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amahs/working moms and playdates

  1. #9
    damom is offline Registered User
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    I moved to the Belchers about 14 months ago and arrived brand new to Hong Kong from the US. I've found it extremely easy to meet moms in this complex. The facilities are great especially the pool, garden, and multiple playgrounds (though the indoor playroom is not that good) and people very friendly. I knew nobody in the complex, but met one mom through Rani and geobaby - we hooked up with other moms with kids the same age and have created a quite a network for our children and the parents. We get together frequently for mom playgroups, have our kids play with each other in helper playgroups and have nights out with the dads as well. I've loved living here but will be moving to baguio in the new year because we wanted more living space for a second baby (baguio is an older complex so the apartments are more spacious) and want to get a car (the waitlist for a parking spot is ridiculous at the belcher's...I've waited over 8 months!). But if you do choose the belcher's you'll have no trouble meeting people here. I think this is the case with many complexes in HK where expats tend to live - HK is such an open and social town.

  2. #10
    sharonwong is offline Registered User
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    i did think about parking space before but we will most likely not have a car until we feel seattled. so that info about belchers parking is useful. how bout parking at baguio?? and what are the fees?
    good luck and congrats on your baby damom!
    Last edited by sharonwong; 12-01-2005 at 11:35 PM.

  3. #11
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
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    DaMom, Thanks for posting.

    Sharon, all the flats in Baguio come with a parking space. if your landlord has already rented it out you can easily rent another, you'll find 2-3 ads on the bulletin board. monthly rate is HK$2K.

    My little guy is going to start at ESF kindergarten in Jan, and then Kennedy in a couple of years. I went to ESF too and I turned out ok.....
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

  4. #12
    Louiseamanda is offline Registered User
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    Hi Sharon

    In answer to your question about playdates etc I am new to Hong Kong so not totally familiar with the amah culture myself. I'm not sure how old your children are but I understand that you will be working full time and leaving the care to your newly found helper.
    I would just echo the sentiments of others that you need to choose the helper carefully and people tell me,repeatedly, go, on your gut feeling. References can be of limited value, I think.
    As to whether the helper mixes and arranges playdates, this would depend on the individual girl/woman, I guess. Pre-school children do not really play together (they play alongside) and early years are about bonding with mother (or significant other)and feeling securely attached (if you read any childcare manual) rather than having a social life.
    The 'playdates' are as much (to my mind) so the helper can get out and mix a bit which is fine.
    Hong Kong life is very different for mothers from what I see, with all the cheap childcare available. The amahs do not mix with the mothers much and in particular, would not share a social venue, except, maybe in a club setting.
    It is funny to me, when you see two new mothers at the beach, with their new babies plus 2 amahs! 4 adults to 2 little nippers.
    Roles can get blurred and I have seen new mothers not even holding their own new babies.....but sorry, I'm rambling............

    Back to activities..it may be worth looking into clubs in your area -they usually have activities which amahs can take the children to. They usually have a 'special entrance' and waiting areas for the helpers.
    In your case it is for a very good reason (work) but many mothers dont even bother to go to the top of the road, here, to meet their children off the school bus (even tho they are not working)
    This is what I've observed.

    In choosing someone, I would consider her command of your language (?English) as she will be spending long hours with your child/children and some have limited communications skills (ie only speak in present tense etc)
    I agree that your children need outings and structure to their day, particularly if you dont have garden/outside space.
    Many of the amahs in fact have university degrees and are bright so hopefully you'll find the right one. The other thing is that (IMHO) doing housework/cleaning/ironing aswell as full-time childcare is quite hard and you may need to give her priorities so she can organise what she does, when the children are awake and playing.
    There is not so much a culture of being outside in the open air here (with the weather and pollution) plus the fact that the Filipinos hate to get sun on their faces.
    Many of the helpers have their own families but check you both hold the same standards of care.
    Hope this helps not throw up too many negative points!
    I think you are right to consider 'what she will do all day' with your children. I've been advised that you must communicate exactly what you expect/would like to happen, on a daily basis - the rest can slot around it.
    Good luck with your search - hope you find someone nice
    LA

  5. #13
    Louiseamanda is offline Registered User
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    HI again Sharon
    just nopticed after my long post that yours are school age (apart from trhe younger one) but much of my other comment still applies
    This will make it a lot easier for you.
    Best wishes
    LA

  6. #14
    sharonwong is offline Registered User
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    hi louiseamanda

    in fact you have entered a new thread by bringing this subject up. yes, what you said is truely valuable. right now i'm still stationed in the US in hopes of being in hk in the summer. and we used to live in hk for 7 years with 1 yr of amah experience. the problem i have with child care i'm offered in new york is that they end their work as i come home. so this ultimately gives me no break and inturn i become a big crank which destroys my quality time with the children. as i'm looking forward to cheaper and possibly better help in hk, i also had made an agreement to myself (which i have done so presently) to be the one to put the kids to bed and if i'm home will bring them to the bus (especially in the morning before i leave for work) and any time during the weekend. i did promise myself to bring my son to the bus at least twice a week. the beauty of hk is that with the cheaper and more readily available labor i myself will have a life too however in not way shape or form will be abused.
    i know mothers who have the amahs bring kids to school when they are stay-home moms. that is wrong. time is precious and they grow fast. i do have all (or most) mother's quilt of leaving them behind when i go to work. that in itself is another topic all together. therefore i make it my best to be a parent. my amah is to help NOT to replace me.
    i will definately be very smart about hiring a helper. i do usually go with my gut feeling. and in fact i tend to hire helpers that are rounder and cuddly in shape as they are generally happier. they will need some other requirements such as able to cook cantonese food and speak cantonese. i think it won't be terribly hard to find but it will be a challenge.
    do you have amah agency you used?? can anyone recommend one?

    thank you for your thoughts. where are you from?

    sharon

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