My Life As a Mum by Melanie Webster

My day to day life is currently far from my norm and takes place well outside my comfort zone. It has been three months since moving into a hotel room in Johor, Malaysia with my husband Anu and our 1 year old daughter Bowie. Since moving here for my husband’s work I find myself pining for home in Auckland, New Zealand and counting down the 5 month stay. Here is a brief insight in to my life living in Traders Hotel, Puteri Harbour, with a very active 1 year old.

My days are dictated by what time Bowie wakes each morning and a rough schedule is formed. Today our in house alarm clock Bowie is awake at 7 am on the dot. Time for me to go to the hotel gym for weight training, yoga and meditation. This is the only time I have to myself and I enjoy going into my own little world for that blissful hour. After Anu and I have eaten breakfast: porridge with apple, cinnamon, coconut, butter and pure maple syrup (made in a rice cooker), we take Bowie down to the hotel cafe for her fruit breakfast and a coffee for me.
We don’t have a kitchen and I miss this like I would miss my right arm. This means most of our meals are eaten out and thanks to the accommodating hotel staff we manage to eat healthily. By the time we get back to our room at 9:15 am it is time for Bowie’s morning nap, we read a few stories before she is nursed to sleep and Anu heads to work.
While Bowie sleeps I do the breakfast dishes and get some work done. Naps and evenings are my only chance to work so I have to make the most of it. After she wakes it is time to get her dressed and go and do the laundry. I am grateful that laundry and dishes are the only chores I have in the hotel, that is one thing I will miss when we return home. The hotel is large with many corridors for Bowie to walk through on our way to the laundry, and we spend a lot of time daily playing in them, waiting for lifts and going up and down escalators.
The laundry needs to be done in three stages and is a rather drawn out process, an hour and half of going between the harbour clubhouse and the hotel. We hung out at the clubhouse for a while and Bowie decided she wanted to climb the three stories of stairs. These kind of antics are pretty scary for me to watch and test my heart strings, but definitely worth it for the skills she learns, fun she has and seeing the look of accomplishment on her face. Back at the room it is play time and Bowie nabs the toilet roll and spends some time unrolling it and dragging it around. The non-toys always seem to be the most fun.
We head down to the cafe for lunch where Bowie enjoys some roast beef and vegetables. We have to stop on the way because Bowie loves to play with the giant teddy bears out front in their Ramadhan display. A relief from the confines of our room. After lunch it is time to play. I give Bowie some nappy free time for half an hour, and when I walk to the bathroom I slip on some pee that is all over the tiles. Could do with that toilet paper right about now! It is now 2pm and time for the afternoon nap, some more books then nursing to sleep.
During the nap a parcel arrives from GiGi with a new book, it looks like it will be popular. Now is my chance to get the laundry folded while Bowie plays with the balloons left over from her 1st birthday party. Again the non-toys are more fun and clean washing is pulled on to the floor! She does love to help though and picks each piece up passing it to me to fold.
Now it is time for a swim in the roof top pool. It is 4pm and 34˚C so a nice cool off is needed! We spend three quarters of an hour playing and splashing and enjoying the view.
After we have showered and dressed Bowie gets 15 minutes of cartoons and playing while I check my emails and have a snack of almonds. I always have a very long to do list of work and it can be hard to keep on top of it. Lots of deadlines and emails anxiously waiting for me every day.

Then it is back to the cafe for dinner. Today Bowie has steamed broccoli, carrot and crumbled parmesan cheese. The cheese is pretty messy! Dinner over and Dad is home to help with bath and teeth time, before books, nursing and sleep at 7 pm. Tonight Bowie took a little longer to fall asleep, it was more like 7:30 pm. She constantly nurses and rolls around and sits up before finally drifting off. Poor Anu has to hang out in the bathroom during this time so that he isn’t a distraction.

Once she is asleep Anu heads out to pick up dinner, a delicious Indian curry with rice and salad. We eat in almost darkness, whispering about our day. Bowie wakes around 8:30 pm and has a quick feed and back to sleep. Anu and I then don our earphones and watch an episode of Mad Men before it is time for bed. Bowie wakes again part way through and I resettle her. I am asleep by 10 pm and Bowie wakes again at midnight to nurse. We bed share which certainly makes the night feeding easier, especially now that she is older and I can comfortably doze off while she sleeps in my arms. I am lucky tonight and Bowie sleeps through till 4 am before feeding and then we sleep through till 7:30 am and start a brand new day.

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7 years ago

Wow, and that’s all in one day! And to think it starts all over again tomorrow. It reminds me of when the boys were little & we lived in a caravan up north in the tropics of WA. Cabin fever used to set in fast and a daily routine of getting out & about was critical. I admire your resilience!

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