A Community For Mamas, ‘Real Mums of Dubai’ Is Just One Of The Amazing Resources Available In Our Desert City
They say it takes a village – but when your family, your ‘village’, are overseas and you’re living life as an expat, raising kids and being a mama can be hard and sometimes lonely too. We caught up with Holly, one of the founders of the Real Mums of Dubai group who aim to recreate that village here in our desert city via their amazing platform.
Tell us a little about Real Mums Dubai
I met Megan when she helped support my breastfeeding journey with my third child and while we have completely different parenting styles we’ve still been able to support each other and become really close friends. Myself and Megan had witnessed our fair share of mummy shaming and we were feeling pretty low. We took a step back and realized that if we could be friends without judging or shaming each other then so could everyone else. Dubai is the best place to develop your own unique parenting style as it is a fantastic melting pot of families from all walks of life. There’s so many “right” ways to parent here why not take full advantage of that?
With that in mind, we created Real Mums of Dubai in April 2016 as a platform for a few of our friends and like minded mothers to share their parenting styles, experiences and stories. The next thing we knew we’d gone from 40 Mums to 500 Mums and have continued to grow rapidly since. We’re now sitting at just over 10,000 Mums! I still have to pinch myself every time I hear it! Our own team has also grown rapidly and we’re now very thankful to have Alyssa, Camilla and Beth onboard with us to help keep the group running smoothly. They’re lifesavers and each bring their own flare to the group keeping us fun but grounded.
What have been your best/proudest moments to date?
There’s not one single moment that makes us proud of Real Mums but rather a collection of small moments that happen almost every day. For example moments when a villager might say they’re struggling, are sleep deprived and looking for sleep training tips only to get floods of responses not only offering tips but also to help look after baby while they sleep, do some grocery shopping for them, cook them a meal or take their older kids out for the day so that the struggling villager might catch a nap! Then all they ask in return for their love is that one day the villager who was in need, pays it forward to someone else who needs help. That makes us incredibly proud; to be a part of something that shows so much love and kindness to essentially complete strangers.
What makes Real Mums Dubai unique?
The Village vibe! Everyone is always happy to help each other and the platform runs on the ethos that it takes a village to raise a family. Members are lovingly known as villagers and it’s a great atmosphere to be apart of, even if it is virtual!
You must help a lot of mums in Dubai – can you give us any examples?
Some of the more upsetting situations we’ve helped with involve mothers who are suffering domestic abuse. Just last week we had three Mums who reached out to us for advice on what to do when their partner had been abusive. We’ve also helped mums seek professional help when they’ve been suffering from post natal depression and anxiety.
Last October our village raised just under AED9000/- for Brest Friends with the Al Jalila Foundation and thanks to our mums sharing their journey with cancer and emphasizing the importance of screening one of our mums had a mammogram and was diagnosed at a still early and treatable stage.
We’ve helped families struggling financially get back on their feet and enjoy great birthdays and holidays when they weren’t expecting one.
We’ve reconnected loved ones from across the globe and we’ve located lost comfort blankets in foreign airports and helped them get back to their rightful owners. At the end of the day, we couldn’t help even half the people we do if it wasn’t for our fabulous members and their never ending kindness.
I’m always blown away by how happy and quick they are to help.
What do you find hardest about being a mum in Dubai?
Raising a family in Dubai can be incredibly lonely. People are away from their families and lack their usual support network. Plus there are heaps of different ways to parent and sometimes it can be overwhelming trying to sort through them all and figure out what’s right. You have to remember that there’s no wrong or right way to parent, the only one that matters is the one that works for you.
What do you love most about being a mum in Dubai?
We’re never bored! There’s always something new to see, something new to do and someone new to meet. It’s a city and country we’re never tired of exploring and it’s even better to explore with children.
What are your plans for Real Mums Of Dubai in 2018?
Megan literally starts every conversation with “So I’ve had an idea or I’ve got a plan!” Our biggest problem is narrowing them down but the most important ones for us this year are;
- Our environmental campaign to help encourage families to raise their children as green ambassadors
- To build a school in the Mara, Kenya. We visited in December and committed to build 6 classrooms over the next two years.
- To continue to have fun and support as many mums as we possibly can while keeping our village vibe!