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.
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’
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.
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.