Chores and Children

Expat children and household help usually go hand-in-hand when you’re living in Indonesia. It’s always been advantageous for us to have help around but as my children are getting older, I’m starting to believe that household staff is actually detrimental to their development. Why? The main reason is because it hinders their independence and creates the mindset that responsibility can be outsourced. Although I am not rushing to let my maid go, there are many changes that I can make to ensure that my children grow up with a sense of accountability and ownership of their duties. The best way to teach them this is by allowing my children to complete their own chores and help out around our home.

Truthfully, it’s not an easy task because children are more concerned with playing rather than cleaning. The following are some monumental steps that families can take towards having a balanced household:

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The Expatriates’ Mother Network

I never thought that moving abroad would result in gaining more friends than I had before I left. I thought my journey as an expat would be lonely and that I would struggle to find like-minded people. Instead, I have met many soul mates and genuine connections from various backgrounds and cultures. When I became an expat, I became a part of a dynamic network that would grow even stronger and larger when I had a baby.

As an expatriate mother in Indonesia, my life support system is my fellow expatriate mothers. I connect with these women through WhatsApp messaging, Facebook and social meetings. The most surprising part of this friendship is that they do not necessarily live in Indonesia and I haven’t met most of them face to face, and probably never will. And yet, these women are behind me, and will undoubtedly cheer for me, offering round the clock support, 24/7, no matter where I am in the world. Wow! Continue reading

Giving birth in Indonesia

Many expats are reluctant to give birth in Indonesia due to the unfamiliarity and mistrust of the medical system. Another common concern is simply being stuck in traffic during labour. Expats may also have inadequate medical insurance coverage or prefer to be in the comforts of their home country with family nearby. I had two children under the age of three when I was expecting my third child, so it was logistically easier for us to stay in Jakarta for the birth. Here are some things you may like to consider if you are expecting during your time in Indonesia.

RETURNING TO YOUR HOME COUNTRY FOR THE BIRTH

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Our vacation at Singapore Airport!

We had to do a quick dash out of Jakarta to Singapore for a visa renewal. We had the choice of flying in and out again, in one day; or staying overnight. With three young kids under 5, a day trip, regardless of the short distance to Singapore, is still exhausting. Our day begins at 5am where we get an early flight (to avoid traffic) and we don’t reach our destination until the afternoon. From the excitement of flying on an airplane and missing their naps, my kids are so tired (and feral). I can’t imagine immediately boarding a plane to return home again!

So we decided to stay the night at The Crowne Plaza Airport hotel in Changi Airport, Singapore. We chose to make this an adventure for our kids and show them a fun time.

Crowne Plaza is the perfect hotel to stay in for an overnight visa run. Having the ability to watch airplanes take off and land directly from our hotel room was a dream for our children. We had two interconnecting rooms and there was plenty of space for our family of 5. The hotel is also very focused on efficiency and convenience.

We arrived at Singapore airport during lunch time and had a special treat of MacDonalds in Terminal 3. The kids needed a reboot and a Happy Meal was perfect. We checked into our hotel where they all had a very late nap at 3pm. After a nice swim at the hotel’s pool, we headed out for dinner. Instead of eating a boring meal at the hotel, we decided to go and explore Terminal 3 again and enjoy the amazing facilities there.

We literally had hundreds of activities and restaurants to choose from! The kids went sightseeing at the amazing Indonesian Tourism exhibition where they had a robotic Kodmodo dragon. The installation had swings, bridges, telescopes and a mini Borobudur! There was also a carnival with rides and games!

We enjoyed a very kid friendly meal at Pastamania where they had kids meals with activity sets that we later used on our trip home. Our children traced patterns with crayons, watched some cartoons and played at the terminal’s playground. We were also able to buy some groceries at a mini supermarket, Cold Storage. There were also lots of retail and designer shops too. The sky train was also a hit.

It was a fun break and it felt like we were away for weeks! Unfortunately, doing a visa run and being forced to leave the comforts of our home is not an enjoyable experience. I generally still don’t enjoy traveling with my kids because they are still so young. It’s exhausting and difficult. I don’t get any sleep because the children are out of routine and tired. We had several meltdowns, including from myself! If there’s a way of making this process easier, then our mini vacation definitely was the best solution.

So next time you’re passing through Singapore airport, take your time and look around. It’s a great place and definitely family-friendly fun!

Mummies’ Night Out: Alternatives For Non-Clubbing Mums

I love nothing more than going out with my mummy friends and spending a night off from the usual family obligations. However, a “Mummies’ Night Out” doesn’t always need to equate to outdated dance moves on a sticky nightclub dance floor. With many businesses operating until 10pm each night, the options for a night out with friends are endless in Indonesia. Here are a few of my favourite alternatives for non-clubbing mums: Continue reading

Hiring a Nanny in Indonesia

One of the advantages of living in Indonesia is being able to hire a nanny for your children. Expats, however, sometimes imagine nannies to be a cheery “Mary Poppins” lady with tactical child-minding powers and a skillset to cure all childhood issues. The reality of a nanny in Indonesia may be far from this foreign perception. Skills like first aid, child discipline, and childhood play are not always a part of the package. Becoming a nanny in Indonesia requires no specific vocational training or work experience. Continue reading

Discovering WA in a Campervan

Whenever expats ask me for advice on where to travel overseas to from Jakarta, I suggest Western Australia and not the other parts of Asia. The capital city of Western Australia is only a four-and-a-half-hour direct flight with Garuda Indonesia. There aren’t many other countries that you can fly to directly from Jakarta, therefore the west coast of Australia is a perfect destination for families who seek fresh air and open spaces.

Western Australia is exactly what you would imagine Australia to look like. Continue reading