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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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

Ramadan… it’s not about you

Ramadan starts tomorrow and there has been a few confused posting on expat forums about general working hours and normal routines of their household staff members during this period (ie. nannies and maids). Questions of what to expect from household staff during the fasting month and if it’s reasonable to offer special time off or shorter working hours to accommodate. I think these are very reasonable questions and topics to be discussed.

What I don’t appreciate are the string of negative responses from certain people. The comments are disrespectful, dehumanizing and mostly, not related to the issue at hand. Continue reading

How to survive your expat marriage in Indonesia

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

How to raise healthy children in Indonesia

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

Our family vacation to Phuket: Part 1- Going on vacation with our nanny

Last November 2017, we had an extraordinary family vacation in Phuket. This was our first true vacation overseas as expats with kids where no vaccinations or visa runs were required (those are exhausting.) We were miraculously able to enjoy ten days in beautiful Phuket without any illnesses, or too many melt downs or trauma!

The main reason why our vacation was so enjoyable was because of two factors; firstly, we brought our nanny. Secondly, the resorts we stayed in were very family friendly (more details in part 2). Continue reading

Here I Go Again…

I want to share a common emotional roller coaster ride I’ve been on recently in Jakarta, as an expat mum. My beloved nanny of two years, suddenly quit her job and left immediately, even without saying goodbye to our kids.

She recently had two months off to get married and after returning to work for a couple of weeks, she resigned. (To add to the drama, she’s asked to return again after a few months of quitting!) Continue reading

Gaining my confidence 


I was talking to my mother in law today and she thought that having two live in nannies and a full time live out maid was excessive for our household and I had to agree with her!
Then why don’t I just fire some of them or shuffle things things around so that I have less staff? I told her it’s definitely something that I’ve been striving to do, especially in the new year when I move back but it’s not an easy decision for me.

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