Welcome to Hong Kong, the city that never sleeps! As a new parent, you should fit right in then. Or as a weathered parent, with a population of 7.2 million, it shouldn’t be hard to make a few friends, right? What people may not realise when they’re new to Hong Kong is that with your new friends living at their jobs and their weekends booked up till the end of next year, it starts to get pretty lonely pretty quickly, especially if you’re a stay-at-home parent.
Now that you’re a mama, you can’t go out clubbing at night to meet new people. Joining a book club might not be high on your list either as most days now you’ll choose shower or sleep over poor forsaken Christian Grey (and don’t hold out for Grey on the big screen either, from what I’ve heard).
Lucky for you, Hong Kong has some great known and lesser-known parents’ networks that’ll get you your mommy gang in no time.
Smart mama, you have already stumbled upon the best resource for all things mama HK, which is why you’re reading this brilliant article. Favourite it, bookmark it, share it (and not just because we’re paid to tell you that).
But there exist other online networks to connect with other like-minded parents in Hong Kong. Facebook in particular offers several long-established groups for parents: Hong Kong Moms (check out our recent interview with founder Kara Arnaudy here!) has saved my a** many a time as an invaluable forum for advice and at times, a little gossip while I spoon my kid bananas. You can ask about that rash from the comfort of your own home – just don’t post pictures.
Mamas will often post which area they live in and if you’re keen, you can join the meet up. If you don’t have a helper, Moms w/o Helpers will keep you sane, and they also have regular meet ups.
More and more people connect online these days (hello handsome hunk from Tinder!) and mamas are no exception, particularly as we can’t get out as easily with our little monster angel tied to our leg.
At the Playground
You’ll notice as you wander Hong Kong the numerous playgrounds in almost every neighborhood. I had expected a concrete jungle when I first arrived, but was impressed by the quality by which Hong Kong parks and playgrounds were maintained, as well as the sheer number of them. Many mamas meet their mommy bestie at the neighborhood park — your kid plays with their kid, your kid shoves their kid, your kid mumbles an apology, and you are all friends for life.
Beyond the neighborhood playground, there are several fantastic playrooms and play centres across Hong Kong. Some are free while others may charge a fee, but those will have more facilities like rope courses, climbing walls and mega slides. There are even skate parks, indoor skiing and a trampoline park. Find one near you and meet some like-minded mamas while your kid is safely enclosed in padded walls.
Join Up, Meet Up
Have you heard of Meetup? Scroll the list and you’ll find activities that you, your partner or your kids might enjoy, plus people to do them with (though you might not get much further than the wine lovers one).
On that note, signing your kids up for sports and clubs is not only good for them (and not just for their future CV fifteen years from now), it’s also a great place for you to meet other parents who want to cheer their kids on and then maybe drop them off with the hubby and go out for drinks afterwards.
Consider Your Neighborhood
Location, location, location! When we first moved to Hong Kong, we lived in a pretty local area (we were the token expats that did all the crazy things like take our baby out after two weeks). However, even though we had made friends, I found that I would go for days where my little bean was the only human interaction I had all day. Imagine crazy eyes greeting you when you come home from work. My poor hubby, bless him. We loved our neighborhood but within three months, we made the move to Park Island.
I swear I’m not a real estate agent, but if you are a young expat family, you’ll want to consider Discovery Bay and Park Island, which are pretty much islands devoted to this demographic (and people with dogs – they love their dogs here). Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t inconvenient at all, yet still quiet enough that your kids can play on the streets without worrying that they’ll wander onto a four-lane highway right next door. If that’s not for you, there are other hubs of young families around Hong Kong, but they may not be as convenient as going down the hall and knocking on the door.
While it may sound crazy to move just for community, I have that single decision to thank for my sanity. People do it all the time in Hong Kong, seeing as we have no stuff anyway: one weekend, two thousand dollars and now I have a mommy group(s) who meets pretty much every day for play dates, coffee or walks. It is a bit Stepford, but I prefer the term idyllic.
So while the fast-paced work-focused lifestyle of Hong Kong may seem intimidating, if you put yourself out there in the aforementioned ways, lots of friendly and fun mamas will soon come out of the framework. No more drinking wine alone!