Andrea White is the manager of Arrows and Sparrows Café in Emaar Business Park. Going there to meet a group of other mums, I thought she was one of them and even I shacked hands and introduced myself. With a shy smile she told me her name and asked if everything is ok and if I placed my order. That’s how I met Andrea and here is her story.
Andrea is from Hungary, married with an English man, Andrew. Andrea and Andrew lived in London and moved to Dubai in 2013 when their first son was just one year old. They both work in food and beverage industry but back then, Andrea decided to be a stay-at-home mum. Living in Dubai Marina, was easy for her to find things to do with her little boy and enjoy the life as a housewife. But all this lasted only for seven months as she was very eager to go back to work. So, she got a job as a supervisor as a well-known café in Al Qouz. There she met the owners of Friends Avenue, a café in Jumeirah Lake Towers, where she started to work in February 2015. Her second son was born in January 2016 and now the third baby (they don’t know what it is yet as they want a surprise) is on its way, due to arrive in April 2017. Oh, my, her hands are full, aren’t they?
While nursing her second son, Andrea started to work from home for the “Arrows and Sparrows Café” project. She did the research on furniture and accessories, developed the menu, she got involved in the staff selection and interview. The café opened this October and now she works full time as the manager.
How does a week day in her life looks like? She wakes up at 6.00am together with the kids.
Only the eldest one goes to school, the baby stays home with the nanny, who is in charge of everything for the rest of the day. As the school is very close by, they walk and play games on the way. She leaves for work around 8.30am and comes back around 6.00pm. Unfortunately, there is not much time left to spend with the kids as they are in bed by 6.30pm. But she can enjoy some quality time with her husband chatting about the day, share experiences as they work in the same industry or watching a movie. This is the sad part of her life as a working mum: to less time spent with the kids. “Sometimes I feel I gave birth for the nanny to rise the kids and I’m not happy about it but I love what I do and I don’t want to give it up right now. But with the third baby on the way, I’ll have to think about it” says Andrea.
Why did she choose a full-time job? Because Andrea found out that “In Dubai is hard to find a part-time job that worth to go to. It’s hard to find a job that incorporates your family life as you wish. All my friends have full-time jobs and get home when the kids are already in bed. We have to rely on nannies very much. It’s a sacrifice to have a job here”.
Inevitably we talk also about school. Coming from another culture as myself, she finds difficult to adapt to the British system. Having to do homework – reading, writing, projects – with a 5-year old is not easy, especially when she has only one day off. “Having so much to do for school, I understand why mothers don’t work here. Now I have only one kid to deal with but when will be two and then three, I’m sure it will be challenging to have also a full-time job and keep up with all the homework”.
Andrea has off only on Fridays and works on Saturdays so Andrew spends the weekends with the kids and he admits that it’s more tiring than going to work. By the time Andrea comes home on Saturday evening, he is totally exhausted, falling asleep even before the kids.
What’s next? “I like working till March. I love my job, I meet interesting people, I like my team here. I need more than baby topics. We can’t stop being what we are, being a mum is just an addition. This will be my last baby so I want to make the most of it” says Andrea.