October 07, 2011
Four of five years ago, I would have been horrified at the thought of writing a blog. I am a very private person and thought blogs were done for self publicity and for attention but I know this is not true. There are millions of blogs on the Internet, people blog about everything from sailing to sex. I only started this tiny blog because I love writing and I had nothing to do when I first arrived in Moscow. I thought a blog about being a full time father at home, looking after a baby in Russia would be interesting. I have been my own one man laboratory test and you can read the results. I have openly shared the results with you dear reader. I am naked before you. A blog is also very therapeutic if you want to give your thoughts and opinions on a topic. You can make a blog deeply personal or light, the choice is entirely yours. People blog because they have a strong opinion on something, because they are lonely or because they simply love writing. I do it because I love writing and see life with a bitter sweet sense of humor through writing. Writing is fun and I think I am fairly good at it. I have never struggled for things to say about being a stay at home dad in Moscow or about life here, both sweet and sour. Living here has provided volumes of writing material.
As this blog has got known about in a very tiny way on the World Wide Web and within the expat community, my approach to how I write and what I write has greatly changed. The general rule is when writing a blog that is not totally anonymous, don't write about anything that may offend people you know and don't write about any topic that you would not want people that know you, to read about. If you don't want to be questioned by a friend or an acquaintance about a post that you wrote then don't write it, you will save yourself embarrassment later. I write as I feel and as I see, warts and all. I do not write about deeply personal and private stuff. I only write about life here, life as a SAHD and tourism as well as a few carefully worded posts on other issues. My blog is little known and is a just an electronic ripple in a giant pond that is the Internet.
What has amazed me about being a stay at home dad in a place like Moscow, is the different attitudes that I get from people. If you are a stay at home father anywhere in the world, you will be met with different reactions by different people. At times you will feel like a homosexual in the 19th and 18th century and at other times you will feel like the village freak. I have felt like both here. I have not decided what I dislike more, groups of British expat women with expensive private school accents that would look at home at a surrey village fate. They stand together in a Moscow playground, you can see they are English by how they are dressed, they call their sons Timmy and their daughters Sophie. The other groups are Russian nannies together in a Moscow playground that I can't fully understand and who look at me with fear and with concern for the safety of my kid and tell me off if he is not dressed for the arctic when its + 15 degrees outside. Both can be equally annoying and equally scary. I find these Britsih expat women empty and dull, although I became just like them in my full time dad role. The difference between me and them, is that I realized what I had become and threw away my, yoga mat, knitting needles and breast milk club membership card. I digress, I'm off on a rant that could be the subject of entire book or blog.
Have you ever been to a smart party, a BBQ where you don't know anyone? If you have, then you would have been asked by a man or woman "so what do you do" It may be that you are out of work, in between jobs or that you work in a mortuary, in which case you may want the ground to open up and swallow you from embarrassment or guilt. I hate that question, even when I was at the top of my game and in work. People will often make a few snap judgements as to why you are a stay at home dad. They will think that you are an alcoholic, lazy, stupid, not really a man or they may admire you and think you are brave to do what you do. You will be asked what you do for a living and when you reply, be ready for blank expressions and looks at you as if you have just escaped from the good ship loopy. It comes with the package of being a stay at home dad. There are some SAHD's here who are frauds, they have full time nannies. If you want to be a SAHD, drink from the big cup and don't pretend. Roll your sleeves up and get on with it. You may love it or hate it, try it and see.
I have found that what ever people think, either positive or negative, you will always have guilt. I have guilt about doing what I do, although I feel very proud and fortunate to have looked after my kid from a baby to the age of over two years old. We live in a society with expectations and within a superficial, environment of smiles and bullshit, the expat community in Moscow is the worst for this. People may not always say what they think or how they feel but you can feel it and see it in their eyes. My advice is, if you are going to be a stay at home dad in your own country or abroad, have a thick skin and be tough. Do what you think is best and enjoy the experience. If you are sensitive, then you will suffer from occasional doubt, guilt and lack of confidence. It has taken me time to adjust and to develop a thicker skin than the one I had when I arrived here. I would not want to do this process again in Moscow but its been a learning experience that I will never forget. The best attitude is not to care what people think, although many will accept you, some will not compute that a man can follow his wife abroad and look after the kids. These negative attitudes are interestingly usually from woman. You can draw your own conclusions.
I will not add any more posts to this blog for a while as I think I have covered almost every topic that I set out to write about, from looking after a kid as a dad in Moscow to touristic experiences. I will however update it occasionally but other than than that I'll say no more for now. I hope you enjoy this blog dear reader and find some posts helpful, interesting or entertaining. If I can help with any questions regarding the blogs contents, then please contact me and I'll try and answer you if I can. Have a look through the blog roll for the very best posts.
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