Kids are time drainers

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
catpepper
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Kids are time drainers

Post by catpepper »

This might end up as a rant post.

I run my own business, while my wife is a professional. Because of the pandemic, she's mostly working at home, while I have always been working from home. My wife is very resistant to the thought of hiring a domestic helper. My kid is now almost 8 months old, and he needs lots of attention, which is difficult for both of us to give. As my time is more flexible due to me being in business for a while now, I'm now the house-husband, which sucks, because I could be working on my business now and growing my income. If i could grind for about 5 more years, I could probably have my early retirement. Because of this, it is now causing me some costly business mistakes and I'm taking some losses and I'm not sure if my business partners are happy with it, especially with my severely lacking involvement right now.

I love my son very much but this sucks. Hopefully my wife can come around on having someone to help take care of the house and our baby.

As much as I love my son, I'd say if you currently don't have kids, you're not missing out too much if you decide not to have one.

What are your experiences?

Update: Managed to convince my wife about having a nanny. We went through an agency, and found one she's willing to give a try. Hope all goes well. :) :)
Last edited by catpepper on Wed Jul 15, 2020 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

Alphaville
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Re: Kids are time drainers

Post by Alphaville »

We had a cat. It was still pricey and demanding, but felines make better pets than apes. :P

(But seriously, if you’re both going to work you need a nanny during business hours.)
Last edited by Alphaville on Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

catpepper
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Re: Kids are time drainers

Post by catpepper »

yeah. I guess so. I never knew how different life is with kids. I had a dog when I haven't gotten married. And taking my dog out for a walk 3 times a day was just stress relieving. But having a kid at 7-8 months old, they cry like every 15mins.

Alphaville
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Re: Kids are time drainers

Post by Alphaville »

catpepper wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:27 am
yeah. I guess so. I never knew how different life is with kids. I had a dog when I haven't gotten married. And taking my dog out for a walk 3 times a day was just stress relieving. But having a kid at 7-8 months old, they cry like every 15mins.
yup. you can’t conscript grandma?

catpepper
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Re: Kids are time drainers

Post by catpepper »

Nah. at the moment we're on bad terms. It's not easy when you have parents who live their whole life as low-income individuals and then now dealing with their own kids who are trying to get them to live a normal life.

Alphaville
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Re: Kids are time drainers

Post by Alphaville »

i don’t know about summoning strangers in the time of covid, but yeah sounds to me like you need an au pair. surely cheaper than divorce lawyers :?

(i’m not trying to make fun of the situation, but it looks like tension has been brewing, and best to nip that in the bud. healthy compromise is a must in all marriages.)

mooretrees
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Re: Kids are time drainers

Post by mooretrees »

I’m curious what your pre-pandemic child care arrangement was, did you take your son to day care? Do you have a current agreement that you get mornings off and watch your son in the afternoon? It sounds like you’re doing most of the care-taking right now. I’ve heard of other couples working from switching off mornings and evenings and then both working while baby naps.
Also curious why your wife doesn’t want a nanny? Is it safety or money or something else? I think if you can get more information about why then you have a starting place to discuss a different scenario. Also, is she actually hearing how frustrated you are?
Do you both have to work full time? Can either of you do part time or not work for sometime?
Kids are very big time sucks, but also joy creators. But it sounds like you’re in a bad spot and need a change. Best of luck!

UK-with-kids
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Re: Kids are time drainers

Post by UK-with-kids »

You raise a point that a lot of FIRE/ERE bloggers don't really grasp if they have no experience of children. I actually re-read the short section on children in Jacob's book yesterday, and while there were some wise comments, it kind of missed this elephant in the room. My OH and I both work on our businesses these days, and with the whole homeschooling situation we've had to share childcare and work between us. It's hard to get more than 3-4 hours work done every day, and while you're on kid duty you just have to accept that you'll be constantly interrupted, often every 30 seconds. I mean, it's taken me over an hour to write this post for example!
catpepper wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:12 am
As much as I love my son, I'd say if you currently don't have kids, you're not missing out too much if you decide not to have one.
It does make me a bit sad to read this - it's a huge responsibility deciding to have children, and so many kids are deprived of love and attention because their parents are too busy earning money or pursuing their own interests and have no time for them. Once you have children your life changes and you have to accept that. Sure, you can try and outsource here and there, but you can't delegate that responsibility completely. Better to accept you won't be able to achieve what you once could, and help your children make the most of their opportunities (without giving up entirely on your own life, obviously). I notice you mention a poor relationship with grandparents, and I think it's quite common for a cycle to get perpetuated where parents resent their kids and never build a loving bond with them that continues into adulthood.

But I also understand where you're coming from with this "rant" as you called it, and I probably felt that way too at the beginning. I do think women are generally more hard-wired to deal with very young children than men are (appreciate that's a controversial statement, but it kind of makes evolutionary sense, and it's certainly been my personal experience in the early days, whereas now we're more like 50:50). I also think introverts have a tough time coping with the constant stream of crying, talking, poo(p)ing, etc. as it feels like you never get a break. And another comment on that theme - we *should* be living in tribal groups where childcare can be shared with other more experienced parents and kids have other kids to play around with and look up to. Is there a network of local parents you can link up with for moral support and "playdates"? (if that's what they're called where you live). This helped us, especially my OH, as it was a way of partially replicating the "natural" situation that seems to work better for everyone.

Frita
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Re: Kids are time drainers

Post by Frita »

First of all, COVID-19 has really changed the way the world works with no end in sight. Being around people is restricted, and the financial situation is precarious. That sort of thing is hard to manage. Being a new parent can rock your world too. You’re dealing with both, so please consider cutting yourself some slack.

Children change our lives and relationships in big ways. When they are small and especially if they have health issues, they are very dependent. Pets are different as they quickly can be left for periods of time that would be considered neglect or abuse for kids. Unless one has been around children a lot growing up, this comes as a surprise. Then they turn 12 or 13 and would rather be with friends than with their parents. It’s hard to believe but it will happen!

Each kid has a unique temperament too. Our daughter was calm and happy. Our son, her twin, was a crier and still can be moody. I can remember being fried from just a few hours of sleep, not being able to calm the little dude down, and thinking, “This is why parents shake babies.”

Thumbs up to @mooretrees and @UK-with-kids! I believe that there are multiple workable ways to approach most situations. Talk with your spouse and try something, realizing that this will be an ongoing process. I would discourage you from throwing other changes, like another kid or moving, into the mix until you get the spousal communication piece down.*

*I am not judging. Just an observation of myself and others...

Alphaville
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Re: Kids are time drainers

Post by Alphaville »

UK-with-kids wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:23 am
You raise a point that a lot of FIRE/ERE bloggers don't really grasp if they have no experience of children. I actually re-read the I also think introverts have a tough time coping with the constant stream of crying, talking, poo(p)ing, etc. as it feels like you never get a break. And another comment on that theme - we *should* be living in tribal groups where childcare can be shared with other more experienced parents and kids have other kids to play around with and look up to.
this relates to some personal stories and i thought i’d add the tangent...

the reason my wife and i don’t have kids has nothing to do with ERE... it’s that when she was growing up, her large family group would often dump childcare duties onto her.

she‘d be 11 or 12, looking after 7 or so little unruly cousins, ages 4 through 10, with no adults in sight. it drove her crazy.

she’s also an introvert, of course, hahaha.

so, while i originally was interested in having kids, she eventually figured out she didn’t, but she had to overcome pressures/family expectations/guilt/etc. about saying no to reproduction.

it took us a bit to sort that out, but i’m okay with it, and once agreed, she’s got my unconditional support.

jacob
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Re: Kids are time drainers

Post by jacob »

This might end up as a useless post, at least for those who are parents already.

I grew up as the oldest sibling and one of the oldest cousins. My mother also worked in daycare both at home and in institutions. I had a lot of experience taking care of children or at least helping out and/or seeing it up close for practically all age groups. I therefore had some fairly realistic expectations of just how much time and energy having children would take away from other things I wanted out of life. Add: Similar to Alphaville's wife it seems.

I see them as closely connected, but it's possible to make the distinction between parenting and being a parent. It's increasingly common for most people to do just that and outsource the parenting.

Most parents eventually end up outsourcing the parenting, shipping their children off to institutions from 7am in the morning to 5pm+ in the evening. I disliked most of the time I spent in school as a kid, so I was sure I didn't want to inflict that on another human being while compounding it with daycare and after school "activities". The alternative is of course to accept the reduced income from becoming a single-income household. This is mostly how I grew up. ERE-methods and frugality in general makes this an option.

You then have to choose whether the "joy that children bring" > "the joy that other pursuits bring". While I can't know for sure (supposedly, there's a difference when it's "your own"), I did not expect the left-hand-side to outweigh the right-hand-side of the equation in my case. I definitely do not feel the "oohh ahh" when it comes to babies and children that most seem to feel or at least utter; so I figure I made the right choice.

So that's the underlying decision matrix for my choice to not have any children. Also the upcoming overshot/bottleneck.

The third option, of course, is to do what MMM did and become FI first and then have children. I suggested that in the ERE book too. You can now engage in full time parenting at your leisure.

In short, there are options. As always, you can have everything you want, just not at the same time. For example, you can have FI first followed by children later and DIY parenting. Or children now with single income, DIY parenting, and FI much later. Or dual income with outsourced parenting and FI later. What you can't have is children now, outsourced parenting, and FI in short order. That is asking for everything at the same time.

Jason
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Re: Kids are time drainers

Post by Jason »

catpepper wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:12 am
As much as I love my son, I'd say if you currently don't have kids, you're not missing out too much if you decide not to have one.
I feel the same way about the espresso maker I just bought.

nomadscientist
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Re: Kids are time drainers

Post by nomadscientist »

Is the constant supervision of children something truly necessary? I do not remember all, or even much, of my unstructured time being with my parents growing up. But all my friends who have kids now talk like they have an obligation to be entertaining their children every hour of the day during the lockdown (and consequently are going crazy). It's possible my memory is faulty, or that fashions have changed.

BookLoverL
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Re: Kids are time drainers

Post by BookLoverL »

I imagine the amount of supervision necessary for a child depends on the age of the child and how likely they are to get into trouble or develop emotional problems if not supervised at that stage.

Alphaville
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Re: Kids are time drainers

Post by Alphaville »

an 8 month old definitely needs constant supervision

after they can walk and talk... different story, but yes fashions have changed (especially in the usa)

nomadscientist
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Re: Kids are time drainers

Post by nomadscientist »

Of course one must supervise a young baby much of the time (and obviously I have few/no memories of this). But if childhood is taken to 18, the majority of it isn't in this stage.
BookLoverL wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 1:37 pm
...and how likely they are to... develop emotional problems if not supervised at that stage.
Is there a scientific basis for such judgements?

BookLoverL
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Re: Kids are time drainers

Post by BookLoverL »

Probably, but I haven't looked up the data. But I think babies and toddlers who are not given enough attention can develop attachment issues. On the other hand, a teenager will be fine being left alone for quite a while.

UK-with-kids
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Re: Kids are time drainers

Post by UK-with-kids »

nomadscientist wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:02 pm
Is there a scientific basis for such judgements?
I suspect there's a lot of scientific evidence that children raised in loving homes have better outcomes in life - that they're happier, less likely to get into crime, drugs and so on. I'm pretty sure most interventions are due to child neglect of one kind or another.
nomadscientist wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 1:24 pm
Is the constant supervision of children something truly necessary? I do not remember all, or even much, of my unstructured time being with my parents growing up. But all my friends who have kids now talk like they have an obligation to be entertaining their children every hour of the day during the lockdown (and consequently are going crazy). It's possible my memory is faulty, or that fashions have changed.
We certainly try to encourage unstructured play time to help our children develop the ability to entertain themselves. Perhaps your comment about fashions having changed maybe refers to parents being perceived to overschedule their kids time nowadays? Even unstructured play can't be unsupervised play of course - you can't just leave kids to their own devices and hope nothing goes wrong. And they are still going to need love and attention, which I hope is something your parents gave you, even if you can't remember it all now.

Don't forget as well that the current requirement is to educate your children at home too while schools are closed, and that does take a lot of time and attention. Certainly for my children there has been a huge emotional upheaval associated with this as they've had their entire social lives, activities and structure taken away overnight. Even a lot of adults are having mental health issues with that, let alone young children.

I think it's important to understand that children are always going to be incredibly demanding! It's something that's hard to imagine if you haven't been responsible for kids, and sometimes well meaning advice from non-parents can be a bit... err... infuriating?! I mean, new perspectives are great, but sometimes when the solution seems simple there's a bit more complexity hiding under the surface...

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Lemur
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Re: Kids are time drainers

Post by Lemur »

@nomadscientist

Very likely...just a quick search
https://developingchild.harvard.edu/sci ... s/neglect/

It is instinctual to me that babies & toddlers need adequate attention lest they develop emotional problems. I will say though yes, I do think U.S. parents go a little 'overboard' in attention and filling the day with activities; I try to strike a balance with my own son. They need attention and activities but they also need time to play by themselves and learn independence.

I found that by 4, I can pretty much leave him to his own devices during the day and my spouse and I check in on him occasionally when I'm working from home. As I'm typing this, he is sitting on the couch eating and messing with some crayons...quiet and busy :) Routine is key - Before, I start my remote work for the day, I take him out to walk a trail for an hour...come home; he plays with Mom and I work. Then at lunch, take him on another walk / play in backyard, and then after dinner do some playtime as my spouse goes to do her work.

OP don't be so hard on yourself. Those first 3 years are very tough and one is constantly sleep-deprived. Likely your spouse feels the same way - overworked, tired...I remember very clearly one time when my son was 1, my spouse and I were so tired one day we kept passing our son back and forth like a football lol.

No sense in playing the 'what-if' scenario in your head whether if you had / didn't have kids. I'd say prioritize your kid more only because with true ERE savings rate, you can always sprint the accumulation of savings by the time your son gets to be more independent.

mooretrees
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Re: Kids are time drainers

Post by mooretrees »

Supervision can be as simple as wearing your child in a backpack and doing the dishes, or letting them lay around on a blanket while you lightly read a book and looking over when they make a squeaky noise. At 8 months most kids are not moving around so the safety is more about keeping choking hazards out of reach and just enjoying making noises with them.

@nomadsciientist I think some of what’s happening with your friends is a modern style of parenting that is IMO totally over the top as far as expectations. I think the NYT had an article that Jacob posted some time ago titled The Relentless Of Modern Parenting. It was horrific to read.
I firmly believe that my son’s boredom is not an actual problem I need to solve. I think there is a lot of pressure on parents to keep their child engaged and entertained all the time. Plus a lot of families have been structured with both parents out of the house and there is a learning curve for being around your child all the time. I have felt this as the working parent on my days off where I’ve struggled to find a rhythm with my son.

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