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Being an expat mum in Singapore: EL readers share the best and worst parts

What’s it like being an expat with a child or one on the way? We asked our lovely readers for their thoughts on the business of bringing up young children in Singapore.

There's plenty to do with kids here, but would you miss your family too much? 

Ashley (US): The best thing is that I can stay home with Grace; also, there are so many mothers here that are in the same position – there’s so much for us to do. The worst thing is not being able to share these special times with friends and family in the US. 

Daisy (UK): I guess they are the same as being a mum anywhere – though, on the upside, help is readily accessible and cheaper here if you need it. The downside is being far away from family and old friends. The mosquito and dengue risk isn’t nice – I have an app on my phone that shows outbreak areas to avoid.

Tracy (New Zealand): One of the best things about being an expat mum is being surrounded by so many other mums in the same “expat” position who are equally keen to meet new people and make new friends; I’ve found Singapore to be a very welcoming place! Year-round sunshine is great for an outdoor lifestyle for kids, and our condo provides a fantastic and safe social life for our daughter. We’re also in a privileged position of having a fabulous helper who enables my husband and I to focus on the “fun time” with our children.

Niki (USA): The best thing has been being in a position where so many other women are in the same boat: that is, not working and with no family nearby. Because of this, I’ve felt very supported. Back in the US, most of my friends work, so if I were to be a stay-at-home mom, it would have been a very isolating thing. Here, it doesn’t have to be. I also can’t downplay the emotional and physical support that my helper, Misnah, has given me! Her help has meant the world to me, especially being so far away from family.

Yvon (Holland): I’m not technically an expat mum – we actually live here without a contract. Friends are leaving when their contact ends and that’s hard, especially for the kids. The good thing is that with some families you stay in contact and have global friendships. Shopping for children is so expensive here so it’s so lovely to receive a package with Dutch things from my family.

Kiki (Greece): The best things are the sun, lots of outdoor activities (and I need those with two boys), being in a fortunate position to have help, and travelling and experiencing new cultures, cuisines and ways of living. The worst parts are missing family and friends at home – not to mention the seasons, food and fashion attached to it. Making friends here only for them to go home is another “worst” for me.

Caitlin (US): The best part of being an expat mum in Singapore is that it’s so family-friendly. The worst thing is being away from my own family; it’s hard not to have my daughter’s grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins not physically around, though Facetime does help!

This oh-so-handy story was first featured in Expat Living’s brilliant Kids’ Guide, which offers mums in Singapore valuable advice and information about daily life on the island, from finding a great school to fun activities. For more articles like the above, simply pick up a copy from EL’s online shop now.