Downtown Dubai for kids

Fireman Naz O’Brien shares his views on family life in Dubai

Interview, Community

Fireman and stay at home dad, Naz O’Brien lives in Downtown Dubai with his wife Carly and their four-year-old daughter Piper. The family are expecting the arrival of their second child in four months time.

How long have you been in Dubai?
Two years.

Why do you think Dubai is good for families?
The great weather, which means that for most of the year you can engage in outdoor activities. It is definitely a great base for travel and exploring the world; as a family from Australia it would not be possible for us to enjoy the holidays we have had over the past two years.

How long have you lived in Downtown Dubai?
Since we moved to Dubai two years ago.

Why did you choose this neighbourhood?
It is a safe clean environment and pretty much central to everything. We love that we can walk to so many different venues, restaurants and parks.

Did you have your kids in Dubai? If yes, where and how was the experience?
My daughter was born in Australia but we have a new baby on the way who will be born at American Hospital; so far the experience has been pleasing and very professional.

Have you found it easy to meet other dads here?
I have made some great new friends here and some of them happen to be dads. I found it pretty easy to be honest. My wife works for an Australian company and a lot of her colleagues have become our friends and they also reside in Downtown.

What family friendly facilities are nearby?
Downtown is very family friendly with kids welcome almost everywhere. Of course you have the mall but there are also great parks in the area. However, I would consider the beach the best family friendly facility!

Are you planning to stay put in Downtown Dubai?
We are enjoying living here as a family but who knows in the future we may try a different area.

You split your time between Australia and Dubai, is it difficult being away from the family?
It’s always very tough leaving your family and a long long flight back - but it’s a nice break from the heat at this time of year!

And what about balancing your time as a fireman and a stay at home dad?
I love it and balance is good but not without its hiccups. Being a stay at home dad sometimes makes me feel that running into burning buildings is the less challenging part of my life. Stay at home parenting is very rewarding but is the kind of full time employment that doesn’t always offer a coffee break!

What’s the most challenging task you experience when looking after Piper?
When she is exhausted and not so happy but insists she is not tired and will not sleep or rest!

Are there certain things you have picked up as a fireman that help your parenting skills?
They are very different but if I had to pick one thing it would be safety. As a Fire Fighter, the main focus is on staying safe and this definitely filters through to your home life. And there is nothing more important than keeping your family safe, right?

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