Welcome to Mum vs Life, where we talk to mums in the public eye about how they manage their lives. This week Jessica Rudd, writer and mother to daughter 20-month-old Josephine, tells us what life’s like as an ex-pat mum in Beijing
Run us through your typical day…
Wake up at about six to Josie’s enthusiastic, ‘Hi!’ from her cot in the next room. We get her up, change her and bring her into bed with us for a cuddle in the hope that we can hit the snooze button for 20 minutes. Failing that (usually the case) we get up, make breakfast, listen to AM online, chat and read stories.
At nine, Maomao, our magnificent nanny, arrives. I jump in the shower, go out to a café and write—my new Ruby book, a column or whatever else I’m working—and come back by the time she wakes up from her afternoon nap at about 3.
Then there’s playgroup, music class or grocery shopping, depending on the day.
Dinner is at 5.30, extravagant bubble bath follows at 6, after which it’s playtime with Baba (Daddy), story time and bed at 7. In theory.
Then it’s wine o’clock.
What are your biggest challenges?
Beijing, like any city, has its pros and cons. On the pros side, I have access to affordable in-home care for Josephine. This is a complete blessing because: (a) it means my working times are flexible because childcare is always available, (b) Josie is bilingual, and (c) I’m a hemisphere away from my family and wider support network and need all the help I can get. I found that distance especially hard when Josie was a new born—I just wanted my Mum.
Also, some days here are filthy, with air pollution at hazardous levels. Josephine is getting better at wearing a mask (initially she thought it was a game of boo), but I long for our local park in Brisbane with its lush grass, majestic trees and glorious sunshine.
Oh and the food. When I’m back home visiting family and friends I delight in the fruit and veg section of our local supermarket where everything is super fresh, delicious, safe and often organic. Problem: I end up buying waaaaaay too much, like we’re preparing for the end times.
What is your favourite time of the day?
Josie is in her element at bath time. She’s an absolute delight. Her favourite word is ‘bubble’. We have a bath time playlist on my iPhone that we dance and sing along to. We’ve had the same repertoire since she was three months old.