Stay at Home Dad, Abroad…the reality

Although when people asked where we were moving to in Malaysia, we told them Kuala Lumpur, as that’s the place that most people have heard of, but whilst everyone is conjuring up images of us living inside the famous Petronas Twin Towers, that isn’t quite the case. This is my reality of being a stay at home Dad, abroad.

Petronas Twin Towers
L pleased with her new bedroom window…..I wish!

We actually live about 30-40 minutes South East of Kuala Lumpur, in a relatively quiet town, which to be honest, has little going on, and when it comes to activities for kids….make that nothing going on. It was pretty clear in the early days that this ‘staying home and looking after the kids gig’ was not going to be a walk in the park (too hot for a start).

Back in the UK, Ruth would hit up all the local playgroups, libraries and soft plays in the area, she was a serial signer upper of all the free taster sessions for messy play, wet play, etc. You name it, she had done it. Kids groups like that just don’t seem to exist here, whether the parents just entertain the children at home for the first few years, or perhaps Malaysian people have a gestation period of four years nine months and they drop them off at school on the way back from the hospital, I dunno, you just don’t see many parents and toddlers walking around here

Who would walk in 35C heat anyway?

Another thing, whoever designed the streets of Malaysia clearly had the same thoughts as me, they looked around, saw no toddlers so said to the builders, ‘here guys, clearly no-one has kids here, so don’t worry about building paths for prams, put a bit of gravel down instead, and you know what else I’ve noticed?, people don’t have very big calf muscles here, lets get them working on that, lets make the kerbs about a metre high’

pram struggling to get up kerb
Don’t pay thousands for a La-Z-Boy, just come to Malaysia and cross the road in a pram
road to nowhere
How can we make this gravelly path leading to nowhere but a slip road more fun?
 lets stick a pile of broken glass at the end.
unfinished path
“We’ve run out of concrete for the rest of the path Boss, should we order some more or just go home?”

There is a shopping centre down the road which has a sort of bouncy slide which I would later learn I would be spending a lot of time there, there’s also a decent playground not too far away but in reality, like a lot of things outdoors here, it is too bloody hot! Mornings and evenings are bearable but in the heat of the day, most of which are brilliant blue skies, it’s easily topping 35 degrees every day, uncomfortable enough for me but a two-year-old used to the crap weather in the northeast of England? Oh yeah, and he’s as ginger as they come.

sunny playground with no shade
Cracking park but where’s the shade???

So I found out pretty early on that the reality of being a stay at home dad is a lot different to the idea. If you happen to be in Malaysia and see a lonely guy pushing a pram up and down the hard shoulder of a busy road, with a red hot sweaty toddler inside whilst looking for something, anything to entertain him with, and its before 11 and after 3 pm…its probably me.

I am a stay at home Dad, from England, living in Malaysia. Talking about how we survive the heat, the cultural differences, the lifestyle changes, the travel and lots more challenges that being a stay at home Dad in a foreign country brings.

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5 Responses

  1. Gordon says:

    Hi David, good to read of your experiences as a stay at home Dad. I’ve done the same here in KL, got the T shirt and the sweat stains. If there is anything you need a help with drop me an email. I’m a bit furthermore down the line in terms of age but the experience is still the same.
    Would strongly recommend going to the IBU centre for you and your kids sakes- they are a great organisation with good facilities, support and clothes for trips to cold/ hotter places.
    Drop me an email if you need any info. Gordon

    • says:

      Hi Gordon, thanks for the advice, I’ve heard good things about IBU and will be checking them out shortly! I’ll definitely keep a hold of your email! cheers

  2. Kally says:

    Hey, David! I’m a stay-at-home parent like yourself in KL. There is a fantastic nonprofit group that you can join with daily playgroup activities in Mont Kiara and Desa Park. You’ll meet likeminded expatriate and local parents. We are a close knitted group that provides a lot of support so that you don’t need to feel you are alone in parenting. After all, it takes a village to raise a child 🙂

    Check out their website:

    • says:

      Hi Kally, that looks great really helpful, it can definitely feel like you’re on your own at times so I will certainly look into this and pass it around a few people I know in the same boat. I’ll also put this on my facebook page if thats ok?

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