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Stay at Home Dad Part Two...

Updated: Oct 12, 2023

I think back to the last time I wrote a blog about being a 'stay at home dad' and I remember the thing I feared the most was losing my identity... I was giving up a hard earned career in the radio industry which I thought was the thing that made me who I was.

I then gave all of that up to become a stay at home dad and follow Kelly's career in the Army.

After a few months of not working and just looking after the children, I was clawing out for opportunities, I was doing so much work FOR FREE! I was hugely undervaluing myself and my skillset.

Looking back, I've realised that it wasn't worth giving up time with my family just to 'get my identity back'

It's such a cliche, but so many military spouses go through this after giving up work to become a stay at home parent and follow their other half around.

You almost feel worthless and that your 'ONLY' the other half, you're 'ONLY' the spouse.

So this blog is all about becoming a stay at home dad all over again, but this time I feel like I have more of an identity than I've ever had in my life. I'll explain more below but first let me tell you why I've taken the decision to become a stay at home dad again...

The cost of childcare in the UK has become so expensive (even mores for us with 3 pre school age children) that it once again makes a lot of sense for me to be a stay at home dad during normal working/school hours.

Even with the recent announcement from the government about increased funding, in particular the staged introduction of funded hours for 2 year olds and later 1 year olds, It doesn't start kicking in until April next year, so although our oldest child is currently entitled to 30 free hours, the other 2 would be completely un-funded.

That basically means that we'd actually be losing money if I chose to have a regular job working regular hours. Even a part time job during working hours is not sustainable in terms of actually making any profit.

As a result of this, as Kelly's maternity leave came to an end, we started to think that I would need to give up my work ventures completely and just focus on the childcare.

Thankfully I had a conversation with my part time employer and they were able to offer me a reduced number of hours that can be done during the evening, outside of normal working hours.

In addition to this I'm lucky that my skills enable me to take on a lot of freelance work (DJ/Podcast/Radio work), which again can be done in my own free time.

We just needed to come up with a workable plan for how we would manage our time and so far that plan is working pretty well...

Basically - Kelly works during the day 8am-5pm, then when Kelly gets home, I get onto my work and work whatever hours I need between 6pm-11pm. (Between 5pm and 6pm is bath and bed time)

So outside of being a stay at home dad, this is what keeps me busy...

TKC - As you may know I have my own business called TKC (Totally Keen Creative). I create and edit podcasts for all sorts of organisations. I also consult and train companies on how to get the best from a podcast and how a podcast would work for them.

I film and edit videos for corporate events, shows and weddings etc and I still DJ at events up and down the UK with the odd few gigs overseas as well. On top of all of this, we create websites, manage social media accounts and run events!

The good thing about TKC is that the work can be done in my own time. As long as I hit the deadlines that I give each client then It's all good and I've never failed to hit a deadline yet.

Radio Work - I'm still involved in the radio industry, I'm a freelance radio reporter working for a few different stations, creating radio packages for news teams and radio shows. I'm currently working as the forces reporter for Great British Radio which I'm loving, I'm really enjoy finding stories from within the forces community.

Royal Air Force - I recently (September 2022) joined the RAF Reserves as a media specialist with 7644 Sqn and I'm so excited to get stuck into all things Media and PR with them. I've experienced doing media as a civilian with the Armed Forces since 2012 and now I get to experience media with the armed forces as an actual member of the armed forces!

PEWG - I'm a director for the Partner Employment Working Group (PEWG). This is a group which was set up by the MOD (Ministry of Defence) to look at employment for military spouses and partners and tackle the issues which we face. The PEWG is now a CIC and is responsible for putting on the VERY successful Celebrating Forces Families awards night in London. This year was the Second year it's happened and it was incredible. There are also other projects in the pipeline so keep an eye out.

So all of the above keeps me pretty busy, and like I said, it's all work that can be done in my own free time when Kelly gets home and when the children are in bed.

When Kelly is at work during the normal working day, I switch into 'stay at home dad' mode and that is something I'll cherish forever. I keep getting told that I'm very lucky being able to stay at home with the children and spend so much time with them and I completely agree!

I'm not going to lie though, it can be pretty challenging with three of them! For those people who don't stay at home and look after the children and think it's easy, give it a go for a few weeks and let me know what you think... Going out to work a 'normal' day job can seem like a break at times!

I have to give HUGE credit to Kelly though because she prepares and cooks the dinners for the week on a Sunday so that I just need to reheat them each evening. She makes the kids packed lunches each evening for the next day, tops up the change bag and the snack bag ready for any trips out, lays out the children's clothes and pyjamas for the next day/night, and then does the laundry/remaining housework in the evenings while I'm working.

So really all I'm doing each day is keeping them alive, entertained and out of trouble lol.

Now one thing you might be thinking is when do you and Kelly actually get to spend time together?

Well, we literally work hard during the week with a view to where possible both switch off from work on Friday afternoons and play VERY hard during the weekend. We will also of course have all of our normal holidays, although within these weekends and holidays I do now also need to fit in my RAF work/training.

We really have to work to a diary and sync it often, to make sure we have plans together but also fit in family and friends too... Unsurprisingly our diaries are pretty booked up 2-3 months ahead most of the time.

What we've learnt the most over the last few weeks as we settle into this new routine is how important it is to make time to enjoy life. We have booked our first proper holiday (not including UK cottage breaks) in years, which will also be our first overseas trip with children: we are taking them to Disneyland next month! I think I might actually be looking forward to it a little more than the children lol, but hopefully they will all have a lovely time and magical memories will be made.

Finally... One more thing that I'm going to squeeze into what little free time I have left is to do my best to keep you all updated on my adventures and experiences on this blog.

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