Well they say all good things must come to an end, and so the chapter of my stay at home dad experience, in my book of life, has come to an end.
Ewelina and I always had a date in mind that if nothing eventuated or no opportunities arose we would do some travelling through Europe, so as allowing us to keep all options open, before making our way to Poland for Christmas with her family.
Talking to a lot of past rugby players on the podcast a lot talk about taking a break before getting into the ‘real world’. They have had different reasons, to freshen up, mentally prepare, have closure, just to name a few.
Those are all beneficial but mine is probably to simply make the most of an ordinary situation. Career done. No other opportunities have come about. In Europe…
Why not make the most of it and go travelling. I’ve for the most part been pretty careful with my money so I’ve got a little bit saved up to make the most of this opportunity. Don’t worry the travels will be anything but lavish. We’ve done a few things to ensure costs are, not kept to a minimum, but drastically reduced. Some I’ll share towards the end of the trip so others can benefit from these too.
With 2 little kids, not yet at school age and the next time we would be back over here, all the way from Australia, we’d practically have to pay for 4 full return flights, most likely in school holidays. We thought it best to do it now, with only one way flights to be paid, connections through family and the rugby community for places to stay, as well as experience Christmas in Poland, which I’m pretty excited about. It simply made sense.
I’ll definitely miss that about Europe. The close proximity of everything and with such an array of different cultures, it’s a great place to play rugby and base yourself for some travelling. Today we left Antwerp, in Belgium, drove to Rotterdam in the Netherlands, caught a ferry overnight to Hull, England and then drove to the Highlands in Scotland. All within 24 hours.
I’m grateful for the experience to have been a stay at home dad and put myself in the shoes of the majority of stay at home mums. In true rugby style, I will at some stage do a review that I will share with you all, pointing out what I did good, bad and things I could have improved on. Analyses leads to improvement.
I’m also thankful that it has come to an end. I did enjoy it, although in many ways it can be rewarding having that extra time with the kids, it can also be very unrewarding. There aren’t many things to show for what you’ve done by being a stay at home parent. You get the recognition of the entire wholistic effort you are doing by raising the kids. But there’s not a great deal of recognition for anything else.
In rugby there’s always a clear set of criteria for whether something was achieved or not, and if it wasn’t, it was reviewed and analysed to ensure hopefully it would be achieved next time. I thoroughly miss this aspect. It might be the simple win or lose as a team. It might be individually, ball carries in a game, line breaks, tackle completions, turnovers. Parenting not really. Kids fed? Yep. Nappies changed? Yep. Clothes washed? Yep. Dinner cooked? Yep. Kids bathed? Yep. Good work… (pat on the back) keep it up.
Now I think it has started to sink in about the next chapter after this little European adventure, and what that might entail. There are a mix of emotions and thoughts running through my head and my body… Good, bad and daunting.
But that was always going to be the case… For now, it’s just about appreciating the moment.