Recently, I sent my Indonesian helper back to her home country. So we are left with all the household chores to ourselves for 25 days until the next one arrives. The fear of not being able to cope with everything is very real – especially when we have a lived-in domestic helper for the past 1 year since the arrival of our baby. Read this recent ST Article on Indonesia plans to stop sending live in maids abroad.
Hubby asked, “Why not hire a part time cleaner to do the work for the next 3 weeks?” Yes, this consideration did occur to me but there were a few issues for this option. One of the main issue is this – I only need help for a very short period (3 weeks); the time and effort to train someone new to do the housework does not justify the short hiring period. Second issue is this – the good and popular cleaners are usually in demand; and they are the ones who would not want to take on short cleaning stints. I do not want to hire new and inexperienced cleaners from cleaning companies – they can do more damage than good.
An efficient part time cleaner takes about 5 to 6 hours a week to complete the basic chores of sweeping and mopping the floor, cleaning the toilets and ironing. I figure if we have 2 persons and we split up the chores, the work could be accomplished. So I started planning my housework roster – a maximum of 3-4 tasks to be done on alternate days.
We are now officially midway in this helpless crisis.
A well meaning person I spoke to has put this aptly in 2 sentences
“Why torture yourself when you can have extra help to do the work?”
“Do you really want to spend hours cleaning the toilet when you can spend that time telling stories to your children or bringing them out for ice cream?”
I reason she is right.
No matter how fast and efficient you are at doing housework – it takes time and this same amount of time can be spent doing other things rather than housework.
Sure, you may argue that it is a form of exercise. You get a sense of self accomplishment when you have wiped that toilet floor of yours to a mirror like finish.
Moderate amount of housework is good.
But if you were like me, I spent at least one hour sweeping and mopping the floor, another hour to clean one toilet, and another hour to do my laundry and ironing. And a few days later, the painful cycle repeats again. I have no more time and energy left in me to do my other stuff such as updating my blog or complete my sewing project or do my online shopping or simply to chill and relax.
I realize I have become an
grouchy unhappy housewife cum supervisor cum QC manager nagging at my husband when he’s not doing his share of housework seriously.
We have to admit that women has very
high different standards to cleanliness, compared to men. This creates unnecessary friction and strain in the household.
Besides, I need someone to supervise the baby while I do my housework.
Obviously, for safety reasons. At 1 year old, he is attention seeking and loves to explore new territories. I try to manage my housework when he is having his afternoon nap; even then it’s a very short one hour and he usually wakes up crying if he sees nobody next to his bed.
Doing your own housework is not without its merits.
As mentioned before, it’s a form of good workout. Without a domestic helper, you are able to preserve your privacy and minimise the risks of damage to your precious ceramic ware and expensive miyabi Japanese knives through careless washing and mishandling. I do not have either, but I think if you have an expensive item, it’s best to wash it yourself unless you do not mind it being broken by others.
When you spend long hours at work and you have a young child, some form of help in housework is better than none.
Afterall, your child has only 6 years with you before he goes to formal school. If you have only x hours to spend every day with him, why take a significant portion of time off him to do housework?
Singaporeans, unlike many countries, are privileged to have the option of having a live-in domestic helpers. Having helpers come with its own sets of social issues. And I hear the frequent lamenting that finding a good maid is as tough as striking lottery.
When my boy is older and off to school, it might be worthwhile to reconsider the option of not having live-in helper. But I might be older, less energetic and less appreciative of coping myself in the toilet, knees bent, scrubbing the floor and inhaling in chlorine laden air.
Okay for now… because I simply had to go back mopping the floor.