A Travellerspoint blog

Mango season, baby coming, & challenges for working moms

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It's mango season again! I love it! Harum manis is my favorite kind. Sweet and fragrant--very yummy! I could eat more than one mangos at once! If anyone is coming to Indonesia very soon, don't forget to taste it!


And my baby is coming soon. We asked the ob-gyn not to tell us the sex so it will be a surprise. Due date is 22 November. I'm going to see her/him soon! I'm so excited, and also kind of nervous of course, especially because it's my first experience.

Already on my maternity leave, and have been doing a lot of reading and discussion, joining class, mailing lists, all to prepare myself with knowledge about pregnancy, labor, breastfeeding, and babies. Everything is new and exciting, and I found them amazing. The more I learn, the more I am amazed. In the Breastfeeding Basics class we were shown a video of breastfeeding initiation/early lactation, where right after delivery and getting the umbilical cord cut, a newborn is put skin-to-skin on its mother's tummy; she rests for a while, then starts to lick her mother's skin, crawls up to her mom's chest (it can crawl!), massages her mom's breast, and finally breastfeed herself. And each activity in the process is not meaningless--each has its own benefit for the mother and baby. That's really amazing!

Challenges for working moms

What I'm concerned about is that here we don't have enough maternity leave, and no paternity leave except for merely 3 days which you can't call it a paternity leave. The regulation of maternity leave is: 1.5 month before the expected due date AND 1.5 month after the birth of the baby. If the baby is born before the expected due date, then the first 1.5 month leave is gone, and you only have the second half of 1.5 month leave left. So working women here have to start going to work again when the baby is only 1.5 month old. Some companies apply the regulation flexibly by allowing the female employees to start taking the leave very close to their due dates--but the closer to due date, the riskier it gets, and of course the company is not willing to take any responsibility if anything bad happens. Or if the employee starts having contractions while working!

So it's the regulation from the Ministry of Workforce. On the other hand, the Ministry of Health recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age--as recommended by the WHO and UNICEF. But things are not well-coordinated between the two ministries. Maybe the president never know about this? Or never care? There is no maternity protection.

Working moms who want to give their babies exclusive breastfeeding is facing challenges. They must find a room to express their breastmilk in the office every few hours--and commonly no companies provide such a room. And not all companies have a fridge, so it's another challenge for the working mommies to store the expressed milk. So some have to depend on a colleague who has her own office, or some even have to express the milk in the restroom (a.k.a. toilet). And not all office buildings have toilets that are dry and cleaned up every few minutes. However, it's still a toilet. People won't express milk there unless they have no choice.

Baby/children day care is not common here, although I've seen one or two in Jakarta, but too far from my office (not to mention the traffic). Most people here depend on their family to take care of their babies/children (e.g. the grandmothers), or to nannies. But there are many 'instant nannies' here and many cases happened where the nannies do not do their job well. For example, a colleague changed nanny 5 times, where the last one she found out that the nanny left her baby to the neighbor everyday and she (the nanny) went out; a friend found the nanny not do anything seeing her child put a small object (gundu, a tiny glass ball used for games) into her mouth; a relative witnessed a nanny yelled at a kid at a mall rest room and threatens the kid to not tell her mom; and many other cases.

Many women quit their jobs after they have children. And many others stay--some because they still want to do it, and others because of financial reasons. What about me? I don't know yet. Right now I'm just concentrating on welcoming my baby and giving her/him the best I can :) After that I'll have to do the tough thinking on whether to leave her/him for work or stay home to make it easier to take care of her/him. Unfortunately, working from home is not yet common here.

Posted by zags 11:49 Tagged women Comments (0)

I hate ceremonials

Self explanatory.

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Posted by zags 20:50 Comments (0)

I Hate Monday

I really really hate Monday. Public transport difficult to get, traffic even worse than the usual ugly ones,... Why should we go the long distance through that ugly traffic and exhausting ride while we can do most tasks remotely?
My boss once commented: "Who could guarantee that the person allowed to worked remotely really does his work?"
Who could guarantee that people at the office really do their jobs? That's a conventional point of view. If you want to keep your people in the office, e.g. From 7 to 4, then don't expect them to do any work-related stuff outside those hours. Don't expect them to return your calls, emails, or any messages outside those hours.
Another Business Unit has started going towards the "officeless" concept. As a start, its director has made a program called "I love Monday", which allows employees to not be at the office on Monday morning until after lunch time. One source said it's a test case before applying the program to the whole day. The employees are also encouraged to leave the office when the official working hour is over. As a compensation, the management provides employees with laptops and internet access (and probably a mobile phone for some particular roles) so that they can be reached anytime.
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Posted by zags 16:55 Comments (0)

Pink rose

Glad to be looking at this pink rose when I'm home today. Gives me the feeling of beauty and youthful spirit.
He brought it yesterday evening. Although it's not for some romantic reason, I'm happy to see that pretty thing. :-) what a sight for sore eyes...

Sent from my mobile phone.

Posted by zags 07:10 Comments (0)

A short, tiny break



The "Rest & Relax" benefit should be used up before the end of the year but we don't have the chance to go out of town, so we decided to try and stay at one of the most expensive hotels in Jakarta. Checked in Friday evening after work. On Saturday walked to the nearby mall and watched a movie and had lunch. Afternoon-evening kinda sucked cuz both of us ended up in front of our laptops doing some work!! Have I become one of those people who can't get away from work and don't have a peaceful personal life? Not again.

The next day, Sunday, we drove to find a place to have breakfast. Oh yeah our room rate didn't include breakfast and we chose not to pay additional $20 for breakfast per person. Hotel food is usually the same - no taste :p besides too expensive.

After that we were back to the hotel and tried the pool. He had to go for an assignment (see?). Since there was nothing else to do other than waiting for check out time, I invited my parents and sister to come visit us at the hotel and see if anyone would like to try the pool. They got there when the sun is high, no one wanted to get burnt. So we just packed our bags and checked out. He went for the assignment, and I went somewhere else with my sister and parents. Reminded me of younger days. I wish my other sister were there too. At this age, getting together with siblings and parents means a lot to me. Even just a lunch out together or just watching TV together. It's not easy to get together now. Separated by distance, sea, very expensive air ticket, international law... Not easy being a national who must get visa anywhere I want to go, and having many countries paranoid of us people from the so-called 3rd world country...

I'll just float....................

Posted by zags 08:15 Comments (0)

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