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Changing Places. A question for all the bread winners...(14 posts)

Changing Places. A question for all the bread winners...Dave Hickey
Apr 17, 2002 6:29 AM
I've always been the major bread winner in my family and I've never complained about it. While I was on vacation last week, I got to ride every day about 30-40 miles and still managed to get all my "honey-do's" completed. I picked dropped off/picked up the kids from school, worked on restoring my LOOK KG86, cut the grass, rode my bike, hung out at my LBS, did laundry, rode my bike some more, cleaned my bikes,etc....
I became very comfortable with that lifestyle. Unfortunately, I make 4 times what my wife does so it's not really going to happen. But if you could, would you give up your job and become a stay at home dad/mom in order to ride more?
I used to thing my ego wouldn't allow it, but as I've gotten older, I guess my priorities have changed.
Apr 17, 2002 6:49 AM
not simply to ride, but to enjoy life more.

My wife and i realized there's more to life than having a 5 bed house, and two cars which approximate a mortgage at the expense of two incomes at 80 hours/week.

So my wife left her job. She now spends her days taking art classes, volunteering, exercising, and generaly enjoying herself (with housework thrown in)

My weeks are now more enjoyable because i'm not 'sharing' the chores...theyre all done when i get home; the house is immaculate and dinner is always waiting for me.

The downside? A conservitive (by todays standards) house, 2 ten-year-old cars, and a less-than-top-of-the-line bike. We've come to realize, though, these 'downsides' are actually benefits (less house to clean, havent had a car payment in 7 years, cheaper insurance, far from worried about someone stealing my ride, etc. etc. etc).

We'll never go back to two incomes; its not worth it to us. I'm just waiting for my turn ;)
Apr 17, 2002 6:57 AM
I have also made the choice to downsize. I sild my 5br house for a 2br condo, my wife is quitting her job next year. We had absolutely no time, but plenty of money. It was hard to ride the bike and basically enjoy life. It is just not worth the economic scramble to make money. One day the old guy looking back at you in the mirror is you. Then you will ask, "is all the money worth it?". I can truthfully say its not, at least for me!
Interesting point...but it can be hard on the kids.cory
Apr 17, 2002 8:15 AM
We've swapped occasionally, and I thought I was doing about half the child care and related work. But when my kids were small (about 8 and 3), my wife went on a two-week trip for a magazine story and I took over the whole job. I came away with a great new respect for single parents....
SteveO's comments about reducing your standards is interesting but incomplete, I think. We bought an old farmhouse more than 20 years ago, before we had kids, and decided to do about what he did. Even after the kids came (first was unplanned; we liked him so much we did it again on purpose), things went fine. But then the old ranch got subdivided, and our small 2-bedroom house was suddenly surrounded by half-million to multi-million dollar homes.
We're still content being the working poor in the neighborhood, but when my kids were in high school, it was hard on them to see their friends getting BMW convertibles and Jeep Cherokees for their 16th birthdays, or spending spring break in Hawaii while we stayed home.
No matter how you explain it logically or environmentally (leaving a small footprint on the land, etc.), they're still watching other kids coming back from France, or having their swimming pools replaced because the old one's just too small (that actually happened last year). One of my kids' friends, not quite 17, has wrecked TWO $30,000 cars, and had them replaced, while my daughter drives a seven-year-old Toyota. It's a lot easier to see why that's wrong when you're middle-aged, I think, than when you're 16 and involved in it....
Interesting perspective...SteveO
Apr 17, 2002 9:43 AM
it's certainly a bummer to be tied to other peoples standards.

Hopefully, the pressure your kids feel today will turn to appreciation later.
agreed, tougher with kids..dotkaye
Apr 17, 2002 9:50 AM
agreed.. always tried to live simply. But now that the older kid is at school, when I drop him off in the 1982 Econoline, and all the other cars are of the 2002 Ford Exxon Valdez and Chevy Subdivision ilk: I wonder how long before his peers start mocking him about his dad's car..

I already made the choice to work and earn less, to have more time with family. Don't have any time to workout at this point, hopefully as the kids get older ( a man can dream..)
Kids will be better off in the long runmtber
Apr 17, 2002 12:19 PM
Hi Cory,
I grew up pretty poor in the Northeast and ended up going to college both in Alaska and Colorado (full Pell grant - since my Mom barely made more than minimum wage). I worked during the summers to pay for college and I now am a 30 something fairly sucessful engineer and bike racer. I have come to the conclusion that most of the 'rich kids' of whom you talk about end up being total losers who have no idea what a work ethic is. They have everything handed to them their whole life and can't cope with the reality of the college (taking a REAL major)/working life. They party, spend 7-8 years in school, quit and still don't have a degree. The financial umbilical cord remains attached well into their 30s. You typically don't see these types at bike races - no WAY they would have the motivation to train as hard as we do. Anyway, it doesn't sound like you are doing that bad. I think your children will grow up to be healthy, well rounded individuals, self-sufficient and capable of being sucessful, productive adults.
spending time with your children and having time to ride..Spirito
Apr 17, 2002 7:12 AM
money can't buy.

for everything else there's the wife's mastercard. :-)
Back when....Bike Bum
Apr 17, 2002 7:23 AM
In the past my passion was alpine skiing, wanted to live in the mountains and work in the Ski Industry. So I packed up and moved to the Mecca of downhill to Colorado. I did that for 6 years, that was 20 years ago, best time of my life, doing something I loved and didn't make much money.
I make 10 times the money I did then and seem to have less money to do the things I love (cycling time now...skiing too, but not as often). I have a wife and two kids who I wouldn't trade for the world...and need to provide for...
You can't go back, but you can make more time for the important things and don't let the perishable things take up your life....downsize and enjoy....
without hesitationJS Haiku Shop
Apr 17, 2002 7:45 AM
then again, all the stuff you listed, i do anyways, plus workin' my 40:

* laundry
* cleaning house (floors, dishes, bathrooms)
* yardwork
* all errands (dry cleaning, fueling the vehicles, post office, bank)
* dropping off and occasionally picking up
* cleaning the bikes and doing (90% of-) my own mech work

this is how i justify buying bikes and accessories: no weekly maid's visit. clean house courtesy of Js Haiku Shop. i'm a whiz with a toilet brush. i used to profess to be a "90's guy", guess i'm now a "new millineum guy".

i've always told the wife that if she could just manage to double her salary, i'd be a happy "kept" man. i'd absolutely stay at home!
re: Changing Places. A question for all the bread winners...MikeC
Apr 17, 2002 7:47 AM
In all honesty, I don't know that I'd enjoy riding so much if I could do 40 miles a day 365 days a year.
Cycling is a special time for me, and 90-120 miles a week gives me what I want without approaching that "systematic desensitization" thing.
What a great question. Raises some very interesting issues ;128
Apr 17, 2002 8:09 AM
gender, class, culture, values etc. Not to get too analytical but I' reminded of Bonn Scott's immortal wit in describing a woman's place: "While I'm in the band, doin' drinkin' with the boys she's workin' 9 to 5. (knows her place that woman.)" -ac/dc

I suppose I would be inclined to change the system that forces us into these choices, but ANYday I would chose the balance of quality of life and time (riding more-and other avocations) with her duties and those of work.

Arbite und leibur (work and love)
re: Changing Places. A question for all the bread winners...xxl
Apr 17, 2002 12:50 PM
Here's an alternative perspective, but it depends on whether your kids are old enough to watch themselves. You mentioned that you did some tasks, and still rode, on vacation: Who watched the children? If the answer is "my wife," then you know that staying home with young children is no vacation, and you wouldn't get dick for riding time, unless you had a really cool babysitting set-up. When they're older, that could be a different story.

Believe me, because I'm the homemaker in the family. Like others here have said, the decision to stay home is a personal one. Some can, some can't, for a variety of reasons. For us, it was financially viable, and it just didn't make much sense for us to have to work all the time so we could afford to buy more stuff and pay someone else to raise our kids. But I had to pretty much quit riding all together for awhile when baby #2 came along. Babysitters in the 'hood are getting $8/hr., which makes farming them out cost-prohibitive... you get the picture.

Things have gotten better, but no way do I get to ride daily; weekly is more like it. On the other hand, there may be no sweeter rush in cycling than calling out "on your left!" and passing some member of Team Wannabe, with your slicked-out mountain beast towing two kids in the Burley.

Lance is right; it really isn't about the bike.
re: Changing Places. A question for all the bread winners...Dave Hickey
Apr 17, 2002 1:05 PM
My kids were in school when I rode. They are 10 and 14 and both are avid hockey players. I never miss a practice or a game. I agree with you that staying home with kids is a VERY difficult job. Mine are a little older , but they still come first.