I’ve had a very busy calendar this week (long boozy lunch, House of Diamonds exhibition sale, clothes shopping, date night at the pub and High Tea this afternoon!) I have also completely filled up my calendar next week (manicures, pedicures, massages, facials, coffee with my girlfriends) because it’s the final week before I leave this fabulous expat lifestyle temporarily and will fly back to Australia with the family for an extended vacation.
Its funny…every time I tell my friends here that I am going to Australia with all three of my kids for a long time, their immediate response is “How will you survive that long without a nanny!” This is how reliant we’ve all become on our nannies! As expat mothers in Jakarta, we can’t even imagine going on an extended family vacation without one!
This chronic dependency that I have created by having so much household help, is the exact reason why I am going back to Australia! Yes I miss my home country, friends and family there. But I need to take a break from this crazy, instant gratified lifestyle and visit reality. The harsh cold reality of Australia, where I don’t have a maid, nanny, driver, concierge, doorman who opens all of my doors, trolley/shopping bag boy, a condo cleaning staff who pick up the leaves in my walking path as soon as one single leaf hits the floor!
This visit back home will allow me to come back down to earth and remind me of how lucky I am to be living in Jakarta. I already feel extremely lucky to be living here but I am starting to take everything for granted. This isn’t healthy for me or for my family.
I also want my children to understand that this isn’t OUR NORMAL either. Last Easter on a family vacation, Jojo saw me washing the dishes in our rented accommodation and asked me why I was being the maid! I had to explain to him that back in Australia, Mummy and Daddy don’t have maids and we do our own washing and cleaning. He also won’t have a nanny and I will drive the car. I explained to him that when he’s older, he will also be able to drive a car for himself and won’t have a driver. He then got really excited about becoming a driver and offered to be my driver!
Recently my son has also started to say things like ‘it’s ok, the maid can wash it for me or my nanny can get it for me!’ As you can see, he’s totally accustomed to this lifestyle and I can see the potential issues that it can cause down the track in the way that I would like to raise my children.
So I am forcing myself to live the ‘normal’ life back at home again with the kids and torture myself by having no household staff. And then I’ll be desperately running back to Jakarta again! That’s why in this last week of being here, I am going to take advantage of having my nannies and lap up some me time, because I know that once I’m back in Australia, things are going to be a lot different!
Do you have reservations about raising your children in this expat bubble living, and has it influenced your family values?