When you are a stay at home dad and without two breasts, you are totally reliant on bottles milk. Unfortunately for us, inventors have not yet created a self filling bottle that adds the milk powder and the water or strap on milk breasts. When you have two kids, one who is under five and a small baby, your nerves and stamina will be pushed to warp factor eight, your sanity will be pushed to the fringes of lunacy and your tiredness will reach epic levels.
Many expatriate parents, most of them mothers, have nannies here in Moscow. This is for good reason. Although these women have breasts and are not usually slaves to the bottle, (maybe only a Vodka bottle) they are doing the right thing. As much as I despise some of these stereotypical women, I now know, having a nanny is worth more than all the gold in the world. A good nanny (although I prefer the term "childminders") are hard to find but they are a valuable tool for baby care and for child survival.
If you are thinking of becoming a father, moving abroad and becoming a stay at home dad and having more than one child, think long and hard, before you send the little diver, into deep water without his wetsuit on. Your life will not be the same again. If you are under thirty, fit and have lots of cash in the bank it will be easier. If you are married to a woman who is an heiress, minted and loaded, it will be easier, if you can afford a team of nannies, it will be easier. If you are none of these things, buckle up for the ride of your life. The journey is just beginning. Making a child is a huge step and requires total commitment.
An average day
Despite this sounding like a living hell which it often is, it is worth it. In my opinion, you have to suffer now but it will get easier later, or so I tell myself each day, since becoming a stay at home dad in Moscow. Being a father is a huge responsibility not to be taken lightly. If you are the main earner and work full time, you will provide the money, while your wife spends it and while her mother, Swedish au-pair, childminder or school, looks after your kids or kids. If you are a SAHD (stay at home dad), you will be hands on and you will be responsible for your child's safety, happiness and health, from when they wake up to when they eventually fall asleep at night. It's hard work and harder than working in an office from nine to five. Being a father, is a privilege and a blessing. In my opinion, as fathers, we must do our best for our kids, we must be firm but loving, we must be a teacher by example and a doctor, clown, life coach and magician. We must be a Swiss army knife of skill, ready to make a fire from twigs or a shelter from damp leaves. We must be able to adapt to every situation that the kids demand. On the other hand, on a thinking level, I worry about what the future holds for my kids, as we live in a screwed up world with many screwed up people. I worry how they will survive, prosper and cope with this mad world of ours. I suppose every normal father has these worries but we can only try our best and enjoy our time as a father, we only get one shot to get it right. Worrying, really solves nothing.
It's worth it
When you become a father or mother, your world changes. I now know all the cartoons, including their theme songs as provided by our Moscow TV package. I have seen all the episodes in Sponge Bob, at least ten times and I know what will happen in each episode, I am a fan. I know and now like, Dora the explorer, I know Peppa Pig, I know every climbing frame and swing in the playgrounds where I live. I know what are good baby pushchairs (stroller/buggies) and what are bad ones, I know good nappies and bad nappies, I know baby speak and childcare jargon.
I am no certainly expert but I have learned by trial and error and I still get it very wrong. I have become a father and I'm exhausted but proud of it. Do I regret it? Not at all. Men, roll up your sleeves and try it. Send the little man in and make a new life.
Seventeen very basic dad skills
1) If you have two kids and are at the playground, at all times keep one eye on baby and one eye on kid number one. At the playground, don't be distracted by a MILF or NILF (nannies, ILF), look away and be focused on your kids.
2) At the restaurant, be ready to eat your food last or cold and please keep calm. Be ready to gain kilograms, pounds and stone. You are over eating for a good cause. See point 8.
3) If out with the pushchair (stroller/buggy) you have the right of way, anyone who gets in your way, smash them in the ankles, it's your road.
4) Use bribery to get your kid to do as you ask and lie if necessary to get instant cooperation. You can repair this mental damage, when he/she is a teenager.
5) At the kindergarten or school, be ready to play school politics and be ready for parent bitching, it goes with the package and can't be avoided.
6) If you have a small baby, be adaptable at changing a nappy (diaper) on a park bench or on a wet public toilet (washroom/bathroom) floor.
7) Have a good sense of humor and a slight madness.
8) When taking a flight, bus or train with your kid or kids, have an understanding wife as you will need to take your Valium when you hand over the controls over to her.
9) Have a good supply of DVDs, paper and crayons.
10) Absolutely, never run out of nappies (diapers).
11) Be physically fit and exercise, you will to be fit for carrying a pushchair up and down stairs and for carrying a small child in your arms, for up to 5 km on any day, in any weather, at any time.
12) Always carry a rain cover for your pushchair and have a cyclical pump at home to pump up the pushchair wheels..
13) Be fast at changing nappies and be able to do it with one hand, without looking.
14) Forget all freedom and alone time.
15) Find joy in the simplest of things such sitting on the toilet taking a long undisturbed dump, sexual intercourse, sleeping or watching a television show.
16) Recycle any clothes from the first boy to the second kid, even if number two kid is a girl. You can repair this mental damage, when she is a teenager.
17) Do none of the above and leave it all to your wife, nannie, au-pair or mother-in-law.
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