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

Goodnight Jakarta, We Love You!

Last week hubby and I represented Australia to our school for UN Day. We taught fun facts about our homeland and introduced traditional Aussie food and slangs. Most of this information was new to our own children themselves, who are all born in Asia, and have never even lived in Australia!

Our kids are a beautiful blend of many cultures, derived from their ethnicity (they are Latino / Eurasians), their cultural upbringing (having parents who are Australian) and their surroundings (growing up in Expat Land). They speak 3.5 languages (!) and have a peculiar American/Asian accent, that definitely does not sound Australian!

I sometimes wonder, is this expat upbringing confusing for my children? Am I doing them more harm than good by not raising them in one consistent home and culture? Continue reading

Searching for a nanny before you move to Jakarta

I was recently contacted by a reader who is moving to Jakarta at the end of the year with her young family from the USA. As you can understand, she is slightly nervous for the move. Jakarta can be intimidating for an outsider coming in. Especially if you are a mother and have never been to Asia! There are many concerns raised by newcomers and the most common themes are around health, safety, schooling and, nannies, of course!

Today I wanted to answer a common question about searching for a nanny and pembantu (maid) before arriving in Jakarta. When I was planning our move from Singapore to Jakarta, I had a 20 month old toddler and a newborn baby. Being used to having a live in helper (nanny) in Singapore, I was very eager to find another one before I arrived! But I waited and I’m glad I did.

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Connected parenting 

I have been sitting on this post for a while now and was unsure if whether I should post it or not because I don’t want to come across as being presumptuous on this topic due to my current situation as a stay at home mum. However, regardless of me being in an office outside of my home or me sleeping in to catch up on my previous night’s sleep, both situations require my nanny to look after my children, and in turn, my quality time has been taken away from them.

I’ve spoken about having two live in nannies in my household and the constant balancing act. It’s tough being a mum here in Jakarta as an expat! I would never dare say this out loud to my friends back at home because I know it’s even harder for them doing it all without having any household help…working, cooking, cleaning, driving family around, grocery shopping, school/childcare run and taking care of their families on top of all this! To me, it’s actually impossible to imagine! But I believe that our situation also has its unique challenges and I will expand on my challenges in another post.  Continue reading

The most important quality of my nanny

On the hot topic of nannies this week, I have a friend who is new to Jk and is currently looking for a nanny. It can be a really daunting task, especially if nannies are new to your family and your culture.

It’s a very personal decision, like inviting a new member into your family, who you will trust to take care of your little ones.

There are so many other elements to consider. Will you hire a live in nanny or live out nanny? What is the right salary? Does she need a health check? Is she First Aid trained or has any previous training? I will write more about these things in later posts, but today, I wanted to focus on one point only.

When I am hiring a nanny for my family, I make sure that I hire someone who has a genuine love for children. Every nanny you interview will say that, yes, they love children! So I ask their previous employer or their reference (in my case, my previous nanny’s sister). “Does she love children?”

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How to find a nanny, fast!

Nannies, nannies, nannies!

As an expat in Jk, I promise you that this will be a very hot topic of mine! One of the first things I recommend any newbie into the city to do is find a good nanny!

Here are some of my tips for finding a nanny (the same applies for maids):

1. No need for agencies (I can recommend a few good ones later)! Just ask around. Ask your husband to ask his work colleagues for any leads. Chances are, there was someone with a family who left the company before you arrived or will be leaving very soon. Meaning, there is a nanny looking for work.  Continue reading

The nanny juggle

I’m locking me and kids in a bedroom right now because I just can’t stand the nannies hovering around me today! No matter how many times I tell them that they can go rest (a nice way to say, “leave us alone!”) they keep on popping in. Sitting next to the older two while they are watching the iPad; taking the baby away (to play with) when he’s happily playing alone next to his siblings. One of them even followed me around the house closing the cupboard door behind me!

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