For the longest of time, Chubby and myself do not believe in getting live-in domestic helper. We are those that is not comfortable with a “stranger” living with us. And we have to worry about what the helper is doing behind our back. Since my MIL stayed with us and can offer some form of help, we stick with part time helper since our boy is born all the way until December 2012.
It was with some fate, we decide to take over our current helper from my SIL. We were lucky in a sense that we have seen her working, so we kind of know how she is like. And that is when we did our sums and decide that we should take a risk and engage her.
Some 1.25 years later, I’m happy to share with you some of my views on the pros and cons of having live-in domestic helper. This is from the point of view of a FTWM with two young children and a pretty diligent helper.
Pro 1: More Time
This has got to be the strongest reason to engage a helper. While my helper was away last month (as she return home), I was reminded how much time I saved with her around.
The crunch time for a family setup like ours is in the morning when the kids prepare for childcare and evening when they are back.
With the helper, she can help get the kids ready while the parents can have more time to enjoy breakfast before the start of a work day.
In the evening, the helper can take over the mundane housework like washing dishes and laundry, preparing the kids bag and even preparing the milk. While parents can spend the precious weekday hours playing and nurturing the kids.
Spending some money to get the precious time with the kids is well worth it.
Pro 2: More Sanity
With the extra helping hand, nights out with friend is possible as only one parent with two kids after a long day of work is unthinkable.
While the kids nap, a short break for the parents, like catching a movie or a massage is also possible with the extra help.
All these timeout give the parents more sanity. This in turn means a healthier relationship between the parents themselves and also with the kids.
Pro 3: Tidier House
Nobody wants to come home to a messy place. A messy environment somewhat makes a person more frustrated and inpatient (no?). And we know it’s a huge task to keep a home neat and tidy with young kids around. So the tidying up when they are not in is really important, though this unlike the other 2, can be achieved by a part-time helper.
Con 1: More Expenses
The pay of the helper aside, other expenses ranging from food to utilities bill will naturally increase with one more pax. And when we visit places that need entrance tix, we will need to pay one more too.
Con 2: More Space Needed
For her to sleep and put her things. And our little saloon car gets very cramp when we need to ferry our family, my MIL and her. And if we want a third kid, we will probably have to look at some form of upgrade for the car.
Con 3: More Reliance for the Kids
I have once read about an article of primary school kids who can’t flush the toilet or switch off the tap after they are done. This is because they are use to leaving it to their helper.
Of course this is an extreme case, but I cannot deny that my kids are not helping out in house work (apart from putting away their own things) as my diligent helper finishes everything before they are back. Nope, I’m not blaming her. We probably just got to think of some ways to get the kids involved.
Con 4: Need to Train and Worry
If you get a young an inexperience helper, you probably got to spend some time to train. And seriously training them is not easy as communication is an issue. English is not their default language and Singaporeans usually speak too fast and expect too much. So the training process will “kill” some employers. But if you get a more experience helper, you probably have an easier life.
And of course the need to worry about her. Whether she is doing anything behind our back. Whether she feel at home with us. Does she has any issues back home, etc. All these are added stress to the parents and definitely one of the major reason why most people are apprehensive about getting a helper.
After 1.25 years with our helper, I think we are quite lucky that she seems to be doing fine and is rather mature. We don’t really have to worry about her much. As mention she is also pretty diligent. She will use her looking eyes and see what needs to be done unlike some who have to be instructed before they work.
All in all, if you can find a decent helper and can afford, getting a helper will definitely make parenting easier. There are cases of bad helper, but I have heard many good ones too. So it is really a matter of luck which we don’t know until we try. Just like we never know how a company is until we work there. So I’m now a convert who is for live-in helper.
How about you? Leave me a comment to tell me if you have a helper. And why. Thanks 🙂