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second baby, second helper?

  1. #17
    ihave3cats is offline Registered User
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    Welshdad, I think it's quite risky for the maid to stay out, let alone the legality, now that she has a boyfriend, what happens if she gets pregnant? That will really complicate things!
    I guess different housewhole have different needs. I had 2 helpers when my kids were little. Their gap is 16 months, so there was a period of time when both had to hang out at home. Having 2 helpers can be quite complicated too. Sometimes there are arguements and there are little things which seem so tiny to u, but a big deal to them. I remembered once my 2 helpers had an arguement when one of them forgot to wash her dishes after her meal. Both of them had this frustrated look on their faces for days.
    But of cos everything aside, having 2 helpers means that the house will be clean, children taken care of..

  2. #18
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    ummm... she doesn't have to stay out to get pregnant.

  3. #19
    peainpod is offline Registered User
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    I have a friend in a similar situation who ended up hiring a part-time helper to come in a few days a week to help with the domestic chores (cleaning, ironing, even cooking some of meals). That freed up her live-in helper to concentrate on childcare for her two young ones. The part-time helper is actually Chinese, has her own family and is completely legal.

    (Cara's right that there are some helpers who are able to manage two kids and housework at once, but they are rare and hard to come by. I also know one friend who found such a gem - her kids are 3-1/2 and 2 yrs old - but you really can't expect it to be the norm!)

  4. #20
    welshdad is offline Registered User
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    first up i'd like to thank everyone who's contributed to this thread thus far, certainly is helping us to consider all issues.

    so i'd like to answer and clarify some of the issues raised.

    the first decision we had to cross was whether my wife quit her job for a couple of years ie be the mum and we continue with the one helper.

    She’s decided she wants to continue work for at least a year or two, until we can secure a larger flat. She has a professional job and banks like her, I run my own (successful) small biz and travel more than I’d like, but banks don’t trust me enough – a sad reality for most if not all small businesses.

    To get a mortgage on a 1200 sq ft flat we need to offer the banks the security of a stable professional income as well as that of my company. We probably won’t get it on my companies (official) profit so we both will work.

    We could possibly struggle on with one helper, but I think the points made by the Quasimother about the helper not being the mother are particularly valid. I really think it would be too much to expect one helper to look after a new born and a very active 3 yr old. Let alone cope with the logistical stuff of getting the 3yr old to kindy and looking after the new born – even if it’s getting down to the car park to collect and pick up my 3 yr old when she starts kindy next September.

    The financial side of having 2 helpers isn’t a problem as the double income we get will more than cover this, and hopefully within a year we’ll have an adequate size flat to house all of us happily, helpers included.

    The current flat does have a purpose built helper room off the kitchen but I’m embarrassed to say it’s a mere 6 ft by 4 ft, so it’s unreasonable to expect them to share. I even have sympathy for the current helper being in such a small space.

    I must admit I wasn’t aware of the legal situation with hiring a live-out. So We’ll need to consider this quite carefully.

    It has been mentioned to us that it is possible to get part-time Chinese helpers – naturally live-out to help, does anyone do this and can they recommend any agencies. Incidentally my wife is HK born Chinese, although I should also add we don’t have any family back-up here.

    I’m also quite encouraged to hear peoples positive experiences of helpers who are friends/relatives working together. Although we’ve been told there is a risk of the helpers exerting too much control in the house (words quoted to me, not mine) I also see that related helpers who get on with each other and have the best interests of the household at heart, has to be better than pairing two unknown helpers together – am I being too idealistic here?

    Thanks to all out there contributing

  5. #21
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by welshdad View Post
    my wife is pregnant and expecting our second child in July. my daughter will have just turned 3 when the baby is born.

    we live in a small 850 sq ft flat and have a live in helper. both my wife and i work full time and will need to continue working if we're to raise the mortgage on the larger flat we need and cover the payments and more importantly convince the bank to lend us the money based on our double income.

    so we're considering the option of taking on a second helper, but unfortunately don't have enough room to accommodate a second one in the current flat.

    i was wondering what the rules and regulations are concerning taking on a second "live out" helper.

    also what experiences other families may have had with the changed family dynamic.


    i'd also welcome practical advice on where to find and also how to assign/split the workload.


    incidentally the helper we have at the moment, has been very good and we're generally happy with her performance. However she has already suggested that we employ a cousin of hers from the philippines as the second helper, the current helper wants to move out and work as the live-out and new helper (cousin) would live in. The current helper has recently started dating

    i'm ok on the dating issue but i'm quite uneasy about her desire to live-out so her relative can live in, as we don't know the cousin and friends have advised that having two close friends/relatives as helpers together is not good for the household. however i'm also aware that i don't want to lose the current helper as she's a good person and helper

    any advice or shared experiences on this would be very welcome
    Welshdad,

    I don't have any personal experience with hiring a second helper but these are my thoughts.

    Just as carang pointed out, having a live-out foreign domestic helper (it's different for local domestic helpers), while common, is illegal under HK law and whether or not that becomes an actual issue depends on a lot of things--namely how well your relationship with the helper(s) remains and whether or not they or someone else would rat you out to immigration in the event that things sour.

    I think that if you don't have room at present for another domestic helper (and you are required to tell how big the sleeping space for every helper will be on the forms) it's not the right time to hire another one. I think it would be irresponsible to hire someone who will not be able to have a place to sleep (by law they are supposed to have access to a room with a door, whether they are sharing a room with someone else or not doesn't matter so much). One option might be to get a bunk bed and put it in the current helper's room if the space allows--therefore that room could serve two people.

    I also think that any helper who is worth her weight will be able to handle two children almost as easily as one. If you prefer to hire another helper so that each child has 100% attention from one adult at all times, then that's how it is. However, as carang also pointed out, it's not really a necessity in most cases. There are plenty of women in Hong Kong who are great mothers and care givers that take care of 1, 2, 3 or even 8 children (in my village there are a few of those) and do a pretty good job. But, if you're set on getting an additional helper, keep in mind that you do need have them living in your home with you if you want to do things by the book and protect yourself.

    As far as hiring a cousin etc, if it were me, I probably wouldn't go for that unless my helper had been working for me for some time and she was an amazing person who had really impressed me with her honesty and ability as a worker. The way I see it is, when it comes to works in my home for me, I'm the boss and while I might consider a helper's suggestion, I would definitely not want to feel like she was calling the shots like that. There are others who would disagree with this, based on their own positive experiences with recommended relatives, I think, though. When it comes to business, I think it is a rare thing when business and family mix well too--so while it may seem like a good idea, if things sour you've got a family feud going on under your roof.

    Additionally, I would suggest that if you're in a pinch to hire someone to come in during the day and take up some of the slack for the first helper, why not hire a local HK lady? Some speak English and even if not, your helper should know rudimentary Cantonese (and you may also be able to learn some)--you don't have to worry about live-out/live-in issues and although it's a bit more spendy, if you're going for a second helper anyway, maybe you have the money for that? Just a thought. I had a local Chinese lady as my first helper when my son was a newborn--she came at 10 am and left at about 6 pm and honestly, she was the best helper I've seen so far. However, as she was from Mainland China, married to a local man, we spoke mostly Mandarin together (which I studied before so have a basic handle on the language). It was great for language learning, actually. Wish that she was still available to help out some days--she had 150% more common sense and ability than our last helper from the Philippines. So, local ladies can make fantastic helpers too!

  6. #22
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by welshdad View Post
    We could possibly struggle on with one helper, but I think the points made by the Quasimother about the helper not being the mother are particularly valid. I really think it would be too much to expect one helper to look after a new born and a very active 3 yr old. Let alone cope with the logistical stuff of getting the 3yr old to kindy and looking after the new born ? even if it?s getting down to the car park to collect and pick up my 3 yr old when she starts kindy next September.
    The great thing about newborns is that they are portable. Your 3-year-old will need to learn to adjust to having a new smaller child in the house so that may mean slowing down a bit and becoming "less active" (a.k.a. more patient and less me-centered, if that's possible). A newborn in a baby sling can go anywhere that the helper goes--whether that is to take the 3-year-old to kindergarten (I have a little boy who will also start kindergarten in the fall) or whatever. Ask any mom of 2 whether or not it is manageable. It just requires the helper to have her "game face" on for more of the day than usual and like I said--a helper who is worth her weight can handle it. Rather than hire another person, if I were you, I'd rather supplement with a local live-out helper and just pay the current helper more (if she is as good as you've mentioned) as an incentive because her workload has become a bit heavier.

    The current flat does have a purpose built helper room off the kitchen but I?m embarrassed to say it?s a mere 6 ft by 4 ft, so it?s unreasonable to expect them to share. I even have sympathy for the current helper being in such a small space.
    Oh, that reminds me of the days when my husband and I lived for 6 months together in the same-sized room. We slept on a single bed, together. (Photos in this thread). If we had put a bunk bed in that room it would have actually been decently comfortable. This is Hong Kong and this is life--if that's what you've got to offer, then that's it. But, also, have you considered having one helper sleep in the child's room. That is allowed. I guess this comes from being around my husband who is local but we don't pour much pity upon our helper for anything. We are upfront about what we have and they can take it or leave it--I think personally that "feeling sorry" for them because they're not staying in a spacious room (in HK of all places!) whether spoken or not might set up the stage for a sense of entitlement to grow. That's just me, though. I know, I'm a hard a** sometimes. ;)

    It has been mentioned to us that it is possible to get part-time Chinese helpers ? naturally live-out to help, does anyone do this and can they recommend any agencies. Incidentally my wife is HK born Chinese, although I should also add we don?t have any family back-up here.
    If your wife is HK Chinese, then it should be a lot simpler for you as you have someone who speaks Cantonese (I assume) to communicate with a local helper. I would definitely explore going that route. A good place to look is with Caritas or any of the charity organizations here who train local women to do this type of work. Your wife could also ask around at work and see if she can gather any info. because word-of-mouth is often best for finding this type of person to work for you.

  7. #23
    City Jammer is offline Registered User
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    Just to add that if you are looking for a local helper, this website will be able to help you. This is organized by the Employee Retraining Board of HK:-
    ERB - Smart Living

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