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:
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
I went through a stage where my children were constantly sick and down with some kind of bug. Initially I thought the causes for their ill health were environmental, and as an expat mother, I felt guilty for exposing my children to a foreign country that could potentially be harming their health. So, I did some research, spoke to several doctors and asked my friends from around the world about their experiences with childhood illnesses. I concluded that what we experienced was normal. They all suffered from the same kind of illnesses. Continue reading
I have noticed that working and non-working parents in Jakarta usually have their children cared for by nannies at home in the early months following birth, and then send them into more formal educational programs such as preschools at the age of around six months. Continue reading
As an expat parent living in Indonesia I need to be prepared for the unexpected and take sensible steps to protect my family. If an emergency arises, I need to have the right procedures in place because as a foreigner to this country, I don’t have the immediate access to, or the protection of, my home country’s support system. Here are some things you can do to help protect your family: Continue reading
I find that being an expat couple introduces an entire range of complexities into our marriage. The lifestyle encourages certain issues that are quite unique to this situation and the positive aspects can quickly become detrimental…
Expat marriage crisis no.1: The honeymoon stage is over
My enjoyment and excitement for being a happy, unemployed expat housewife quickly died when I realised that managing all household duties for our family was extremely difficult and boring! Although back at home I was completely happy to cook and clean while working, doing it full time was entirely different. I found that becoming the ‘Trailing Spouse” placed an unspoken pressure on me to lift my game in order to compensate for all of my free time. Continue reading
My son finished drinking his milk and yelled out to his nanny, “Finished!” I have tirelessly taught him to take his cup to the kitchen when he has finished his drink, so as soon as I heard this I walked into the toy room to address the issue. I asked him why he expected his nanny to get his cup. “It’s the nanny’s job!” he replied. This kind of attitude is not healthy and I felt guilty as a parent.
What is a healthy expat child? For me, it’s a child that is well-rounded, grounded, independent, emotionally secure and physically healthy. This is not easy to achieve in Indonesia. My children are living in constant contradiction to what I think is healthy. The “expat bubble” cushions them, and they are never truly a part of the real world in which I grew up. I feel like everything and everyone is working against me on this issue. Each time I try to push my children toward a certain lifestyle, their surroundings pull them back. Continue reading
Dear expat friend, what can I say? You came out of nowhere and have now left so suddenly! But before you leave, I wanted to say….
Dear expat friend, thank you for adding me to that Facebook mother’s group, before I set sail on my new expat posting. You were a friend of a friend, and we hadn’t even met. That little gesture eased my nerves and ensured that I had an immediate network of support. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, or how much I would need this group of women, but you knew.
One of my biggest concerns about living here in Jakarta is the amount of rubbish that I throw out daily, without being unable to recycle absolutely any of it! I literally feel sick thinking about the landfill that I will be contributing to and paralyzed by the inability for me to find a solution to this issue. Continue reading