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any moms managing without a helper?

  1. #1
    bbc mom is offline Registered User
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    any moms managing without a helper?

    I am currently a stay-at-home mom to my 20mth old son. I've never had a domestic helper before but wondering whether I will need one if baby no.2 comes along or can I do it alone. Are there any moms coping well looking after 2 kids by themselves? I'm not sure if I can simultaneously cope with a newborn as well as taking my son to kindergarten, shopping with both kids, doctor's appointments, public transport etc.

    My parents live overseas, and my in-laws are in HK for only a few months of the year and they are not in the best of health so I cannot expect any help from them. It also doesn't help that my MIL boasts she looked after 3 young kids all by herself, so I do feel quite inadequate.

    Personally I'm not too eager to have a live-in helper since we like our privacy and we only live in a small 2 bedroom flat. Is it bad to expect the helper to share a room with my son? On the other hand, hiring a part-time helper would probably end up costing more. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    mailmail is offline Registered User
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    I have a helper, but there were a window of over 6 months when I didn't have one. Sending the older kid to nursery school helps a great deal, so that you can have half a day looking after just one kid, and for the other half, you can hire part time if necessary.

  3. #3
    aussiegal is offline Registered User
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    BBC Mom, it's true that many women have more than one child and manage quite well but most of them have family they can call on for help. So if anyone says or implies that you are lazy or not a good mother etc for wanting a helper you shouldn't worry about it. Most of us women on this forum are in the same boat. We are foreigners with no support network in place and it can be tough.

    Personally I couldn't imagine being without a helper in Hong Kong. It simply isn't a place that is set up for mums with prams! Doing anything seems to take forever and you can go mad trying to find a way up to places you need to go (shops, doctors whatever) that allow you to take your pram. We're about to have a second baby too and I hate to think how much harder it will be to get around when I am with the kids by myself.

    You'll be surprised how quickly you get used to having someone live with you. We're lucky that our helper stays with friends on weekends so we have time to just be together as a family.

    My only real concern for you is that two bedrooms is not a lot of space for 5 people to live in. I know that many helpers share rooms but it can't be ideal for anyone.

    Maybe you just need a part-time helper for a few half days each week so you can go out and do what you need to do without the kids?

  4. #4
    jools is offline Registered User
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    When I arrived in Hong Kong with an 18 month old and 6 months pregnant, I was adamant that I wasn't going to have a helper. My husband evntually wore me down and it was one of the best decisions I have made since moving here. Yes you can do it without a helper, but why should you? Your mother-in-law is not a better mother than you because she had to struggle with three kids and spend time doing the house work- shopping, running errands, doing the dishes, cooking, cleaning, ironing etc. etc., instead of spending that time with her kids. With a helper you can spend more time with your kids and that to me is priceless.

    I can manage to walk everywhere, but I choose to take advantage of public transport, I could make my own clothes, but I choose to buy them in a shop, I probably could cut my own hair if I tried, but I choose to use a hairdressers (much to the delight of my husband, I'm sure). There are lots of things in life that we could do ourselves, but we choose to use the expertise of others. So why not use the opportunity to give some of the responsibility for looking after the day to day household chores to someone else, so you can spend more time with your kids-they are only little for a very short space of time-our eldest is already nearly five and I can remember the day he was born like it was yesterday.

    Also remember, in terms of your mother-in-law, there is a little thing called tricks of memory and I bet if you pressed her a little, she would admit that it wasn't quite as rosey as she is making it out to be.

  5. #5
    mum of 2 is offline Registered User
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    I have 2 children and a helper, with a 3rd (child, not helper) on the way. We have a reasonable amount of space, but I still cannot get used to having someone around the house all of the time.

    I have spent quite a bit of time without full-time help since we moved here (both between helpers and when our helper is back in the Philippines, which is quite often). I have often used agency help during these periods. It has worked out just fine. The only downside is that you need to be very organised about babysitting. It means that you need to book one child's activities while the other is at school or on a Saturday when your husband is around. You cannot pop out for an impromptu dinner with your husband etc.

    We are trying to work out if we can get away without live-in help with 3 children. I think that we can, my husband is not so sure. It would be more expensive, using Rent-a-Mum for babysitting and Sparkles or someone for cleaning, but I think it would be worth it for the privacy.

    It's a very personal choice. If we had creches in HK, I'd never consider live-in help, but unfortunately, we don't. I have no intention of terminating our helper, but may not renew when her contract is up. Some people take to having live-in help like a duck to water, unfortunately, I'm just not one of those people.

  6. #6
    alibali is offline Registered User
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    Hi there,
    I have a 4 month old and although my husband suggested we hire a helper when I got pregnant, I thought we wouldn't need one. If my mom could do it, why couldn't I and all that...

    However, I have just hired a helper. The biggest reasons for me are cooking and babysitting and the fact that my husband is sometimes gone for 3 nights at a time, a couple of times a month. Since we have no family here in HK and most of our friends have their own helper, it's difficult to find a babysitter. The professional ones are quite expensive. As with any young baby, we are finding it difficult to cook healthy meals at night as we are tired by then. So we get takeaway which is expensive and not healthy. My mom is totally supportive, saying if she could have had a helper, she would have jumped at the chance. So I'll just enjoy having help while I can. And we are thinking about having a second baby, so all the more reason for some help!

  7. #7
    joannek is offline Registered User
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    life in hk is different than in other countries. if you live overseas, you have a large house, you'll have a car where you can put your babies in car seats & drive anywhere, can easily find babysitters, have washer/dryers, dishwashing machines, not so much pollution, so you don't need to vacuum every other day. with these goodies living out of hk makes it easier not having a DH.

    living in a small space sure makes you wonder where you can let helper sleep. maybe you can ask your agent?

  8. #8
    aussiegal is offline Registered User
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    I like this comment by Jools.

    'Also remember, in terms of your mother-in-law, there is a little thing called tricks of memory and I bet if you pressed her a little, she would admit that it wasn't quite as rosey as she is making it out to be.'

    My mother in law was the same. I did it tough in Sydney for awhile with a new baby, no family around, no friends because i'd just moved there and a husband that travelled a lot for business leaving me for days at a time by myself. I used to joke to him that the only person I spoke to each day was the guy serving me coffee! (oh and i ran a business from home) When my mother in law would hear that by the evening i was too tired to cook she'd act like i was the worst mother in the world. She'd say that she never had help but always managed to put a meal on the table. Firstly, she did have help. She had people to do all the cleaning and all the washing. That's a massive amount of time freed up each day I would say. And secondly, she's never worked a day in her life so she wouldn't even begin to understand what i have to juggle just to get through the day.

    Fortunately my husband stuck up for me anytime she came up with such rubbish and she now knows not to try it on!

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