View Full Version : 30 something with toddlers!

02-16-2008, 06:27 PM
how does a man with two toddlers,job to pay bills,wife nagging,reading and posting here, find time to work on all the hobbies he enjoys? don't get me wrong
, love my wife and kids, but the time seems to go by so fast,should i be up til midnight to do the things i'm passionate about?any thoughtys or others in the same boat?

02-16-2008, 07:04 PM
Get the wife to make more money and pay all the bills. Then you only need to be a boy toy when she is home. When she is at work, you get to the garage and start making a stirling engine or something.

Otherwise, you have found all of the same problems that we have. I read an article somewhere where a fella ran thought his day after work. It was something to the tune of.....

Got home and took care of the bills
Walked the dog and took care of the kids
Then got to the shop
Had to clean up after the work done over the weekend fixing the bathroom.
Needed to make a small tool to finish a little project
Found the material after 20 min of looking
Clean the mill off to make a cut.
Reset the lathe to turn the od
Oh, look at the time, got to get to bed so I can go to work tomorrow.
Nothing done-

Yup, something happened in our lives. I at on time had to work a 42 hour week from Monday to Thursday. Thats friday off! I got all sorts of stuff done.
Now, I have to put in 47 hours and if I'm out of there before 4:00 on Friday I'm doing good.

I think that with kids, things change. Talk to the wife and work out a plan. You watch the kids for "x" hours in trade for "free time" of 2 hours or so, what ever you can manage. Just remember, it all give and take.

You give and everyone else takes :D


02-16-2008, 07:26 PM
THATS THE PROBLEM! I HAVE FIRDAYS OFF so she writes a list of things to get done!she doesn't get a day of rest i don't get a day of rest and so on.

02-16-2008, 07:32 PM
My oldest son had just started toddling around when I came down with this metal affliction/addition. Things are tough enough with little ones around. I tried to get into my shop, even if it was only for 15 minutes every couple days, just as a type of escape. I have learned to treasure the time with the little guys. Small projects can span several days and lengthy ones an eternity, but I figure I will have my toys 'til I die--my boys will only be around and interested in what I'm doing for a few years. If you miss the time with your kids, you can't get it back. It can be a challenging time, but try to make the best of it. I have a fairly child-safe corner in my shop with paper and crayons etc. which has worked out well for me. My boys progressed from this to pounding in nails and making their own "toys". It has worked out well and keeps them out of the Mrs. hair, which has benefits of its own.


02-16-2008, 07:40 PM
totally agree love the time with my kids, i do alot of woodworking in the basement and have a little dvd player for my oldest which is two to watch w=hile i do a little work, of course i have to send her up stairs every time i run the saw or router,but it keeps her content. the only thing is i have to not keep an eye on what i'm doing but her as well, kind of a destractrtion for safety.

02-16-2008, 07:54 PM
this old guy has gotta agree with mr sidegrinder about the kids. they grow up way too fast.
just last year my 18 year old was 9 and trying to get me to go into the workroom and cut some wood with him. we also cleaned a bunch of dimond willow sticks we cut in the backyard.

when they are old enuf,, buy a hot glue gun and cut them a bunch of odd shaped wood pcs to stick together. maybe even a cheap jig saw. tell them a few times about the hot or the sharp tool, they will test it to see how hot or sharp it really is, and learn, not getting terribly hurt in the process. its good for them, and you ... do projects that involve them. . .

it will be a bunch easer when they do go off to college to remember that you did spend their childhood with them, guiding and teaching. . . and besides, thats YOUR job as a parent. your time will come after they are grown. sorry but thats how its suppose to be. . . . .

sorry, my old fingers have trouble reaching for the shift key and i am lazy.


02-16-2008, 08:07 PM
i hpoe i didn't come across as being selfish, because i'm not, i spend as much time with my kids as i can. i just hope that after they are at that age where they don't want to spend time with dad, that dad has enough life left to spend on himself.

02-16-2008, 08:12 PM
how does a man with two toddlers,job to pay bills,wife nagging,reading and posting here, find time to work on all the hobbies he enjoys?

Simple - The Frank Barrone school of Chore finishing. You do the job so awful, she never asks you again.:D


02-16-2008, 08:16 PM
Cute kids guys. I am only 42 and have two rugg ratts, seven and three. The gurl is three and she is more interested in the handcranks in the shop than the boy. Im fortunate enough to get off work at two thirty so there is plenty of time, just means going in earlier. I actually hope to retire at the beginning of march so that will leave more time. Oh, but Bronwyn (bread winner) says I will be picking up more of the kid duties and such. Thats ok, still leaves enough time to work some metal during the day. JRouche

02-16-2008, 08:17 PM
good rply i have found found myself doing that from time to time like getting the wrong noodles and sauce, now she never asks me to go grocery shopping but i like doing that.update wife just told me need to fix the washer or buy her a new one!

02-16-2008, 08:21 PM
ok sorry about the raving and should have posted this as off topic!

02-16-2008, 08:22 PM
You figure it out, please tell me. Im 31 and my son turns 2 next month. I bought a 11x30 Clausing lathe 2 years ago and its setting in the same place that it was the day I put it in the garage, still has no power and the compound slide has been setting on my workbench for the past year and a half. Not enough time in the day for it right now.

02-16-2008, 08:25 PM
i hear you furnace , i have a rockford 13x40 sitting in my mother garage that i would like to use.i just can't seem to get it home.

loose nut
02-16-2008, 08:29 PM
how does a man with two toddlers,job to pay bills,wife nagging,reading and posting here, find time to work on all the hobbies he enjoys? ?

That's a good one, do you do stand up comedy too. This was suppose to be a 4 day weekend for me and I had planned to be in the shop for most of it. So far I had to work OT for the first two day's and I'm sure the rest of it will get used up on something other than what I wanted to do. That's life. Ya just got to live with it.

02-16-2008, 08:36 PM
yeah, loose nut , i agree , but it sucks. boo hoo, i had all these expectations for myself. ideas running through my head whatif i ie.

02-16-2008, 08:42 PM
I have a one and a half year old and a three year old and they eat more recreational shop time than everything else put together. I can find time for the paid jobs, but the fun stuff for myself just gets pushed back. I figure that the girls are my biggest project for the next few years and I try to spend as much time with them as I can. Sometimes I can get them in the mood to play in the shop while I work, and tea party with girls, stuffed bears, and a vmc running in the background is a lot of fun...

02-16-2008, 08:56 PM
Well, you've got two kids, and two parents... take turns w/ your wife getting some time to do the things each of you want to do. Make sure you take some time for the two of you, as well; trade off kid sleep-overs with another couple w/ kids the same age. There's too much to do, and no one will get everything they want, but at least everyone will get something.

I know how it goes; my kids are 17 and 19; they've got 10 friends over tonight w/ computers and they're all gaming like crazy... my son impressed 'em when the "guitar" accessory failed; he took it apart, got some microswitches and traced out the wiring and rebuilt the thing; works much better than before. It was just yesterday I built him a board w/ batteries, lights, switches, and Fahenstock clips... but he was four then...

I was working 70+ hours/week at a startup when my son was born one
August; by that January I had a new job which "only" took 50 or so. Balance in all things is important.

- Bart

Forrest Addy
02-16-2008, 09:46 PM
The money part is easy. It's a matter of piorities. Food, shelter, clothing, transportation, entertainment, self improvement, shop. Adjust priorities to maximze satisfaction short of starvation and divorce. Leave off tobacco, booze, and over-new cars and you can finance a fine shop on the savings.

Remember that a home shop is capital investment. What ever you spend on it that is not consumable stays to make future work more productive. Eventually as you gain equipment and experience your home shop can become a profit center. Evenings and weekend of welding paid for my lathe and mill and most of its support equipment. I can't think of a single more profitable purchase I've ever made than the Lincoln 225 Amp buzz box I bought in 1962. I probably made $30,000 in the 20 years I owned it and before Reagan that was real money. Bought a lot of machinery and almost paid off my house.

A tolerant wife is an even greater asset than a welder.

02-16-2008, 09:55 PM
I am only 42 and have two rugg ratts, seven and three. I actually hope to retire at the beginning of march so that will leave more time. JRouche

JRouche you must be living right, can I get the name of your Financial Planner :)


Try getting shop time with an 8 week old :)

Tim Clarke
02-17-2008, 12:15 AM
Seems like a couple years ago, my daughter was a toddler. Lemme see.... she's 27 now. Got in a lot of quality time with her helping the old man. By the time she was 4 she could explain how to reload shotshells. Usta put the 410's in the box, correctly, way faster than I could load 'em, was about 3 at the time. Her first tool usage was a hacksaw, made all kinds of odd pieces, all from wood. A hacksaw is a great first tool for a kid. Small enough to handle, and not too toothy. A nice double cut file is a great companion. Clamp the work in a vise and watch 'em go. When she was in the school art classes cutting out pieces to make a 3 dimensional object was easy, hell, she had several hundred hours of practice. The girl has mechanical ability in spades, maybe more than the old man. But then she has been stimulated since birth.

That exposure to the mechanical world is what we can do for our kids, and grandkids, etc. It'll give them a huge advantage later in life.

As far as your feeling that time is flying by, Yea, it sure does. Spend a little time using your brain. Those projects that we all have to do, like fixing the kitchen faucet can be time wasting to the max. Thinking ahead may help you avoid spending the whole day on it. Think about what you may need. Get the stuff you need lined up before you start. In other words, work smart.

Best of luck, many of us know exactly what you're going thru. Trust me when I say that before ya know it, your kids will be grown and gone. Make the best of it, ya won't be sorry.

Regards, Tim

loose nut
02-17-2008, 10:08 AM
A tolerant wife is an even greater asset than a welder.

That depends on the wife and what type of welder it is.

02-17-2008, 11:21 AM
If you think you have trouble finding shop time now, wait until you retire.

Nick Carter
02-17-2008, 03:25 PM
I'm 41 and have a 3 and a 5 year old. What makes it easier for us is that we're both self employed and work from home. This also makes it harder in some ways, as the kids love to demand attention right in the middle of something important.

Anyway, both kids love going in the shop, and watching (this can be a bit dangerous, you need small safety glasses, and a third eye) or even helping. My 5 year old has a design for lego earrings that we make, he drills the holes with my help. Once the kids are a little older they'll just work right alongside you and build some memories that are more precious than money...

One problem is that the kids know that with enough time and effort I can fix most of the toys they break. This leads to projects like this:

So a lot is teaching them cost/benefit analysis...

My biggest problem is that at 41, I am worn out by those little energizer bunnies!


tony ennis
02-17-2008, 03:58 PM
This is why most hobbyists are in their 40s and 50s - before that they are busy with their careers, wives, and kids. At 50, your career is what it is, your kids are grown and gone, and you find yourself with amazing amounts of time.

Shop time!

The trick is to maintain your health so you can do it as long as possible.

Philip in China
02-17-2008, 04:53 PM
Why is it that diamond earrings are necessary even when we are trying to save money but an extra tool is absolutely out of the question?

At 05.15 today the puppy needed to go out. He is highly intelligent and so woke up my wife. She is also highly intelligent and woke me up to take the pup and went back to sleep herself. Unfortunately the smithy is out of earshot of the bedroom or I would be out there now forging something instead of sitting here typing.

My way of making time is just to sleep as much as I need. The Duke of Wellington said "The time to turn over is the time to turn out" and he thrashed Napoleon.

02-17-2008, 05:09 PM
wife and two kids ?
you mean you havent got the hooked up to a tread mill to make the machines go round?

I have to survive by carefully planning everything in little chunks , and go to work early , come home early, before they arrive!

02-17-2008, 05:14 PM
i'm right there with you guys with kids. i've been showing my son and daughter how things work and they'll come out in the shop to watch what i'm doing for a while, and then get bored and want to go back in the house. i'm not doing this for a living, so the interruptions don't really bother me. if i have some serious project i am going to work on, i ask my wife to try and keep the kids in the house until i give the all clear. it works out great in the summer though because when they're in the shop i'll do things they can watch or maybe help with (no welding or running the table saw or anything), and when they get bored they just go play in the backyard and i get the welder fired up or the lathe until they come back in. so far both seem interested, but they are still young (daughter is six, son is four). hopefully they find at least some portion of metalworking or woodworking interesting enough to want to develop some skills as they get older.

andy b.

02-17-2008, 09:42 PM
It won't be very long until those two are in college... enjoy them while you can.


02-17-2008, 11:40 PM
JRouche you must be living right, can I get the name of your Financial Planner :)Regards,

LOL.. Yeah, his name is John Rouche and he keeps a constant tab on my loot. I am expected to retire in March and with just about what Im taking home now so the budget wont be impacted much.

It helps to have a wife who is a lil younger and will have to work till 55 or 60. We use her medical coverage (works for Wellpoint, insurance Co.) so that issue is a non issue.

Basically gonna pick up a whole lot more time on my hands. I expect to have more fun in the shop. Health is good so Im taking advantage of the time..

Though, baseball season is starting up too so I gotta be there for my boy Jake.. Im sooo excited about being there for the kids too. As much as the shop time. They are OUR children so give them more than you do anything else. Just wish he was as engaged in the shop stuff as JoJo (gurl). Ok, so be it, she will be the metal slinger!!! LOL JRouche

Your Old Dog
02-18-2008, 05:38 AM
I think you'll find that some of this stuff are phases that families go through. We had one phase in our family where for 1 Winter season there was always someone sick in the family. After that passed we never saw the same situation again.

We also went through the acquisition stage of our lives. We had nothing and had to acquire everything. Now, all that is behind us and paid for and life is quite a bit easier.

JC is right about finding time once you retire. It works out just exactly the opposite of what conventional wisdom would tell you. I belonged to a radio club with a lot of retirees and they all made the same claim that they didn't have time to do anything now that they were retired !! It's likely because you don't push yourself as hard to get going on things, there's always time for one more cup of coffee right, what the hell, your retired.

02-18-2008, 10:27 AM
Learn to be frugal, teach the wife to be.

It takes ten or more years to outfit a shop. More to actually be able to use it.

We went from a rental house w/tools in a school bus stored at a relative to now owning our plywood shack I built us.

It takes less money to run a proper household than a "want what the neighbors got" one. I drive a ten+ year old truck.

02-18-2008, 11:01 AM
I find that time in the shop is rather like time for exercise; you just have to integrate it into your day, every day, and a reasonable amount every day of each is much better than none.

And do a little before you have trouble doing any at all!
Eyes go, arthritis sets in, nature calls with greater frequency and many other things conspire to keep you from that which you'd rather be doing more than anything else.

As long as you're a stand-up father & husband they'll understand you need time to express yourself.

02-18-2008, 05:51 PM
When I was working fultime, I would get up at 4:00 am and take my coffee out to the shop and work till 6:30, time to go to the real job, plan each stage and step of the next days project on company time, go home and be with the family in the evening, go to bed and start over. always have had time for the shop in the am, nobody else will get up that early to bother you. Now it's almost all shop time.:D

lathe dog
02-18-2008, 11:01 PM
I know what you are going through but it is possible to balance both.
I am in my forties and have two sons 15 year old and 19 months and my oldest son has Autism.
One thing My wife and I have learned with our oldest son is that we both need a little break to do our own thing if even for a couple of hours a week.
I also sneak into the shop at night when the kid's are asleep . So what am I doing here! Got to go

02-19-2008, 10:53 PM
LOL.. Yeah, his name is John Rouche and he keeps a constant tab on my loot. I am expected to retire in March and with just about what Im taking home now so the budget wont be impacted much.

It helps to have a wife who is a lil younger and will have to work till 55 or 60. We use her medical coverage (works for Wellpoint, insurance Co.) so that issue is a non issue. JRouche

JRouche, you're retiring and getting your wife to work another 20 years, you're my hero now :D

Just kidding my brother-in-law is a cop and he is set to retire at 42.
Honestly, congrats on getting out of the rat race in time to enjoy life for a
while !!!


02-20-2008, 05:01 AM
Ah the perfect opportunity to post a favourite picture! This was taken on a Sunday morning about when I'd usually be tinkering and she'd be laying in.

I reckon the nipper has to become the new hobby and the engine I've been building for 10 years can wait some more.

Incidentally he's now 13 months and I have even less hair!


02-20-2008, 05:45 PM
Hannah loves the garage, but shes a bit little to use the tools properly at the moment ;)
I try and do a bit after shes gone to bed most evenings, but of course I have to fit SWMBO time in as well...


02-22-2008, 01:04 PM
well i finally got a fri off and already feel like the day is over. got up at 4 with youngest,saw her, wife and oldest off at 6 went to home depot to exchange toilet fill valve that didn,t come with all parts at 7. target after to get printer ink and tennis balls for dog. then it was off to the dmv for plates and tabs for wifes van.decided while i was there , registration for snowmobile,and new fishing liscense for self.now it's 12 finally home need to fix toilet yet, move the old washing machine out of the way so new can be delivered. if and if i get all thAT DONE MAYBE I CAN PLAY AROUND. still haven't gotten new belts for my lathe yet, but maybe i'll find something to do that doesn't require lathe work!:eek:

02-22-2008, 01:42 PM
ok toilet done now i just have to wait for the leaks right?you know its kinda nice to know that there are so many of us with the same situation. i feel like i can now put a due done date of ten years on my snow engine, which i am making two, one to keep and one to sell to pay for the parts.:)

02-22-2008, 08:16 PM
snow engine ? please expain. . . .

02-22-2008, 09:08 PM
JRouche, you're retiring and getting your wife to work another 20 years, you're my hero now :D

Just kidding my brother-in-law is a cop and he is set to retire at 42.
Honestly, congrats on getting out of the rat race in time to enjoy life for a
while !!!


Thanks.. The smarter man (which I am not a group member of) learns to enjoy every day like its the last. I have always had this "some day" approach at life and unfortunately just now coming to realize (too late) the some days were the days of past..

No more, my some day is every day now, once the eyelids pop open in the morning its gonna be a beautiful day, even while Im still working or not.

And specially when there are lil kids in the house looking for your upbeat, positive attitude. Kids are automatically positive about life in general. They need that attitude to be re-enforced by the adults in their lives.. Im gonna try to stay on that path.. This is a good topic, thanks to the OP... JRouche

02-22-2008, 09:53 PM
i feel for you guys i really do ,, my wife works with me, she runs my wood shop and i run my metal shop.. ,,kid is 14 and he likes to play in the shop from time to time , i get to play with my RC cars and mod them etc etc. most days to and invent new things as well.. and i work at home so its even better...