Hope for your financial life and beyond

Why I’m Quitting My Job To Be A Stay At Home Dad

stay at home dadYou read that right. It’s not a misprint or a trick to get attention. As of Friday, May 23rd 2014, I will no longer be formally employed. I’m becoming a stay at home dad.

After 17 years in education serving as a principal, teacher, coach and mentor, I’m quitting my job to be a stay at home dad.

Those are the most exciting words I’ve ever typed on this blog! I’m starting a new journey.

They are also the scariest words I’ve ever typed on this blog because I’m starting a new journey.

I’ve waited a long time to share this news and start talking about what has brought our family here. It hardly seems real even after formally declaring my intentions. Maybe my new life as a stay at home dad will me next week as I start to clear out my classroom. My guess is I won’t feel it’s full impact until sometime next fall, probably on the first day of the new school year.

The decision to be a stay at home dad appears to have come out of nowhere to those in my circle of influence. Obviously the students were surprised last week when I shared the news with them. I hadn’t hinted at this at all, even though I’ve known for some time this was going to be my final year. What appears to those outside to be a surprise, is actually the culmination of a multi-year prayer journey.

That’s right…I don’t make decisions quickly. Especially when it comes to leaving a place to which I’ve committed my entire adult working life.

I can’t unpack all there is to share about this move in one single post. So if you came here looking for a step-by-step tutorial on how to become a stay at home dad or the financial challenges associated with it, that’s coming later.

For now, I’d simply like to focus on “the why.”

Following Through On the Stay at Home Dad Desire

Life is a series of choices. Sometimes those choices collide and cause friction no matter which option is chosen. Regardless of the situation, we can never say we don’t have a choice. There are always options.

Kim and I have always wanted to be a one-parent-stay-at-home family. It’s been a burden deep in our heart for many years and we’ve never chosen to take that opportunity. We thought we didn’t have an option. There was always something – mostly fears about money – that held us back.

The fears about money began to fade as we set aside more and more money for retirement and college, as our investments began to grow, and as my wife embarked on a new career as a CPA. We branched out to begin a rental real estate side business to provide additional income apart from our full-time work salaries. Most of that went to pay down our mortgage debt, which I’m happy to say was paid off early this past February.

A funny thing began to happen as the fears about money began to subside. A new desire took its place. This one we couldn’t ignore.

The Rat Race

“Speed kills relationships.”

Those were the words I heard while watching a DVD series on parenting put together by Living on the Edge and pastor/teacher Chip Ingram.

When I heard him describe how the fast pace of life causes us to lose connection with those we love – most importantly our spouse and kids – it sent shivers down my spine. It had never really occurred to me that more doesn’t always equal better. I assumed the more activities our family did the better off we’d be.

More activities equals more opportunity, more exposure, more awards, more money…more everything, right?

What we found was it also produces more stress and tension, less downtime, less communication, less quiet, less peace.

I understand life is busy – that’s its nature. If we had 48 hours in a day we’d find ways to fill it up. We simply reached the point where we felt our two careers and the busyness of life was going to overtake our primary task as parents – raising our kids well.

We only get one shot at this parenting thing. Our four children are the most important assets we possess. It’s our desire to unleash them on the world by age 22 fully capable of surviving on their own and making a difference in people’s lives. We have a better shot at fulfilling that goal if we slow the rat race down and are more engaged with their lives now.

That goal more than anything prompted our decision to have me at home.

What’s a Stay at Home Dad to Do?

I have no idea where this journey is going to take me. For now, my #1 responsibility is care and maintenance of all house activities. I’ve pretty much been doing that already as my wife has changed careers.

Secondly, I’m going to devote myself to this blog and my writing. Luke1428 has been my part-time endeavor these last several years and I’ve only scratched the surface of what I believe can be accomplished here. In a way, I’m going back to school because there is a lot to learn about running a successful blog. I’ve only devoted minimal time to that task thus far.

I’ve also been dwelling on a crazy notion to complete a half-triathlon…maybe a full. I’ve got two successful marathons under my belt and this seems like the next challenge to pursue. As long as my body holds up, I’m going to give it a go.

Beyond that…who knows. Only God.

Thank You!

There are simply too many people to thank.

To my family – Kim, kids, mom, dad, Heather, Anthony, Emily and the rest of my family – I love you and appreciate your support and encouragement.

To my school family…I’ll always cherish my 17 years of serving you. Hopefully a small part of me lives on in you, as so much of you will live on in me.

To my Luke1428 readers…You didn’t know this but with every page view and comment left, you’ve given me purpose and the hope this site can become something special.

Finally, to God…for giving me the greatest gift of all and opening my eyes to see.

Here’s to the next step in the journey.

Do you believe there are always options? Is your life overwhelmed with activities? How are you fighting the rat race? What’s moved you recently to make a life-changing decision?

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Next Post: Do You Want to Beat the Market for 60 Cents An Hour

Prior Post: The Real Secret to Developing a Work Ethic in Kids

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  1. Lucas Lawson says

    Awesome, I took this plunge for this school year. Im a teacher and calling it quits. I worked an hour away I left before my wife got up just to get to school on time. I have 2 very athletic boys and they both play travel sports. Our weekends are devoted to their love which is sports. My wife is a RN that went into administration for her hospital. She easily triples my salary. Being away such a distance has caused so many issues, then my wife getting a promotion has caused our home to fall apart constant running around, dirty house laundry etc. I am looking forward to getting organized and back to a nice calm demeanor.

    • I hear you Lucas. It’s such a challenge when you have kids that are involved in extracurricular activities. We are constantly running from activity to activity. Whether both parents work or one stays at home, you have to be able to manage your home life and reduce the stress. Best of luck with pulling it all together!

  2. Congratulations! I did the same thing four years ago when my son was born (the first of three) and I haven’t looked back. I can’t imagine all the things I would have missed out on if I was working like I used to.

  3. Congrats on this decision that you made Brian! I think it’s great that you are able to spend more time with your family and slow down a little bit. I’m in the camp who believes that Americans work way to much and need to find a better work/life balance.

  4. I am so excited to read this, I am 3 weeks into being a stay at home dad myself. After 20 years as a senior estimator in construction I decided to be home with the kids and my wife will continue to work. We came to this decision because of the kids. Everyone was in camp or daycare so we could work and it was depressing. The costs were staggering and then missing work with sick kids left us saying why, why are we doing this to our family. I can say three weeks in my kids never smiled so brightly. I am very happy seeing them so excited and our stress is diminishing. To those dads still ponding this make the leap! You will be very happy you did and your kids will never be happier. I still feel awkward being home but plan to work from home and also we started our own business so I plan to work at this while my wife works full time. Anything is achievable, just believe and have a vision and it will happen, good luck to all!
    Desert Dad

    • That’s awesome Jim! I can relate to all your frustrations…we experienced those ourselves. In the end we realized that we only will have our kids for a short time and that had to be our #1 family priority. Stay in touch…I’d love to hear how it goes for you.

  5. I quit my job now what says

    Quitting the job is not a wrong step. If you want to change your career then you can visit I quit my job now what.

  6. Wow – that is such a big step and really admirable. I hope to follow in your footsteps in a couple of years 🙂 Good luck with everything, I’m sure you’ll do great!

    • Thanks Derek. it’s been a long journey to get our financial and career affairs in place for this to happen. If you can make it happen, I’d say do it. We only have a short amount of time to impact our little ones. This move definitely had that in mind.

  7. Congrats man! That’s huge!!!! Way to go for it!

    • Thanks for stopping by and offering encouragement J. I’m so thrilled to have this opportunity…I’m still having a hard time believing it has happened.

  8. Congrats on making the jump to be a stay at home dad. I’m hoping we can be secure enough financially that I can make the move in 5 years should my wife and I have children by then. Ideally we’d both be stay at home parents but I honestly don’t think my wife could handle that. She’s an elementary teacher and gets a lot of joy from teaching.

    • “…gets a lot of joy from teaching.” I can relate to this JC. My wife gets a ton of enjoyment being around people. That’s one of the reasons she wanted to work outside the home.

  9. What an amazing read – congratulations Brian, I couldn’t be happier for you and your family.
    Hopefully one day I get to follow in your footsteps.

    • Thanks for the kind words Glen! It’s been a long journey getting to this point. Tomorrow will actually be my first official day as a SAHD. Guess I better get a schedule going of things to do. 🙂

  10. Wow! That’s fantastic, Brian! I believe you have helped many already and will continue to do so with your inspiring writing and research. I’m happy for you and your family that you are able to do this.

  11. Thanks Graham…I’m looking forward to this next season in my life. I know the kids are very excited to have their dad around more.

  12. That is freaking awesome! I’m glad you feel you’re in a place where you don’t have to depend on your main job. I also look forward to seeing how your blog grows with more time to work on it.

    • Thanks Zee! The home responsibilities will be my main focus but I am looking forward to giving this site more attention. We’ll see what happens.

  13. Student Debt Survivor says

    Oh wow, this is a huge step. I’m so excited for you and your family. I know a lot of people dream of being able to stay at home with their kids but aren’t able to do so for a number of reasons (usually financial in nature). Wishing you all the best and excited to read about your new journey!

    • We’ve been thinking about this for some time. This setup with my wife working really seems to fit our personalities and desires. Plus, we couldn’t have done it without our financial steps in order. Thanks for the encouraging words!

  14. Wow, all the best to you on this new chapter in your life. I’m sure it will be both exciting and rewarding.

  15. Holly Johnson says

    This is awesome! It sounds like you have reached a similar crossroads to where I was over a year ago. I haven’t regretted it once and I’m sure you won’t either!

    • Appreciate it Holly! I’ve been reading your site intently this past year, following your journey. One because I enjoy what you write about but two because you’ve been through this. Without knowing it, your experience and insights with this have proved really helpful to me. Thank you!!!

  16. FI Pilgrim says

    Awesome Brian, I’m very happy for you! “Margin” is the word I often use to describe what I desire more of for myself (and my family), because that’s when you really connect in a relationship. It sounds like you’re taking a big step in that direction!

    I hope that it also allows you to be more available for the important things that will inevitably come up in your life, whether that be family related, ministry opportunity, whatever. It will be cool to have the time available to say “yes” to what’s valuable!

    Best of luck to you, and I look forward to continuing to read about your transition and story.

    • “Margin” is a great word picture! I’ve used that word in conversations with various people to describe why I’m making this decision. The last several years I’ve had very little…has felt like none at times. This move will definitely create more for many of the things you describe.

  17. Hello Brian,

    Congrats and cheers to this awesome achievement.

  18. Congrats! Enjoy your time at home!

  19. I’d like to add my congratulations. Family and relationships are precious and if you can focus on those, you are truly rich.

  20. Huge congrats Brian! I know you told me awhile back about this decision, but I’m very excited to see what’s in store for you. My situation was a bit different, but I can relate to several of your feelings and not knowing what would be in store. That said, I could not agree more with your thoughts especially in relation to having options. We always have options. They may not be ones we necessarily like or want, but we always have options. The beauty of what you’re doing is that will open up more for you as you start this new journey! Congrats again Brian, I’m excited to see what’s next for you.

    • Thanks John! I really appreciate the support and encouragement you’ve given to me here. It means a lot to know people understand the emotions of a life-changing decision like this. It’s not non-emotional by any stretch of the imagination.

  21. Financial Underdog says

    This is awesome. I hope it’s not too much of a change for you – some people truly get lost without every day work routine.

    • “…some people truly get lost without every day work routine.” That’s a great point, one that I’ve thought about a lot in the months leading up to this. I am by nature a creature of routines so I’ll start by implementing some for my daily schedule and adjust accordingly as I see what works and what doesn’t.

  22. Yea for you and your family; I imagine your kids are just as excited too. I was able to stay home after my second was born and did so 14 years – I’m so grateful that I was able to. One thing that I didn’t perceive was my eagerness to volunteer for everything under the sun that came my way. It took about a 1-year cycle of VBS, women’s ministry events, room mom events to know what I could really handle and what I had to say ‘no’ to before volunteer hours became its own full-time job. The same thing happened once I went back to teaching as well; I realized that I had to work my way out of most of those same volunteer obligations or at least rethink what was reasonable for myself and our family. And, I will say that when my husband worked from home he’d often get dinner started or at least get what I’d put together beforehand in the oven – coming home to dinner being ready was wonderful! I expect Kim feels the same way:)

    • “…I imagine your kids are just as excited too…” Yes, but they are sad they won’t be staff kids anymore with anytime access to the various parts of the school. 🙂

  23. Congratulations on your big decision! I know that’s not an easy one to make after you’ve spent so long building and developing a career. But sometimes what we do only needs to make sense to the people in our core (our family) rather than the outside world. I’m sure you and your wife have weighed it all out and decided this was the best route to take.

    Good luck on that half-triathlon. That’s a great way to start the new chapter!

    • Thanks MMD! I know this decision won’t make sense to some and even goes against some cultural/spiritual ideas of what’s proper for a man. I’m realizing now more than ever that not everything fits into a nice tidy box.

  24. Kassandra says

    I don’t even know you and I am excited for you Brian! God is truly awesome isn’t he! What an exciting chapter you are beginning in your life. I am looking forward to hearing more about it.

    • “God is truly awesome isn’t he!” Absolutely Kassandra. I would not have envisioned this so many years ago when I graduated from college.

  25. Huge congrats Brian for following through on your dreams. Your new job will be immensely harder than your old. I can’t wait to hear more!

    • “Your new job will be immensely harder than your old.” I think you are right Catherine. These last few years, doing most of the housework, I’ve really come to better appreciate the term “stay at home mom.” It’s not an easy task being a homemaker and doing it well. Moms (and dads) everywhere who do this for a living are to be commended.

  26. Congratulations on your new life journey Brian! Just trust the Lord God and everything will be going smoothly fine. I can’t wait for your life updates in the future.

    • I appreciate your encouragement Clarisse. God is certainly in the driver’s seat here as He only knows what’s coming next.

  27. Congratulations! I know that it is such a difficult step to take, even when you know it’s what you really want to do and you’ve prepared to do it. The rewards are great, though. Even though I’m with my kids as much as possible, I still feel like the time flies by. It’s tough doing without the money I used to make, but I don’t regret it one bit.

    • Thanks Jennifer! It’s been tough letting go of something you’ve poured your entire adult life into. So many successes and memories. But I’ve come to terms with it and know it’s time to move on.

  28. Congratulations! That’s a wonderful attitude and great position to be in. Paying off debt and working toward your goals obviously does pay off.

  29. Jealous! But someday it will be us too!

  30. Congrats Brian! Khaleef is like you and takes a long time to make a change :-). I am excited for you and I love your willingness to do what’s best for your family – your primary ministry!

    • Thanks Sherrian! I have enjoyed ministering to students and families at my school. But like you said, the Bible comes down pretty clearly that family is the parents #1 responsibility, especially for the father. I couldn’t ignore that calling any more.

  31. I don’t have kids yet, but if/when I do, I want to have the freedom to make this same choice. Congrats Brian! First the mortgage, and now this. Well deserved!

    • “…freedom to make this same choice.” That’s a big reason to be wise with your money. It creates so many choices you would otherwise not have.

  32. Congrats, Brian! That’s super cool. This has been the most important goals of our lives. We’re so excited to read more about your journey here. So excited for you and congrats again!

    • It’s a journey that is well worth it. It just takes discipline, patience and a lot of communication between spouses to get to this point.

  33. Big congrats! I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision and I’m looking forward to reading about the journey. Your “busyness” point reminded me of the NYT article “The Busy Trap”, have you read it? If not, I think you’d find it resonates with you right now.

    • Thanks…I have not read that article but will check it out. In general, I think our society pushes way to the max with activities, many of which have little or no value.

  34. Wow, congrats! What a cool move! This is such a good example of how money by itself can’t buy happiness, but it can certainly buy you the option to do the things you truly love. Can’t wait to hear how the transition goes!

    • “…it can certainly buy you the option to do the things you truly love.” This is a real big point you bring up Matt, one that I think many people miss. Handling money the right way creates opportunities for decisions like this. We wouldn’t have been here 5-7 years ago.

  35. I’m guessing you’ll one day look back as this being the best decision of your life. Congratulations–it’s going to be an exciting and challenging adventure!

  36. Congratulations on becoming a stay at home dad! It sounds like you and Kim are already wonderful parents, but it is true that so much passes us by when we’re involved in our careers and activities. I’m sure your kids are really happy that you’ll be around more. I remember my dad working late many times and being disappointed that we didn’t get to spend time together. I’m excited to see where you’ll take the blog now, too!

    • I think we’ve done a good job parenting to this point EM. We’ve really worked hard and had some good training/mentoring along the way. But I don’t want to leave anything to chance. Hopefully this takes us to a different level in that regard.

  37. Congratulations, Brian! So excited for you and Kim! I’m sure it will really hit next year when your kids head back to school and you don’t. By then, you’ll full immersed into being a stay-at-home dad. It’s great that you have the opportunity to do this and I know you and Kim did a lot of work to make this a reality too! Can’t wait to see what’s next for you!

    • I think the house might be too quite which will be odd. I may have to go spend some time blogging at a library or Starbucks just to be around people.

  38. Even Steven says

    First the mortgage and now quitting the 9-5, well sir I am impressed!

  39. Congratulations, Brian! Best of luck to you!!

  40. Fit is the New Poor says

    CONGRATS! That is such exciting and amazing news– one that I am sure your family is celebrating. I cannot wait to read more about your journey.

  41. Wow, that’s huge news. I have a feeling you’ll find success and also know that the journey you take will likely look much different than the one you envision today. That’s the way it always works out 🙂

    • I know. There is a picture in my mind as to how this will play out. But the future is filled with twists and turns…which is why this is so exciting and a bit scary all at the same time.

  42. Congrats Brian! Sounds like you made a great decision. I’m excited for you and your family 🙂

  43. Congratulations on your decision. I hope everything works about great for you and your family. I’m sure you weighed your decision very carefully! I try to find balance in daily life. I think I probably spend too much time at home because of finances and trying to avoid temptation like eating out with friends. I guess it’s OK because I’m kind of a homebody anyway. I would also like to say no to a few projects I work on but say yes because of money as well. But luckily I don’t feel too overwhelmed, and when I do I find ways to re-prioritize. Life is too short…

    • “…find ways to re-prioritize.” In years past, I found myself not doing that. Just kept banging away doing the same old, same old routine. You can’t do that and expect different results. Adjust if you want things to change. Like I said, we always have choices.

  44. Congratulations Brian! Unfortunately a big loss to the school, but a big gain for your family. The one income family is something my wife and I have struggled with. Actually when I started the blog, the intention was to be a one income family. My wife’s salary as a preschool teacher was very low and it didn’t make sense for her to continue working. Though she loves the kids and wanted to go back at some point. Then another opportunity came about for a higher paying job which was hard to pass up. Now we’re a 2 income family but life is much busier. The one income life seems financially feasible if we continue to increase our savings a bit…or possibly if we just cut some more costs. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens in the future. I think it’s great to have a parent stay at home with the kids.

    • From a money standpoint, the three biggest areas that enhanced our opportunity for this were: 1) no debt at all, 2) savings and investment growth, and 3) a new career that paid more to meet our monthly expenses. This would not have been possible if one of those three had not occurred.

  45. Congratulations Brian!! I always say that it is more important to be around for your children when they are in middle school and high school as those are the most challenging years emotionally for children and yet that is when most parents are back working full time. Good for you and I can’t wait to read about your journey!

    • “…be around for your children when they are in middle school and high school…” I agree Shannon. It’s an age that can easily be ignored because the kids are becoming more independent…so parents think they can slack off. By next year, we will have two in MS but also two little ones (6 & 7) who also need tons of attention.

  46. Brian, SO excited for you about this. Life has been SO much better for us since we’ve slowed things down, and now we see clearly how busyness really does trash life. We spend time together, enjoy each other, and keep activities to a minimum, trading them in for life together as a family. What a blessing it’s been!

  47. Wow! Congratulations. Your post actually brought a tear to my eye. Well done! I recently had to give up everything and start a new way of life. I came to realize that it is the people in our lives that are important. Not the things that we accumulate. So it is better to slow down and focus more time and energy on our loved ones. They cannot be replaced. The things we have accumulated? It is all just stuff. It can all be replaced!

    • “…people in our lives that are important. Not the things that we accumulate.” That’s a great thought on this Monday morning Brad. Things can be replaced and do pass away with us. It’s through people that our legacy will live on.

  48. Congrats on making the change, Brian! I’m excited for you and your family. As someone who just recently got married and is only a few years out of college (with lots of student debt), it’s hard for me to imagine getting to a point where being a stay-at-home Dad is realistic (I guess first I’d need kids haha). But I definitely am worried about the toll fast-paced careers can have on a relationship and I’m also well aware of the impact of the rat race can have no our life/relationships. Doing what I can to move towards financial independence, one day at a time.

    • “…the rat race…relationships.” It’s a huge challenge and something that doesn’t slow down without effort. Guard your time and the impact it has on your relationships. It can easily get out of control and cause damage.

  49. Congrats! That’s awesome news! I’m sure you’ll enjoy your new lifestyle and I’m sure it’s the right decision for you guys! Glad you could make it work!

    • Thanks Lance. There were many things that went into making it work, including having a wonderful wife who wanted this to happen probably at a deeper level than I did.

  50. Wow that’s so exciting. Best of luck to you as a SAHD – I hope it’s everything you dreamed of and more!

    • Thanks Mrs. Pop! My first goal as a SAHD is to develop a new acronym…one that’s not so depressing. 🙂

      • First time visitor here 🙂 Liked the budget priorities article; my husband and I will read it more in-depth together as we face our budgeting checklist for the 2nd half of 2017. On your shift to being a SAHD: (a) glad for you, though I personally prefer a work-life balance where the mom isn’t working full-time (old-school me, LOL); (b) maybe you could use the acronym “Dadah!” — Dad@Home, and sounds like a happily surprised “Tadah!” 🙂


  1. […] after 17 years in education, I left to become a stay at home dad and full-time blogger. I knew at the very beginning of the school year that it would be my last. So […]

  2. […] We recently experienced this in our house earlier this year as we paid off our mortgage early. The excess money that is now coming into our monthly budget can be moved in greater quantities towards investments. And it’s given us freedom to make life choices not available to us before, like my decision to become a stay at home dad. […]

  3. […] the educational instruction of teenagers. Until giving up my high school teaching position recently to become a stay at home dad, part of my instructional responsibility was teaching Basic Economics and Personal Finance classes. […]

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  6. […] from Luke 1428 is quitting his job to stay home with the kids. It is awesome to read about the “whys” of his decision, and I am excited for what lies […]

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