I was having a chat with one of my lovely colleagues at work today, who said she would like to loop me in with a colleague of ours in the London office. She works full time and is a Mummy of a three-year old. She and her husband are thinking of making the big move to Dubai, but are understandably dubious about up-rooting their whole life for something which might not be the dream they were hoping for. Our London colleague was intrigued about how I manage to balance everything, and how I find raising a baby in Dubai. I said I would be happy to chat to her about my experience, which is what inspired today’s post. These are the top reasons why I find living, working, and raising a child in Dubai great:
Childcare Is Easy To Come By
We went through the whole nursery vs. nanny debate when I was pregnant and throughout most of my six month maternity leave. We just couldn’t decide what would be best for our son when I returned to work. We eventually settled on a nanny since I work full-time, but flexi-work from home two days a week and therefore need the home support to actually get work done. Neither nursery nor nanny are particularly ‘cheap’, however the sheer abundance of childcare options available leaves you spoilt for choice.
Speaking to my colleague today, I also commented on how easy having a nanny makes every other aspect of my life – when I get home, it is playtime for me and my boy – all cleaning, ironing, etc is being taken care of when I relieve our nanny of her childcare duties. When juggling a hectic work life and trying my best to make it fit with family life, saving time on menial tasks is something which should not be underestimated. Chatting to my colleague today, I also found myself saying that childcare is not as easy to come by in the UK, since there are way fewer nurseries and, quite honestly, having a nanny would be scoffed at (I still daren’t tell most of my friends!) It is way more acceptable over here, and although we thought it would be strange, ours has quickly become part of the family and is a wonderful friend to our son.
Work And Home Are Close By
This is one of my favourite things about Dubai! While my colleague was speaking about our London colleague’s one-way hour commute to work, I couldn’t help but marvel at the 10 minute car ride it takes me to get to the office. I may have to leave three days a week to go to the office (something which still breaks my heart five months in), and while it feels like I am far away for those eight hours, I really am not. My husband too works very close by and even slips home to see our son at lunchtime. This is something we just could not do at home in the UK, unless we worked in the village shop!
Medical Care Is Good
I used to get horrified looks from people when I was pregnant and said I was planning to give birth in Dubai. “What! You mean you’re not going home? But medical care is so bad over here!” Well actually, contrary to popular belief, we’ve had a very good experience when it comes to medical care. Granted it’s all private so you pay for the extra attention, but I would hands down choose to give birth in Dubai vs the UK again any day. The prenatal care I got at Drs. Nicolas & Asp and Al Zahra Hospital was exceptional, and with regular check-ups I felt confident and relaxed that I was in good hands and in the knowledge that my baby was healthy.
On top of this, our son has gotten sick a couple of times. Nothing serious, but as new and worried parents, we’ve taken him down to A&E on these occasions not knowing what else to do. While we’d expect a two – four hour wait in the UK, we’ve always been seen immediately by medical staff over here, and you cannot put a price on that when you’ve got a poorly child.
There’s Tons To Do
Simply put, Dubai and the wider UAE is a wonderland for kids and adults alike. While our son is still a little small to enjoy soft play crèches, there has been an abundance of Mummy & baby classes for me and ‘the gorgeous’ to enjoy – from baby massage, to baby yoga, to general walks around the Malls and parks, there is lots to keep us occupied.
My husband and I, rarely going out in the evening anymore, have also taken to enjoying weekend breakfast and coffee escapades with the little one. Sampling the variety of coffee available in the UAE (we can highly recommend RAW Coffee Company Dubai for the best taste!), and along with the abundance of family friendly events such as RIPE, we utterly love our happy sober weekends together.
There’s A Close-Knit Community Of Expat Mummies
This leads me on to my final point. All the lovely Mummies! We’re all in the same boat, living away from family and looking for a support network. I used to worry I would be isolated, being the first of my UAE and UK friends to have a baby, but there are literally so many coffee mornings, Mummy meetings, Facebook groups, and Mummy & baby events in Dubai that it’s almost impossible to not meet new people and make new friends.
As my son gets bigger, I hope I am able to expand this list of positive reasons why working and raising a child in Dubai is great. If you live in the UAE I would love to her your thoughts on this too.