After being more than 5 years in Dubai I sometimes forget how different Dubai is from my home country Denmark (DK) – but they are indeed two very different places to live in…
I asked the lovely group of mummy bloggers from the Danish website bloggermoms.dk to ask me some questions about Dubai so I can give my perspective on how it is to be a mummy in this beautiful city;
Q: Is it expensive for families in Dubai tourist as well as living?
A: Yes, I find living in Dubai expensive. It’s true our salary is tax-free but I think daily costs for home, imported food, school, nursery and dinning are high. If you want to live good! You can also live cheap here but it’s so easy to get caught up in the expat lifestyle and enjoying many of the events that Dubai has to offer, it can be difficult for many expat families to save the cash they were dreaming of. Housing is the major expense here with rents extremely high compared to my home country, and most other prices are increasing like anywhere else in the world but some services, fast food, cars, fuel and local produce are still quite cheap.
Q: Whats the difference on raising and upbringing kids in UAE compared to Dk?
A: Well as I have only tried Dubai it’s difficult for me to comment, but I’m sure there are pros and cons to both places. I like in Dubai that we have nice weather 9 months of the year which means shorts, beach clothes and lots of sun cream!
We enjoy baby-swimming outside in our pool in Dubai. I guess the alternative in DK would be indoor in a freezing swimming stadium! However in DK many babies enjoy to sleep outside all year round (in what seem like the biggest airship of a pram you can imagine) that’s refreshing and babies love it. Here we don’t even go outside for three months nevertheless letting baby sleep outside – and when weather is nice is often a bit sandy in the air.
It’s a rather expensive affair to have baby with no work in Dubai as we have been on one income for the last year and will for a while more. In Dk they have long paid maternity leave and mums which are working go back to work after 9-12 months. But of course you pay a lot in tax for this and many other privileges. In Dubai many women work and go back to work after very short maternity leave or have a maid or a nanny to look after their baby.
Q: Is it easy to find work?
A: It depends on your education, experience and expectations. Many come here and think they will earn millions but it’s very rarely the case. As a fast growing economy there is a big demand for talent, add to that the attractive expat lifestyle and you have many people looking to move here, which essentially means more competition, so it may not be so easy unless you have a certain skill which will make you unique. On the other hand, the hardworking person can always find work but it is often about knowing the right people, also I know many companies require copies of education certificates to prove your qualifications before they will employ you.
Q: Do you have maternity leave in Dubai
A: Yes, as per law your company must give you at least 45 calendar days. However for many this is not enough and have to either get help at home or stop working – but also many companies give you more. I chose to stop working and focus on family but sometimes I miss the cooperate life and colleagues.
Q: Will you as a mum be offered to be part of a network of mummies like in DK e.g. mummy groups?
A: No, it’s not something the government or hospital here provides, but with social media its very easy to find plenty of other mummies and pregnant ladies and its easy to make new friends in the same situation as you. I didn’t know many people with babies when I first became pregnant but because it’s an expat community, everybody is in same situation and its easy to make new friends – I would say probably even easier than moving back home to a new city. The down side is of course that often some of your good friends move on to another destination (a typical expat problem)…
Q: What happens when you get sick – do you pay yourself for doctor/hospital ?
A: Yes, as we don’t pay tax we don’t have a free healthcare system like in Denmark. However laws have recently been proposed to ensure your employer must offer you health insurance and this should cover your costs – sometimes not all but then we have to pay ourselves. Some like the system – others don’t. My family is covered by my husband’s medical insurance, which is paid by his Employer.
Q: Whats the best/worst about living in Dubai? Why did you chose to go there?
A: I came to Dubai when I was offered a job opportunity which sounded exciting and I was dreaming about living abroad. I was traveling here with work already and I fell in love with the city from the start. I liked that it was bigger, larger, crazier, wilder – well just different from Denmark! Of course the downside is the long hot summer months where we can’t be outside for long and also the fact we are living away from our family and friends at home. The best is the beautiful weather for the reaming 9 months of the year and that there are so many fantastic things to see and dot in Dubai there is never is a dull moment.
Q: How is breastfeeding accepted and can you breastfed in public?
A: Beastfeeding is very much accepted and you can do it anywhere, however you do have to cover up if you are in public. Read much more in my previous blog post ‘Breastfeeding in public in Dubai??’.
Q: What do you do about baby products – is it in English?
A: Yes they are in English and not only Arabic which I don’t speak – but that’s totally fine. There’s a huge selection here – I miss Danish products but have also found lots of new exciting items I probably wouldn’t have found in Denmark. If there’s something I don’t understand luckily I have an English husband who can explain for me 😉
Q: Is there nurseries in Dubai?
A: Yes, and they are great! They are all private, so you pay quite a lot for them but on the other hand you get great service, much less kids per teacher and they do lots of exciting activities. That’s the experience we have had anyway.
Q: Is Dubai a child friendly holiday destination?
A: Yes, indeed it is! Theres so many activities for families and kids and when the weather is nice – 8-9 months a year – its perfect for kids to spend time outdoor at the beach, parks, water parks, theme parks, gardens, promenades and much more. I wrote a post earlier about some of our favorite weekend activities with kids.