! Agree that it’s unlikely you’ll get anything groundbreaking from the comments here – a lot depends on the team and micro work culture within them as to how this “vacation job” will turn out.

        1. How about being a realtor and selling some real estate (since you track the market in SF so closely)?

  49. I’m in the camp that going to work is easier than staying home with a very young child. I admire my SAHM&D friends because they are more patient and chill than I am, but in order to be a happy person and thus a good parent, I found that working in an office is for the best right now. After I first returned from maternity leave, I used to lock my office door for about 1.5 hours everyday to nap. And now I enjoy working out during my lunch break. I’d likely enjoy being a stay at home or work from home parent once all kids are in full time preschool or older, but I find it too hard both mentally and emotionally to be at home full time while they are very young. And I’ve earmarked much of my income toward college savings, and for whatever reason, rational or not, that gets me passed feeling guilty for working instead of staying home.

  50. You would likely be having the same issue-even without a little one at home. I’ve been working for myself since 2010 (started around 30). It gets boring-no matter how much money you make. You hit the nail on the head when you said 2 – 3 hours. After that, it can be a drag, even if you love what you do (as I do). The thing they don’t tell you about financial freedom early in life is that you are often times stuck with the question: “Now what?” Sure, I could bank more-you can always have more. But, once you have all the material things in life you always wanted, you have to work hard to fill the void in some other way. I’ve thought about going back to work many times-mostly for the socializing. I even rented a fancy office down the street so I could pretend to go to work everyday-water cooler and all. The problem is once you know you don’t have to go to work anymore-you can’t capture back the feeling you had when you did have to go. And, if you are like me, you will spend a decent part of the day just feeling sorry for the other folks at work that can’t spend time with their family because they “have” to work. Guilt is a major factor of financial independence I never saw coming.

    My suggestion (for whatever it is worth): get a nanny. You will love it, your kid will love it, and your wife will love it. It will smooth out all the edges. Also, DO NOT stop exercising. It is absolutely key to good mental health-particularly for the overachievers of the world. Start an additional part-time business that isn’t as solitary. Consulting seems ideal for you-particularly if it comes with travel. Working full-time for someone else is a waste of your time and talent. With that said, I know exactly how you feel, as I’ve almost pulled the trigger several times. So far at least, I am very happy I’ve resisted the urge. I worked too hard to get to this point to give it all up (as have you).

  51. I can totally relate to this post. I feel the perks of working a full-time job almost every day. Even the free office food and random kitchen conversations cheer me up.

    In fact, someone just asked me yesterday if I’m going to quit my job because we’re having a second baby, and I said no. She looked puzzled and asked what we’d do about the kids. And I told her that we will send them both to daycare. It’s to keep my husband and I sane while we build our careers. Loving our kids doesn’t mean we have to stay at home with them 24/7. Whoever makes us feel guilty about working while having kids has their own problems to sort out.

    1. Ms. Frugal Asian Finance

      I forgot to mention that paying $100/mo for health insurance for a family of 3 (through my employer) also makes me VERY happy and less worried about money or going bankrupt because of medical costs. I can get fired any time, but we can move to my husband’s plan which is only slightly more expensive. Plus, I pay $0/mo for my dental insurance, and hubby pays $5/mo for his.

      1. While it may seem like an about face, it really is about being able to make choices in life – and that all comes from being financially free.
        There’s nothing wrong with that and I see that as motivation for my own journey towards FIRE.

        And being a dad myself, of a four year old, I can see where Sam is coming from. I’m not a SAHD, and to be honest, can’t even imagine doing that – it’s that tough a job!

  52. Childcare is ridiculously hard and difficult to comprehend especially if one has never done it full time. It’s also very rewarding of course but I totally understand why some people go running back to work. A board member or advisor role could be fun for you to pursue. Whatever you end up doing, you should feel proud at all the things you’ve accomplished and contributed so far and continue to do every day. Your family is lucky to have you and all of us readers are lucky to be able to still enjoy this site and so much great content!

  53. I always appreciate honesty about the challenges of parenting, but it would have nice to see recognition of the sheer amount of privilege you have to even ponder this decision to return to work. For many Americans whose salaries can’t cover the cost of daycare, women are forced to stay home and raise their children. Those 5 years out of the workforce reeks havoc on the gender wage gap, the presence of women in leadership positions, and their ability to maintain financial independence from their spouse.

    And for the majority of the middle class where 2 working parents are necessary, the “second shift” is real, with women burdened with most of the chores, errand-running, etc. in addition to child-rearing—even in egalitarian households.

    I’ve been reading your blog for years so I know that it’s targeted towards the highly affluent, not the average American, but it’s important to acknowledge (1) many parents—usually women—stay at home not by choice, so a “vacation” from child-rearing is not possible until school age and (2) most working women cannot “decompress” at their job when they’re also working the second shift at home. And this is why more women like myself have decided to never have children, because the benefits, in my opinion, do not outweigh the sacrifices I would have to make due to my gender.

    1. You’re absolutely right. I hit the JACKPOT being born an Asian male, meeting my wife in college, and living in the US. And it is a privilege to be able to have the opportunity to go back to work given there are still many people who cannot find work despite our nation’s 3.9% unemployment rate.

      We are also lucky to be able to give up work to focus on child raising in order to save money on daycare costs. After the 3 month mark, full-time daycare is common in SF and regularly costs $2,500 – $3,200 a month.

      Hopefully this post highlights the difficulty of being a full-time parent, gives recognition to the millions of stay at home parents out there, and helps people think more deeply about the life and finances BEFORE having kids. I could say everything is sunshine and rainbows, but that would be disingenuous. One of the saddest things is witness divorce after children. I think our children deserve better since they are so innocent.

    2. Doctor Nancy

      Are you sure you are not projecting your own guilt and frustrations of being uncomfortable being a parent?

      It’s hard to know the difficulties of parenthood without being a parent yourself.

      Finally, is it OK for men to call you Book Club Babe? Feels like every man online addressing your face is a predicament.

      1. No guilt whatsoever, Dr. Nancy! I feel extremely content and liberated with my decision to live childfree. Also, it’s not objectifying for men to call me the Book Club Babe since that’s the name of my blog. Catchy, isn’t it?

        1. Doctor Nancy

          That’s good to hear. Why do you think people who want other people to recognize their “privilege” tend to be white people and tend to be white women in particular?

          1. I don’t really see how privilege has creeped into this discussion. Book Club Babe, in your blog do you talk about your privilege in being born in a first world country and be able to spend time around your passions and build a site around those?

  54. Hey Sam, did you consider getting a nanny to help around the house or daycare? We haven’t achieved FIRE status yet, so at least one of us needs to return to work right now. My wife is incredible but raising a child full time is an incredible feat, I didn’t want her to be the 100% support while back at work. We got a nanny to help some with child care but mostly -everything else- around the house that is not the highest value use of our time. Cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. It has been a game changer for staying rested and patient with the little one and we feel good value for around $2k / month. This pays it self back almost entirely by reducing our DoorDash bill! I think there are also great daycares for 2y+ in your neighborhood if you think your little one needs stimulation and development – the Lycée Francais is supposed to be really good.

    1. No nanny, but occassional PT babysitter during the tennis coaching season where I am away 3 hours a day.

      Lycee Francais has an English daycare center? If so, will look into it. Not interested in learning French at the moment. Mandarin all the way. Way more useful!

  55. Agreed about the part time day care. My first two went to day care for two days/week starting at 16 and 18 months. My third started at 27 months. In my experience, it was a little easier for them to get used to the swing of things at 18 months. 27 months may have been a little late and he took a while to get into the swing of things. I’m a SAHM with no family near me, so I need this support so I can go to doctor’s appointments, run errands, etc., or take my school-aged children to their own appointments. It’s great for socialization for the kids and helps them get used to school. Also helps your sanity, which is important for everyone!

    Now if I can just come up with an idea for working from home between 10:00am – 2:00pm on weekdays. Need ideas!

  56. Simple Money Man

    VERY TIMELY. I just finished up my parental leave and am back at work. During my time off I did gain weight (the unhealthy non-muscle one) and had to endure a lot of squatting. But I very much enjoyed the time with our baby too! I don’t think there are a lot of negatives. Some people aren’t cut out to be full-time caretakers and there isn’t shame in saying that. And when I come home from work and on the weekends, I love seeing him and spending quality, not quantity time. :-)

  57. You need to try signing up your child for 1/2 day day care. Like 3 hours a few days a week. It actually helps socialize the child, and your sanity as well. We did this at a local church and it was a great experience. My teens still talk about how much they loved it.

    I did the go back to work thing like you are thinking about and after three years I was done. It reminded me all the BS isnt worth it.

    I get the healthcare thing. That is the hardest problem to solve for my family. We did Obamacare, it was ridiculous. Now on Medishare, which is working out so far.

    Goodluck with what ever decision you make.

    1. I think that’s a good idea. What age did you start sending your kid to 1/2 day day care? Several pediatricians have told us before 2 years old, it doesn’t really matter because it’s all about themselves.

      We’re thinking by 18 months, he’ll be strong enough and knowledgeable enough for his age to roam around and assimilate into the matrix.

      3 years is a long time for work BS. I’m talking about taking a 1 year vacation job instead and seeing how it goes.

      1. My wife said 2 yrs old but do what works for you.

        Another thing my wife did that was brilliant, was what she called mommys/daddys helper. Essentially hired a young teen, or someone you trust to come play with the child in your house for 2 or 3 hours. Usually you can get a lower rate because you are there, and its a less responsibility. That worked well.

        Yes three years way to long. I thought it was a one year gig too but my competitive sales nature kicked in and I had some huge deals I couldnt walk away from. Ended up collecting my last commission check and put in my notice.

        There are lots of creative options out there to think about. Good luck, parenting is tuff job!

  58. I’ll stay tune and see what happens. I thought the SAHD/early retirement gig would be tough for you because you’re such a go getter. It really does get easier. The most difficult time for me was from 2 to 4. Once he starts pre-school, my life improved. Now he’s in school full time and it’s perfect. I have more time to do the things I want. Although, summer is coming up. I’m going to take it easy this summer and cut back on blogging for a few months. We’ll take some road trips and have fun.
    Good luck finding the perfect job.

      1. More difficult when he’s at home. A lot of backtalk and conflicts. I imagine it’s a bit easier with 2 parents at home. You can send the kid to mom when you’re really frustrated. I didn’t have that.

        It was also tough to get him into a preschool. He got kicked out of the first preschool he went to because he wouldn’t stop crying. Also, preschool was only 2 half days per week. I think it was 9 am to 1 pm or something like that. Not much time. You could put the kids in full time preschool. That’s more like daycare. It’s for working parents.

        Kindergarten was the real turning point because he was in school 8 am to almost 3 pm, 5 days per week. That’s a lot more time.

  59. There are definitely some benefits to going back to a regular job as you mentioned but the grass is always greener on the other side. I think the perfect compromise is coming on as an advisor for a fast growing startup. That way you can pop into the office once or twice a month, get a taste of the crazy startup life but won’t have to actually stay til 8 pm. I’ve been doing this with a new startup that’s growing fast here in Venice and it’s been a lot of fun. I have had some great water cooler conversations and I suspect I’ll even be invited to the Christmas party!

  60. Best wishes Sam, parenting is next level hard, we’ve commented with each other before about how tough the early years are. I am one of those who ran, as fast as I could, back to work. The first years sucked even while working and getting the breaks you mention above. While I did not peruse medical/mental help in those early and especially the non-verbal years, I should have. It is very plausible that some kind of anxiety or stress management techniques, counseling or even medication would have helped. Remember all group child care has rules around illness and random days or weeks off through the year. So rather than being as big of a mental vacation as you might think, i found my anxiety focused on every little cough and sneeze and temperature variation, especially when proposals or presentations for work approached. I can tell you my son’s illnesses weren’t frequent but it was a guarantee that one would strike on or around one of those “must be at work” days. My husband and I got through it and you both will too, but it is quite frankly the longest ultra marathon you will ever do.

    Now you bring up a whole different dimension of issues with health care, I 100% agree with you there. The uncertainty of individual coverage efficacy and affordability makes me feel trapped in a job that I just don’t need regardless of the number or size of our investments. I now completely understand the articles, as you have presented that the biggest worries financially independent people have are health and kids. My goal this year is to explore local concierge practices that operate at a fixed rate parallel to insurance for standard care (routine evals and minor illnesses up to broken bones) and possibly carrying an umbrella or catastrophic plan to keep continuity of coverage requirements for the big insurance plans satisfied. Not sure if this is a sustainable approach but feeling trapped in a job because of healthcare without looking for a solution is getting old.

    1. The one benefit we have noticed is he hasn’t gotten the common cold or flu yet compared to 3-5X the first year for kids who go to daycare according to our nurse / pediatricians. They said this past 12 months was particularly bad. As a result, we haven’t gotten sick either.

      That said… is it a myth or truth that the more sick you get, the stronger your immunity becomes? Hmm.

      1. My exposure is limited to one sample set, but that being said, we spent years 2 and 3 with lots of little bugs passing through our house, not all prevented going to day care but some did. In the last two years of school (prek (4) and Kindergarten (5)) we have had one case of strep that hit on a Friday and one half day missed from school because he got hives and the school nurse gave him a full dose of benedryl and it knocked him out. Others in his class who stayed at home in the early years did miss more days of school but that is anecdotal.

        I wouldn’t base any back to work decision on this issue was only bringing it up because it is possible that the stress you are looking to manage could transition like mine did to yet a new issue even when you get your vacation job. It is only in the last year of personal development that I have been able begin to step away from the stress and anxiety cycle and address the roots of the issue rather than avoiding them. Best wishes, again this is a tough phase. I never realized how much grace parents with young families needed until I had my own.

          1. The root of my stress was primarily related to control and competitiveness and I have always been that way, Type A all the way. My son’s arrival fundamentally ramped up my need for control and how competitive I am on all the things but also hampered my ability to deal with it as I used to (working harder) by virtue of the full time demand to parent and related exhustion.

            Once I realized this, and it took 4 long years to come to this conclusion, I was ready to start moving forward and accepting that I didn’t have the power to control all the things and that my accomplishments were pretty freaking awesome on their own scale.

            This could have been done way faster with professional help or even embracing the independent woo woo techniques that I now see value in. Meditating and journaling helped initially (year 5) but what really brought relief this year was goal setting. I set 9 overarching 2018 goals and each month set smaller monthly goals that will move me toward the overarching goals. All my monthly goals are 100% in my control, they feed progress toward overarching goals that are larger and related to various things but only one is career related the other 8 are focused on training related to a potential new career, relationship building and personal fitness. Being in control of the monthly goals feeds my need for control, journaling relieves my competitiveness by remembering how much has already been achieved and meditating slowed me down enough to realize I don’t have to get through life at 90mph.

            It is a lot of touchy-feely stuff for a scientist like me to work through but hopefully this answers your question.

            1. What wonderful, honest feedback. It does seem like recognizing one’s weaknesses full on is the first step to improvement.

              I’m competitive, but I’m also not as well. Kinda weird. Probably just getting tired due to old age.

  61. Mr. Rational Buck

    Well, you’ve fooled me. I can’t tell if you’re seriously looking for a new job!

    Either way, go for the sportscaster gig – I’d listen to that myself ;).

    All joking aside, there is a small truth to this post: we all need some sort of “purpose” in this life. I think you have found yours in spending time with your family and in Financial Samurai. That being said, no matter how great we think our purpose will be, a day will always come when we wonder if that really is our purpose after all. Humans are fickle that way.

    I think that the greatest discipline, like with financial investing, is to keep investing in your purpose even when nothing fantastic or extraordinary seems to be happening. One day, you’ll look back and see large growth in your life instead of the small, incremental growth you saw during the day-to-day process. You’ll be happy that you kept investing :).

  62. My kids are 5 and 2 and I’ve worked from home since before they were born, but my wife is primarily responsible for them during the day while I’m working. Focusing and being productive isn’t easy with a lot of noise in the house. I’ve considered renting an office somewhere, but I doubt I will do that.

    I agree with you about work being easier than parenting. Sometimes by about 10:00 on a Saturday morning I’m ready for Monday to come so I can get back to work.

    My kids aren’t that old, but in a lot of ways it does get easier. Even just with the kids being a little more independent and able to entertain themselves helps to make it easier to get things done.

    1. Being able to focus on work at home with the family does take discipline. Got to layout the ground rules e.g. “when the door is closed, daddy is working, do not disturb.” But then they start squealing and you just want to stop everything you’re doing and give them a big hug!

  63. Finally, some honesty about the subject.

    My wife stays at home, granted she was not a high earner during her working career but that is mostly because she threw in the way too early. I talk about it sometimes with her, whenever shes open to it, she complains constantly about the plight of the stay at home spouse. Honestly, I know its just letting off steam but it makes me feel like this isn’t the best choice anymore for our family. She would never go back to work at my request, it would have to be her own choice or as the result of an unfortunate circumstance. However, when I do speak with her about it I tell her that I have no idea why she even wants to stay at home anymore if it stresses her out so much. I told her if she worked it could be to loosen all the restrictions we have around vacations and other budget items. We could both retire in 10 years vs just her being retired, etc… IDK, I guess all of the negatives melt away with just one hug from a toddler.

    Also, I feel you on health insurance. As a self employed business owner I also would have to pay over $15K/year in premiums and a $13.1K deductible. I do a healthshare now, because traditional insurance is a rip off to the relatively young and healthy. I pay $450 (family of 6) a month with a $1500 deductible. No networks either, its amazing how much cheaper health insurance is when they think you are paying out of pocket. My son just got a check up and a round of vaccines for the low price of $10… I’m sure billed to insurance that would have been $200. I’m sitting on the sidelines till this thing implodes and we get something reasonable. IMO, universal health care for all or find a way to increase competition. Healthcare companies invest in each other to get around anti-trust and collusion laws, maybe we should start by making that illegal and forcing them to truly compete. Anyway this is probably a moot point as I’m sure healthcare will probably be yet another benefit of amazon prime in a few years (I joke, but only sort of).

      1. Liberty Healthshare. Its one of the larger ones. Not the biggest but I think top 3-4. They have somewhere around 200-250K members. The price, the size and the fact that its one of the few you can do everything online with were the deciding factors for me. Sure its a risk in that no healthshare has the legal requirement to pay, but man I figured the amount to be somewhere around 21K difference accounting for taxes and such just to break even from traditional healthcare. Meaning I would have to come out of pocket 21K just for the net benefit to be equal to traditional healthcare. It seems like a no brainier given that we are relatively young and I receive a $0 credit on the exchange.

    1. What do you think is the right solution for you and your wife?

      It’s always a tough situation going back to work and then paying for childcare.

      For example, on some afternoons, I pay $22/hour for three hours for a babysitter while I go work as a HS tennis coach for $35/hour. When I think about it in money terms, it doesn’t feel good. So I have to remember to view my work differently.

      1. Pragmatically, it probably doesn’t make a lot of difference right now. Cost of daycare, increase travel and food expenses make it less of a good financial deal. In reality it would probably mean an extra $500 bucks a month over expenses and maybe some money in a 401k.

        There are times when I feel like it would be good for her (both of us really) to have a job outside of the home but deep down I know it would be too much of an emotional challenge and she would end up quitting shortly after starting. I wouldn’t want her to go through that even though being the only one financially contributing has, at times, made me feel like our relationship is one sided. She does a lot for our family, deep down I know it, but from my the perspective of the paid working person in this relationship, being the sole provider is not very much fun nor do I feel it as a moral imperative (although initially there was some of this, but it fades quickly). The only feeling I get from it anymore is stress. We’ve been doing things this way for 9 years. The only thing that has changed during that time is that stress has slowly increased.

        1. I am a woman and has always made my own money no matter what. My sister became stay-at-home in her early 40s and her husband was fine with it. However deep down for him, there was not much respect for it. You will do a great favor if you encourage your wife to work, after some years she will thank you for it and she will enjoy the confidence she gained by bringing home her own income. It is very important to realize that it will influence your children’s mindset esp. if you have a daughter. Mom’s influence on daughter is a lot greater than the dad. If your wife stays at home, the daughter has a greater chance to stay at home as well.

  64. Sam – fantastic April Fool’s post! You had me going for a minute.

    The sarcasm is dripping off the corporate commentary is thick.

    Oh, wait, it’s May 7…..?

    I’m a perceptive reader and I’m not sure I can tell whether you know you are kidding or not.

  65. Two things stood out the most for me:

    – “The solution I’ve come up with is taking a year long vacation by going back to work.”

    – “4) Endless meetings to relax the mind.”

    Why these two? Because the former seems so different to me and the latter is so recognizable. But then I realized they overlap in many ways.

    On your question, I don’t have a vacation job right now, but my dad will soon. He just retired (age 65) from his full-time gig working in sales / operations / client service mgmt. He likes technology and is considering Best Buy or Costco for something to do part-time. It might also keep him safe from my mom.

    For you, Sam, I’d also consider something with a work-from-home option (whether a fixed day of the week or something sporadic). Having the ability to stay at home if you needed or wanted would still give you access to your son while giving you some additional work topics to cover.

    A few friends work from home a day or two a week but have a family member or sitter at home even though they’re at home, too. This kind of gives you the best of both worlds – availability at home with something different to work on – plus you can still head into the office most days for those mindless meetings and commutes.

    – Mike

    1. Mike, it is working from home 24/7 that is starting to wear on me. One of the whole points about getting a vacation job is to be able to get out of the house for 10 hours a day.

      1. Believe it or not, my get out of the house (I worked from home) “vacation job” was working in retail. I worked in shops whose products I love, and I could spend a lot of time with intelligent interesting customers discussing books and travel. Bookstore. Travel Gear Store (luggage, guidebooks, maps, etc.) You also keep fit because there is no sitting and and lots of running around. I could also walk to work. The books especially are good for exercise because you squat about a million times a day to arrange shelves or look for books, carry heavy boxes of books around around, and tear up and down the aisles looking for books. You work the hours you want and as much as you want. There is no stress whatsoever. Perfect for somebody who doesn’t need the money.

        My favourite way to make money is while I am travelling (investments, rental property).

        But you need more time off, and obviously you need more rest, and less work at home (you are both carrying a very big load. Not a lot, just more. Going back to work FT would just add more stress and pressure. Hire a full or part time nanny that can spend time with your kid while you are at home. Hire a cleaner and gardener. Start cooking dinners and enjoying a glass of wine and relaxing more. As for money, your investments are compounding and will continue. SF real estate will continue to go up. In a few months or a year, invite friends over, make friends with babies and little kids. Get into it.

      2. Why don’t you just get out of the house for 2-3 days a week, volunteer, etc. You don’t need to go to a job. Plus, your “dream jobs” aren’t really jobs that you can realistically do for a 1 year vacation. Maybe Fintech Advisor, but hopping into being a quant fund manager for a year isn’t realistic. The most likely situation is that you end up having your hard work scrutinized by someone that you don’t respect, and you leave in 3 months anyway.

        For reference, I’m in a relatively similar situation. Financially independent with 2 kids (4 years old and 2 months olds) at home, and a wife who works 1-2 days a week. So I get the frustration.

        1. Do that now. High school coaching 2-3 hours a day for the 3.5 month season and volunteer 2 hours a day at a foster home.

          How do you guys make it work and what do you do outside of the house?

          1. I rehab houses to stay busy and stash some extra cash, but mainly it’s to have projects to work on. Apart from that, we try to just enjoy life and stay active. The girls stay home and we each get 2 days alone with them and 2 days to do whatever work we want without interruption. That works pretty well for us. My wife can have an active social life with the girls around, but I need to get out. It’s not really a big deal to meet friends on the lake or for a bike ride when we have that much free time.

  66. I loved being a stay-at-home-dad with our second born (for the 13 weeks I got). It was incredibly hard to go back to work and I still miss it (Nap time meant I actually got time to do work on my site while at home).

    I know I wouldn’t be able to do it with both kids though. Some weekends I’m excited for Monday to come! I also enjoy my job as a software developer so I don’t plan on leaving it anytime soon.

    Dad trick for re-reading books: Do the dialog in different voices each time…keeps it interesting. Otherwise, our books “accidentally” slip under the furniture for a few weeks ;)

    1. I agree, I’d love to see more content from Sam that is business/market related. I’d hate to see that a talented free thinker goes back to the working stiff.

      1. I agree with David. FS has huge potential. It’s going to be hard getting to over 10 million quickly by “working for the man.” You are impacting thousands if not millions already. I would consider “WeWork” space rental and growing FS. Maybe hire some help part-time.

        I’m a father of two and have been able to avoid any childcare for my now 3 year old and 8 month old. It’s extremely hard to be a full time dad and recommend against it. You need to get away. I get it. However, “The Green Is Greener Where You Water It”

        Best of luck in your job search. Unemployment is 3.9%. You will be a great asset.

        1. Going to a WeWork to work on Financial Samurai could be a good idea. The question you have to ask yourself is: how much is enough?

          I’ve grown the side about five times greater than what I thought I could grow it. I could spend more time building more features and more products for more money and more traffic, but for what purpose?

          Maybe if I was focused on selling myself, services and products, that might be a good idea. But I’m just too busy trying to live my life. Working more on the site would bring negative value. How much is enough for you?

          Maybe this is why some people keep on working even though they have enough money and end up miserable.

    2. It’s the law of diminishing returns. After working on Financial Samurai for three hours in one day, it is no longer fun but a chore.

      It felt great to be able to Have a full-time job earning and also working on Financial Samurai. The efficiency is very rewarding. Work is much more fun if you don’t have to work.

      1. I think the idea of going back to work as a way to change you perspective on life is a healthy one. After following FS for a couple of years now, I do have trouble invisioning you just doing your 8-5 and going home. I imagine you will succeed and rise through the ranks of any organization if that is your desire. Even though parenting is difficult now it’s not something you’ll ever regret doing. I found parenting “significantly” easier after my kids were 2 and a half. I think the hardest thing we ran into was finding someone to watch/educate our kids who cared on the same level that we did.

  67. FullTimeFinance

    The grass is always greener on the other side. I suspect your dream jobs are not really vacation jobs to those that depend on them to survive.

  68. Brian McMan

    My mistake in seeking a vacation job is that I forgot to demand a ridiculously high wage.

    Somehow the people who earn more money are apparently less important to the company since they can take time to go to meetings, holiday parties, or just leave if their kids need to go home early.

    No matter what they ask always demand more!

  69. Hi!
    I completely understand you. I stayed home with my kids till this last january. My oldest was 3 years old, my middle boy was 19 months old and my youngest was 8 months old (yay irish twins!). I was going crazy, spending all day long with such young kids. I am a public employee so I took a maternity leave when I left, and my job was waiting for me whenever I was ready to return, so going back was easy. I just changed the ministry I was working for because in Madrid, the Ministry of Economics offers almost free childcare for its employees, and that was the only way my return to work would make economic sense.
    Staying home is great and I´m sure kids love it. But having a sane parent should also be a priority :-) Now I come to work and sure, i miss my kids, but I know that in 6 hours (i work part time) i will pick them up and spend the rest of the day with them. And during those 6 hours I even manage to have a cup of coffee and have adult conversations, so really, there is no downside. Maybe my youngest is too young for childcare, butI know my other two kids enjoy their time in childcare and spend their days playing, painting, listening to music and going outside (the building is surrounded by a park and the kids play there for at least 1 hour a day).
    I´m sure that, at age 2, your son will love playing with other kids, and, as you say, there are always weekends and afternoons!

    1. How awesome is it to miss your kids after 6 hours and come back and give the a BIG HUG?! So wonderful.

      I really believe ~2 years old is the appropriate time to release him into the wild and play with other kids more often. He’ll be more verbal, more steady on his feat, wiser, and stronger. Pre-school 2-3 days a week at 2.5 years old could be good. But gotta get him potty trained first whoo hoo!

  70. My buddy in Colorado (Ft. Collins) has a 1 hour commute north to Cheyenne Wyoming. It’s ZERO traffic – he just cruises at 75mph for an hour. He LOVES the commute! He listens to audio books or podcasts and learns. And relating to your post, he says it’s the “blessed peaceful time” away from his young daughter who is kind of a terror (in a good, screamy-type way). I told him how much $$ his commute is costing him and he said “I. Don’t. Care.”

    And I too wanted to be a sportscaster, for baseball. What a dream job! Good luck if you’re going back to work, my guess is that a couple months in you might find the grass was greener on the other side ;)

    1. Financial Samurai

      Beautiful imagery. Just saying Cheyene, Wyoming on the open road sounds like a vacation.

  71. Huh, I never heard of the term “vacation job” in one breath before. I always assumed blogging was mostly a vacation job (well that depends on the caliber of the blogger and their blog that is.)

    Do you or your wife garden? I heard people pick that up and they get pretty addicted to it because it’s so fun and relaxing. It’s not really work though. I think you would be perfect for fintech! I think it’s important for stay at home parents to maintain their own identity.

    1. Right.. I had to double check that it isn’t April 1st. You never know with Sam.
      I agree that blogging is a vacation job. :)

      1. I wondered if this was a post from April 1st too! Seems like Sam is testing us to make sure we read the whole post. Are you really thinking of working for the man again Sam?

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