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First Time Employer: What to do about DH's food?

  1. #1
    ne31096 is offline Registered User
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    First Time Employer: What to do about DH's food?

    Hello,
    We are moving to HK this April and are thinking of getting a DH. We would be first time employers so are quite naive and have learned alot reading all the posts here. (I am also awaiting arrival of my copy of "Helper's Helper"!).

    I am curious about what employers generally do with their DH and food. I know it sounds like a stupid question, but food costs money and takes up space so if we have to feed another person that is something I would like to consider in the equation of a DH or not.

    How is the food situation dealt with for a live-in? Does DH use household refrigerator/cupboard space for her own purposes and is expected to buy/prepare her own food or is she expected to eat same food we eat? I'm assuming most households have some sort of compromise and would like to know what creative arrangements families have out there.

    Thank you,
    Jennifer

  2. #2
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    you have two choices:
    1) you provide food for the helper.
    2) you pay the helper extra to buy buy her own food. the minimum is $300/month, but in all honesty for this little, she would be eating instant noodles 3 times per day.

    we have our helper eat the same as us. for new year's eve we have a tradition of having a seafood dinner cooked at home, so even though it was her day off, i invited her. of course she took us up on it. we had king crab legs, king prawns and a canadian lobster each. i figure for once per year it is acceptable to treat all of us. (we are in no way an "expat" family...hubby is local and we run our own business).

    if we go out for dinner, we invite her along. sometimes she comes, sometimes she doesn't. usually it is up to her.

    when we barbeque, we ask her what she'd like to eat. we buy nice steaks for ourselves. if she wants steaks, we don't buy her the same simply because she doesn't appreciate the difference between a thick cut rib-eye or a thin cut sirloin. sometimes, she chooses chicken wings!

    in all honesty, our helper feeds us, a family of two, a toddler and herself on $100/day for lunch and dinner. so, really, it's not that big of a deal.

    as for space, the helper's rooms are usually so small, you have to provide space for the helper to store her own food if you don't provide it.

  3. #3
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    the other thing is... if you expect your helper to do the cleaning, the cooking, the shopping and taking care of your children, can you really expect them to have time to prepare two different meals, one for you and one for them?

  4. #4
    kellyst is offline Registered User
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    For us, we have a big household, 4 adults + 1 baby, so we have 2 helpers helping out, it takes some time in the beginning, sorting the eating part out but i think each helper prefers different things:

    - currently, we ask the helpers what they'd like and they get to buy stuff to cook their own meal (either after or before our dinner). they don't ask for expensive stuff, just fish, drumsticks, sometimes they just eat the veges we buy for ourselves. this way, they get to cook it the way they like to have it.
    - before i got married, we had one helper with my parents, and she eats our stuff sometimes and sometimes she'd buy things herself on the weekend and cook her own food.
    - also, some families eats with their helpers, some don't, i think it's very personal, and it also depends on the preference of both sides.

    so i think it's all quite flexible.. and you could work it out when your helper arrives.

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    DTHY is offline Registered User
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    Dear carang, I've just sent you a PM. Please check.

  6. #6
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    Our helper just eats whatever we eat as well. She buys different snacks that we don't eat. She is welcome to use the grocery money for these.

    If we are going to a restaurant, she doesn't come with us. We like to have some family time. She just makes herself a meal, or there are always leftovers in the fridge & freezer.

  7. #7
    fee
    fee is offline Registered User
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    Our helper also eats the same as us. Occassionally she gets a bit sick of western food or just doesn't like what we are having and she will cook something for herself from ingredients we already have. You will find that most helpers tend to not like wasting food so will save any leftovers to eat the next night. She also buys her own snacks that she keeps in her room. I am happy to pay for these but she prefers to pay for them herself.

    All in all I really don't think the extra mouth to feed is a significant cost to us, certainly not compared to the benefit we get from her being in our lives!

    On a different note - I really freaked out at the thought of hiring a DH when we were moving here 9 months ago. I was worried about what it would be like having a 'stranger' live in our house, and how I could trust this person with my kids, to name just two concerns. I am happy to say that it has been a fantastic decision for myself and my family (happy, unstressed mum = happy family!) It has allowed me to settle my kids in to their new lives and to work on creating new friendships for myself. There will always be frustrations and misunderstandings but the pros usually far out-weigh the cons!

    Best of luck with the move.

  8. #8
    ne31096 is offline Registered User
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    Thanks to all for your responses so far - I figured it would be flexible and dependent on the DH's foodtaste and appetite. But it is nice to have some insight as to what others do to make sure I don't have expectations way different from the norm....

    jane01 - I like your idea of having only personal family time when you go to restaurants.

    fee - thanks for your last paragraph. I am freaking out as well about having a stranger live with us and safety/health of family, but I figured I'd save that for another post. :) I'm glad it has worked for you, hopefully we will be just as lucky!

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