Roxanne Davis, Founding member of Doha Mums, writes for Time Out and helps explain what to do to keep sane as a mum in the city.
Being a mum in Doha can be challenging, especially at the beginning. Everyone seems to know everyone else, and it can feel like you are never going to break into the right crowd. You may be losing hair trying to secure school spaces. All you can think about – while stuck in yet another hour of traffic – is that ‘everything is better back home.’ Your feelings are completely normal but rest assured that most of it does get better…well, except the traffic part. The key to settling in as a mum in Doha is to capitalise on your natural resourcefulness and connect, connect, connect. We’re all one degree of separation apart, and everyone can help you get settled in, one challenge at a time!
What to do as a mum in Doha
Taking a break from work? Make a list of everything you didn’t have time for back home and create a plan to check them off your list. Enjoy acting? Try Doha Players. Have a soft spot for animals? QAWS (Qatar Animal Welfare Society) is always seeking volunteers. The hotels in Doha frequently offer great cooking classes, so be sure to subscribe to their newsletters and “like” their Facebook pages. If your children are too small to allow you to break off alone then try the many playgroups organised by members of Doha Mums. There is truly something in Doha to suit nearly every interest – and if your interest isn’t represented then don’t be shy about creating something yourself to fill the gap.
What is Doha Mums?
When I moved to Doha in 2008 there was nothing to connect the mums aside from a few loosely organised playgroups. I had been part of a mums group in Texas and decided to bring the same concept to Doha. Initially, I would invite random mums to my home for playgroups, and little by little our numbers grew until we launched our private website. Over the years we’ve grown considerably, and we now offer a children’s library with over 6,000 titles, several support groups (parents of special needs children, depression and adoption, etc.), a Qatar Airways discount, oodles of events, the Deals Card (with 250+ discounts) and much more. An amazing amount of behind-the-scenes support goes on as well amongst the members. The term “lifesaver” is frequently used to describe Doha Mums, and we are so thankful that we are in a position to help so many mums settle into Doha and enjoy all it has to offer.
Activities previously undertaken
Having such a large, organised group of mums means we’re poised for all sorts of opportunities. In 2009 we raised over QR50,000 to help rebuild QAWS after the devastating fire. Via our relationships with hotels, we have offered cooking courses specialising in fares such as chocolate, Thai, Arabic, pastries, Indian, French, desserts and countless others. It is so inspiring to see what mums can do when they join forces to make such a welcoming community.
Becoming a Doha mum
To become a member of Doha Mums, you simply attend a qualifying event and follow the steps to join as noted on the website. We require prospective members to attend an event because we want them to get out and meet other members of the group – this helps them settle into Doha and it also helps keep our members-only forum friendly and informative. Many members meet their “new best friend” or “gateway to Doha” at their first event.
Doha Mums organises many regularly scheduled events – coffees, playgroups and dinners – to welcome new mums and newcomers to Doha Mums. We’re currently quite busy organising cooking classes, arranging special activities to be held at the Doha Mums Children’s Library, and planning for a yard sale. The Doha Mums Summer Market will be held in May as well. Many of our events are planned “organically” by our members, so our calendar is always hopping and evolving. Limited events are offered on dohamums.com, but our full calendar of events can be viewed by Doha Mums members.